43+ SAMPLE Diversity Action Plan

What Is a Diversity Action Plan?

A diversity action plan is a plan consisting of various strategies aimed towards promoting and achieving greater diversity and inclusivity within a workplace, campus, or any organization.  

According to an online article by Forbes, McKinsey & Co and numerous other studies or research have shown that diversity makes a company more effective, successful, and profitable. The diversity factor allows organizations to broaden their scope of talent. And in order to achieve this, companies first need to do the difficult task of properly aligning their organizational objectives with diversity practices.  

Step to Achieving Greater Diversity in the Workplace  

There are several concrete steps people can take to further the cause of diversity in their respective workplaces and campuses. If one of your goals is to create a more multicultural and distinctive space, the following tips may help you accomplish that. 

Involve everyone. Diversity fails to flourish when only one person or one group’s interest is heard. If you and your organization want to create an atmosphere of openness and collaboration, then hearing all sides is crucial. You need to be open to other people’s ideas as well as their grievances in order to break barriers that will ultimately lead to greater unity and understanding. To involve everyone takes intentional action and active participation. Representation is key. In all industries-not just in academic or corporate environments– representation should be a top priority in order to allow diversity to take root and flourish. What representation means is that there is a conscious effort on the part of the organization or company to install people of different characteristics and backgrounds in positions of influence. When people see that there is a person who is similar to them that holds significant decision-making roles and responsibilities, they may feel more empowered because they are able to tangibly see an individual who they can identify with.A diverse recruitment process. Companies have the choice whether to embrace change and diversity or stick to what they know. Adopting a multi-faceted recruitment process is a key strategy in the promotion of workplace inclusivity. Of course, merit is still the most important criteria when hiring someone for a job; what should be rejected, however, is the bias and prejudice that blind some recruiters because of various cultural and social factors. To refine the hiring process and turn it into a vehicle for change can help promote diversity in more ways than one. Good leaders are in place. In relation to representation, good leaders are needed to help further the ideals of diversity and inclusion within the workplace or organization. Not only will their vision make a difference and affect numerous people; but given the important role and influence they hold, good leaders can help direct the company towards achieving diversity’s ideals. There must be leaders who internalize the organization’s values, because their example will set the tone and motion of how the rest of the organization will be. Policies that promote sustainable change. If a workplace is serious about their commitment to diversity and inclusivity, there must be great effort put into integrating lasting change through the policies and rules of the organization. To illustrate, institutional racism and sexism have been a constant struggle for many established companies. One antidote to solving this is not through band-aid solutions or short-term strategies, but through sustainable and long-term policies that aim to eliminate the root causes of these societal ills. A free and healthy space for ideas. Providing a healthy space for ideas to flourish and converge is absolutely vital. If companies and organizations want to push for diversity in their workplace, then a conducive environment that allows freedom of expression is essential. It is important to strive for an environment that promotes an atmosphere that welcomes all ideas, not just favoring one or a few. For inclusivity to expand, there must be a professional climate where constructive criticism and new ideas are encouraged instead of shamed and rejected outright.

Barriers to Diversity

There are certain obstacles that hinder diversity in the workplace. These barriers are quite commonplace and it takes a great level of commitment and will to enact change that will transform attitudes and perceptions. The following are some of the major obstacles to diversity.  

