Creating diversity and inclusion policies that last

So you’ve asked the right questions to determine where to focus your efforts to become a more diverse and inclusive organization. But how do you ensure your plans turn into diversity and inclusion policies that last, impacting your patients, staff, and business for the long run?

Four expert panelists covered this question in our recent webinar, Listen. Learn. Act. Moving from discussions to solutions on diversity and inclusion in healthcare. We asked one of those experts, Danielle Jones, director of diversity and health equity with American Academy of Family Physicians, to share additional tips to ensure your efforts stick.

Commit to the process for diversity and inclusion policies that last

Danielle Jones from the American Academy of Family Physicians shares four steps to make your diversity and inclusion plans work.
Danielle Jones

“If you’re committed to the process, the outcome will eventually show up,” says Jones. For example, organizations may be tempted to hire a chief diversity officer to show their commitment to creating a diversified culture. But Jones says this is only the first step.

“Oftentimes, leaders may be put in those positions with limited resources or even the power to influence change,” she explains. For instance, does your diversity and inclusion leader have authority to make effective change? What’s their role in partnering with other teams like HR? Can they veto certain decisions? “I think by equipping people in those roles to drive that change from the inside out in a way that is meaningful is where the focus really should be.”

Partner with your community

“We have a tendency to want to develop solutions and then present them to community members,” says Jones. “We should actually do the reverse by bringing in community members and developing those solutions together.”

According to the American Hospital Association, effective and sustainable hospital-community partnerships are critical to providing individuals equal care, regardless of their ethnic, geographic, racial, socioeconomic, or physical circumstances.

“Many in the community have spent years doing work on the ground, so they’re looking for allies to come on board and provide additional support because healthcare professionals tend to have a little bit more power and privilege,” Jones says. “I definitely think it’s worthwhile to reach out and explore what’s already happening around your community pockets.”

Build accountability through transparency

Jones says transparency is not just a check in the box. It’s about communicating – both internally and externally – what you’re doing as an organization to uphold your commitment to your work.  

“Really take a hard look at what your processes, procedures, and policies are and then share them with your community,” Jones explains. “Then, allow them to have input and share their personal experiences on how your processes impact them, from accessing care to getting treatment – and include that patient perspective in how you measure quality of care.”

Additionally, being transparent with your staff opens the door for them to share their own feedback and have a seat at the table. “Organizations should allow people to have a voice in the decision-making process,” Jones says. “You could be the supervisor in your clinic and allow that junior-level employee to have a seat at the table when you’re making decisions around clinical operations. This is something that needs to be embraced at all levels of the organization.”

Stick to your mission

Hold your organization accountable by living up to your mission.

“If your mission says you’re here to serve the underserved, how are you pouring your economic dollars, which can sometimes be billions, back into these those communities in terms of how you procure your goods and services?” Jones says. “Are you doing that through local, minority-owned, or women-owned businesses? Where are you hiring and lifting people up into economic prosperity from these communities, instead of maybe externally or from other parts of the country?”

Jones’ advice can be helpful as you create lasting plans to create a more diverse, inclusive, and equitable organization. You can hear more of her insights – plus tips from other industry experts – in our webinar, Listen. Learn. Act: Moving from discussions to solutions on diversity and inclusion in healthcare.

As you make plans for the coming months, CHG can provide you with doctors, nurses, and allied professionals that fit your specific goals. Contact us by phone at 866.588.5996.

About the author

Liz Van Halsema

Liz Van Halsema is a communications specialist at CHG Healthcare. When she’s not writing about CHG’s culture and news, she can be found running one of Utah’s many trails.

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