Actionable Items with Tim Overton

Diversity and inclusion are topics that are at the forefront of conversations happening among leaders across Arizona. The Community Collaborative is working to highlight not only those conversations, but also provide action-based solutions to diversity and inclusion challenges within Arizona’s business landscape.

This episode is focused on actionable items. Tim Overton, Dickinson Wright PLLC attorney, diversity and inclusion consultant and appointed member of the Arizona Commission of African American Affairs, spoke with STN about the questions facing many business leaders when it comes to diversity and inclusion. “How do we improve D+I? Where do we start? What are the best practices for a company?”

What is a Diversity + Inclusion Audit?

Businesses can hire a diversity and inclusion consultant who can help give leaders the language to have the conversation and start the audit process. (2:35)

When that outside consultant comes into a company they will look at four different areas:

  • Data: Looking at the data can show a company where it is when it comes to representation.
  • Policies: Are there policies in place to attract diverse employees and allow them to participate and grow. Do the policies reflect the culture you want and provide for inclusive leadership?
  • Process: The audit will provide a deeper dive into how the recruiting process functions, and allow leadership to ask, “is our current process getting us to where we want to be?”
  • Culture: This part of the audit will answer, what do employees really think about the company, and how do the policies and processes impact them?

The audit will allow company leaders to look at these four areas and then receive a report that highlights suggestions of what is working and what is not.

Once new policies and procedures are able to be implemented, there are a number of actions leaders can take to insure progress. (8:50)

Many companies opt to conduct yearly training, or even monthly consultations dependent on the needs of the company. Internally, leaders can establish D & I committees and resource groups to communicate more effectively.

So, what is the first step for a company to realize it should conduct a diversity and inclusion audit? (9:58)

For some company leaders, there might be concern that even ordering an audit could potentially reflect negatively on the business, as an admission that work needs to be done. Another hurdle, many business leaders want to know, will this even work?

Overton says, there are a couple of ways to get companies to move forward. (12:24) The first is outside pressure that everyone is doing it, we need to do it. But the best way for a company to progress, according to Overton is to say, “We really do value our diverse employees, and we want this to be the best place for them. And if we value our diverse employees, I think what these companies are going to learn is that their diverse employees will actually be, do a better job, they’ll be happier, their productivity will increase when they know they are valued.”

About The Community Collaborative

Community and business leaders and individuals who want to educate themselves on diversity issues will find the series informative and educational. And anyone who wishes to get involved will have ready access to resources featured in each program.

The video series may be streamed for free through the STN app. Viewers may subscribe through STN’s website or by downloading the STN app on the App Store or Google Play.

Each program in the series will provide details on how to get involved in featured activities and initiatives. To be featured in “The Community Collaborative” series or other STN programming, contact us at 480.967.7088.

Every day, there are leaders on the front lines of the fight to improve life in our community. STN provides the platform to tell their and their communities’ stories with video series on leadership philosophies and active efforts to make positive change in our region.


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