Scrutiny, Accountability and DEI: Help Keep us Honest

by Karl Hofmann, President & CEO, PSI

Over the last two years, the GlobalHealth50/50 report spurred us to new thinking and actions regarding gender in our work and in our workplace. We’re proud of the fact that PSI was named among the highest performing gender equality organizations working in global health.

But that’s not good enough.

Our gender journey helped to spearhead a wider and necessary conversation internally about diversity, equity and inclusion across PSI. Then George Floyd’s murder by police and the uprising of American outrage over racism in our society and the cancer of white supremacy gave extra urgency to our DEI efforts.

Our mission is to make it easier for all people to lead healthier lives and plan the families they desire, but we recognize the power dynamic inherent in the work we do, and the dangers of undermining the outcomes we seek precisely because of the way we pursue them.

Our new DEI Council meets for the first time this week.  It will help us to assess our progress against our DEI workplan, and keep us ambitious.  That workplan commits us to, among other things:

  • more inclusive behaviors and greater trust for and among our employees;
  • a Respect Framework that defines bullying and microaggressions;
  • training that reinforces cultural awareness and psychological safety skills;
  • performance rewards and job retention linked to organizational DEI goals;
  • succession planning and recruitment that nurtures our current diverse talent and finds more externally;
  • setting goals and tracking progress transparently with inward as well as external accountability.

We created an organizational health dashboard that we’ll report on quarterly, along with PSI’s health impact and financial performance. And we pledged to increase representation to 50% within our senior leadership for under-represented race, sexual orientation and gender identities by 2025.

How far do we have to go?  Well, quite a ways. Looking only at our current diversity snapshot, we’re doing well in terms of gender representation, and we need faster progress in other underrepresented groups among senior ranks.

Underrepresented gender identities at PSI: Overall 56%, Domestic 60%, International 53%Underrepresented groups at PSI: Overall 36%, Domestic 9%, International 55% There is much work ahead for us in protecting current equity across PSI and improving a broader sense of inclusion among our employees. We can no longer deliver on our mission without it.

The DEI journey, like our GlobalHealth50/50 experience, is something we’re committed to. We want to be held accountable for the progress we’ve promised. Our first accountability is to PSI employees, and then to our wider stakeholder group:  our funders, partners and anyone who’s reading this.

I hope you’ll check back periodically to make sure we are on track. I promise to maintain transparency as we work on this.

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