In discussing the current diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) agenda with thought leaders from the US and the UK, we have gained valuable insights into the way global events are shaping DEI strategy and practice in organizations.
A challenge raised in both conversations is that the scope of DEI has undeniably widened, primarily due to the massive societal strides that have been taken over the past few decades. Now, for example, financial wellbeing, mental health, and organizational culture all fall to DEI, as well as the recruitment and onboarding of people from an ever-widening mix of diversity dimensions.
This was the main subject of the discussion with our two UK DEI specialists – Sue Johnson and Therese Procter. They pointed out that failing to provide additional resources to deliver against this expanding portfolio risks the impact of DEI initiatives becoming diluted. To mitigate against this, companies need to consider employing a DEI specialist at board-level.
This aligns with Marty Belle and Conrad Woody’s conversation – which looks at DEI from a US perspective – in which they highlighted that inclusion starts with senior leaders acting as authentic role models for the required workplace behaviors.
A senior leadership team and board of directors that understand what inclusive behavior looks like will make inclusive decisions. And the best way of ensuring that the DEI dividend these decisions can bring is achieved, is by having a dedicated, senior DEI leader who can ensure inclusion remains at the top of the organization’s agenda.
With a diverse workforce comes diverse thinking, and this broader spectrum of perspectives will help when examining problems, as well as bring new ideas to the table. This can give you an advantage as an employer, as it means that the products and services you offer will more likely be accessible to a wider breadth of different types of people.
Part 1 of our series offered a solution to the widening scope of DEI for employers, and Part 2 highlighted why focusing on DEI can be beneficial for a company – both ethically and financially.
What these conversations have highlighted to us is that despite having an ocean between them, UK and US employers both recognise the importance of having an effective DEI strategy – and the performance dividend it can deliver. And by understanding their shared perspectives, we can help all organizations in implementing these strategies more effectively.
Copyright OrgShakers: The global HR consultancy for workplace transformation founded by David Fairhurst in 2020