Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) is a commitment. It’s a way of being and a way of leading. It's a continual commitment to make it safer, have better conversations, deeper conversations, and continually raise awareness of the different experiences all of us are having.
Today we interviewed Annemarie Shrouder, an expert on DEI shares with us how to make your organization more caring, more empathetic, and more inclusive as you Team Anywhere.
Diversity & Inclusion Meaning
For business, Diversity and Inclusion is an organizational commitment to ensure that all employees feel included, valued and an essential part of the team regardless of background, religion, race or sexual preference. Most leaders think of diversity and inclusion as just another program, but it is more than a program - it is a commitment. It’s the type of commitment that empowers all employees to be their most authentic selves so that they can perform at their highest level.
Diversity and Inclusion work requires two elements: a growth mindset and working from the heart - something that is extremely difficult in many corporate environments. Inside Diversity and Inclusion work we understand other people better, get to know each other more, and use that awareness to create a greater sense of belonging, connection, and community. This is why Diversity and Inclusion is heart work. Heart work is building the skills of connection, compassion, and empathy.
Why Diversity & Inclusion is Important
When it comes to Diversity and Inclusion, one of the most important elements of achieving strong results is ensuring buy-in from all stakeholders. Many people, especially leaders, are often not bought-in on the real value of Diversity and Inclusion work.
A common response Annemarie gets is, “We ARE inclusive; everyone is welcome here; why do we have to talk about it?” Annemarie explains that although leaders might have this perception, they need to remember that two people can be in the same situation and have a completely different experience.
Depending on who you are in the world, how you show up, and your level of power and privilege, it's very easy to assume that you have an inclusive environment because it's a space that's safe for you. When it’s a safe space for you, it’s easy to make the assumption that everybody else feels the same way.
The D&I Conversation Remote Vs. In-Person
Remote Diversity and Inclusion meetings create a layer of removal that--when used well--can have positive results. Since COVID, the mission and purpose of Diversity and Inclusion remain the same, but the execution of it is now different.
Remote conversations provide a layer of safety for some people, especially when it comes to hard conversations. When in our own environment, we can mute ourselves or turn off our video if we’re feeling strong emotions and don’t feel comfortable showing them. The remote atmosphere allows people to lean into difficult conversations - and take breaks when needed.
Additionally, remote video meetings have allowed us to really see inside people's lives. This new information creates a level of space that allows vulnerability.
Read the full summary here.
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