Scaling up DEI from the Top!

OPIM blog
The second part of the OPIM Leadership Exchange Meeting (April 24, 2024, British Embassy Prague) was dedicated to discuss the DEI strategies and initiatives to implement to Scale up DEI from the Top. More than twenty leaders and senior corporate executives from companies operating in the Czech market attended the meeting, which was hosted by Matt Field, the British Ambassador to the Czech Republic and facilitated by Heidi R. Andersen (Managing Partner & Executive Coach at Living Institute Denmark) and Jens Rottbøll (Partner and Chief Consultant at Living Institute).

Strategies for future-proofing your organisation

Based on data and experience from the practice of many companies, Heidi and Jens shared a roadmap for success: a map of initiatives with a high effect and easy implementation. What are the initiatives that Living Institute suggests to change the culture?

  • Annual Inclusion Survey
  • Synchronized Top Management
  • Anchoring D&I strategy at the top
  • Educating D&I champions
  • Unconscious bias training
  • Quotas and targets
  • Mandatory inclusive leadership training
  • Adjusting recruitment processes
  • Allyship & mobilizing men
Inclusive leadership was naturally a big topic of further discussion and group work. Living Institute consultants shared their 3 recommended steps to inclusive leadership:

  1. Increase self-awareness – expose yourself to different viewpoints and experiences.
  2. Manage diversity – communicate the value of diversity and apply behavioural nudges.
  3. Be a role model for change – act with courage, challenge stereotypes and other forms of exclusion, and create a culture of psychological safety.

As Heidi aptly summed up the subject, have no diversity if you do not focus on inclusion!
During the final joint debate, the leaders then summarised several other recommendations and good practices, such as...

  • CEOs or other senior executives have to drive the change.
  • Female networks do not work – women even leave after their launch.
  • Sponsor programs are more effective than mentor programs.
  • You need at least 20 questions on DEI in your engagement survey to find the truth, not just a few which is the common practice.
  • External partners should ask some sensitive, personal questions in the surveys, not internal people from HR or management.
  • Launch initiatives based on data and measure progress in DEI.

DEI Academy will enhance professional competence

OPIM has organized the Exchange Meeting to support the launch of the DEI Academy for leaders and HR professionals.
“Honestly, I have to say that for many years I have had discussions about DEI mainly with HR people. But leaders are the ones who bring the culture change much faster. They have the decision power, they influence others. Therefore, they need to share their achievements, frustrations. They need to learn, get inspired. And this is why we have decided at OPIM, let's educate leaders and let’s organize the leadership exchange event,” Jana Tikalová, CEO of OPIM and DEI Expert said.
Klára Laurenčíková Šimáčková, the Government Commissioner for Human Rights, who provided patronage to the new academy, sent a note to the event participants:
“I welcome the ideological and practical concept of diversity, equality, and inclusion. The economic arguments for diversity and inclusion complement the human ones. That is why I am glad that there are programs like the DEI Academy in the Czech Republic, which offers the necessary know-how for building and deepening professional competence in the field of diversity and inclusion. The more than 20 years of experience of the designers of the DEI Academy, the organization of them in this field should be a guarantee of the expertise and quality of this program.”
As Jana Tikalová gratefully commented, this is a kind of declaration of belief that OPIM can make a footprint in the professional development in the DEI competence for the leaders, executives, HR, and overall for the organizations that operate in the Czech market.
Photo: Michal Barbuščák