Through our work with organizations of all kinds, the Hattaway team has brought the tools and techniques of strategic communications to bear in helping our clients advance diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) in postsecondary education, philanthropy, and many other areas.
While working and learning alongside our clients, we’ve been on our own journey to become a more diverse, equitable, and inclusive company. We’re learning a lot through open and honest conversations with each other, and from experts who have brought valuable knowledge, tools, and techniques to help us along the way.
This article shares a few of the resources we’ve turned to for inspiration, information, and guidance on our DEI journey.
Tools that helped us examine ourselves and our ways of working:
We began our journey with an organizational assessment by Dr. Judy Lubin and her colleagues at CURE, the Center for Urban and Racial Equity. With an approach informed by Dr. Lubin’s background working at the intersection of social science, communications, and policy advocacy, CURE was a good fit for Hattaway. The CURE team briefed us on common DEI workplace challenges and helped us apply the lens to ourselves. The review prompted us to take a fresh look at our policies, practices, culture, and client work. One-on-one interviews with each team member provided a wealth of honest perspectives and practical ideas.
How To Be An Antiracist
A major focus of our journey has been on racial equity. For guidance, a useful source we’ve turned to is the work of Ibram X. Kendi, author of How To Be an Antiracist. It’s an eye-opening, action-oriented book that “asks us to think about what an antiracist society might look like, and how we can play an active role in building it.” It’s packed with useful definitions and ideas for identifying and rectifying policies and practices that lead to inequitable outcomes.
Our effort has resulted in new tools and structures like these:
Code of Conduct
One important output of the process was a new Code of Conduct. Team members collaborated to create a document with guidance to foster a respectful, empathetic, and inclusive work experience for everyone at the firm, and for our clients and partners. It articulates the values that guide us, describes expected behaviors, outlines a system for addressing conflicts, and provides standards for delivering feedback to help our people grow and thrive.
Like many organizations, we’ve long had a conflict-averse culture. That can lead to avoiding difficult, but necessary, conversations to resolve issues that inevitably arise in workplaces with people who come from different life experiences, backgrounds, and perspectives. We’ve begun using a tool called the Accountability Dial, which was created by the leadership training firm, Refound. The tool offers a thoughtful, step-by-step approach that equips each of us to proactively and productively address issues, rather than avoid them.
To help maintain momentum on our journey, we created a DEI Team with a rotating membership. The members of this team keep our efforts visible and bring a DEI lens to our discussions and decisions. They play active roles in our hiring process and policymaking. They also led us in creating a new pro bono program to serve nonprofit organizations run by people of color and which serve people of color in our local area.