In many organizations, change often comes from the top. Leadership may have a vision for a diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) strategy that they’re excited to implement, or a business owner may get inspired by the ways their company can foster improvements.
But you don’t have to be an organization’s leader or even in management to create change. Each of us has the right to seek justice and equality. If you work for an organization, you can use your voice at your workplace even if you’re not on the leadership team. You can encourage change. So let’s look at how to talk to your boss about diversity.
How to Talk to Your Boss About Diversity: Starting the Conversation
Some workplaces have a culture of learning and feedback that makes it possible for conversations to start. Your employer may seek feedback or ideas from teams and employees. If that’s the case, there is a system for you to share your thoughts about DEI.
If you don’t have such an easy way of offering ideas, you may need to get creative. One way to start the conversation could be to share case studies or articles about the importance of diversity with a manager or team member you trust. Another good time to discuss DEI is during an evaluation or feedback session. You might suggest how DEI impacts your work and how an improvement in the DEI areas of concern would help you do your best work.
How to Discuss Diversity & Inclusion
Once you have a way to start the conversation, knowing how to discuss diversity and inclusion centers around a few best practices.
Explain “What’s in It for Them”
Arm yourself with metrics. Show your employer why DEI isn’t just a “nice to have” but an absolute must in today’s business world. Here are some numbers you can start with:
- Research from Deloitte found that inclusive organizations were twice as likely to hit their financial targets. The same company concluded that if 10% of workers at a business feel more included, that company will see increased employee attendance, at a rate of about one day per employee
- Research from McKinsey concluded that companies that encourage diversity, inclusion, & equity see business performance 31% higher & are 35% more likely to see high returns when compared with less-diverse organizations.
- Research from BCG & the Technical University of Munich found that diverse companies saw more innovation, especially when diversity happens at the management level.
- Studies show that diverse companies can see 3 times higher cash flow per worker when compared with less-diverse competitors.
- A study by Cloverpop concluded that inclusive teams make better decisions in 87% of cases when compared with individual decision-makers.
- Diverse companies also make 19% higher revenues than more monocultural organizations.
It can also be useful to have metrics unique to your business and sector, to show your boss how DEI could help in your industry. Company-specific metrics can help identify pain points and lack of diversity, to show where change may be beneficial.
It’s easy for employers to miss the fact that workers may feel excluded in the workplace. Employers may not be involved in day-to-day operations or may be focused on growth rather than on DEI. Employees may not share their concerns or their feelings of inclusion with employers. They want to hold onto their jobs.
Diversio can help organizations gather, analyze, and benchmark DEI data. If you don’t have data to share about your organization, you can discuss possibly gathering such data using an anonymous survey tool like the one provided by Diversio.
Bring Solutions, Not Problems
If you tell an employer that people are leaving the company due to a lack of diversity and inclusion or if you ask the company to create a DEI strategy, you’re putting all the work on leadership. If your employer isn’t completely sure about the importance of DEI yet, especially, this can make it easy for them to ignore the problem.
After you explain the metrics of why DEI is important, you might want to suggest ways you can create change at your company. Look for solutions that don’t disrupt operations but which can offer big payoffs. Here are some ideas:
- Updating job ads to be more inclusive
- Creating a DEI mission statement
- Working with Diversio for an AI-powered, field-tested, all-in-one solution
- Creating a DEI committee to create some goals
- Training teams in inclusive language
- Using some of the accessibility features in the tech you already use
Be Part of the Solution
If you can show initiative in leading the charge, it reduces some of the pressure on leadership. It gives leaders a chance to see what results you can create before they invest in DEI. Whether you volunteer to lead an employee resource group (ERG) or to head a DEI committee, offer to support efforts in the business. This can create momentum, getting others involved until DEI becomes part of “business as usual”.
How to Discuss Diversity & Inclusion in the Workplace with Colleagues
Buy-in from company leadership is important, but it’s also crucial to get other managers and colleagues excited about the idea of DEI. You can do this by chatting with others about what you’ve learned about DEI. You might want to share DEI articles to get the conversation started or even set up a book club to discuss books from authors who have faced injustice. This can inspire others in your organization. And together you can start taking action, such as asking for employee resource groups or discussing professional development opportunities inside and outside the organization.
How Can Diversio Help?
Now that you have some ideas about how to discuss diversity and inclusion in the workplace, what’s next?
Diversio is the world’s first AI-powered DEI platform. We can help your organization gather, analyze, and benchmark DEI data and then suggest field-tested solutions you can try. With Diversio, you can get inspired by recommendations for actions and set deadlines for specific goals, so you create real momentum in your efforts.
You might want to read some of the free articles Diversio makes available to find out more about DEI. It can be useful to find out how Diversio for Companies works with organizations of all sizes to create measurable change. You might want to find out how Diversio Certification works and how it can drive improvement in your workplace.
When your organization is ready, booking a demo is the best way to find out what Diversio can do for your organization.