Intentional Inclusion with The Diversity Doctor

#2 Five things you need to know about diversity and inclusion in 2022

April 28, 2022 Dr Donna de Haan Episode 2
Intentional Inclusion with The Diversity Doctor
#2 Five things you need to know about diversity and inclusion in 2022
Show Notes Transcript

I’m passionate about every aspect of diversity and inclusion but the things I’m talking about in this episode, take it to the next level - this episode is all about impact.

Did you know that the hiring of chief diversity and inclusion officer soared to 111% (as a share of all hires) during 2021? But around half of these new hires are likely to burnout in the first 18 months in the role?

Or that despite 97% of large companies running diversity and inclusion programmes of some sort, only 25% of underrepresented groups feel these programmes have directly benefited them?

Long story short, we look like we're doing a lot, but what we're doing is not making an impact - and I'm all about impact! That's why this episode is dedicated to the five things you need to know about diversity and inclusion in 2022...

Number One…It’s not about the minority
Number Two…You’ve got to stop faking it
Number Three…Go all in 
Number Four…Be SMARTER
Number Five…Know your limits

I dive into each of these during this value packed episode, so hit play to find out more, and why not also check out this blog post

5 things you need to know about diversity and inclusion in 2022

Hello my friend, welcome back to episode 2 of Intentional Inclusion with the Diversity Doctor, I’m so happy you’re here because this episode is full of the good stuff!

Now I’m passionate about every aspect of diversity and inclusion but the things I’m talking about in this episode, take it to the next level - this episode is all about impact. I’m going to try really hard to keep a level pace to my voice throughout the episode because the speed at which I talk seems to be directly correlated to how excited I am about a topic - and the things I’m talking about today, definitely fire me up.

So let me give you a little context and set the scene for you. In this episode I am going to share the 5 things you need to know about diversity and inclusion in 2022 - to get it right - to create a positive impact in this space.

Because here’s the thing, so many organisations have jumped on the D&I bandwagon - for example they are investing in specific D&I focussed roles, appointing someone to be responsible for nurturing diversity and inclusion within the organisation. And the good news is, where these roles sit within the organisation is getting higher up the hierarchy.

Let me share some data around this…

Each year LinkedIn, analyze 100,000 or more U.S. hiring decisions involving people with “chief” in their job titles. The traditional Big Three roles -- chief executive officer, chief operating officer and chief finance officer -- remain the areas seeing the most hiring. But the C-suite keeps getting wider, meaning there are more roles being added and for the second year in a row, the most intense hiring push involves chief diversity and inclusion officers (or slight variants on that title).

In fact hiring of chief diversity and inclusion officer soared to 111% (as a share of all hires) during 2021. 

The changing structure of the C-Suite provide clues about companies’ ever-changing priorities. No matter what the domain, when companies want to fix problems fast or make the most of new opportunities -- it’s common to signal those ambitions by adding a C-suite leader. 

The fact that a diversity and inclusion voice is present at this table is definitely a move in the right direction but let’s be very clear - a single hire cannot change everything and certainly not overnight!
But I honestly believe that’s what leaders of organisations think will happen. It’s kind of like saying, we know there’s something going on here, things could maybe do better, but it’s all going to be okay because we have someone who can fix that now! So let’s just get back to business as usual!!!

I mean honestly can we just…..can we just take a moment to acknowledge that business as usual is the reason we are in this mess -

So let me circle back to the data, it’s great that Chief Diversity and Inclusion officers are taking a seat at the decision making table in record numbers. But Deloitte estimates that over 50% of these new appointments will burn out within 18 months! 

I mean that’s shocking right?

I will dedicate a separate episode to why I think this is happening but for now I want to share some more data with you before we dive into the 5 things we need to know about D&I in 2022.

Despite 97% of large companies - that’s companies with more than 1,000 employees running diversity and inclusion programmes of some sort, only 25% of underrepresented groups feel these programmes have directly benefited them! 

Now if you’re struggling to keep on top of all these facts don’t worry I will link you to a blog post in the show notes and you can also access the transcript if you want to go back over the numbers - but for now let me summaries for you…

More organisations are seemingly doing more to support diversity and inclusion but it’s not working! 

So let’s try to figure out what we need to be doing differently

Let’s start with the 5 things you need to know about Diversity and inclusion in 2022.

Number One…It’s not about the minority

Diversity and Inclusion is no longer a nice to have business side hustle. It’s a business imperative.  Whilst we used to talk about D&I in the context of maybe attracting more diverse talent, in 2022, if you are not actively practicing D&I you will fail to attract any talent, diverse or otherwise! 
As the great resignation continues to prevail, employees are stepping back behind the wheel, and as they find themselves in the driving seat of their careers, they’re heading straight to destination inclusion. 

