Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) is a Great Opportunity
By Paula E. Camargo
On top of all the pressure in our corporate environments, we want to master diversity and inclusion. Diversity work has expanded over the years and we can see this evolution in the very names we give the work. For example, in the United States, what was first called Equal Employment Opportunity in the 1960s and 1970s (with a focus on compliance with government regulations) shifted to “diversity” emphasizing diversifying the workforce for the benefit the business. As organizations realized that attracting and retaining diverse talent required changing the culture to ensure inclusive workplace experiences, we began referring to the work as diversity and inclusion (D&I). More recently the acronym D&I expanded to include “equity” (DEI) to address systemic organizational barriers so all talent can advance and belong.
Today, leaders are often expected to impact not only entire global organizations, but also to contribute to social justice in the external eco system.
When the expectations are high, and the needs are so great, the temptation is to try to do it all. As we enter 2023, this is the moment to take stock and prioritize. This means we may need to let go of some things and to focus in on others.
We need first and foremost to evaluate the impact of our DEI efforts. What is working? What is not? Where can I have the greatest impact? What are the biggest barriers that need addressing? What am I solving for with my initiatives? How can I demonstrate the impact of these initiatives?
This information is key to helping us identify the most salient pressure points so that we are better able to resist the temptation to spread ourselves too thin. Each population faces different obstacles – which means that the strategies you use to advance the career trajectories of Asian women may need to be very different from those for Black women or Latina women.
DEI has the potential to increase sales revenue, increase customer base, and ultimately increase profits. DEI is not only the right thing to do, it also makes good business sense. backgrounds, identities and experiences collectively and as individuals.