“In diversity, there is beauty and there is strength.”
Famous American poet Maya Angelou was known for quoting these famous words—which still ring true today about the importance of seeing each individual’s inherent value and right to an equal opportunity in the workplace.
Today, the topics of diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) have become increasingly important to universities, colleges, government entities and corporations alike as they evaluate policies and procedures to ensure their commitment and responsibility to foster equitable and inclusive working and learning environments. It is the responsibility of these organizations to ensure equal opportunity and protect the civil rights of all people through various means including: education, training, proactive outreach and effective response and resolution.
With massive amounts of DEI data and information to track in each setting, these organizations are turning to the latest technology solutions to help maintain compliance and improve efficiencies. Legal matter management software is an effective solution for tracking the variety of claims, disputes, resolutions, compliance and reporting metrics that an effective DEI program requires.
What is DEI?
The term DEI is an expansion of the previously used term “diversity and inclusion (D&I)” to reflect the growing focus on equity in organizations. So, what exactly does DEI consist of? DEI is a term used to describe programs and policies that encourage representation and participation of diverse groups of people based on:
- ability and disability
- sexual orientation
There are numerous studies that show the benefits of prioritizing DEI initiatives and the positive results it brings. McKinsey reports that more diverse companies are better able to win top talent, improve their customer orientation and employee satisfaction. Additionally, diversity has been shown to make us more innovative and creative, enables better decision making and results in deeper, more effective engagement with customers.
There’s no doubt that effective DEI policies are required to maintain compliance with today’s equal opportunity workplace laws. But they are also essential to maintaining an atmosphere where all people within the organization feel valued and supported.
How to Develop a Diverse, Equitable and Inclusive Organization
Many universities, colleges, government entities, corporations and law firms have already seen numerous advantages to developing a strategic plan for DEI initiatives and tracking their metrics. If you’re not sure where to start or want to expand what your organization is already doing, here are just a few components that contribute to an effective DEI program:
- Compliance: monitoring your organization’s compliance with equal opportunity and civil rights laws, related policies and regulations.
- Complaint resolution: investigating and/or resolving complaints of discrimination, discriminatory harassment and/or retaliation. This includes complaints of sexual assault.
- Employee accommodations: facilitating employee requests for workplace accommodations pursuant to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
- Communication/promotion: disseminating information about equal opportunity and civil rights laws, related policies and programs for your students, employees, constituents, etc.
- Recruitment and hiring: facilitating and monitoring employee recruitment and hiring processes regarding applicable laws and best practices for search and hiring processes. This also includes affirmative action.
- Training: training faculty, staff and students about their rights and responsibilities under applicable equal opportunity and civil rights laws, related policies and regulations.
Examples of University DEI
Colleges and universities are hubs for bringing together people of all nationalities, genders, races and cultures. More and more higher education institutions are committing to diverse and inclusive practices, publicly promoting their beliefs and initiatives on their websites:
- University of Connecticut
- University of Central Florida
- Northern Arizona University
- University of Massachusetts
How Matter Management Helps You Prioritize Diversity Initiatives
With the moral/ethical considerations of advancing DEI, as well as its benefits in the workplace/campus, many organizations are looking to either begin tracking these important metrics or become even more efficient with their existing programs. Legal matter management software is the technology solution that universities, colleges, government offices and corporations are looking for to more efficiently manage DEI efforts. Here are just a few ways legal matter management software serves these professionals:
- Ease of managing legal claims among different departments. Legal matter management software provides a central repository for all complaints or grievances that come in. Once a claim has been established and reviewed, it can easily be classified by file type (affirmative action, Title IX, etc.) and electronically accessed by the appropriate individuals or departments. If your legal department is working with outside counsel and you only want them to see certain files and documents, you can set up a portal to the data they need, while protecting the data they don’t. This functionality allows for all levels of access and protection based on your unique needs.
- Tracking the entire case lifecycle. Once a decision has been reached within a case, it’s important to track the outcome and specifics for future analysis. Legal matter management software simplifies this process and enables organizations to track the entire case or complaint from submission to final decision.
- Identifying trends and managing risk. With a real-time matter management system, reporting tools allow you to drill down on data to identify areas of risk for mitigation and further analysis. Flexible reporting tools allow you to export directly to Excel so you can query the latest data in numerous ways, such as tracking DEI education and training among staff, as well as complaints and grievances among students, employees or constituents. Further, having this historic data allows you to easily segment, monitor trends and predict future occurrences. For instance, in the college and university setting, this could allow you to segment claims by dorm, department, gender, time of year, etc.
- Achieving flexibility to evolve with your organization. It’s important to have a platform that can adapt to the unpredictability of culture, business, government, etc. Matter management software can be easily updated to reflect new internal processes and protected classes, as well as new data that was never tracked before. Reporting is not limited to just one organization but can be for different departments within the hierarchy of the college, university, government or business setting.
- Managing all complaint and case data in a single platform. Legal technology provides one central location for all the information related to each file or case, including general counsel issues, contracts, DEI metrics, documents, emails, notes, alerts and reminders. It ensures that all involved parties have access to the most current information and that reports can be generated instantly. Through these enhancements, organizations can deliver better service to their stakeholders and reduce the amount of redundant information throughout their organizations.
Legal Files Tracks Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Metrics with Ease
Diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives have never been more important, and it’s critical that you have a partner who can work with you to accelerate your progress. Legal Files offers a comprehensive, scalable solution that enables you to manage your diversity, equity and inclusion program with ease through superior technology. With 30 years of experience supporting leading universities, government offices, corporations and legal entities, we have the technology and experience you can trust to help you manage, monitor and promote your DEI initiatives.
We’re here and ready to support you however you need. Give us a call or send us an email to learn more about how we help organizations like yours manage what matters to you most.