The idea that businesses should have Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) initiatives in place is not exactly new. It has been gaining prevalence since the summer of 2020, however, when the deaths of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery and Breanna Taylor reinvigorated the racial and social justice movement.
Of course, one of the main reasons that DEI is so important is simply that employees demand it. There is now an expectation that DEI processes should be in place, and this is partially due to the fact that, for many years, minorities have expressed feeling undervalued, unsafe and unwelcome in the workplace.
It may not be surprising to learn that, in many cases, these feelings have gone unreported due to a fear of reprisal and the belief that the concerns would not be addressed. This is far from a misguided belief, also, as the research shows minorities have experienced negative outcomes when it comes to hiring, promotions and performance evaluations.
Organizations that ignore DEI do so at their peril, simply because companies with effective DEI initiatives in place create a significant competitive advantage. In fact, study after study shows that businesses that are more diverse and inclusive are more likely to outperform their competitors.
It may sound like common sense to say this, but when people feel like their contributions are being respected and valued, they typically work harder to achieve a common goal. Higher levels of diversity bring different perspectives and this leads to greater innovation, just imagine a coral reef or a rainforest.
Those with experience in a corporate environment like me (over 15 years) know that recruitment and retention efforts represent a significant financial cost. Attracting high-value employees and keeping power players on staff can have a positive impact on the bottom line, and DEI practices are a valuable means of achieving that goal.
In my experience, I witnessed firsthand the negative impact of ignoring DEI. Numerous individuals whom I have interacted with have expressed feelings that they would be treated in a particular way because of the way they look and/or represent, and this ultimately led to their resignation.
The goal is to modify behavior so employees feel included and that they belong in the workplace. One way that I work to do this is by bridging the gaps and educating those who are ready to make positive societal changes.
This started with leveraging my experiences navigating the corporate ladder as an African American Neurodiversity woman. Since then it has grown to building a team of accomplished professionals, all with diverse professional/educational/cultural backgrounds.
Drawing from the knowledge I received from earning a Ph.D. in Business Administration and Strategic Leadership, along with the insights of my colleagues at Bright Star, I help organizations identify and resolve DEI issues from all angles. This helps to create a differentiator for businesses looking to create a competitive advantage through attracting/retaining high-value talent.
For an assessment of your DEI practices or help establishing a DEI policy, call 910-970-0079, email [email protected] or visit www.brightstarcc.co.
Caroline King, PH.D., MHA, ACND-W, ACDEI, is the Founder & CEO of Bright Star Diversity Consulting, which helps organizations identify, address and resolve DEI challenges. By providing educational services and tapping into the unlimited potential of involved stakeholders, Bright Star Diversity Consulting helps to establish a positive working environment and a stronger bottom line for its clients. For more information or to schedule a consultation, call 910-970-0079 or visit www.brightstarcc.co.
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