Narrow-mindedness: When people remain closed to different ideas other than their own, their thinking and mindset become narrow to a point that tunnel vision may eventually settle in; and it becomes that much harder to break out of one’s own narrow-mindedness. Only a spirit of empathy, openness, and humility can help counter a narrow mind. There must be a willingness to understand and empathize with other people to set one’s mind free of any prejudice or bias. Poor Listening Skills: The importance of listening, and not just hearing, cannot be emphasized enough. A huge barrier to unity and cooperation is the inability or unwillingness to listen to the other. For dialogue and collaboration to prosper in the workplace or anywhere, people should learn to listen to each other to better understand their needs and grievances. Listening is the first step to coming up with long-term solutions for greater harmony and diversity. Lack of a Sense of Community: When an individual feels he does not belong or is not a part of something greater than himself, it is much easier to fall prey to individualistic tendencies and selfishness. In today’s hyper competitive and individualistic society, communities are becoming much more fragmented. With the promotion of self-reliance and self-sufficiency, people neglect the benefits and of having strong communal ties. Without a deep sense of community and belonging, people feel more isolated and alone. As a result, diversity will be harder to promote without this longing for community. Lack of Support. When there is no clear support system in place or the right policies are absent, it is much harder for inclusivity to flourish. If the existing laws and rules are designed to benefit only a few or to favor a particular group of people, then diversity and equality can never be realized. As a measure to counter this, outdated policies and practices that fail to promote these ideals should be replaced with better ones. With this, education is key in reshaping other people’s views and ideas. For instance, companies may initiate workshops to help inform and educate people. The problem why discrimination is still prevalent is because people still hold on to preconceived notions and stereotypical assumptions. It is important to walk the talk, and not only sound committed to diversity on paper. It must be actively practiced and applied by everyone.

How to Create a Diversity Action Plan

To create a diversity plan that is impactful and meaningful, a deep and reflective internal examination is required. It also demands the convergence of different ideas and minds to produce a plan that will include and benefit everyone, not just a certain group. There are various sample templates above that you can use as a reference guide for your own action plan. Simply follow the step-by-step guide below to start crafting your diversity action plan.   

Step 1: Establish Goals

Start any action plan with a clear establishment of goals. What do you or your organization hope to achieve with a diversity action plan? What outcomes do you imagine will result from your action plan? It is important to specify attainable, measurable, and realistic goals. There needs to be a balance between hopeful dreaming and practical reason. Goals need to be grounded in reality in order to draw out the best possible solution or action plan.  

Step 2: Identify Values and Principles

The next step is determining the values and principles that will drive your action plan. What are the values that are important to you and your organization? If promoting office or classroom diversity is the goal, values such as fairness, equality, and equity ought to be at the forefront. The principles behind inclusivity and equal treatment is the conviction that everyone deserves to be treated with dignity and respect and to be given a fair opportunity.    

Step 3: Develop Action Strategies 

An action plan needs actionable items that will help in the realization of goals and objectives. The main body of the diversity action plan is the detailed outline of procedures and policies needed to execute the vision of greater diversity. Whether you are a private company, an educational institution, or a public organization, the proper responses and strategies need to be defined and integrated for your plan to be considered an action plan.  

Step 4: Create a Timeframe

An important component for any action plan is a timetable. Goals will mean much more and carry greater weight if there is a clear timeline established. It is important to remember that deadlines or due dates are not set just for the sake of setting them. Progress and growth can be better tracked if an element of time is integrated in an action plan. A diversity action plan is no exception. Goals can move forward in a much more constructive way when a timeframe is assigned to the action items.  


How do you create a diversity action plan?

To create a diversity action plan, you need to have clear objectives in mind. You need to be able to establish goals and assess your organization’s values before you can outline strategies and action plans. A timeline and progress tracker are also key components in any action plan. Browse the sample templates above for ideas on how you can craft your own diversity action plan.

What is a diversity and inclusion action plan?

A diversity and inclusion action plan is a comprehensive plan wherein the goal is to push for greater diversity practices and ideals within a professional setting or any organization. The plan outlines the various strategies and procedures that can help accomplish the inclusion and diversity goals of a company or organization.

What should a diversity initiative plan include?

Although the content of a diversity action plan will depend greatly on an organization’s thrusts and priorities, there are common components that are present. A diversity initiative plan usually includes a description of goals or objectives, affirmation of the company’s values, action items, realistic assessment of resources, strategies and solutions, and a strong commitment statement.

Diversity is the way forward in today’s professional world; and to some extent, even on a personal level. The more people embrace diversity and a multifaceted culture, the richer and deeper the human experience can be. Craft and customize your own diversity action plan with the help of the sample templates given above.