A Year in Review
The last year has been a rollercoaster for all of us. Between a global pandemic (more than one for some of us), a global recession, social reform protests, political controversy, and many other unforeseen incidents, it has been an experience that most of us were never prepared for. Though there was much adversity over the last year, we have seen some great advancements. Most notable has been the unprecedented global collaboration for vaccine development, the new work-from-home flexibility, and social reforms for immigrants and people of color. While the vaccine has been saving countless lives and being home with family has been a blessing for most of us, the lack of advancement for underrepresented ethnicities has been snowballing for decades and there is much work to be done.
Organizations across the world are doing their part to help drive Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) in the workplace. Adidas has pledged to fill 30% of all open positions with African American and Latino candidates over the next 5 years. Google plans to elevate the number of underrepresented employees in leadership positions to 30% over the next few years. On top of this, 25 other larger employers (including Amazon, JPMorgan, IBM, and Microsoft) plan to hire 100,000 New York residents from the low-income African American, Asian, and Latino communities by 2030.
With the growing list of large organizations making positive moves to promote DEI, where are you positioned and how can you get started?
Considerations When Developing a DEI Strategy
The organizations that seem to do the best when implementing cultural changes all have something in common – they have a person (or a team of people) in place that oversee all efforts. This can be at the CXO level, the VP level, or the Director level. Generally speaking, the companies that take this seriously have a division focused on DEI at top of the organization. If marketing and DEI are equal priorities with your company, why is the CMO your top marketing position while Director of Diversity is your top DEI position? In this case, the title matters.
Building a DEI Strategy
When it comes to DEI, many companies focus primarily on their corporate strategy and on those in leadership positions as these people will generally decide who is hired and who is promoted – this is a good start, but not a great strategy. If a company truly wants to embrace change, everyone must be involved. Simply setting hiring metrics and adhering to them will not ensure that your diverse new hires will feel welcomed at your organization. If the plan does not encompass all levels of the organization, your efforts could be lost to attrition months down the road.
From what I have gathered, there are three main areas of focus when trying to drive this effort through the organization: Awareness, Training, and Accountability.
This is the first part of a four-part series focused on promoting Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in the workplace. In the next three parts, we’ll look at Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion each on their own in more specific detail. I encourage you to check back in with us over the next few weeks for my next blog post.