How Do We Keep This Going?
“How do we keep this going?”
A participant recently raised this at the end of one of my workshops, when I asked the group to list things they wanted to learn more about.
This question is on the mind of everyone who cares about making our society more equitable.
How do we keep this going? A particularly good question when many organizations appear to be disinvesting in DEI.
My answer? Embed DEI in your regular business practices. Put a DEI lens on everything you do. DEI work requires engagement at every level: the C-Suite, HR, middle managers, and individual contributors. “Keep it going” by keeping people thinking, talking, and engaging in these ideas between big projects:
Add one thing to the agenda of your weekly department meetings: a DEI success story (did anyone do something recently that impacts inclusion or equity?) or a DEI challenge (did someone navigate their own bias or experience a microaggression?).
Support your affinity groups or DEI committee in arranging a regular lunch and learn—to gather and discuss a book, article, video, or something important to a member. It doesn’t have to be huge. Inclusive workplaces are built on trust and relationships. Giving people consistent opportunities to hold conversations about differences keeps those muscles strong.
The DEI line items may be shrinking, but keep hold of a modest budget for activities. Bring in an outside speaker, offer an employee outing to a play, or just provide a meal or snacks at the DEI events.
Breaking down biases means opening up our social circles, so find ways to incentivize mingling. Offer free lunch to employees who don’t know each other to share a meal.
Use your sphere of influence to keep equity and inclusion in the foreground—even if you don’t use the words “equity and inclusion.” And no matter what enthusiasm, or lack thereof, you perceive around you, you always have control over your own time. Invest in your own development—do your own work—and share what you are learning and why it matters to you.
The question “How do we keep this going?” makes me optimistic.
Not just because of the words “keep going”—but because of the “we."