A Guide to Creating an Organizational Culture and Climate of Racial Equity

5 min readOct 22, 2020

Race Equity

Becoming aware of the need for an organizational culture of racial equity is the first step to achieving that goal. Read on for a guide to steps and strategies for going beyond awareness to actually creating race equity in your organization.

Know that these tips and ideas are meant to be only a starting point to get you moving forward on the issue of racial justice. It is not a step-by-step checklist to make it all happen. We hope it’ll be one way to help you understand racial equity in your organization and be able to address some of the challenges and opportunities it poses.

Know that there is no beginning and end on a check list. True inclusion will require shifts in value, power, and often identity.

Dr. Logan’s Philosophy

Having worked with organizations for over a decade on racial equity I’ve come to learn that, in order to create an organizational culture and climate of racial equity leaders must assess the entirety of the cultural business infrastructure — this includes mission, vision, values, strategic plan, goals and objectives, budget and assessment, processes and procedures, award and recognition, and policy and accountability — to create an organizational culture and climate of racial equity and inclusion. Every one of those pieces is critical to truly working towards and achieving equity.

Commitment to do the work — a difficult conversation

There must be buy-in from top leadership. Even if buy in has to work its way up the pipeline it must reach the top to effectively bring about true organizational and systemic change. Perhaps a HR Director, middle line manager, or classroom teacher champions bringing in a DEI consultant to provide training for other managers or staff. Part of what needs to be discussed, for example, is how the training aligns with the mission, values, or strategic plan of the department and organization, and how this can/will be communicated to top level leadership.

Define racial equity in your organization.

Organizations evolve… and this is the reason we have hope for the future. Institutions that have been around for a century or more know what it means to evolve in pursuit of alignment with the current cultural values — for example, consider the Boy Scouts’ ability to evolve over the course of their 108-year history. In order to have a path forward, it’s critical to understand where we’ve been and where we are now.

Ask: What has racial equity looked like in our organization in the past, and what does it look like in our organization now? In the ideal future, what would a racially equitable organization look like, feel like, sound like?

You’ll also need to get uncomfortable. As mentioned, reaching racial equity requires a shift in priorities and values — often at the very top of your organization. Are you and your leadership team willing to embrace discomfort and unfamiliarity? What are you willing to give up to achieve equity?

Establish a commitment to diversity management from top leadership

Describe the diversity issues that challenge your organization. Knowing the challenges gives you everything you need to craft goals on the way to achieving equity.

Commitments to racial equity should be visible, active, explicit, non-negotiable, and open to criticism. Consider including a statement about racial equity in your mission or vision statement, on your website or hiring documents, in presentations to employees and clients, and in less formal settings. Be sure the commitment has “teeth” and makes an impact — that it’s not just a statement.

Make racial equity part of the strategic plan

Consider how racial equity connects to the vision, mission, objectives, strategies, and measures for addressing organizational goals. In high-level decisions about hiring, about demographic makeup of the board, and about promotions within the company, commit to making racial equity part of every conversation.

Achieving goals related to equity are almost always good for an organization or a brand. Identify the positives of committing time, money, and energy to these tasks. Celebrate improved operations, employee satisfaction, and an increased ability of your organization to serve others due to your commitments to racial equity whenever possible.

Are developmental opportunities made available to all equitably? What opportunities are there? What opportunities are not there, that you need? Where can you find out about more opportunities?

Measure racial equity at every level

Just as in any other area of your business, achieving racial equity requires the metrics to keep the work on track and to get real results. How will you evaluate your progress? Who will be responsible for evaluating and monitoring that progress?

Develop accountability for racial equity at all levels

Leadership must communicate racial justice narratives from the top. Communicate zero-tolerance standards, and be transparent about following them. When progress is made, consider celebrating it, but remember to focus more on the work to do than the small shifts that have already been made. Finally, continually assess your organization to determine what types of training are needed.

Develop a succession plan involving racial equity

Does your organization have a succession plan? How does it reflect your commitments to racial equity?

Consider active approaches to ensuring your organization will be more racially equitable in the future — for example, intentional mentoring relationships, identifying and developing potential from diverse pools of people, and more. Create a plan and stick to it.

Plan and employ racial equity recruitment strategies

In the same vein as succession, ensure that racial equity is central to your recruitment and hiring practices. Consider how racial or ethnic assumptions, biases, prejudgments, attitudes come into play in hiring situations, and seek out opportunities to disrupt them. Many organizations promote the recruitment, mentorship, and professional development of people of color — consider partnering with such an organization in order to make progress as well as have the tools to support your increasingly diverse organization.

Develop strategies to get employees involved

Nothing will take hold in the culture of an organization unless regular employees or participants are involved. Suggest that employees start a task force to determine what changes can and should be made to become a more racially equitable institution. How do you equip employees to speak up, educate themselves, and work for racial equity, even if it means disrupting normal processes or protocols?

Determine what specific types of racial equity training your organization needs

Blend interactive e-learning with specific on-the-job projects is a great way to cultivate the practical skills and understanding needed to change a company’s culture. Make sure to consider, based on your business’s unique circumstances, what level of global and cultural competency training different levels of employees need, and how racial equity training can be tailored for each department or type of job.

We HOPE you have understood these tips and ideas to be a starting point to get you moving forward on the issue of racial justice… not as a step-by-step checklist to make it all happen. But the reality is that without making all of these things happen, or at least considering them, racial justice cannot become a reality in your institution. We are so grateful to serve you and look forward to hearing how we can help you develop a personalized racial equity plan.




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