We Understand DEI, Now What?

We received feedback from our three-part series on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) and at the core, people wanted to know, now what? We know there is a wide gap between many organizations understanding diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) work and those that are actually engaging in DEI work. In this powerful blog, you will receive some pointers on how to get started on your DEI journey.

If you didn’t read the 3-part series, “What is Diversity, Equity, Inclusion” now’s your chance! 

Part 1 Diversity – click here

Part 2 Equity – click here 

Part 3 Inclusion – click here

Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion

Diversity is Difference, Dimension, and Development. That means having different people, views, and perspectives heard, valued, and considered. The key point we make about equity is that it must be distinguished from equality. Equality is treating people the same and providing equal opportunity, where Equity is providing individuals what they need to be their best selves. Inclusion requires the incorporation of different people as well as the real involvement of those people. When you have the representation, treat people equitable, and foster inclusion you are truly on a journey to transform your organization.

So how do you address all of this within your company? Truthfully, there is no simple answer because each situation and organization is different. They might have the same problems, but invariably will have different dynamics. What we can say, without having a complete understanding of your organization, DEI initiatives are not the responsibility of one department nor one person. It requires leadership and advocates, and just as important, it requires alignment and empowerment.

Alignment & Empowerment

Alignment and empowerment are two of the most important components when beginning a DEI initiative. All company “buy-in” starts from the top. It’s essential that your company’s decision-makers and executives are in alignment regarding the prioritization of starting an internal diversity, equity, and inclusion journey. We recognize that not all DEI efforts originate from the top, but we also recognize that without top-level buy-in, it will be difficult to have the most impactful DEI journey. Just a reminder: DEI is not about doing what’s right socially (although that is a great side effect), it is about improving the organization and that is what Top-level executives want most.  

Empowerment is also very important. It is one thing to give individuals an assignment, but another to charge them with making the necessary moves to get it done. Empowerment is support, coaching, consultation, and accountability. When people know they have the accountability for success they will seek support, coaching, and consultation along the way. They will also be fearless in finding solutions because they know they are empowered to do so. Be it working internally to develop a DEI team, getting a consultant to help them with strategy, or even going with a full-service DEI firm to help with the journey, once there is real accountability around DEI, real empowerment will follow.   

Not A Destination

The reason we call it a Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion “journey” is because it’s exactly that, a journey. There won’t be some immediate change overnight, nor any quick-fix options, however, don’t let this intimidate you. It took a long time to create the system, so it will take some time to transform the system. A little DEI secret: DEI is not a destination, but is really a journey. There will be milestones along the way as well as challenges and that is what a journey is all about! Many people get discouraged because they believe they have to fix it all at once. “Nothing will work unless you do,” (Maya Angelou) And this could not ring more true when it comes to committing to a DEI journey – don’t worry about getting it right versus being right about tackling the issue.  

A Powerful Trio

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion are a powerful trio. When an organization prioritizes all three, the ROI is invaluable. As a reminder, 

  • The whole reason we seek diversity is to develop our people to be the best they can be, but they can’t be developed fully if they are surrounded by the same types of people
  • If you think you have great workers now and there are obvious areas of inequity, imagine the commitment and ownership those workers will assume when true equity is at play. People are more likely to add value to an organization when they feel valued by the organization
  • Inclusion is participation. Companies should avoid representation without participation. When we are intentional about inclusion we signal we value participation

There is nothing intuitive about how to start prioritizing a DEI initiative. It takes time, dedication, and transparency. By understanding each vertical at its base, understanding and accepting that this will be a journey, not a short trip, you are already on the right track to sustainable change and impact within your company.

Written by: Katherine Banks, Digital Marketing Manager and Events Coordinator at The Kaleidoscope Group

At The Kaleidoscope Group, we’re easy and friendly to work with. The first step – a simple conversation. To tell us more about you, visit https://kgdiversity.com/get-started and we’ll connect with you right away to explore how we can help.

 

Written by: Katherine Banks, Digital Marketing Manager & Events Coordinator

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