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Refresh and Rejuvenate Your DEIB Efforts in the New Year

Diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging (DEIB) work has introduced a new way of thinking to many organizations in the last few years. Committing to the concept has required a conscious decision to view seemingly ordinary issues and interactions through new and different lenses.

The conversations and strategies are complex and can uncover unspoken barriers to full participation and authenticity.  While some employees are eager to approach new learning with a  growth mindset to increase their awareness of allyship and advocacy actions, others may feel uncomfortable with the sheer volume of change and perceived extra unpaid work with supporting DEIB initiatives.  With the intensity required with the work, some employees may grow weary of workplace-encouraged discussions centered on DEIB issues and stop participating.

According to a February 2021 study by Korn Ferry, 75% of professionals said their companies had enhanced their DEIB efforts in the previous year, but only 19% ranked those efforts as “very effective.”

However, Korn Ferry also found that companies make a mistake by thinking that strategies such as unconscious bias training and employee resource groups are “the ultimate game changer.”

But company leaders have options to keep employees engaged to help minimize diversity fatigue – especially if the organization wants to be seen as a leader in the arena. 

Small steps

1. Rather than trying to tackle big-picture diversity issues in one or two sessions, break up the goals into smaller, less exhaustive components. If you set goals that are easily attainable, employees are less likely to burn out on the topic. But at the same time, let employees see the big picture; let them know how those small steps fit into the larger, long-term DEIB journey.

2. At the same time, don’t be afraid to go bold on the big-picture vision. Create a plan that even less-engaged employees will find intriguing; you may see their enthusiasm increase as they learn that you’re not just going through the motions. Give individual team members the power to make a difference in the workplace. When employees have a few tools – specific, concrete actions they can take, they’re more likely to bring along their co-workers on the diversity journey.

Communicate and seek feedback

3. Bring transparency into the process and make sure employees know that company leadership will be accountable. Focusing on building a cohesive team can give DEIB initiatives a better chance at success.

After all, DEIB is an ongoing journey, not merely a destination. Create opportunities for the journey to be interesting and worth the effort for your company’s travelers. 

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