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The influence of a DE&I depratment

Updated: Aug 4, 2023

Recently I talked to the Head of #Diversity, #Equity and #Inclusion of a global car manufacturer and the person was extremely frustrated about the lack of real influence of his DEI department.

To truly embed these principles into the fabric of an organization, it is essential that the #DEI department is not just a symbolic entity but holds the authority to issue directives and aligns seamlessly with top management. Here's why empowering the DEI department and ensuring alignment with leadership is crucial for creating a genuinely inclusive and diverse workplace:

Driving Change from the Top: For DEI initiatives to be truly transformative, they must start from the top and cascade throughout the organization. When the DEI department is aligned with top management, it sends a clear message that diversity and inclusion are strategic priorities for the company. Leaders become champions of DEI efforts, leading by example and influencing the entire workforce to embrace these principles.

Implementing Effective Strategies: An authorized DEI department can develop and execute meaningful strategies that encompass all aspects of the organization. By aligning with top management, the department gains access to critical resources, support, and insights, ensuring that DEI initiatives are well-integrated into the company's overall business strategy and operations.

Holding Accountability: Empowered DEI departments have the authority to set specific goals and metrics related to diversity and inclusion. With alignment at the top, these departments can hold leaders and managers accountable for their roles in promoting diversity and fostering an inclusive culture. Clear accountability drives progress and ensures that DEI efforts are not treated as optional add-ons but as integral components of the company's success.

Overcoming Resistance and Pushback: Initiating DEI initiatives can sometimes face resistance, either due to lack of awareness or misconceptions about the importance of diversity and inclusion. An empowered DEI department, supported by top management, can more effectively address such resistance. By using data, research, and advocacy, they can educate the workforce about the value of DEI, promoting a more receptive environment for change.

Cultivating Inclusive Leadership: Inclusive leadership is vital for sustaining a diverse and inclusive workplace. When the DEI department collaborates with top management, they can design leadership development programs that emphasize inclusive leadership skills, encouraging managers to create supportive environments for all employees.

Gaining Strategic Insights: An empowered DEI department that has the support of top management gains access to valuable strategic insights. They can actively participate in decision-making processes, providing unique perspectives on how diversity and inclusion can positively impact the company's growth, innovation, and market competitiveness.

Strengthening External Reputation: A company that demonstrates its commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion through an empowered DEI department and alignment with top management enhances its external reputation. Customers, investors, and partners are increasingly seeking to collaborate with socially responsible and inclusive organizations, which can lead to business growth and new opportunities.

Attracting and Retaining Talent: A robust DEI strategy, backed by the company's leadership, becomes a compelling factor for attracting diverse talent. Top talent seeks organizations that not only value diversity but actively promote an inclusive culture. Moreover, employees are more likely to stay with a company that prioritizes their well-being and personal growth, fostering higher retention rates.

In conclusion, empowering the diversity, equity, and inclusion department and ensuring alignment with top management are essential steps toward creating an inclusive and diverse workplace. By granting the department the authority to issue directives, the company demonstrates its commitment to change, fosters accountability, and drives progress. Alignment with top management enables strategic integration of DEI efforts and creates an environment where diversity and inclusion become ingrained in the company's DNA, driving success and sustainability in the long term.

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