Action Plan Overview
The Action Plan outlines specific activities to support the strategies and objectives set in the Strategic Framework. These actions were developed based on the recommendations of the DEI Strategy Committee and our Diversity Consultant. The final actions represent our priorities based on input by the Diversity Steering Committee and various staff members and teams.
Listing intended actions is only the first step in achieving our DEI goals. To ensure true success, our planned actions will need:
- A Realistic and Shared Timeline
- Objective Measures of Progress and Success
- Appropriate Resources and Governance
- Access and Accessibility to Information & Technology
- Individual and Shared Accountability
To successfully implement the plan, we will need realistic and published stages of activity. To remain focused, the timeline is limited to three key timeframes.
All actions in the timeline are dependent on several factors. This includes but is not limited to; the availability of our constituents with the necessary time and expertise to accomplish the action, and available funds to support the actions within the anticipated timeframe.
Resources and Structure
Implementing the Strategic Framework objectives requires oversight, dedicated staff involvement, and financial investment.
- Oversight and Strategy – DEI Steering Committee
- Implementation – Comms/Marketing – DEI Working Groups
DEI Resource Groups Explained
Key staff shall include executive management and other key management employees as appointed by the Chief Executive Officer to serve as members of the Steering Committee. These staff shall ensure broad based support across the entire organization for the initiatives recommended by the steering committee and the strategic plan. The Board DEI Committee along with the entire Board of Directors shall review and participate in planning and implementation of Board training and objectives to expand the Board’s awareness of DEI.
DEI Steering/Advisory Committee
The DEI Steering/Advisory Committee provides a connected structure that will share, report, and engage on the gaps of knowledge and skills related to the above outlined DEI goals and help make strategic decisions. Participants voluntarily come from various departments and levels within our organization, Board of Directors, and people with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities that self-advocate. As a result, we increase diverse representation, encourage transparency, and maintain accountability.
- Create sustainable organizational change in support of our DEI goals and strategies.
- Ensure our DEI goals and strategies align with our mission, vision, and values.
- Build and maintain a process structure that supports our DEI strategic plan.
- Promote accountability, transparency, and engagement with our DEI goals and strategies throughout all organizational levels.
All internal and external communication materials produced by the organization will reflect our vision and commitment for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. Below we outline some of the main areas of focus.
- As the digital front door of our organization, the website will align with our DEI strategies outlined above. The website will demonstrate consistent language and imagery, thereby putting into action our commitment and conviction on the importance of DEI as a core value of the organization.
- Prioritize story angles that implicitly or explicitly reinforce the benefits of DEI.
- All materials are to be reviewed for biased language.
- Maintaining a strong DEI lens to craft Social Media messaging and imagery. We will leverage our diverse teams to connect with diverse networks.
- Selecting individuals for appearances and quotes through a DEI lens.
- Internal communications are imperative in creating and maintaining a culture of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. Our internal communications will set the tone for everyone within our organization. This includes Board Members and people with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities that self-advocate, signaling our values and commitment to DEI.
- Our recruitment marketing will accurately demonstrate a work-culture of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion.
- Videos will include the option for captions.
DEI Working Groups
DEI Working groups focus on specific strategies, Also, they ensure that the voice of people with lived experiences remain at the core of our work and decision-making process. Participants voluntarily join working groups and focus on a specific strategy. There are three main working groups representing the three main DEI strategies outlined above.
- Establish sub-committees to work on different objectives to achieve main strategy completion.
- Help identify issues, collect information, synthesize information, and make recommendations to the DEI Steering/Advisory Committee.
- Responsible for meeting deadlines, preparation and facilitation of action items, and communication with the DEI Steering/Advisory Committee.
- Identify the need for, and promote Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion events, programs, and initiatives
Employee Resource Groups (ERGs)
ERGs are groups made of internal representatives in support of historically marginalized or absent identities in the workplace (for example, race and ethnicity, disability, spirituality, LGBTQIA+ and parenting among others). ERGs are tasked with providing support to a diverse workforce and promoting Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion throughout the organization.
- Promote a welcoming and inclusive environment for all.
- Influence policies and procedures within the organization that will result in increased Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion.
- Offer support, community building, and strengthen employee sense of belonging.
- Spread awareness and encourage allyship regarding the obstacles minority identities experience.
ERGs can have multiple goals and responsibilities that may/will shift over time depending on the needs of its members and the people they represent.
In addition to the formal roles, resources, and committees listed above, we will involve staff in decision-making roles. We expect these roles to evolve as we learn more about what resources are needed to achieve our goals. Our ambitious action plan necessitates financial resources and program budgeting. As such, our DEI work is one of AHRC’s top priorities. We will ensure it receives the attention and support needed.
Access & Accessibility
Changes in access and accessibility at AHRC will be an outcome, and an enabler of our DEI efforts. Each is essential to creating the inclusive culture and positive experience we want for our internal and external constituents.
At a workplace that supports and serves the personal needs of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, various levels of access and permissions are needed. We will create a more inclusive AHRC Nassau that facilitates inter-office, inter-departmental, and inter-agency activities, and opportunities.
We recognize disparities in experiences across the organization, particularly for our DSP workforce. Efforts to improve this are essential. We will continue to acknowledge those disparities openly, Meanwhile, we will create additional pathways for the engagement and inclusion of this critical part of our organization.
Finally, access is only one piece of the inclusion promise. Accessibility, which ensures that individuals with varying hearing, movement, sight, or cognitive abilities can navigate our physical and digital environments, is also critical as we forge ahead in this work.
Accountability & Measurement
Our work as a human service organization, includes a focus on measurement and evaluation in the supports we provide for people. We must hold ourselves rigorously and transparently accountable to our Strategic Framework & Action Plan commitments by measuring and evaluating our own progress.
In the short term, we can evaluate our progress against our DEI objectives by tracking the plan’s early actions and changes. A quarterly update on our progress, shared with all staff and Boards will be a key reporting vehicle. We will use these monthly updates to share progress and as a place where committees and work groups can share their actions with staff. Other vehicles for regular DEI reporting will include monthly newsletters, Lunch and Learns, webinars and staff meetings.
As we rollout new objectives, we will add new metrics and create specific approaches to measuring progress.