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Implementing HR policies and practices that center and advance racial equity, diversity and inclusion: New toolkit shares WKKF’s “how”


Dianna Langenburg is the vice president for Talent & Human Resources at the W.K. Kellogg Foundation (WKKF). In October 2023, she will celebrate her 30 year work anniversary with the foundation.

It can feel overwhelming to know where to start or what to prioritize when implementing an internal organizational strategy for advancing racial equity, diversity and inclusion.

The recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling striking down race-conscious higher education admission policies, also known as affirmative action, has caused some to feel uncertainty over how the ruling may impact diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) efforts in the business sector and beyond. And, while there will be implications for those committed to advancing racial equity in institutions of higher learning, there remain many avenues available to continue the journey toward racial equity in every other area of our lives.

One avenue, which the W.K. Kellogg Foundation (WKKF) has focused on over the years, is advancing racial equity as a function of human resources (HR). I’ve been fortunate to be a part of these efforts since the 1990s, and I can assure you – we are still learning and adapting on this journey each day.

As you develop and prepare to implement your organizational strategies, are you curious about what other organizations or companies are trying and learning? Looking for examples of key actions and how progress is being measured?

That’s where the new “HR Toolkit for Racial Equity” can be helpful. It offers the Kellogg Foundation’s lessons and recommendations for how to implement strategies that center racial equity, diversity and inclusion in your organization’s talent strategy and every aspect of a human resources function. Every workplace has unique needs; the ideas in the toolkit are meant to be adaptable to a variety of circumstances.

Throughout my career, I’ve benefitted from peer leaders and organizations sharing what they know. We have also shared openly with our colleagues at other foundations, organizations and companies interested in learning our approach. This toolkit is just one way our HR and broader WKKF team is giving back. This resource helps tell our story, but better yet, share what we call our “how” with samples of our work. It also complements another resource we have called “One Journey” that tells our bigger story.

What’s inside the toolkit:

  • Guidance on how organizations can create standards, principles and approaches for racial equity work
  • Tools for how to craft an effective employee value proposition (EVP)
  • Suggestions for creating employee resource groups (ERGs) or affinity groups
  • Strategies to engage employees in racial equity experiential learning
  • Sample resources from WKKF’s HR team, including:
    • Talking points for sharing your racial equity expectations with recruitment partners
    • Diversity and racial equity interview questions to assess candidate competencies
    • Sample recruitment tracking mechanisms for candidate pools
    • Performance indicators that identify desired characteristics and behaviors
    • Mechanisms to recognize and reward racial equity leadership and behaviors
    • Survey questions to solicit feedback from employees about organizational culture and racial equity, diversity and inclusion

Here are just a few of the topics and samples we’re sharing in the toolkit:

Crafting an Employee Value Proposition

We lay out our human-centered design process for creating and implementing an employee value proposition (EVP) that includes racial equity, diversity and inclusion. EVPs are used as a tool for attracting talent and retention of existing staff while also speaking to workplace culture. Our EVP is included, reflecting how staff experience the foundation. The toolkit also outlines the four steps for implementing EVPs:

  • Identify a set of attributes and qualities that make your organization distinctive
  • Determine the appropriate methods and modes to communicate the EVP
  • Prepare internal brand ambassadors to champion your EVP
  • Share your EVP with recruitment partners.

Creating Employee Resource Groups

Employee resource groups (ERGs) or affinity groups bring employees together to network, develop, celebrate, educate and contribute. At WKKF, we’ve seen the incredible value of these groups in establishing a safe space for employees of all backgrounds and an opportunity for leadership and growth for group members. We share tips and sample guidelines for creating, maintaining and growing ERGs as part of broader racial equity, diversity and inclusion efforts.

Racial Equity Experiential Learning

In order to advance employees’ personal racial equity journeys, the toolkit outlines considerations for identifying and offering ongoing racial equity experiential learning opportunities, including resources used by WKKF. By creating these opportunities, you can demonstrate your organization’s commitment to employee learning and development, raise awareness of different perspectives and help your employees develop cultural competence.

While our racial equity journey continues, we’re hopeful that the toolkit will be useful for organizations of all backgrounds and sizes that are eager to advance racial equity, diversity and inclusion at their workplace.

Download the full “HR Toolkit for Racial Equity” here.

The HR Toolkit for Racial Equity complements another WKKF resource called “One Journey,” which shares our organization’s broader racial equity, diversity and inclusion story, including the role of board leadership; reviews of internal policies and practices; and how and where the foundation leverages its relationships, knowledge and voice.

WKKF will also be sharing a series of “Organizational Journeys in Centering Racial Equity” from several of our grantee organizations on Every Child Thrives in the coming months. Look for those soon.


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