Buzzword Loosing it’s Buzz . . .
Post 2020 Diversity, DEI, EDI, and JEDI were key buzzwords that 99.9% of organisations felt compelled to ensure were front and centre of their website, internal comms, and external comms, in short, we saw DEI positions popping up left, right and centre. Being a realist I wasn’t expecting an overnight change, particularly in relation to organisational culture, however, I observed the continued performance of many companies and monitored their actions and the progress of their diversity, equity and inclusion journey.
Whilst some companies have continued their DEI journey in earnest via audit, action and accountability to create a culture of inclusion and belonging that fosters the foundation to build organically diverse organisations, other organisations have resorted to performative allyship which = no change, reputational damage and a lack of trust from their employees.
Hence, the question “Is Diversity Done?” is a complex and ongoing conversation. While an element of progress has been made towards creating more diverse and inclusive spaces within some organisations, there is still so much more work to be done. It’s important to recognize that diversity is not just about numbers, but also about creating a culture of belonging where everyone feels valued and included. Additionally, diversity must be intersectional, taking into account the unique experiences and challenges faced by individuals of different races, ethnicities, genders, sexual orientations, abilities, and more.
Understanding the Past to Move Forward
To truly understand the complexity of diversity and inclusion, it’s important to recognize the historical context that has led to the current conversation. For centuries, certain groups of people have been marginalized and excluded from various spaces, whether it be in the workplace, education, or social settings. This exclusion has resulted in systemic barriers that continue to impact these communities today.
By actively working to dismantle barriers, address implicit biases, and create a culture of inclusivity, organizations can promote true diversity and belonging, and ensure that all individuals feel valued and supported.
Tips to Dismantle Overt & Covert Barriers:
- Implementing policies and practices that promote diversity and inclusion – this is vital as without a thorough audit of processes and policies, you use policies and practices that enable continued Exclusion and implicit biases flourishes!
- Providing diversity and inclusion training for employees – the heart of any organisation is its people and they need to buy into the journey & one workshop or a 20-minute module on your LMS doesn’t cut it!
- Holding leaders and decision-makers accountable for creating and maintaining inclusive environments ~ It starts from the top, they set the tone and are responsible for holding themselves and others to account.
- Listening to and centering the voices and experiences of marginalized individuals ~ This does not mean asking them to relive their marginalised experiences or asking employees from marginalised communities to take the lead on top of their full-time job. It does involve ensuring their voices are heard, and their narrative is centred – IMPACT over INTENT always.
- Creating safe spaces for open and honest conversations about diversity and inclusion ~ A great example of this is Race Equality Matters Tea Break sessions, which can be adapted to address other marginalised groups.
Are you a PA (Performative Ally) organisation or an IA (Intentional Ally) Organisation, when it comes to DEI?
Needless to say, being an Intentional Ally will drive your organisation closer to ensuring Diversity is not Done, but very much alive and active. Ensuring diversity and inclusion are at the core of your organization is crucial. This is not only for ethical reasons but also for the success of your business.
Steps to take to assess where your organisation is, where they can improve and what you can congratulate them for doing already!
- Start by assessing the current state of diversity and inclusion in your organization. This can involve gathering data on the demographics of your employees, as well as surveying them to understand their experiences and perspectives. ~ Be clear to state why the data is being collected. What is going to be done with the data and how/when the results & next steps will be shared with employees. This helps to build trust. If the organisation does not fulfil what it stated, TRUST is broken.
- Develop a clear understanding of what diversity and inclusion mean to your organization and communicate this to your employees. This can involve creating a mission statement or values that explicitly state your commitment to diversity and inclusion ~ Be realistic and be committed!
Action & Accountability pointers
- Implement policies and practices that promote diversity and inclusion in all aspects of your organization, from hiring and promotion to team-building and decision-making. This can involve creating diverse hiring committees, providing training on unconscious bias, and creating employee resource groups. ~ Yep we need to rip up some old practices, so get ready, because not everyone will welcome this change, this does not change what needs to be done.
- Monitor and measure progress towards your diversity and inclusion goals. This can involve tracking metrics such as the diversity of your leadership team and the representation of different groups in your workforce. ~ KPIs baby! Monitor, report, share and be ready to hold people to account!
By taking these steps and making diversity and inclusion a priority, you can create a workplace culture that values and respects all employees, leading to increased engagement and productivity, as well as a stronger reputation for your organization.
For more insight and support to ensure your early careers & first level leadership programmes are underpinned to promote equity diversity and inclusion check out our BOLD Workshops and our BOLD & Inclusive leadership services and for more information on our services, feel free to contact us directly – we look forward to working with you!