The Work Equity initiative aims to advance equity in the workplace by developing solutions to the root causes of racial, ethnic, and gender discrimination and biases built into the structure of jobs and employment systems.

supported by the Center for Social Innovation

Equity at the Workplace: Assessment to Action

What are the Toolkits?

The Equity of Employment Systems Toolkits are self-assessments that organizations can use to strengthen their DEl initiatives. The Toolkits focus on the fairness of 10 Employment Systems: Job Structures; Recruitment and Hiring and Benefits; Orientation and Onboarding;  Supervision and Mentoring; Training and Career Development; Employee Performance Assessment and Feedback; Employee Resources and Supports; Promotion; and Separation. Organizational leaders might focus on one or more of these systems.

Why use the Toolkits?

Organizational leaders can use the Toolkits to:

  1. Systematically assess equity at the workplace
  2. Benchmark with the 1.000 organizations that participated in our National Workplace Equity Study 
  3. Spur DEl innovation
  4. Align DEl initiatives with key strategic priorities
  5. Develop action plans
  6. Document change over time


Questions Asked

For each of the Employment Systems, you will be asked a series of questions about:

  • Policies
  • Practices
  • Planning/Data Collection
  • Roles and Accountabilities
  • Culture
  • Climate
  • Communication

Each of the questions helps identify possible action steps - Levers for Change- to strengthen DEl initiatives.

In many ways, the disparate impact of COVID-19 links directly to the workplace. The pandemic fundamentally changed assumptions about how work gets done, when work gets done, where work gets done—and who is an essential worker in the U.S. economy.
Samuel L. Bradley, Jr., Assistant Professor

What We Do

Focus on small and medium-sized organizations often ignored by consulting groups and research centers.

Conduct Equity Innovation Labs to leverage the experiences and insights of people close to the issues.

Recognize that discrimination and inequities are institutionalized (typically inadvertently) into the structure of jobs and employment systems.

Engage teams of both managers and employees to address the root causes of inequity and propose and pilot customized solutions.

Invite a multidisciplinary and racially, ethnically, and gender diverse team of design thinking and DEI practitioners to join our seasoned researchers.

Uphold the commitment of social work to ‘evidence-based practices’ by collecting national and regional data about the state of equity at work.

Offer our services at no fee to businesses or nonprofits.

Our Strategy

Generate Knowledge

Conduct groundbreaking research on the state of workplace equity and organizational resilience in the wake of COVID-19 through the Workplace Equity Study. Findings will inform development of the Workplace Equity Benchmarking Tool to enable organizations to compare equity practices against normative data. We will also prepare a collection of case studies that discuss promising equity practices.

Engage and Innovate

Engage directly with employers, workplace managers, and frontline employees through the Equity Innovation Lab. We'll work initially with 3-4 Massachusetts-based organizations to pilot an innovation process that explicitly identifies structural and systemic root causes of workplace inequities. Working with Innovation Coaches, each participating organization will pilot test an innovative policy or practice that addresses inequity at the workplace.

Mobilize Action

Develop a Work Equity Knowledgebase, targeted to practitioners, which will offer a curated library of equity-relevant publications including survey findings, the Workplace Equity Benchmarking Tool, the collection of promising equity practices and related case studies, and insights gained from the Equity Innovation Lab. We'll also provide a suite of user-friendly tools that enable employers to compare equity at their own organizations against progress reported by their peers. 


Who We Are

Samuel Bradley, Jr.

Assistant Professor
Head of the BCSSW Equity, Justice, & Inclusion Initiative

Marcie Pitt-Catsouphes

Professor Emerita

Kathleen Christensen

Faculty Fellow


Case Studies of Promising DEl Practice

Case studies of Promising DEl Practice are intended to surface innovative, effective equity practices currently in use. We hope that these examples of innovation provide ideas and inspiration to other organizations seeking ways to advance their own workplace equity. Based on interviews with organizational leaders, each case study explores motivations for adopting specific DEl practices; steps for implementing the practices; challenges faced; and lessons learned. This information can provide insights about possible critical times for fostering change at organizations.

Mumble Media

Mumble Media, a fledgling production company based in Oakland, California, produces-fiction audio documentaries and fiction podcasts that require extensive audio post-production work. Their mission is to build a democratically-operated company with a flat organizational and compensation structure in which every employee has an equal voice and is paid the same hourly rate.

Riverside Community Care

Riverside Community Care is a non-profit behavioral health and human services organization that helps over 40,000 people in the Massachusetts area. Examples of services provided include mental healthcare: early childhood and youth programs; developmental and brain injury services: addiction treatment: and programs to address trauma in the aftermath of tragic events, such as a natural disaster or a community crisis. Through these services, Riverside works directly with children, youth, and families, as well as individual adults, schools, colleges, workplaces, and communities.

Union Capital Boston

Union Capital Boston's mission is to work with residents of local under-resourced communities of color to confront the structural racism that occurs amidst immense disparity and inequity. To achieve its mission, this not-for-profit organization builds networks of relationships among people who live, work, and go to school in communities, such as Roxbury, Dorchester, Mattapan, and East Boston. These social networks, in effect. build social capital by enabling community residents to gain better access to jobs, schools, and other needed resources, while at the same time enhancing civic engagement.

Boston Builds Credit

Boston Builds Credit (BBC) is the first citywide effort in the U.S. to address credit building as the foundation for achieving economic security, mobility, and equity. It brings together partners from across sectors in Boston to achieve its mission of making credit work for low-to moderate income Bostonians, many of whom are Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC). The idea for BBC was developed in 2017 by three lead partners, United Way, the Mayor's Office of Financial Empowerment, and the Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC). Boston. The three lead partners collaborated on financial opportunity centers at which Bostonians could get career and financial coaching in one place.