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Organizational Diversity and Inclusion Assessments

A good place to start improving an organization's diversity and inclusion efforts is to conduct an organizational assessment. Organizations can use these evaluation tools to analyze their current situation and then deliberate how to improve in the future.

The internet is rich with both free and paid tools. Each of these options will be discussed in greater detail below.

Preparation: To effect organizational change, organizations must first adopt the right mindset. Successful businesses are mindful of the following:

  • Change is a continuous process.

  • Progress takes place in stages.

  • Change is not always linear - organizations frequently move in a variety of directions during the course of the change process.

  • Organizations must analyze their current level of inclusiveness and their capacity for change.

Assessing the current stage of the organization is best served when teams collaborate to capture the following:

  • A questionnaire distributed to as many employees as possible

  • Interviews with important stakeholders (e.g. executives and managers) who can provide you with an outsider's perspective on your organization or what it's like to work for you.

  • Focus groups with representatives of the organization's many departments and units

Stages of Inclusion (originally sourced from

Many assessments will provide a categorization of where an organization is after they complete their assessment. Having this organizational awareness AND accepting it allows the group to begin to plan for actual change and identify areas of growth.

The following is a sample of different stages of inclusion an organization could be in related to intercultural competencies. Read prior to completing an organizational assessment and see if you can self-assess where your group could be. Don’t be surprised, however, if your initial reaction places your group at a higher stage than the assessment indicates. It is often common to have a view of your organization as being further advanced than it might actually be.

  1. Conventional(Stage 1): The primary view of an organization in this stage is that only those who fit into the traditional norms and values will succeed.

  2. Defensive(Stage 2): The leadership understands that the organization must work to make others feel included but continue to resist changing the culture.

  3. Ambivalent(Stage 3): The Ambivalent stage is present when historically excluded group members represent 15% to 25% of the institution’s population and diversity best practices are being put into place to include them.

  4. Egalitarian(Stage 4): Cultural differences are embraced yet there is resistance against putting efforts into make further changes to create a level playing field.

  5. Integrative(Stage 5): The high performing organization actively includes and utilizes the wide range of skills and perspectives of its identity groups. There is fairness and equity in the organization that promotes diversity with little effort.

Here are several offerings related to where you can begin to assess your organization. Brief descriptions and sources are also listed.

  • National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE), 2013

    • A self-assessment tool that helps you identify goals, track milestones, and self-construct a plan to achieve goals. Organization should already have some context related to goals and be able to motivate themselves enough to create internal change. This tool is brief and not as comprehensive.

  • Mental Health Commission of Canada, 2017

    • While this assessment focuses on how to create an inclusive workplace for employers with an emphasis on mental health, the organizational assessment found on page 14 is still a comprehensive tool. Organizations would need to be aware of their own strengths and weaknesses, current policies, and have a representative group of people to share input on status. The tool is lengthy but open ended.

  • D5 DEI Self-Assessment

    • D5’s self-assessment is a tool for identifying areas of work that your foundation is already engaged in and opportunities for growth. This assessment will capture your foundation’s current situation, spark conversations about DEI and what is possible, and help identify tangible action steps that will improve your foundation’s effectiveness and strengthen its relevance in our increasingly diverse society. This assessment focuses on underrepresented identity populations that you may or may not be serving in your organization.

Paid Offerings:

Below are some paid options to consider if your organization is looking for more comprehensive results and help crafting an action plan.

  • Equity Solutions

    • One Colorado local and BIPOC owned business that we recommend after having partnered with the owner for several panels is Equity Solutions. From early-stage bias training to advanced anti-racist work, they help their clients both identify and achieve their goals of fostering the most inclusive and equitable experiences for all in the workplace. Equity Solutions is based in Boulder.

  • D&I Assessment from the Kaleidoscope Group

    • With a D&I Assessment, The Kaleidoscope Group assesses your organization through a Diversity & Inclusion lens and uses data-driven insight to inform strategies that achieve real change.

  • Lead Inclusively, Inc. Assessment

    • Provides a D&I gap analysis of every aspect of business, from H.R. and marketing to internal staffing and external stakeholders. All results lead to action steps that can be taken immediately, with or without support. The assessment is not focused merely on demographic numbers, it is focused on the elements of inclusion that are key indicators of business performance and overall organizational success.

These are just a few of the assessment methods that can be used to help your business evaluate its present diversity, equity, and inclusion practices. There are various additional resources that may be more suitable for your organization. Whichever tool you use, keep in mind that reviewing your organization's current situation can help you establish a firm basis for progress and improvement.

Power in Numbers

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