Learn how to prioritize DEI at work to become more inclusive.
Prioritizing DEI is a crucial pillar of inclusion motivation, which measures an employee's willingness to engage with the work of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI). It reflects how important DEI is to an individual and whether they prioritize making time for inclusive actions amidst competing concerns. Being inclusive requires us to turn off “auto-pilot” mode, slow down, and be more intentional in our workplace approach. A low prioritization of DEI can stem from various causes and can hinder the success of inclusion initiatives in an organisation. It is crucial to identify the impediments that are getting in the way of greater prioritization.
The most inclusive organizations ensure that every employee has a personal goal to become more inclusive. If you are in a managerial role, it is even more essential to demonstrate that you prioritize DEI; employees look at the behaviors role modeled, recognized and reward to determine their own priorities.
One of the main challenges to DEI prioritization is the existence of other competing priorities, which can make it difficult to allocate time and resources to DEI efforts. If we only plan to address DEI when there is time, we may never get to it.
If we don’t see a business benefit or aren’t held accountable, it won’t be a priority. Diversity fatigue, or lack of progress in the past, contributes to de-prioritization.
Limited knowledge or experience in DEI-related matters may lead to uncertainty about how to effectively contribute. If leaders are not communicating the priority of DEI in their actions, words, and priorities, there is a cascade effect.
You can start by educating yourself on DEI topics: read articles, attend webinars, or take courses to increase your knowledge and understanding of DEI and how inclusion challenges can lead to less effective teams and business outcomes. Every person needs to be incentivized to set aside time on their calendars for DEI-related activities, such as attending company-sponsored events. engaging in DEI discussions with colleagues, or mentoring others.
When organizations communicate how to get involved and hold everyone accountable for action to support DEI, there is greater prioritization. When the CEO supports DEI, there is greater support among others.
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