The 5 step diversity and inclusion strategy

Your Diversity and Inclusion Strategy should outline your vision and tell you which areas need priority attention. It should also explain why and how diversity and inclusion underpin your overall business mission or vision, and how they align with your values.

1. Create your own definitions

Start by defining what diversity and inclusion mean to the people at your organisation. Instead of simply cutting and pasting the definitions below, use them as a springboard to explain what inclusion looks like and why it is so important in a way that is unique and authentic to your business.

  • Diversity is the range of human differences, including but not limited to race, ethnicity, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, age, social class, physical ability or attributes, religious or ethical values system, national origin, and political beliefs.
  • Inclusion is involvement and empowerment, where the inherent worth and dignity of all people are recognised. An inclusive workplace promotes and sustains a sense of belonging; it values and practices respect for the talents, beliefs, backgrounds, and ways of living of its employees.

Tip: Take a look at our article ‘Do we need a diversity and inclusion strategy?’ for inspiration showing the importance of an inclusive workplace culture in your organisation.

2. Set your goals

Create a list of bold but achievable goals that are essential to achieving your vision. Between five and ten is usually about right.

E.g. 2023 workforce targets to ensure our employees and leadership teams reflect and represent modern New Zealand. Women 50%; Māori 15%; Disability 24%

3. Crunch the numbers

Use the data you hold on your current workforce as a baseline, to show you where to focus your energies and where you are making progress.

For a practical guide on how to collect, analyse and report on your gender and ethnicity workforce and Board data, refer to the Champions for Change toolkit on measuring progress.

4. Prioritise

Identify your immediate priorities, which may reflect groups requiring priority attention (e.g. women, Māori) and cover each stage of employment (e.g. recruitment, performance review).

Tip: For each goal, set out the ‘Aim’, the ‘How’, the ‘When’ and ‘Who’.


  • Aim: To recruit and retain talented Māori staff.
  • How: Provide 20 work experience placements for people identifying as Māori across the company. Ringfence 15% of all our new entry-level trainee and apprentice opportunities for people identifying as Māori.
  • When/Who: Numbers will be monitored by the HR team, beginning in February 2019.

5. Give yourself a deadline

Set out the time period covered by the strategy, with a commitment to review and renew the strategy.

Tip: Consider making a focus on numbers and on targets a short-to-medium term strategy to jumpstart your progress. In time you may find that as diversity and inclusion become embedded at all levels of your organisation that a focus on the numbers becomes less useful.