University of Wisconsin–Madison

Understanding Purpose and Naming Commitment

Leadership support

Numerous employee engagement surveys consistently identify leadership and management credibility and support as a key factor in an employee’s connection to their workplace. Formal leadership can play a powerful role in influencing and creating a healthy, inclusive, engaging and equitable workplace for employees.

Engagement toolkit for managers

Understanding the why

Equity, diversity, inclusion and employee well-being should be a fundamental value of the institution and must be embedded into the foundation of our day-to-day practice within the institution. Included below are three different rationales to better leverage equity, diversity, inclusion and employee efforts:

Business imperative

Diversity, equity, inclusion and employee well-being drives business performance. It is advantageous for organizations to leverage employees who have diverse backgrounds and who bring diverse perspectives and experiences to their workplace. Organizations must prioritize these efforts if they wish to ensure that employees can thrive, grow, and be more effective in their jobs. Research indicates that organizations  that prioritize these efforts outperform organizations that do not.

Educational imperative

Diversity, equity, inclusion and employee well-being promotes and allows for mutual understanding across identities (particularly across race) and needs. Space to learn and discuss differences and what folks need to thrive in different spaces are critical and necessary for educational communities to thrive and build foundational skills such as communication, navigating conflict, relationship-building, and accountability.

Social justice and moral imperative

Each person has value to contribute. It is imperative that we address the barriers and historical factors that have led to current policies, systems, and structures that continue to oppress marginalized groups.

Naming commitment

Consistently communicating the importance and value of diversity, equity, inclusion and employee well-being and how it is linked to the institution’s mission and vision is critical to moving toward transformational change and justice. Included below are strategies to consider when messaging the importance and value of diversity, equity, inclusion and well-being efforts:

  • Formal leaders are vocal and visible in their commitment and support for this work.
  • There is intentional, ongoing space to engage in dialogue around the purpose and organizational commitment for this work.
  • There is intentional, ongoing space or mechanisms in place to collect feedback from employees on current organizational culture, their experiences on campus, and the diversity, equity, inclusion and employee well-being efforts that are implemented to address growth areas.
  • Relevant, meaningful and timely communications are shared with and fully reach all members of the organizations.
  • The institution engages constituents at all levels to develop consistent messages that align across the organization.

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