Minnesota Chamber Releases ‘DEI Playbook’
A new diversity, equity, and inclusion playbook released by the Minnesota Chamber Foundation this week offers business leaders across the state a step-by-step approach to cultivating diversity, equity, inclusion, and workplace belonging in the workplace.
The playbook outlines five “cornerstones” of diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) efforts: laying a foundation for the work, gathering key stakeholders, conducting a baseline assessment, building and implementing strategy, and holding oneself accountable.
The playbook’s release this week comes as companies across the country have furthered DEI efforts over the years. Some have deepened their DEI programming, while others have made staffing commitments to ensure better advancement for BIPOC professionals. Many employers have hired DEI officers, who emphasize that progress can only occur if leadership makes DEI a priority. Notably, though, there’s been a decline in the hiring of DEI officers last year, Bloomberg reported earlier this month.
The Minnesota Chamber of Commerce is among these employers that have added a DEI officer position over the past year. Whitney Harvey started her position as senior director for workforce diversity and inclusion a year ago and is the first to hold the new position. Harvey, who authored the Chamber’s new playbook, said the Chamber is gaining momentum on the DEI front this year.
The playbook looks to cater to businesses of all sizes and across all regions, Harvey told TCB. This means each company has to identify its own areas to improve on based on its unique circumstances, Harvey said, noting diversity efforts do not always need to solely focused on race.
“There’s religious diversity, disability diversity, underrepresented demographics in veterans and service members,” she said. “Identifying the opportunity or defining what’s possible is a really important foundational step.”
The playbook is meant to be a simple guide for business leaders who are unsure where to start in their DEI journey, she said. When conducting focus groups with business leaders in different industries across the state, Harvey said it became evident that there was a need for a centralized source for businesses working to implement DEI efforts.
The main feedback Harvey said she received from business leaders was that they didn’t know where to start.
“There’s no shortage of resources out there, but a lot of business leaders were either not aware of the resources that existed or the information was presented in 20 different places,” she said.
In addition to the playbook, the Chamber is offering one-on-one assistance with DEI strategy to Chamber members. More information on resources can be found on the Chamber website.