The GDIB

No. Open Source is a software term stating that it is free, can be used and amended by others, and that derivatives may be created without permission. At times, the term is used to refer to work other than software. The GDIB is free. However, to use it the Permission Agreement must be signed. And while the GDIB can be customized, there are limitations to the customization, and derivatives may not be created without permission. GDIB is developed by the authors and 95 Expert Panelists. Some customized versions may result in changes that invalidate the work. See the Permission Agreement and the next Q&A regarding customization.

If you change the word “employees” to “associates,” or make similar terminology changes, that wouldbeacceptable. Ifyouwanttoaddyourorganizationlogoorincludeamessagefromanexecutive or your D&I Council, that would be welcomed. Changing the model to remove one of the four groups would be too radical a change to the GDIB and we would not give you permission to dothat. Likewise, moving benchmarks from the beginning levels into the more advanced levels would be an inappropriate change. The integrity of the opinions of the authors and the Expert Panelists must be respected. See the GDIB Permission Agreement and the GDIB Style Guide on The Diversity Collegium website for more specific information or contact the authors. Making these changes may require a fee as we have standards for maintaining a consistent graphical appearance and accessibility tags.

The goal of the GDIB is to improve the quality of D&I work around the world. Permission is required because we want to be in contact with users and encourage them to contribute to the quality of D&I work worldwide. Our goal is to keep the GDIB up-to-date and as useful as possible with users sharing experiences, best practices, and ideas for improvement. In addition, we want to ensure that the GDIB is used with integrity and in keeping with the collaborative way it has been developed. Finally, we want to provide users with updated editions when available. Please note that the Permission Agreement contains the answers to many other questions. Included are questions about consultants charging fees to use the GDIB, about developing and selling tools related to the GDIB, and about proper attribution to the GDIB.

Medium and large organizations would bene t most because they potentially have more resources to deploy the staff, programs, and activities needed to achieve the benchmarks. That said, we believe small organizations will also nd these useful, although more customization may be required. It should be noted that small organizations may be just as capable of reaching the higher level benchmarks as medium and large ones, but the benchmarks may need to be adjusted slightly. For example, a small organization may not have a board of directors. If that is the case, that benchmark would not be applicable.

Medium and large organizations would bene t most because they potentially have more resources to deploy the staff, programs, and activities needed to achieve the benchmarks. That said, we believe small organizations will also nd these useful, although more customization may be required. It should be noted that small organizations may be just as capable of reaching the higher level benchmarks as medium and large ones, but the benchmarks may need to be adjusted slightly. For example, a small organization may not have a board of directors. If that is the case, that benchmark would not be applicable.

Legal requirements (such as Employment Equity and disabilities legislation) are an important aspect of D&I work. Some categories, such as Category 4: Recruitment, Development, and Advancement, will be impacted by the various legal requirements in different countries more than other categories. Because legislation varies by state, province, and country, each organization using the GDIB will need to ensure compliance with legislation in its diversity work. Many organizations make it a point to state that their D&I work extends beyond what is required by law.

We rely on the judgment and discretion of GDIB users to determine which of the benchmarks are appropriate in their country or locale. Furthermore, laws often lag behind norms related to D&I. That said, the authors and Expert Panelists feel we have an obligation to see the world for what it should be, as well as for what it is. Without this perspective, many of the ideas and benchmarks in the GDIB would be excluded. We also recognize that idealism cannot always compensate for deep-seated social and political realities. The GDIB represents what we believe to be the highest levels of D&I work. It is up to each individual—and each organization—to determine how to balance the ideas described here with the contextual understanding that comes from living in an imperfect world.

Yes, indirectly. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights published by the United Nations in 1948 is a worldwide platform supporting a range of global values including Diversity and Inclusion. There are also several related UN conventions that impact D&I directly, such as the Convention for the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. In addition, in September 2015 the United Nations Heads of State and Government and High Representatives declared support for Transforming Our World: The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Several of its 17 Sustainable Development Goals mention inclusion directly. In keeping with this agenda, a category on Connecting D&I and Sustainability has been added to this 2016 GDIB edition.

Definitely not. By most accounts the D&I field has been in existence for five or six decades in some countries. Over this time, a vast collection of papers, articles, conference proceedings, books, benchmarking studies, and websites have shared collective practices many consider to be examples of quality work. While each organization or community must construct its own best practice, the GDIB can greatly aid that construction. Furthermore, when best practices are shared more broadly across countries, regions, industries, and sectors, collective advances in D&I will have a greater and more sustainable impact.

Stories about D&I best practice organizations appear frequently in the professional literature, social media, and blogs, and presentations on best practices are popular at many conferences. Often these are large organizations that have been doing this work for some time, have experienced D&I functions, and invest time and resources into their efforts. It is likely that many organizations can claim best practice (GDIB Level 5) for some of the 14 categories, but not for all. We are con dent that there are many other best practice organizations that are not well known. See The Diversity Collegium website for examples of organizations doing best practice work in various GDIB categories.

