When strategizing a diverse and equitable workplace, a question that often comes up for organizations is whether DEI and overarching organizational values should be aligned – or if there’s merit to having a separate set of core values.

Since all organizations begin at different points in the DEI journey, there’s no uniform approach to deciding on core values. A good starting point is to look at how embedded your pre-existing organizational values are to begin with by getting feedback from employees during the DEI strategy process. 

If you find that your existing values resonate with employees and are already ingrained in your organization’s culture, it can be smart to explore how they can be examined through a DEI lens. Oftentimes common business values – such as transparency – can also be articulated to relate to equitable and fair practices related to diversity. For example, transparency can be applied through a DEI perspective to ensure that the organization measures hiring and promotion decisions, leading to employee trust that the talent process is equitable. 

If a business finds that their core values don’t resonate or serve their DEI strategy, it makes sense to choose separate objectives that can be more aspirational in nature. Though having two different values for both DEI and your organization could get confusing, it gives you the opportunity to more clearly specify your company’s approach and objective toward DEI values. A well-articulated vision for an equitable workplace is essential to getting everyone in the organization on board and holding each other accountable during your DEI journey. 

Though you may choose to start off your strategy with two separate values, it’s important to remember that an organization can always transition some of their overarching core concepts to DEI values in the future. 

Since the decision to align existing organizational values with DEI values is specific to each organization, DEI and organizational is an internal decision, we recommend undergoing strategy work that will help you codify values related to behavioral competencies tailored to your organization, which will make the decision clear

To learn more about how Orange Grove Consulting helps organizations with the process to define core values, keep an eye out for our next blog in two weeks.

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