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Diverse DE&I department

I had a fantastic day with great conversations in a big German/Austrian/Swiss retail company. By talking to their Diversity department I was surprised to see the department wasn't divers at all: same age, gender, cultural background, heterosexually married, kids, living in small villages, studied. And they were surprised I challenged it.

In the pursuit of building strong and effective Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) departments, it is crucial to embrace a diverse workforce. Hiring individuals with a wide range of backgrounds, experiences, and perspectives enriches the department's capacity to achieve its goals and creates a more inclusive working environment.

1. **Representation Matters:** A diverse workforce in the DEI department reflects the diverse communities and individuals it aims to serve. Having employees from various backgrounds enables better understanding and connection with different groups, making the department more relatable and trustworthy.

2. **Multifaceted Problem-Solving:** Diverse teams bring a multitude of perspectives, leading to more comprehensive and innovative problem-solving. Tackling issues related to diversity and inclusion requires creativity and fresh approaches, which can only be achieved through diverse collaboration.

3. **Cultural Competence:** With a diverse team, the DEI department can develop cultural competence and awareness. This enables them to design more effective strategies and initiatives that resonate with the needs and values of various communities.

4. **Inclusivity in Practice:** By diversifying its own workforce, the DEI department sets an example of inclusivity in action. It demonstrates its commitment to promoting diversity not just in theory but also in the workplace, inspiring others to do the same.

5. **Avoiding Echo Chambers:** Homogenous teams risk falling into groupthink and echo chambers. Hiring people with similar experiences and perspectives may hinder the identification of blind spots and limit the department's ability to address a wide range of issues effectively.

6. **Fostering Empathy:** Diverse teams cultivate empathy and understanding among team members. Empathy is essential when working on initiatives that aim to create an inclusive society, as it helps in genuinely connecting with the experiences and challenges faced by others.

7. **Broader Networks:** A diverse workforce brings a broader network of connections, opening doors to new partnerships and collaborations with different organizations and communities. This expanded network can enhance the department's impact and outreach.

In conclusion, a diverse workforce in the DEI department is essential to achieve meaningful and lasting change in promoting diversity and inclusion. Embracing individuals with varied experiences fosters creativity, understanding, and inclusivity, making the department more effective in its mission to create a fair and equitable society for all.

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