Lost Your Organization’s DEI Momentum? Here’s How to Get It Back.
Let me start by putting my “ tl;dr” out there now:
You can’t lose what you never had in the first place. And you can’t suddenly lose DEI momentum in the work if you actually were never doing actual work in the first place.
It’s no secret that since 2020, an unprecedented number of U.S.-based organizations made what they called a ‘public commitment’ to deepening their diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) work across their organization. These public statements came far and fast, with organizations often naming how they believed Black lives mattered and that it was important that they demonstrate ways to be inclusive to all. Some of these statements even came with identified goals on recruitment, hiring a DEI lead, and sharing their progress on an annual basis.
These statements often had nothing to do with what the organization really needed to do to make organizational change. And while often well-intentioned, these statements and subsequent goals, created a system of what I call “ Good, Busy DEI Work” instead of “ Great, Intentional DEI Work”.
“ Good, Busy DEI Work”
Think of this type of work as work that can feel really good to do because it is visible but doesn’t necessarily lead to real change. This work includes…
Having a DEI Commitment Statement that doesn’t take a real stance on issues, does not address the internal issues your own organization needs to address, and the goals are industry standard but not goals that are meaningful to your organization.
Creating a DEI Council with no budget, strategic DEI goals, or Executive Sponsorship and instead encouraging them to meet to read books together and celebrate cultural holidays only.
Hiring a DEI Leader when the organization’s own CEO and Leadership Team aren’t ready to engage in DEI work.
Focusing on recruitment strategies when the need is on retention strategies.
And the list goes on.
This type of work reflects an organization that isn’t ready to face its own truth, get beyond the surface, and deal with the deeply rooted DEI…