Diversity, equity and inclusion programs are growing in importance, but there are DE&I mistakes that all organizations should strive to avoid.
DE&I, which stands for diversity, equity and inclusion, is a hot topic in the corporate world. Because of its growing importance, many organizations are starting up DE&I programs as quickly as possible so that they can participate in the movement. But there are often pitfalls that accompany moving too fast, which is especially true in the DE&I space.
Here’s a look at 7 common pitfalls to avoid as you consider addressing diversity, equity and inclusion within your organization.
1. Thinking There’s an Easy Fix
The goal of any diversity, equity and inclusion program should be to create lasting change for an organization, its employees, as well as the communities where it operates. But there’s nothing easy about creating lasting change — so don’t shoot for easy fixes.
For example, employee resource groups (ERGs) and bias training are important components in many DE&I programs. But ERGs and training alone won’t propel long-term change and results.
Instead, focus on DE&I as a process to follow, including systems and mechanisms that reinforce the goals of your DE&I program.
2. A Lack of DE&I Training
Much like Diversity, equity and inclusion is a process that needs constant reinforcement, training should be an ongoing endeavor rather than just a one-off opportunity.
DE&I-related training should occur regularly and be made available to employees at all levels of your organization. In some cases, training is a one-time or annual event, which is not enough to help build a framework, create a vocabulary and change behaviors in a way that makes the workplace more diverse, equitable and inclusive. In other cases, training is made available to managers only, but issues can occur everywhere from entry-level employees to the executive suite.
Training can be used to put different corporate functions into a DE&I framework. For example, business travel includes its own unique issues, so consider having a Travel Manager or someone else who works in business travel give a training on the subject.
3. Choosing Diversity Instead of Inclusion
All of the words represented in the DE&I acronym are important. But the most common mistake is emphasizing diversity at the expense of inclusion.
Diversity is creating a workforce that includes the same colors, races, genders and beliefs as within society as a whole. Inclusion is making all of the people who represent society as a whole feel like valued and active members of the team.
4. Narrowing to Just One Demographic
There is a wide spectrum of people and groups who deserve Diversity, equity and inclusion attention. Some companies fall into the trap of focusing only on a certain race or a certain group. But the challenge with narrowing to just one demographic is that other demographics start to feel like they aren’t appreciated.
As noted at the top, there are no easy fixes in the DE&I space. While it may be easier to focus your efforts on just one demographic, it’s not what is best for your efforts.
5. Promising the Impossible
Diversity, equity and inclusion is a long process that typically results in incremental change. If you promise the impossible, the result will be unmet expectations, disappointment and a lack of resources for DE&I efforts.
But, if you set realistic expectations from the start, you can get the buy-in across your organization that can drive the ultimate success of your efforts.
6. Concentrating Externally Rather Than Internally
The hard work of DE&I takes place internally. Sometimes, organizations get caught up promoting and communicating their DE&I efforts externally, while neglecting the internal efforts that must take place for DE&I programs to be successful.
Wait to communicate and promote DE&I-related content until after you have firm results to share. Let your external communications and efforts be a natural byproduct of your internal success.
7. Narrowing DE&I Work to HR Only
When you hear about DE&I, you may immediately think of the HR department. And, while the HR department is pivotal in the implementation and management of DE&I programs, other departments must participate for those programs to reach their full potential.
For example, there are countless ways that DE&I issues emerge in business travel. Executives should work with Travel Managers and the Travelers themselves to ensure that business travel programs reinforce the objectives of DE&I programs.
Design a Travel Program That Matches Your Corporate Values
Your travel program should represent everything that your organization values. If diversity, equity and inclusion are priorities, they should be present in your travel program.
At JTB Business Travel, we help organizations create travel programs that reflect their corporate values. Behind every service we provide and every recommendation we make is a common-sense approach to business travel.
Contact us today about developing a travel program that matches your DE&I initiatives.