Today’s workforce is diverse on many different levels and smart organizations are making the effort to leverage that diversity. But hiring the right mix of people and creating an environment where everyone’s strengths and contributions are encouraged, supported and leveraged cannot be achieved overnight – it’s a journey.
The competency based approach is a promising emerging practice in diversity and inclusion. We’ve already written about what competencies are and why we believe they are a crucial part of organizations’ journeys towards inclusion. You can read more about that here, and here.
But what about practical examples? Some people tell us they love TRIEC’s competency framework, the Inclusive Workplace Competencies, but often struggle to think of ways to apply them to the D&I work they’re already doing. Yet many others – organizations from 11 countries on 5 continents in fact – have downloaded the model to make change in their workplaces. Here are some ways you can do this, too.
- Bring your organization’s values to life
Many organizations have words like “respect” or “inclusion” among their organizational values. Competencies that include specific behaviors can be a great way to describe what your organization means by those words and what they look like in practice. Bottom line: if you want your employees to be inclusive give specific examples of what you mean by that. Or better still, discuss it together to decide what being inclusive means in your particular context.
- Design impactful learning programs
Designing effective training for your staff starts with understanding what it is you want people to be able to do and comparing this to their current performance. The Inclusive Workplace Competencies have three different categories – Within Myself, Within My Team, and Within My Organization – which is extremely helpful in thinking about various types of behaviours that you want to see in your organization. For example, when designing a diversity and inclusion curriculum for leaders, you would consider behaviours related to their own individual development, how they lead their team, and the responsibility they have for shaping diversity and inclusion within the organization as a whole.
If you already have a curriculum in place, you can use a competencies framework to identify the gaps. Many organizations focus on developing skills related to working with a team but miss critical elements related to self-reflection (Within Myself) or organizational influence (Within My Organization)
You can also use a competencies framework to:
- Identify individual or organizational learning needs
- Develop learning objectives for programs,
- Develop knowledge content for learning programs
- Provide clear goals for learners
- Evaluate your learning programs
- Manage your employees’ performance
What gets measured gets managed! You can use the Inclusive Workplace Competencies to introduce accountability for inclusive behaviors into your performance evaluation process.
If you already have a competency framework in your organization you can use TRIEC’s model to make sure it covers inclusion. You can use it to review your existing competencies and add behaviours related to inclusion. For example, you could add elements of TRIEC’s popular “Adjust and adapt communication styles to be effective in a diverse workplace” competency to your current communication competency. You could also add competencies from TRIEC’s framework to your framework.
If you don’t have a competency framework you can leverage the model to create a list of sample goals for non-management, people managers, and leaders. Many organizations start their inclusion initiatives by working with leaders and progress to include other groups of employees.
- Recruit the right candidate for the role
What do you expect candidates to be able to do in relation to diversity and inclusion in their prospective roles? Will they be leading teams? Shaping organizational practices? You will have different expectations depending on whether the role is for an HR executive, team lead or individual contributor.
The competencies can help you hire the right person for the role because you can use them to identify what you need the candidate to do in relation to diversity and inclusion. You can then develop interview questions to help you assess whether they demonstrate these skills .
- Develop strong organizational policies
You can also use the framework to develop organizational policy around diversity and inclusion. For example, you can leverage and customize the guiding principles behind the model (available for download on the competencies web page), or look at the definitions we use in each competency to describe your own approach and intentions.
Anna Kostecka is TRIEC’s Senior Manager of Learning and Inclusive Workplaces