The Truth About Diversity & Inclusion

Diversity and Inclusion (D & I) is on just about every business leader’s radar these days. But even more important is business continuity due to COVID-19. No industry has been spared, while some businesses have fared better than others. As a CEO, how do you assess what needs to be done in the D & I space and how do you find the time and money when business resources are being stretched to the max? What’s the right answer for my business?

Most internal D&I attempts hit the wrong mark and are driven by tactics instead of strategy.

There is no “one size fits all” solution to Diversity & Inclusion initiatives.

The truth is that every business is different. The culture is different. Values are different. The size of the organization makes a significant difference. The industry is a key factor. And, how do I afford this investment, especially at this time. There is no “one size fits all” solution. Many CEO’s delegate this key business factor to the HR lead in the organization expecting this person to “get it done.” 

The problem with this approach is that many HR leads are overloaded with current responsibilities, and often, they have limited experience in this area. D & I has recently added an “E,” DEI into the descriptors of this area. The “E” is equity, and the HR lead is generally in a good place to handle this part of the equation through annual salary structure reviews along with advocating for Equity in promotions.

However, most internal attempts hit the wrong mark and are driven by tactics vs a strategy.  Any attempts at D & I should start with an assessment and gap analysis with the leadership of the company.  Once effectively diagnosed, your company needs to create executive alignment on priorities and pace of the process. And, the D & I strategy needs to be embedded into your current culture and strategic plans vs a stand-alone strategy.

A vast majority of the time, the answer is seeking an outside perspective. Easy to say, but finding the right person is critical. It will require the CEO’s direct involvement with this selection process. Hopefully, I have provided you with some key questions to ask. The most important part of the selection decision is to find a solution that provides a bridge tailored to your culture and is cost effective. A “sunset” Fractional CDO (Chief Diversity Officer) approach could be your answer to optimizing this decision.