When PWC looked into what millennials are looking for in the work environment, they found out that 80% of female millennials care about a potential employees approach to diversity and inclusion. According to a Gallup survey GenZ are looking for organisations that care about their employees.

Creating a Diverse, Inclusive, Value lead and Equity driven (DIVE) culture is the only way to attract the next generation of talent - who already make up 46% of the workforce - that’s not a minority group. Everyone and your bottom line benefits from a DIVE culture, so you need to stop thinking of it as something you’re doing for someone else, it’s something you’re doing for everyone.

It’s simply good business.  And definitely something you need to do in order to future proof your business.  

Number Two…You’ve got to stop faking it

Seriously, you’re not fooling anyone. In fact you’re making it worse.  Stop professing concern / interest in diversity and inclusion and start practicing it. This is the one that pushes my buttons the most - it’s the hypocrisy I simply can’t stomach.

Honestly, it may take me two minutes to read or watch you latest spiel about how much you care about D&I but it only takes me one minute to google your company and see how pale, stale and male your board is!

If you do not take the time to get super clear on your WHY for D&I and if this is not aligned with your broader organisational values, you will inevitably trip yourself up.

Let me give you some examples to help bring this point to life…

I know the pandemic turned our world upside down and I know many of us were simply trying to figure out what to do to survive on a day to day basis but I personally find it very uncomfortable to read an organisations D&I statement about how they value everyone’s unique opinion and experience and in the same breath terminate their employment because they chose not to comply with the companies vaccination policy.

And just to be clear I’m not saying a company cannot have a strict vaccination policy but I am saying that doesn’t align with a D&I policy that values authenticity and uniqueness - what companies are saying in this example and so many others is - we value your unique opinion as long as its the same as ours! 

It’s like saying, I absolutely respect your choice to be a vegetarian but we only serve meat here so what can I get you?

So before you raise your rainbow flag, take a moment to ask yourself why.  Because it’s not window dressing! The rainbow flag symbolises inclusion and safety. But what happens to me when I step over your rainbow doormat? Do you have toilet facilities I can use? Do you have parental leave policies that support same sex parents, or when you’re onboarding new hires do you give them more than two gender boxes to choose from. Do you openly share pronouns or am I likely to get miss gendered? 

I really hope that your organisation wants to be a safe space for members of the LGBTQI+ community but simply rainbow washing your company once a year does not do this.

And before you promote how you support women on international women’s day, make sure you are actively working to close the pay gap!

As you withdraw from doing business with Russian based companies are you taking the time to connect with your own employees who may be directly effected by the war between Russia and Ukraine and every other war that’s happening in the world right now?

I’m not saying you have to be perfect but you do have to be authentic.  Do your actions align with your words?

You may be at the start of your journey but you need to own it.  Don’t be a hypocrite. This surface level lip service approach will no longer cut it.  In 2022 you need to be super clear on where you are and where you are heading to. Because in todays world of business TRUST is in short supply and is worth its weight in gold.

Number Three…Go all in 

Diversity and inclusion isn’t just about race or gender. We need to stop being exclusionary in our D&I efforts. There isn’t a hierarchy of relevance or importance here.  Yes there are some aspects which garner more media attention or more greatly reflect social unrest, 

but trust me when I say - where there’s one raging fire of injustice, there are embers burning for many more. Let me just say that again - where there’s one raging fire of injustice, there are embers burning for many more.

If you are really committed to D&I, be committed to D&I full stop and stop cherry picking.

This point is closely linked to the first two. It’s about authenticity. Yes some aspects of D&I are easier to see and therefore count and what we measure we manage but you won’t win the D&I game by simply playing the numbers game. It really doesn’t matter if you add three different people to the table, if you don’t listen to their voice.

There are numerous diversity characteristics and they are all worthy and important.  And we are very rarely just one thing.  Cherry picking one aspect of diversity and inclusion means we dismiss intersectionality and we are privileging our attention and focus on just one thing and for me this goes against the very essence of inclusion.

I’m not saying you need to do all of the things - in fact I’m going to get to that under number 4. If you want to go all in and only focus on race and racial justice and I completely understand why because this topic absolutely needs attention and focus, it is an incredibly important element of D&I work - then go all in my friend BUT know that in doing so, you are excluding other diversity characteristics. So get super clear on that be explicit don’t talk about promoting diversity and inclusion when all you are taking about is race.

I have been told I have no right to be a white woman in the D&I space.  I fully acknowledge and accept that as a white woman I have no personal lived experience of racial injustice, my voice is not the one that needs to be heard in that particular space - and I agree. But this is the very reason why we want diversity of thought and experience around the decision making table - because one perspective is not enough. 

As D&I leads or advocates we cannot fall into the trap of only talking about one element of diversity and still package it as D&I. We can be experts or advocates of one specific element of diversity but we owe in to our emerging field to be authentic and true and very clear, otherwise we are contributing to the performative aspect of this work.

