Learn why leadership commitment to DEI is crucial and how to gain it from your C-suite.
While many D&I initiatives begin at a grassroots level among employees, organisational impact is often elusive. Diversity in senior and C-suite leadership is a crucial factor in changing the dynamics of the workplace. Employees know what their leaders truly prioritize and reward. When DEI leadership is weak at the executive level, DEI efforts will be an uphill challenge throughout the organization. Research shows that men place a greater priority on it when they believe that the company’s senior leadership cares about it.
Research also shows that while 68% of businesses had company-wide diversity as a priority in their DEI strategy, only 25% had leadership diversity as a priority. Another study reveals executives vocally support DEI efforts externally but almost 80% of them privately say these efforts are overblown.
Reflecting more diversity in leadership brings many advantages to leadership: including more depth and breadth of perspective, positive changes that benefit more people, increased awareness of the organizational culture, new ways of thinking, more unique and inclusive decisions, more talent attraction, more psychological safety, a stronger collective outlook, and greater innovation.
It’s not enough to add a DEI post (CDO, CDIO) in your organization only to set the post up with unrealistic expectations, lack of executive team support, lack of budget and lack of resources. The ability of the CDO to drive effective DEI is as strong as the integrated commitment of the C-Suite.
Secure the support of leaders with with a facilitated discussion on the importance of DEI; this will enable you to grow advocacy for DEI amongst your leadership team. An effective strategy is to identify the business case for DEI and focus on the common value of fairness. Begin by presenting diversity and inclusion data that showcase the existing inequities in your workplace. Proceed with showing how everyone can personally benefit from greater inclusion and how exclusion influences colleagues they know and care for.
Assess your organization with these questions:
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