Empowering Your Team with a Voice on DEI
Updated: Oct 15, 2022
This column has often focused on the value of diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI), and the imperative to commit and act on creating more diverse and welcoming workplaces. The question that often comes next is, how? When large corporations commit millions to DEI causes, or kick off large scale initiatives, it’s easy to get a sense of impact. But for most companies and organizations, where that level of financial commitment is not feasible, the path by which to drive change can be harder to see.
One place that any organization can start is to look to the voices, experiences and values of your own teams. According to a recent survey by the American Productivity & Quality Center, 47% of respondents indicated taking action on DEI through conducting DEI-focused “employee listening,” such as surveys and focus groups, and 36% increased staff dedicated to DEI. According to SHRM, employee resource groups, or ERGs, are being established and used by more companies to widen their lens on diversity and, in particular, inclusion, equity and social justice.
ERGs or staff-led committees give your teams a space and a voice to engage in your organization’s DEI efforts. Additionally, it creates an ongoing presence and commitment to this work as an embedded part of your organization, not just in times of tragedy or injustice.
CenterState CEO’s own internal DEI committee helps build a more inclusive workspace through ongoing programming, professional development opportunities, and creating spaces for dialogues that discuss the implementation of DEI principles within CenterState CEO’s work. A staff-led DEI council leads internal efforts to build a more inclusive culture in partnership with the larger committee. The committee has helped lead meaningful staff discussions, brought forward engaging speakers, and helps spread awareness and resources aimed at sharing unique perspectives, histories and lived experiences.
For these groups to be effective and relevant, they need buy-in from management, and they need to know their voice has meaning and value to the rest of the organization. Like any aspect of a business, there should be a focus on results-driven strategies and approaches that can help the company deploy leading-edge tactics that advance change. These groups should establish clear goals and objectives and be provided adequate resources to guide and implement their work.
The individuals that lead and engage in ERGs and DEI committees can play an integral role in long-term solutions to addressing the needs of our workplaces and community for greater levels of diversity, equity and inclusion, if we empower them to do so. They hold the potential to change employee culture for the better, make your business a more inclusive place to work — which supports talent retention and recruitment — and brings a more inclusive approach to working with customers and clients.
RESI remains committed to working with you and your teams on these efforts and is still accepting new clients in 2022. Contact me at email@example.com, to assess and explore which DEI services will help meet your DEI goals.
Dr. Juhanna Rogers is vice president of Racial Equity and Social Impact at CenterState CEO. Contact Dr. Rogers at firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more about racial equity and social impact initiatives, DEI training courses and consultation services available through CenterState CEO.