Last month was tough for DEI efforts. The Supreme Court brought an end to affirmative action in college admissions and granted businesses the right to withhold services from same-sex couples. These decisions signal a policy climate that is increasingly hostile to issues of diversity. And while diversity can mean many things, race, and sexual orientation specifically seem to be under attack.
These rulings don’t signal an end to DEI because the justification for DEI isn’t that fickle. The reality is that DEI is not just good for marginalized groups; it’s good for everyone, especially businesses. DEI has withstood resistance from its inception and it will continue to be a focus for businesses that are interested in their own success and longevity in an ever-changing and increasingly diverse world.
Keep DEI a Priority
Companies that continue to make meaningful DEI progress stand out and set themselves up for success. Here are a few tips to help:
- Continue to set clear, data-driven DEI goals that aim to increase the diversity of underrepresented groups in your organization, improve the equity of your policies and procedures and drive the inclusion of your culture or belonging.
- Fund and staff programs that promote your DEI goals to set them up for success.
- Partner with your legal team to ensure that your DEI goals are compliant and that you’re prepared for any resistance that may emerge internally or externally.
- Pay attention to language in your strategy and ensure you focus on dismantling challenges over providing perceived advantages for underrepresented groups.
- Ensure that the responsibilities of DEI do not fall on one person or live solely within HR. DEI should be a cross-functional effort from all departments and business areas.
- Work with executive and senior leaders to ensure they are not just bought into the DEI goals and strategy, but participate in developing them. Leaders should be able to articulate the DEI goals and programs and why the company is prioritizing and investing in these goals and programs.
- Plan for ongoing workforce education to level up the cultural competence of your workforce and help employees understand why and how you’ll achieve your DEI goals. Focus on how your DEI goals and programs align with your business goals.