Over the past 10 years, IHI has learned that pursuing equity is a continuous improvement journey. On this journey, we’ve learned the importance of working at the individual, interpersonal, and institutional levels. To achieve our mission to improve health and health care worldwide, IHI is committed to diversity, equity, inclusion and being an anti-racist organization. In 2018, staff came together to redefine IHI’s organizational values of love, courage, equity, and trust. Ideally, equity, as with all of our values, is embedded in all of our systems, processes, and actions.
At IHI, holding equity as one of our values means: We work to develop and maintain systems, policies, and procedures to eliminate gaps in our organization and in our work. We tell the truth about inequities and value all voices. We believe that we are interconnected and that inequities lead us all to lose. We want everyone to thrive and none of us can truly thrive until we all do.
Improving Equity at IHI
We recognize that to successfully work with others to improve equity, IHI must do our own work on equity internally. Diversity, inclusion, and equity do not happen by accident or without the expertise and perspectives of people from a variety of backgrounds and experiences. IHI works to ensure that diversity, inclusion, and equity within our organization is an integral part of IHI’s strategy.
Our work to improve equity at IHI has a dual aim:
- Develop a workforce representative of the communities where IHI lives and works; and
- Cultivate a working environment where all staff can thrive and achieve their full potential.
There is no one-size-fits-all approach to diversity, inclusion, and equity. IHI currently has 151 US-based staff, 25 staff based in our Ethiopia office, and 21 staff members IHI engages through Professional Employment Organizations in Australia, Bangladesh, France, Ghana, Nigeria, Qatar, South Africa, and the United Kingdom. We continue our partnerships with staff around the world to ensure that IHI maintains diverse, equitable, and inclusive workplaces wherever staff are based.
We have committed to reporting these data publicly because we advocate for all of our partners do the same. IHI believes it is important to be transparent about both our successes and challenges with equity work, and we believe that it is important to model behavior that we hope others might emulate in health and health care around the world. In 2020, IHI committed to publish our data on diversity, inclusion, and equity and below you will find the first iteration. At IHI, we commit to annually reporting these data and to enhance and improve them over time.
Develop a Representative Workforce
With the guidance and support of the IHI Board of Directors, our internal equity efforts began with a focus on increasing the diversity of IHI staff, leaders, and board members. These data are tracked over time and used to evaluate equity in IHI recruiting and hiring processes to improve talent pools at every stage and ultimately contribute to improving diversity across IHI. While improving diversity is important, IHI recognizes that diversity on its own is never enough to foster inclusion and equity.
Cultivate an Environment Where All Staff Thrive
While IHI’s diversity statistics have steadily improved, we believe this is only the beginning of the story. We need to go many steps further and take the time to seek out and listen deeply to staff experiences.
We need to be willing to look for inequities in the experience of people in the workplace.
For years, IHI’s quarterly employee satisfaction scores were consistently high when reviewed in the aggregate. In staff surveys, approximately 90 to 95 percent of staff agreed or strongly agreed with the statement, “Overall, IHI is an excellent place to work.” In 2017, as part of our internal equity improvement efforts, on internal surveys IHI staff had the option to identify, if they chose, as White or as a Person of Color. This enabled IHI to begin stratifying the data by race and ethnicity, and to couple data with stories of staff experience.
In response to the statement, “Overall, IHI is an excellent place to work,” the data from the first stratified survey in 2017 indicated a 28 percent difference between staff of color and white staff, with around 96 percent of white staff agreeing or strongly agreeing with this statement compared to 68 percent of staff of color. This information challenged us to look deeper, to carefully consider the qualitative feedback in the survey and other markers of staff experience. It compelled us to consider how organizational policies and practices could widen or narrow that gap. We continue to work with our staff on changes and improvement ideas that will help to improve the experience of all staff in the organization.
Some of IHI’s efforts to address this gap include:
- Designated safe spaces for staff of color to come together to discuss their experiences and offer mutual support;
- Racial justice affinity groups for white staff and staff of color led by external coaches;
- Diversity, equity, and inclusion trainings provided to all staff on a regular basis; and
- Ongoing efforts to improve the transparency of IHI’s promotion and compensation processes.
IHI Equity Advisory Group
IHI’s equity work is guided by the
IHI Equity Advisory Group (EAG), an independent group of advisors chartered by the IHI Board of Directors in 2016 to provide expert review and guidance to improve the consistency and credibility of IHI’s internal and external equity work. The EAG helps us advance our learning in equity, focus IHI’s strategy and programs, review and help develop IHI activities, advise on advocacy opportunities, and support new partnership development.