What are the some of the biggest challenges associated with DEI today, and how can employers work to address and overcome them?

By Robyn Pollack posted 10-15-2020 12:59 PM


We are certainly living in challenging times. We are at a place of tremendous opportunity, a turning point, where we can decide, as individuals, teams, enterprises, and as a society, to do better. But, how, as employers, do we identify the biggest DEI challenges and then work to overcome them?


Accept That This Is Uncomfortable.

Given the current cultural climate, a challenge facing employers today is that enterprise leaders are often confronted with tough questions around DEI issues – whether those questions are about race, gender, sexual orientation – that they do not have answers to and that make them uncomfortable.  Often, leaders do not want to say or do the wrong thing, so they stay silent. The key to overcoming this is to accept discomfort and forge ahead with open eyes, ears, hearts, and minds. Listen to your diverse employees, ask them about their experiences and perspectives, authentically own that we do not always know. That is how trust is built, and how we advance a process of learning and development.


How And Where Do We Start?

Another challenge is that, while employers wish to act, many have no idea how or where to start. Having a framework around your DEI work is crucial to creating measurable impact. An assessment of workforce sentiment and experience on topics like voice, dignity, respect, and trust, allows enterprises to use data to set benchmarks so that measurable progress can be made throughout a DEI journey. From there, enterprises can develop strategic roadmaps built on metrics, goals, and KPIs, and prioritize implementable actions and solutions in an integrated, comprehensive way.


Change Is Difficult.

It is a challenge for many employers to embrace the changes needed to create equitable, inclusive  workplaces.  While DEI is the “right thing to do,” understanding that it is also a business imperative is critical to overcoming fear of change.  The ability to use DEI to impact people, processes, and performance throughout the employee life cycle, from talent acquisition, to development, leadership, and succession planning, becomes the catalyst that aligns employee experiences with those of customers, clients, and communities.

As we move through the remainder of 2020, it is clear that next-level talent and financial performance will depend heavily upon how enterprises intentionally and meaningfully embrace DEI.