DEI isn't just a buzz word; it has real impact on your organization.
“The Balancing Act” recently spoke to Tom Bayley, a one-time Chief Diversity & Inclusion Officer at the Naval War College. DEI is critical to an organization's success for many reasons.
Notably, Bayley mentions that “if innovation is important to your company...diversity is the catalyst for innovation. It's those different ideas that kind of come up with diversity. Inclusion is the enabler, and leadership has to bring it all together in a culture for success.”
There’s also been an evolution in the way employers and employees alike talk about DEI and its impacts across the workplace.
As Bayley explains: “It takes a lot of work to bring it together... I would say that's the big transition is recognizing that it's more than just saying diversity, we want a diverse workforce. We saw for many years that we chased the diversity target of trying to get a diverse workforce, but we couldn't retain it. Why? Company culture.”
As we’ve previously discussed on “The Balancing Act”, definitions of diversity, equity, and inclusion have expanded far beyond race, ethnicity and gender. Employers looking to embrace DEI within their own organizations should consider additional intersectional identities, such as culture, age, sexual orientation, disability status, educational background, parental status, and caregiving status.
Bayley says: “The whole issue is to understand who people are and what their needs are and recognize what may prevent them from being able to bring their full selves to work and be fully engaged. We really need to address that. I think corporate America has shifted the perspective a little bit to recognize that employees are no longer a commodity but are actual human beings with real needs. And we need to listen to them.”
Bayley’s action item for company leaders?
“Have discussions with people, whether it's a companywide all-hands type of talk, or just talking to the different supervisors to say: ‘Tell me what we can do to make this place better. What can we do to help you grow in the organization? What can we do better? How can we make this better?’”
To check out our full interview with Tom, listen to our podcast episode here:
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