Health Evaluation TIG Week: Designing and Implementing Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Accessibility (DEIA) Initiatives through an Evaluative Lens by Malachi Rice, Chelsie White, Gizelle Gopez, and Roman Mitchell

Hi! We are Malachi, Chelsie, Gizelle, and Roman, data science and evaluation specialists withDeloitte Consulting LLP. While working on a project pertaining to Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Accessibility (DEIA), we realized the impact and benefit that an evaluator’s perspective can have in the DEIA strategic planning process. All too often, in the context of DEIA and employee experience efforts, evaluation is considered an afterthought to strategic planning. However, when evaluation is included at the outset of strategic planning, that lens can be an asset in developing and enhancing measurable and pragmatic strategies. Below are a couple of lessons learned from evaluating DEIA initiatives:  

Lesson Learned:

Evaluators have a critical role in enabling sustainable advancements to internal DEIA. Evaluation is not only an important function for gauging how well or poorly an organization has performed relative to its goals, but it can also be leveraged to inform and refine strategies.

In my experience evaluating DEIA, this was illuminated during the development of a logic model containing activities aimed to reduce disparities in employee experience across varying demographics. In the design of any standard programmatic evaluation, developing a logic model is imperative to understanding and delineating the relationships between the inputs that are available for use, the activities that are to be implemented, and the outcomes of the respective initiatives at various maturity levels. In other words, the logic model serves as a roadmap for connecting DEIA activities to their desired outcomes. While this framework is usually exclusively associated with evaluation, considering these dynamics upfront can result in more precise and informed strategic planning.

Hot Tip:

Involve evaluation concepts at the start of planning DEIA strategies and activities to specify, and validate, how initiatives will realistically achieve desired outcomes. Implement these concepts accordingly by asking yourself:

  • Are these activities feasible given the resources (e.g., time, staff, funding) available?
  • What outcomes related to DEIA will result from these respective activities over time?
  • Are these outcomes aligned with the goals and objectives of the DEIA strategic plan?

Lesson Learned:

As a strategy implementor, it’s crucial to know whether your actions are leading in the direction that is intended. This directly relates to the significance of establishing the measurability of the activities during the DEIA strategic planning process to create accountability in that regard. 

Hot Tip: 

Establish the measurability of initiatives to determine practicality and validity by asking yourself the following questions:

  • Are these activities measurable? How do we know?
  • How will these measures influence decision making?
  • Do we have the resources to properly measure these activities?

Finally, when the evaluation needs to be conducted, the team will have already thought about DEIA through an evaluative lens, thus ensuring that its design is congruent with the strategic plan. This synergy between the evaluation and the strategic plan is rather important to best support real-time learning and decision making. I have also come to find that DEIA can be very complex to assess, and leveraging a programmatic approach (i.e., process and outcome constructs) may allow for a more detailed and comprehensive evaluation that will lead to more conclusive and actionable insights. 

How have you evaluated DEIA strategic initiatives? What has worked well? What are some lessons learned? Please share your thoughts in the comment box below!

The American Evaluation Association is hosting Health Evaluation TIG Week with our colleagues in Health Evaluation Topical Interest Group. The contributions all this week to AEA365 come from our HE TIG members. Do you have questions, concerns, kudos, or content to extend this AEA365 contribution? Please add them in the comments section for this post on the AEA365 webpage so that we may enrich our community of practice. Would you like to submit an AEA365 Tip? Please send a note of interest to AEA365 is sponsored by the American Evaluation Association and provides a Tip-a-Day by and for evaluators. The views and opinions expressed on the AEA365 blog are solely those of the original authors and other contributors. These views and opinions do not necessarily represent those of the American Evaluation Association, and/or any/all contributors to this site.

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