Culture is a fluid concept. In each region of the world different diversity dimensions will be more crucial, and there will be different approaches and levels of maturity of D&I concepts and practices. Each organization in the different regions of the world should adapt and customize the GDIB to the speci c characteristics of their country/culture. Culture-speci c knowledge and competence is extremely important in this process.

We define organizational culture as a system of shared beliefs, values, norms, habits, and assumptions that impact the organization’s environment and influence how people behave within it. The authors and Expert Panelists concluded that it would be difficult to develop a category on culture and five levels of benchmarks without making assumptions about what an organization’s culture should be. That seems too prescriptive for what we are striving to accomplish with the GDIB. Just as we say that the GDIB applies to and is useful in organizations of a variety of sizes, sectors, and approaches, the GDIB is also useful in a variety of organizational cultures.

In addition, certain aspects of organizational or national cultures may assist or hinder the implementation of D&I initiatives and/or the ability of an organization to achieve the benchmarks. These aspects of organizational or national culture should be taken into account when embarking on any D&I initiative or strategy.

Benchmarks

A benchmark is another word for an organizational standard of performance. Benchmarks are usually described in language stated as an end result or outcome. They are de nable levels of achievement. They help people in organizations identify and describe high-quality results or aspirations and to assess progress over time. In a young eld such as D&I, it is important to develop benchmarks, since what people consider excellent work may vary signi cantly due to different perspectives and cultural contexts.

Benchmarking is the process of comparing your organization to other organizations that are regarded as having successfully accomplished what your organization wants to achieve. Sometimes organizations benchmark within their organization (across divisions and regions for example); other times they benchmark across or within sectors, sizes, or industries, or with speci c organizations. Such benchmarking can be time-consuming and expensive. The GDIB can effectively replace that type of benchmarking and be a more cost-effective method for discovering what others consider excellent D&I work.

They are proven best practices according to the collective opinion of the authors and the Expert Panelists. See the section on the Research Process on page 58. And to many, the benchmarks, especially those at the upper levels, will be aspirational. It is up to each organization to set goals to achieve the benchmarks they set for their organization.

There are a total of 266 benchmarks in 14 categories and four groups. Benchmarks in Levels 4 and 5 are the most important to strive for.

Yes. We have written the GDIB to apply to a broad variety of types of organizations and sectors, including for-profit, nonprofit, education, healthcare, government, and community. In our efforts to make the benchmarks as universal as possible, we have used general terminology and avoided addressing such speci cs as curriculum in education, life-saving cultural interventions in healthcare, shareholder return processes, and so forth. Those specifics, however, should be developed by the organization as a part of its strategic plan and actions as described in Category 1: D&I Vision, Strategy, and Business Case. The terminology in some categories, such as Category 12: Products and Services Development and Category 13: Marketing and Customer Service, may need to be customized based on the sector and its stakeholders. Using familiar terminology, while keeping the intent of the benchmarks, is likely to help the GDIB be more acceptable to users.

Benchmarks are organizational standards stated as outcomes. Competencies and behaviors describe the actions, steps, skills, knowledge, ability and capability of individuals. Clearly, meeting the higher-level benchmarks will require a high level of competence.

Research

Our approach in generating consensus involved a systematic, recursive, and rigorous process of collecting expert input, combining suggestions, cross-checking ideas, and submitting changes for further review and comment. We purposely collected the wisdom of a very diverse group of practitioners from various fields, including academia, government, nonprofits, corporations, and the consulting world, applying a consensus model that accelerates the usual way in which a field of study or practice evolves on the basis of common agreement and peer review.

By bringing together the insights of this diverse group of experts and deriving their common understanding of the essential elements of diverse and inclusive organizations at various stages of development, we have sought to ensure that the GDIB reflects the current consensus regarding practices in the field.

In 2006 we began with the Bench Marks for Diversity, published by the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA), a government organization in the United States. The original researchers were Kate Atchley, JoAnne Howell, Gerald Landon (who is a current GDIB Expert Panelist), Vergil Metts, and Hector Qirko. Because Bench Marks for Diversity was developed with federal U.S. funds, it was not copyrighted.

That document was updated and revised by the GDIB authors and sent to the Expert Panelists asking for comments and suggestions. Those were compiled by the authors and then sent again to the Expert Panelists so they could review and comment on the edits made by the other Expert Panelists. The authors nalized the work, making judgments on what to accept and what not to accept, although most suggestions were accepted unless there was a conflict.

For 2011 the Expert Panelist group was expanded, with some original members leaving and new ones joining. The review process began with the 2006 version and a process similar to the one used to create the 2006 version was conducted.

For the 2014 edition, the Expert Panelists were given the option to contribute suggestions for improvement regarding the look and feel of the 2011 GDIB as well as improvements to the introductory material.

For this 2016 Tenth Anniversary edition, we continued the research process as described above. The number of Expert Panelists engaged in this edition is 95, including many who worked on the earlier editions. See the section on Expert Panelists for a list of all who worked on the 2016 edition. In addition to updating the benchmarks themselves to reflect current practices, we changed the conceptual frameworks to approaches for D&I to reflect the way D&I work is currently practiced, added a new category on Connecting D&I and Sustainability, added a description of the Ultimate Goals of D&I, added an explanation of practicing D&I work as a systems approach, and revised the model.

