A high-impact diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) strategy requires an intentional approach that aligns organizational leaders around a singular vision and holds everyone accountable to it. To help give greater clarity and strategic focus to enabling such an outcomes-focused DEI strategy, read how a newly formed global life sciences organization engaged Vynamic to define the optimal organization design that would bring operational alignment to DEI as an enterprise priority.
Organizations that embed DEI as a strategic priority generate 19% more revenue through innovation and cultivate employees that are three times as likely as their peers to feel invested in their organizations1. However, without a unifying vision that aligns leaders to a coherent DEI strategy, those benefits are hard to realize.
Our client, a newly formed life sciences parent organization resulting from a series of mergers and acquisitions, understood that delivering on diversity, equity, and inclusion required a coherent and strategic vision for building trust, engaging people, and producing tangible outcomes for its customers and communities. To determine the operating model that would provide the right infrastructure and resourcing to more than two dozen disparate companies under its umbrella, our client asked Vynamic to conduct a strategic review of all current DEI efforts and to recommend an organization design that would define a “North Star” to guide all DEI activity across business units.
Aligning a loosely connected group of companies undergoing massive transformation is always an enormous undertaking. In this case, distinct brand identities, unique cultural values, DEI strategies at varying stages of development, and a workforce and customer base that spanned the globe complicated the task of achieving true alignment. Recognizing that our client’s success depended on their ability to achieve buy-in across all stakeholder leaders within the wide array of portfolio companies, Vynamic sought to balance the need for operational alignment with a desire for local autonomy.
Here’s how Vynamic approached this work:
Aligning on Goals For an Operating Model
Interviewed key leadership stakeholders to understand their perspectives and preferences on how to pursue organizational alignment. Through these interviews Vynamic identified six key goals that would be central to the recommendation.
Assessing the DEI Industry Terrain
Conducted an inventory of internal DEI efforts and performed industry benchmarking to understand the evolving landscape of DEI within life sciences and across industries. Through benchmarking, Vynamic helped our client to calibrate its ambition for DEI, taking it beyond an internally focused people function and positioning it as a true change agent deeply embedded within other functions throughout the organization.
Defining Supportive & Enabling Operating Structures
Applied Vynamic’s expertise to craft an operating model that established a dynamic and supportive interchange between DEI leadership based at the parent company level, and DEI leadership based within the business units. At each level, Vynamic outlined the infrastructure that would enable effective DEI strategy.
Articulating DEI Leadership Success Profiles
Researched traditional job descriptions of Chief Diversity Officers at peer organizations and crafted profiles that were aligned to our client’s stated organizational values and commitments. Alongside job descriptions, Vynamic defined success factors that would be critical to effectiveness in the role.
Through Vynamic’s work, our client rolled out an organization design that was well-received. The recommendation Vynamic proposed established values-driven guardrails that would steer the interactions of enterprise and divisional leaders and provide clarity around reporting lines and accountabilities. It also defined a framework that prioritized collaboration between Enterprise DEI leadership and key operational and functional leaders to ensure that as the DEI strategy took shape, it would have an enabling infrastructure supporting it. And, most significantly, the operating model Vynamic defined provided what became known as “freedom within a framework” – a model that balances enterprise-defined strategic guidance with local autonomy to tailor DEI strategies to the business units market needs.
1. “How Diverse Leadership Teams Boost Innovation” BCG, January 2018
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