Excerpted from The SHRM Blog by Di Ann Sanchez, Ph.D., SPHR, SHRM – SCP

For years Diversity and Inclusion Departments have been trying to be included in driving business solutions and, in my opinion, to no avail. Diversity and Inclusion strategic plans are futile because they are not built on a foundation of equity and on an understanding that the most critical issue is Access. If you read the trailblazing research by Tina Q. Tan (2019), you can only believe in the full concept of IDEA (Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, and Access).

According to this groundbreaking research, Tan (2019) states, “Access/Accessibility refers to equitable access to everyone regardless of human ability and experience…. This will eliminate real and perceived barriers and cultivate, develop, and advance the talent pipeline.” My belief is we are missing this vital component from our DEI efforts. We need the ‘IDEA plan,’ which includes the Access component-Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, and Access!

Access is the most crucial step before you can have a DEI plan. It is critical! Disparities, policies, practice, and programs continue to be modified in small ways and do seem to make an impact on our organizations. IDEA is not one size fits all approach. Access means the adoption, reflecting what works for individual and unique organizations. Each company is different; each small company has various leaders and philosophies. As Human Resource practitioners, we need to start with Access. Once we solve that, we can begin to build an IDEA plan.
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