Exploring our histories and circumstances and taking steps to address issues of Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (JEDI) help build just and equitable organizations where many voices come together to serve the needs of a rapidly changing society.
Our clients, our colleagues and our communities increasingly recognize that the AEC industry has the opportunity to play a significant role in building a more just and equitable society. As they respond to this call to action, many firms have recognized the need to look inward, exploring their own histories and existing circumstances and taking steps to address issues of JEDI that exist within their organizational structures, cultures, and policies. We work with clients to engage in a process of assessment, learning, and navigating change, with the ultimate goal of helping our clients to build just and equitable organizations where many voices come together to serve the needs of a rapidly changing society.
For firms just beginning their work on justice, equity, diversity and inclusion, as well as for those contemplating a significant shift in their JEDI strategy, it can be difficult to know where to begin to focus energy and investment. Our comprehensive JEDI assessments enable firms to begin these conversations in an inclusive way, identifying what’s important and soliciting open and honest feedback about their employees’ experiences of the firm’s existing culture. Our team engages in robust analysis of information gathered from these assessments to highlight existing organizational strengths and areas for improvement, exploring ways in which personal identity or background might mediate employees’ experiences of the firm’s work and culture. We then unpack these findings with clients in a series of hands’ on workshops, ultimately developing a prioritized list of opportunities for high impact interventions in support of the firm’s JEDI goals.
Discussions about JEDI issues can be challenging. Our charge as facilitators is to create an environment of safety for all and to ensure that the right topics and issues are discussed and resolved. We work with firm leaders and participants to develop inclusive and engaging agendas. During meetings and workshops, we make sure that the group keeps to the topics identified, engages openly in the discussion, stays on schedule, and reaches meaningful conclusions.
Workshops and Training
To support culture change within organizations, our team offers skill building workshops and training on JEDI issues ranging from navigating power and privilege differentials in everyday interpersonal situations to building an inclusive organizational culture. Our workshops equip participants to evaluate the dynamics at play in a situation or a system, to identify opportunities for growth, and to take action that supports just and equitable outcomes.
Mentorship and Coaching
Successful EDI initiatives are driven by committed leaders at all levels of practice who demonstrate a personal willingness to be self-aware and responsive to changing organizational and social contexts. To support this reflection and growth, we work with individuals and teams to design customized programs focused on identifying and addressing blind spots, building empathy and awareness, learning to approach challenging situations with curiosity and developing the collaboration and communication skills required to become an inclusive leader.
EDI Strategy and Action Plans
Successful EDI initiatives are complex, touching nearly every aspect of an organization’s policies and culture. Moreover, lasting change takes time to achieve. Organizations need to have a coherent and comprehensive plan in place to ensure that progress is sustained over time and that desired results are achieved. Out team helps teams composed of individuals from across organizations to articulate compelling visions for JEDI work, to build internal alignment around priorities, to explore strategies and initiatives designed to facilitate change, and to establish clear plans of action for achieving desired results.
It’s been said that most people are not opposed to change --- it’s how they are asked that causes the opposition. Typically, individuals need to understand why change is being instigated, the direct impact on them or their team, and the role they will be asked to play in moving change forward. Through surveys, workshops and/or individual interviews, our team helps firms develop a thorough understanding of what their team members will need to support change at some level. We then work to define the unique way the firm should ask for change and guide their teams through the process.
Benchmarking and Tracking Progress
Even in the most successful organizations, lasting cultural change can build momentum slowly and take time to achieve. Robust measurement and feedback mechanisms are needed in order to show that initiatives are having their desired impacts and to indicate areas where adjustments in strategy or implementation are required. Our team works with firms to identify the metrics and benchmarks that should be tracked to gauge progress towards JEDI goals over time, to recommend data collection and reporting strategies that can be used to track progress internally, and to provide periodic assessment and reporting on metrics that should be gathered by an external partner.