In 2006 we began with the Bench Marks for Diversity, published by the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA), a government organization in the United States. The original researchers were Kate Atchley, JoAnne Howell, Gerald Landon (who is a current GDIB Expert Panelist), Vergil Metts, and Hector Qirko. Because Bench Marks for Diversity was developed with federal U.S. funds, it was not copyrighted.

That document was updated and revised by the GDIB authors and sent to the Expert Panelists asking for comments and suggestions. Those were compiled by the authors and then sent again to the Expert Panelists so they could review and comment on the edits made by the other Expert Panelists. The authors nalized the work, making judgments on what to accept and what not to accept, although most suggestions were accepted unless there was a conflict.

For 2011 the Expert Panelist group was expanded, with some original members leaving and new ones joining. The review process began with the 2006 version and a process similar to the one used to create the 2006 version was conducted.

For the 2014 edition, the Expert Panelists were given the option to contribute suggestions for improvement regarding the look and feel of the 2011 GDIB as well as improvements to the introductory material.

For this 2016 Tenth Anniversary edition, we continued the research process as described above. The number of Expert Panelists engaged in this edition is 95, including many who worked on the earlier editions. See the section on Expert Panelists for a list of all who worked on the 2016 edition. In addition to updating the benchmarks themselves to reflect current practices, we changed the conceptual frameworks to approaches for D&I to reflect the way D&I work is currently practiced, added a new category on Connecting D&I and Sustainability, added a description of the Ultimate Goals of D&I, added an explanation of practicing D&I work as a systems approach, and revised the model.

A best practice is an approach or way of working that helps an organization reach its goals. A best practice is also something that organizations can measure or assess. We believe the benchmarks at the highest level are current best practices for Diversity and Inclusion around the world based on the experience of our Expert Panelists. However, what is a best practice for one organization may not be a best practice or a relevant practice for another one.

A best practice is an approach or way of working that helps an organization reach its goals. A best practice is also something that organizations can measure or assess. We believe the benchmarks at the highest level are current best practices for Diversity and Inclusion around the world based on the experience of our Expert Panelists. However, what is a best practice for one organization may not be a best practice or a relevant practice for another one.

GDIB Expert Panelists & Authors

Because the GDIB is the collective viewpoint of the Expert Panelists, the range of their diverse perspectives is critically important. Although there is no way to construct a perfect collection of “diverse” people with diverse experiences, the authors believe they have selected a solid group of Expert Panelists.

The depth and breadth of the GDIB is a testament to the process of including different viewpoints and perspectives. Not all members of the Expert Panel agree with all items and statements in this document. Despite all attempts to be as universal and all inclusive — of organization size, sector, region of the world, diversity approach, diversity dimensions, industry, and so forth — as possible, the truth is that most people are at least somewhat centric to the various diversities they know best. Therein lies the value in having an expert panel comprised of a diverse group of people.

Because people move across both countries and organizations, and many have extensive global experience not limited to their current affiliation or location, we have listed names without affiliation, title, or location.

A list of the Expert Panelists and Authors who have worked on the 2016 Edition of the GDIB is available as a downloadable PDF, which also contains short biographical sketches and contact information. Many have served as Expert Panelists since the 2006 edition. Also on the downloadable PDF are bios of the two authors and a list of former Expert Panelists.

The authors determined the selection criteria, which are designed to result in a diverse group of experts who would be willing and able to contribute to the GDIB. Each person needed to have expertise in a broad scope of D&I work or a specific sector/type of organization, approach to diversity, culture, world region, and so forth. In addition we sought a variety of life experience that is represented by race, gender, sexual orientation, social class, nationality, generation, age, education, disability, personality type, and so forth. We were interested in the totality of their experience, not their current organizational position or location around the world. Then the authors invited those they knew who met these criteria and then sought suggestions from them to recommend others. As the process evolved, the authors searched for areas where they felt additional expertise or a diversity dimension was needed.

In addition all members of the GDIB’s first home, The Diversity Collegium, were invited to become Expert Panelists. Most chose to do so.

Future Expert Panelists will be selected in a similar manner as they have been selected in the past—using criteria and networking with a goal of creating a group willing to do the work of constructing the next edition and having the varied backgrounds to do so. It is a volunteer assignment. If you want to recommend yourself or others to become an Expert Panelist, please contact The Centre.

A best practice is an approach or way of working that helps an organization reach its goals. A best practice is also something that organizations can measure or assess. We believe the benchmarks at the highest level are current best practices for Diversity and Inclusion around the world based on the experience of our Expert Panelists. However, what is a best practice for one organization may not be a best practice or a relevant practice for another one.

As the authors of the GDIB, Julie O’Mara and Alan Richter:

  • Are ultimately responsible for the final content,
  • Make final decisions on who becomes an Expert Panelist,
  • Manage the development and promotion of the GDIB,
  • Manage the permissions and use process.
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