I don’t know the data right now but I will try to dive into in, but I’m interested to know how diverse are these new appointments to the C-suite? How many of the newly appointed Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officers are neurodiverse, or identify as none gender binary, or have a physical disability, or are under the age of 40. And where are the black female Chief Financial Officers? Are these appointments indicative of these organisations practicing D&I or are they yet another performative act of tokenism?

Promoting one type of person to one type of role within your organisation, does not make you diverse and inclusive. 

Okay Number Four…Be SMARTER

Whilst I’ve just told you to go all in, that doesn’t mean I want you to do all the things!  In fact I want you to do less in 2022. In 2021 I saw so many D&I leads burn out.  I watched so many companies launch so many policies and campaigns and a yet still fail to move the needle.  We’ve got to stop throwing spaghetti at the wall in the hope that something will eventually stick. We’ve got to approach D&I in the same way we approach any other aspect of business.  We’ve got to be strategic and start with SMARTER Goals. 

Organisations need to take the time to get crystal clear on what it is they want to achieve. What does diversity and inclusion mean to them? How does it align with their values in short what is their WHY for D&I?

This is always the starting point for any work I do with one to one clients.  Again it helps negate the hypocrisy tendency - I would hope that in other aspects of your business, you don’t simply do what everyone else is doing just for the sake of it….but it often feels like this is how companies approach D&I work.

I appreciate we can’t all be market leaders and pioneers and many of us build successful businesses by following others, but we at least know why - or at least I would hope we know why we are using that distribution model, or why we are using this marketing strategy, or why we have chosen this operational framework or compliance model. 

Once you know at an organisational level WHY you care about D&I and I will do an episode specifically on this topic next week, then you can start to get clear on WHAT to do.

In McKinsey’s 2020 DEI report - Diversity Wins - which reports out on more than 1,000 large companies in 15 countries - they noted a polarisation in D&I performance. Explaining that since 2014 most organisations have made little progress, have stalled or are even slipping backward, whilst some are making impressive gains in diversity, particularly in executive teams. They show that these diversity winners are adopting systematic, business-led approaches to inclusion and diversity. 

This data supports my argument that we need to get more strategic with our D&I efforts - so rather than doing a little bit of everything, we need to take bold strategic steps. And these steps should lead us to achieving SMARTER goals.

So the 4th thing you need to know about D&I in 2022, is that you can make an impact, you can create diverse and inclusive, value lead and equity driven DIVE cultures, but only if you get strategic. Trust me when I say there’s nowhere to hide anymore. So be brave in 2022 and commit to achieving impact.

Finally, Number Five…Know your limits 

You may be a one person show, or a small business, where everyone chips in, or a multi-national corporation.  Whatever the size and scope of your organisation, you need to know your limitations.  You may have an interest in D&I but do you have the expertise? There’s no right or wrong answer, I just want you to take a moment to acknowledge where you are. Because whatever efforts you’re committing to D&I in 2022, I want you to leverage the most impact possible.

Diversity and inclusion is a growing field and it’s a multi faceted subject.  If I want to appoint someone to lead the marketing strategy in my business, it’s fairly easy for me to consider what experience / skills or qualifications I’m looking for. It’s just not that straight forward for D&I. 

As I mentioned at the start of this episode, one person cannot be expected to single handedly redesign your business and it’s culture - so you need to get super clear on what it is you want and need to achieve your D&I and you need to invest in building a team and a strategic plan to execute this.

The business case for D&I will highlight the numerous tangible benefits of creating a DIVE culture but in order to get any type of return on investment - you actually have to invest! 

Maybe you don’t have the internal expertise to develop your D&I strategy - so invest here. Work with an external D&I consultant to help you create your road map and then work with your internal capabilities to achieve the clear goals outline along the way.

Phew we’ve covered a lot here today so let me quickly summaries and remember you can link to a blog post or access the transcript in the show notes, if you want to dive back into the data:

The 5 things you need to know about diversity and inclusion in 2022 are:

Number One…It’s not about the minority
Number Two…You’ve got to stop faking it
Number Three…Go all in 
Number Four…Be SMARTER
Number Five…Know your limits 

I hope this has given you some food for thought. If you’re looking for one tangible action step you can take today - start with your WHY for D&I - hit voice notes on your phone or go old school and grab a pen and paper and simply write a couple of sentences about WHY D&I is important to you on a very personal level. And then do the same at an organisational level. 

Because remember we’re in this for real - we’re not faking it - we’re owning it - and this is how we start impacting it

Okay my friend I’m going to sign off here but I will dive into this more next week and you know what I even have a perfect resource I will share with you then - ha - I’m already excited about next week - I hope you feel the same way - until next time my friend.