Your people matter: Creating a diversity, equity and inclusion action plan

As leaders in public participation, we consider it part of our professional duty to ensure we act as a conduit for peoples’ voices. This includes the hardly reached voices – the under-represented and marginalised. So, how do we do it?

At Articulous, we demonstrate our commitment to widespread diversity and inclusion in the way we set new standards – both for equitable community engagement and within specific industries.

This has included:

  • developing powerful pieces of intellectual property regarding industry frameworks for diversity and inclusion
  • contributing to company-wide policy change around accessible communication
  • producing reports and collateral in accordance with Web Content Accessibility Guidelines, that are compatible with screen readers, use image descriptions and are produced in easy-read fonts and text sizes.

Our work as change-makers in the DEI (diversity, equity and inclusion) space is one thing that we’re proud of…

but TEACHING others our techniques and mechanisms for inclusion is another.

Why learn about DEI?

Through the Articulous Academy, our licensed trainers deliver a ‘Diversity, Equity and Inclusion in Engagement’ course, featuring theoretical teachings about bias, privilege and the various forms of power, in addition to best-practice mitigations.

The course can be challenging and confronting, encouraging self-reflection within a supportive environment. When thinking about the ways we centre equity in our everyday lives, it’s helpful to do so with an understanding that conscious effort can undo what has been unconsciously taught to us as a product of existing with a biased society.

Sometimes – for those limited experience learning about the lives of marginalised people – allyship means purposefully educating yourself.

It’s all in the planning

Participants in our courses appreciate the opportunity to compile a DEI ‘action plan’. The action plan includes a program of inclusive and equitable engagement methods to be used, and important takeaways on accessibility.

By planning to facilitate equitable, inclusive and sensitive participation in your engagement activities (and as you move through the world) – it’s more likely that you will actually deliver on these goals.

Nearing the end of our two-day course we ask participants what they’re planning to include in their DEI action plan. We’ve compiled a list of our favourites.

1. “Question myself and others on the continuum”

Remain mindful of yours and others unconscious bias. Aim to continually challenge the stereotypes and messages you may have absorbed and encourage others to do the same.

2. “Use terminology that’s conscious of bias”

Offensive words and phrases are often universally recognised in 2024, but that isn’t always the case. Be open to learning best-practice terminology whenever you’re made aware of an issue. If you make a mistake in the language you use, simply correct yourself, apologise if necessary and move forward.

3. “Disrupt where appropriate during discussions i.e. ensuring correct pronunciation of a person’s name etc.”

Often, it’s the little things, that are the big things. Microaggressions refer to verbal, behavioral or environmental slights, that communicate hostile, derogatory, or negative attitudes toward stigmatized or marginalized groups. Be mindful of your own behaviour and use your voice to educate.

4. “Ask for personal experience answers rather than expecting a person to act as a representative for a cohort.”

By asking members of minority groups to educate others and speak on behalf of a group, you’re demanding their emotional labour. Always ask for voluntary participation from group members and respect people’s decisions to share their stories or not.

5. “Consider non-visible inequalities and needs.”

Remember that we’re not privvy to every piece of information about a person’s life or identify. You also never know what someone has experienced or might experience in the future. Your consideration of peoples needs, regardless of whether they present visibly, can make a world of difference.

When can I expect to happen when I learn more about DEI?

If you’re someone with a degree of privilege in the way that you operate in the world, learning about DEI may bring you to new understandings. If you come with an open mind, it’s likely that you’ll leave with new ways of operating personally and culturally.

As a community engagement professional, it’s valuable to learn about the power dynamics and politics that play out in every project you undertake. It’s also important to learn how to facilitate public participation in a way that is as inclusive as possible.

At Articulous we believe that these things aren’t just our responsibilities as engagement practitioners – but also as humans.

To join our ‘Diversity, Equity and Inclusion in Engagement’ waiting list (or contact us about delivering bespoke group training), visit our website.

Written by Jessie Forbes
Jessie is a social analyst and professional communicator, passionate about leveraging social research to bolster resilient communities and workplaces. Jessie upholds key skills in report-writing, stakeholder management and community liaison. She has a concentrated interest in the not-for-profit and social enterprise sectors, and a distinct passion for diversity and inclusion. Dedicated and driven, Jessie displays a strength for harnessing social research and storytelling to produce thought provoking, for purpose work, and works to support the day-to-day operations of Articulous as a Support Officer.