I’ve been reading a lot of stories about “diversity fatigue.”
A lot of reports in the news lament—or gloat about, depending on the outlet—the decreasing investment in DEIA.
We’re told that organizations are cutting back, slowing down, and not following through on the commitments they so loudly made in the wake of George Floyd’s death. The LinkedIn report on C-Suite jobs was typical: Chief Diversity Officer roles were added at a rate of 169% between 2020 and 2022, then the growth has screeched to a halt this year.
And after the Supreme Court gutted affirmative action in higher education, HR and legal departments at many companies are feeling new headwinds blowing against DEIA efforts.
I’m frustrated with these trends. But I’ve seen them before. And I know they only paint part of the picture.
I also see leaders with phenomenal persistence and vision, and teams too busy quietly doing the work to worry about what LinkedIn says. They have not allowed fear of the possible extension of the Supreme Court ruling to stop their efforts.
I was spotlighting their focus on DEIA as part of their visioning process for the future. I didn’t tell you that this is just the recent leg of their diversity and inclusion marathon.
We first connected with them in 2021, when they approached us about doing a workplace assessment to see how their employees experienced the culture. We did focus groups and interviews to hear from everybody. We led Unconscious Bias workshops for all their employees, leadership, and board.
I can tell their heart is in the work. They made sure we offered sessions and focus groups in Spanish because they have a significant group of employees who are native Spanish speakers. A task force of employees has built out the strategic plan for DEIA to govern their efforts over the next few years, with the board playing a pivotal role. In hiring Matthew as CEO, they ensured that what they’ve started to build will not lose momentum.
I love sharing success stories like Mt. Auburn’s with prospective clients.
DEIA work has always been challenging; some people will always resist the changes it requires. But it’s also meaningful and gratifying.
And it isn’t stopping.
I’ll be sharing more stories like this to encourage individuals and organizations tackling this work.
This is not the time for us to become weary of DEIA. It’s time to take stock of our joy and commitment, and let it launch us into 2024.