2020 was a whirlwind year for many reasons. With increasing social unrest, the deaths of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor, and the good work that Black Lives Matter and their allies have done, it’s no wonder that the importance of workplace D&I initiatives has been truly cemented.
While many organizations are well-meaning, they often miss the mark when it comes to creating and sustaining their D&I strategies. As we move into 2021 with a radicalized but optimistic energy, we’ve compiled 15 of the most common mistakes that leaders and organizations make, so you can avoid another year of misses.
D&I training isn't a "one and done" activity, nor is it something that you need to tick off in order for your company to appear to be socially aware.
While training can help to build a vocabulary and establish a framework, it’s unlikely to initiate behaviour change. For that, your business needs to identify the systems and processes that are missing or skewed, and start building trusting relationships.
While some organizations believe that issuing D&I training to leaders and people managers is the easiest thing to implement, studies show that discrimination and biases don’t just live on the executive level. Despite the importance of securing leadership commitment, initiatives to work towards diversity, equity, and inclusion goals require full engagement from all employees.
Providing effective training isn’t the end - treating D&I workshops like mandatory compliance training can often drive more disparity and aggravation than good. When training is mandated, communication can often be focused on negative messaging rather than positive messaging, whereas making initiatives voluntary makes people see themselves as D&I champions because they’re choosing to be involved.
As mentioned above, creating empowering relationships is the key to seeing real change and championing diverse talent. Additionally, creating connections won't just benefit your diverse talent - Psychology today
noted that professionals with a diverse network are 4x more likely to have high well being than those who don’t. Mentoring is proven to provide the support employees need to make career jumps, learn more about the possibilities in different fields, and present opportunities for networking that lead to job offers - as the saying goes, you hire who you know.