Discover how DEI impacts different people and how to leverage this awareness.
Personal Impact plays a crucial role in determining your motivation to get involved in the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) conversation. It depends on whether you think the outcome of DEI decisions will have a direct positive or negative impact on you personally, if you're concerned on behalf of others (family, friends, colleagues, mentees, etc.), or if you believe it can improve the performance of your team or your organization.
Employees who feel personally impacted can have very different concerns. For some, this may mean that they feel that the workplace will be less fair if DEI initiatives are introduced, and they are eager to maintain the status quo. For others, the personal impact means that they, or others, won’t have a fair chance without DEI programs that measure, monitor, and ensure equity. Even if we, ourselves, haven’t experienced exclusion or identity-related challenges in the workplace, an awareness that others aren’t on a level playing field, and the impact that has, can significantly increase our motivation to ensure fairness in the workplace and leverage the value of diversity for better business outcomes.
When someone has directly faced discrimination, marginalization, or a sense of being excluded due to their race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, disability, or other aspect of their identity, they are more likely to understand the importance of creating inclusive environments.
Without these experiences, they may struggle to understand the importance of DEI efforts. It becomes harder for them to empathize or recognize the value of inclusivity if they have limited exposure to different perspectives. The may worry that their opportunities, resources, or advantages will be diminished in order to accommodate a more inclusive environment.
Individuals who are personally impacted by inclusion-related issues are often more likely to get involved in efforts to promote inclusion. An individual who has not been impacted by exclusion themselves may also perceive a positive personal impact due to moral/ethical values, a deep feeling of empathy and compassion, or an understanding of the business benefits of DEI.
Engage in respectful dialogue to better understand the negative impacts of exclusion; provide education and awareness to minimize zero-sum thinking, and highlight how each person can benefit from a more inclusive culture.
New York Times: How to Be More Empathetic
Great Place To Work: Why Is Diversity & Inclusion in the Workplace Important?
Columbia Business School: Why Diverse Teams Are Smarter
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