Last week, our #teamexaqueo participated in a Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) training from industry expert Nina Madoo. With over 23 years of experience in the DEI field, we were thrilled to open our hearts and minds to her perspective and insight. For our team it was an important refresher on new terminology and a ‘brief history’ of corporate diversity programs, and a few key takeaways really stood out to us that we wanted to share. We hope these highlights and trends inspire you and your organization to dig in deeper and continue learning more.
- DEI strategy impacts the entire organization. DEI shouldn’t sit in a silo. As we are seeing now more than ever, organizations are being held accountable, and consumers and employees are looking for action. To be able to move the needle, these programs should span across the organization and involve leadership across business units. Nina shared, “Best in class companies have leaders who are accountable for diversity, so it becomes more of an enterprise strategy rather than just an HR strategy.”
- Use data to make informed decisions. Data-driven decisions has been on the rise for some time, however, now we are seeing that trend apply to a resurgence of data intelligence in DEI. You need to dig into the details and try to understand where you are as an organization to make progress and fill the gaps. Data will help you understand the flow of diverse talent in and out of the organization so you are able to make actionable and strategic decisions.
- Understand the internal and external components. Once you have the data and have a DEI strategy that impacts the entire organization, the next step is to bring it under one umbrella to activate it holistically. Best in class companies find a way to logically link DEI to other important strategies inside the organization, including marketing and talent acquisition teams so there is alignment on communicating inside and outside the organization. For many organizations, this is both a tremendous opportunity and a challenge.
- Sisterhood is critical to racial justice. It takes a tremendous effort to move the needle on representation. In most recent years, there has been a lot of focus on gender equality, but not as much on race/ethnicity inside organizations. From these initiatives, there has been a most significant change for white women, especially in the c-suite. However, there has been little change for people of color and very little to address women of color overall. Organizations have failed to address the intersection of gender AND race. Consider ways to bridge the gap between gender and race to ensure your initiatives are addressing both.
- Align teams across the organization. Affinity groups are a thing of the past. They evolved into employee resource groups, but these are now evolving into more than safe spaces for employees.Now we are seeing employee resource groups being tapped into for their perspectives, ideas, and being used as business group models. To evolve employee resources groups to business groups successfully, strong governance is needed, building the framework and engagement starting with senior levels and then tapping into the forum for employees to be understood, heard, and respected.
Below is a list of resources Nina sent our team following her presentation.
Books and Documentaries: