3 Tips for Leading Successful Self-Identification Campaigns

Implementing a robust, ongoing self-identification program in your organization can be a significant milestone in your journey to developing a diverse, inclusive, and equitable workforce. The data will allow you to set strong targets, measure inclusion in new ways, and offer the opportunity to hold up a mirror and reflect on your strengths and areas for organizational growth.

In this blog post, we’ll review key steps, discussed during a recent Pride in Our Workplace roundtable of HR and DEI leaders, to ensure your self-identification campaign is a success.

1. Create Intentional and Inclusive Self-ID Questions

Communication and transparency play a pivotal role in collecting meaningful self-identification data. In designing your campaign, consider the placement and structure of self-identification questions within your larger surveys. In our efforts to consolidate employee data collection, it can feel intuitive to combine voluntary questions with other mandatory questions. We encourage you to resist that urge! Voluntary self-ID questions should be housed in a separate section of your survey with a written statement clarifying that they are optional.

By posing these questions separately, you are given the opportunity to provide context and define how this specific data will be used to improve systems within your organization. You can choose to disclose the following under a Voluntary Self-Identification section header:

  • Express an understanding that sharing personal information can be difficult
  • Communicate that the information will be treated with privacy and respect
  • Detail how the information will be aggregated and anonymized
  • Share if data will be used for internal DEI program development

After establishing the structure of your survey, dedicate time to thoroughly review self-ID questions to ensure they align with your campaign priorities. For example, when asking the question “what is your name?,” you are missing the opportunity to clarify whether you’re requesting an employee’s legal or common name. This can be challenging for an employee and impact employee engagement. There are many questions that may have similarly important distinctions, and we recommend that you leverage both external best practices and your own employee resource groups to support your review process.

2. Prepare Stakeholders for the Self-ID Campaign

Before you launch your campaign, implement a strategy to educate People Managers and your HRBP community about LGBTQ+ identities. Any just-in-time educational resources should be offered with additional context as to why the data collected from this campaign is important and what measures will be taken to protect the privacy of participants. Industry and community best practices can be shared via fact sheets, internal websites, or management debrief meetings to help stakeholders feel confident in reacting to and implementing change based on the results of your campaign.

Members of employee resource groups may also desire the opportunity to ask questions in a pre-launch briefing session. Encourage this Q&A exercise – by doing so, you can add more detail to the campaign and ensure its relevance to your larger DEI strategy.

3. Launch the Self-ID Campaign with a Story

As you launch your campaign, invest in storytelling.

There are likely internal champions within your organization that can speak to the ways in which self-identification impacts both individuals and organizational culture. By amplifying the voices of these champions and involving them in the campaign, you may boost participation rates and trust in the campaign itself.

In addition, Executive Sponsorship and perspective is an important element to self-identification communications. Stating the importance to overall talent strategy is one step, and backing it up with the weight of your leadership team is another. Opportunities for executive involvement may include a message to managers on how self-identification aligns with company goals, video announcements to all employees, or highlighting your campaign during an employee town hall.

Good luck!

The rest is up to you. You should be proud to be considering and implementing a self-identification campaign for your team. This is a foundational element in building impactful DEI solutions, and we hope these recommendations help support you on your journey!

Need additional guidance? Contact info@piow.org to learn how we can help your workplace prepare for its first self-identification campaign.

<strong>Bryan Vermes </strong>
Bryan Vermes

Bryan Vermes (he/him) serves as the Global Senior Manager of Employee Experience and Social Impact at Mimecast, a cybersecurity company based out of Lexington, MA. In his writing, Bryan draws from his lived experience both as the Chair of Mimecast’s PRIDE (LGBTQ+) Employee Resource Group and an active member of PIOW’s Board of Directors.

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