Building a Case for DEI

As a Practitioner in Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, there is so much information to read, research, and digest. Putting theory to practice takes time and intentionality. Who made me the authority on DEI? Well, no one but I assure you that I am doing the work to unlearn and learn based on my past experiences.

I have often thought, “How can I merge adult education, performance improvement, and DEI”? The answer is that I am not sure. There are aspects of understanding that we are all learners who desire to improve their performance to be their best selves while valuing differences…perhaps I have just answered my question!

As I ponder on the question posed above, another question crossed my mind: Does diversity, equity, and inclusion truly improvement the performance of an organization or a team? Some organizations are now putting more efforts into their DEI strategy and this is a question worth answering.

As a Qualified Intercultural Development Inventory Administrator, I recognized the importance of saying that diversity goes far beyond ethnicity. Equally important are the diversity of thought, race, gender, religion, sexual orientation, and many more. My focus here is People of Color. I will take you all on a three-part journey of my thoughts.

Here we go….

Diversity

To understand how diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) improves the performance of an organization, it is imperative to explore DEI singularly and then incorporate the concepts for a big picture overview.

Part 1: Diversity

First, it is critical that organizations examine their processes, procedures, and additional documentation given that the dynamics of race and ethnicity are interwoven into the workforce (Gibbons, 2015). Second, the organization must identify a shared definition of what diversity means to them and then infuse that shared understanding with their employees and throughout their culture. Next, in relation to policies and procedures, the organization has to consider how and where new hires exists. The Human Resources department must determine where the top talent is and begin to look beyond their orbit of networks. Intentionality is the key. Knowing where to look is the first step and researching top talent at historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs), for example, will yield a wide range of students in varying disciplines and provide a competitive advantage for business (Gibbons, 2015). Diverse employees bring a host of diverse experiences in which to provide meaningful perspectives and advice regarding organizational strategy. Furthermore, Gibbons (2015) implores organizations to consider these operating principles:

  • Enforcement: organizations must commit to decreasing ambiguity around grievances related to the recruitment, acquisition, and retention of diverse employees.
  • Moral: organizations need to quickly respond to and mitigate discrimination in the workforce.
  • Business: organizations create a strategy focused on hiring and retaining diverse talent.
  • Pluralistic: organizations should align their diversity initiatives around their mission and/or vision.

How are you looking at diversity in your organization?

Gibbons, Youlanda M. (2015). Diversity in Corporations: Making it Work: An Overview. Business Expert Press

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