Here is how event professionals can work towards delivering truly inclusive experiences—from the destination selection process to measurement.
4. Gather input from key voices.
How do you begin this process of evaluation?
Number one: Remember that your clients are your attendees. You have to listen to your attendee base. You have to go and ask the difficult questions. Understand the importance of certain things within their event, what the threshold is, and whether or not you’re doing the right thing.
Second: Work with an organization from the top down. If there is no belief that improvement is required within an organization from top down—that is, starting from the C-suite and executive level—then any change is going to be very difficult. Use this as a litmus test to choose who you are going to partner with and as a structure to measure impact.
If you take a look at the underserved and underrepresented groups of any organization—and that could be neuro-divergent people, that could be 2SLGBTQIA+ identities, folks who have physical accessibility needs, and of course cultural groups—most of these categories fit within the core foundation of the workplace. It's not necessarily reflected in the C-suite or executive level, right? And so your voices are usually the people who are doing the heavy lifting.
5. Set benchmarks and measure change.
Understanding both those factions, and getting feedback from both, is generally how you can pull out the most important facets that help to build a baseline against which you can measure your change.
A lot of people think that they have to go from zero to a hundred in year one. I always say if today you're at zero and tomorrow you're at plus five, you're five percent better than you were yesterday.
No matter what you're doing on this curve of continuous improvement, understand how to build your KPIs. Understand what your baseline is in year one and understand your goal in, let's say, year five. A lot of people think that they have to go from zero to a hundred in year one. I always say if today you're at zero and tomorrow you're at plus five, you're five percent better than you were yesterday.
And you have to be honest. You also have to be very true to yourself to say that “We're not good at this. We don't know what we're doing, and we need to go and get help.” I think that is a really big roadblock for a lot of people, but progress starts with acknowledging shortcomings—and seeking out partners who can set you on the right path.