18 May 2021

DEI is How We Do All Things

For many organizations diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) initiatives went from “a thing we do” to “how we do all things” as they developed a multi-year DEI plan. DEI is being integrated into all areas of the business: Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) or Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), Workplace Culture, Product Development, Marketing, Employee Wellness Strategies, and upgraded Corporate Values.

DiversityWhat I’m impressed with is how the best organizations are working hard to take care of their employees. We are seeing more equitable mental wellbeing and employee engagement programs, transparency in processes, and ongoing assessments of the workplace climate. (If you’d like to assess your DEI efforts and their communication strategies, check our proprietary tool.)

Most leaders agree that their companies should invest in the future workforce by providing professional development opportunities. Many DEI strategies focus on the current and future talent pipeline by providing educational and upskill training. More closely coordinating and aligning ESG and DEI priorities (and, in some cases, bringing these business operations together), is a trend I have seen grow in 2021.

With a focus on DEI accountability, transparency, and progress, you can anticipate a deeper alignment between organizational values and workplace culture with moves such as increased diversity of especially company boards and senior management.

I expect we will continue to see DEI integrated into the programs, products, and services that companies provide. Many have a renewed focus to, for example, provide solutions for or materials that feature People of Color, and less stereotypically. My cautionary note is to ensure this focus is genuine and thoughtful rather than token or basic.

Though we’ve seen a huge increase in the appointment of DEI leaders, to move from DEI being a “thing we do” to “how we do all things” and to avoid burn out of any DEI leader, companies should plan how to scale and delegate the focus of DEI throughout the organization. This work becomes the responsibility of all leaders, not just one with DEI in their title. The most enlightened organizations will see DEI as not a “separate” note but a pervasive organizational initiative. To quote Gabriel Bernstein: “Seeing someone in their wholeness is the greatest gift you can give them.” Exponentially powerful when DEI permeates every aspect of a brand.

If you’d like to learn more about:

  • Providing a communication formula to arrive at more inclusive internal and external communication endeavors
  • Assessing subtextual message awareness of team members and leaders
  • Growing abilities to conduct and participate in courageous conversations

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