How might we...
Become a global leader in I&D?

A global cafe chain wanted to strengthen their inclusion and diversity (I&D) strategy. They already had a program in place but wanted to understand how to make it better. The goal was to define what it means to their organization to be the “best” when it comes to I&D and what they needed to do to achieve this future state. 

Creating real impact was central to this work, so they also wanted our support integrating the research  findings into an organization-wide I&D strategic refresh. The chain already had numerous initiatives in place but wanted to use this research to bring their efforts to the next level.

How we did it.

We conducted over 20 qualitative interviews with internal stakeholders and surveyed dozens of others. Our aim was to understand, from their perspective, what was and wasn’t working within the organization. We combined this internal research with industry benchmarking, in which we analyzed the practices of 12 peer companies and industry leaders, and we reviewed dozens of the cafe chain’s internal documents and external reports. 

As part of this benchmarking process, we identified relevant best I&D practices in the following categories: operating models, data infrastructure, programs & initiatives, policies, global approaches, and communication. We determined how the industry was performing in these areas more broadly — are organizations failing to enact standard I&D practices (“lagging”), or have they adopted practices that drive outcomes that may not be more widely used (“progressive”)?

We then conducted a gap analysis, auditing the cafe chain’s position along these dimensions to evaluate how they compared to industry leaders. We used this information to determine whether our client was performing on par, below industry standards, or exceeding their peers and competitors.

Together with a core team of internal I&D partners, we met on a weekly basis to help guide, shape, make sense of, and validate the process and findings. These sessions were key to the co-design process, as they provided a space for this core team to work through the insights we uncovered, prioritize them, and create alignment around steps forward. Only once they were aligned could we create a contextually-applicable strategy that both better represented the needs of the organization’s employees and hit industry benchmarks.

The results
Generating organization-wide alignment in inclusion and diversity efforts.

This evidence-based research informed the I&D strategic refresh, ensuring that the organization’s plans were actionable, reflected real needs, and would put it on a path to becoming the best that it could be. 

But that’s not all. The process of bringing together different I&D partners from across the organization helped create a newfound sense of alignment. By working closely to parse through and prioritize the organization’s I&D initiatives, the group was able to articulate a more cohesive story that they could share with leadership — and the rest of the organization. This also yielded a stronger business case for future I&D efforts.

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