Their challenge is not their caring; it’s their overwhelm.
Creating an equitable, inclusive workplace is not easy, or is it?
Deep systemic work around DEI is often difficult, uncomfortable, and requires long-term commitment. But not every DEI action has to fall into that difficult category.
In fact, the more you “thingify” DEI, the more overwhelm threatens to interrupt the work. Why? Because it’s not in your normal daily flow. It’s an extra “thing.”
In reality, DEI is not a thing – it is reality. People’s identities are a part of them and therefore a part of everything they do. So why not rack up some small wins by taking small inclusion actions that can have a big impact?
- Creating a PowerPoint with stock photos for a global audience? Be sure to include photos of people from the cultures represented on the call.
- Putting on a large meeting and need some music to open the event? Solicit song suggestions selections from the least represented country or region in your company.
- Build asking for people’s pronouns into a work process like onboarding a new team member. Ask “How would you like to be addressed?” or “What would be your preferred pronouns?”
- Ask people to write for 90 seconds before speaking in high-stakes meetings to ensure a diversity of opinions and to discourage group conformity.
- For regular events, keep a spreadsheet of who spoke at each meeting to watch for patterns of bias. Seek out speakers from underrepresented groups or regions.
- If you find yourself annoyed by someone’s communication, ask yourself an objective question like “Could this be a cultural or style difference?” Try to focus on the outcome of the conversation rather than the style.
- Ask people to submit ideas anonymously before a meeting. This helps accommodate cultural differences for those who might not be comfortable speaking up in groups.
These small actions do not replace larger systemic DEI work, but they can provide motivation for people to want to do more.
For more information about how to get some small (or big) inclusion wins today, check out my partner website at www.peoplefirstelevation.com!