Do not outsource DEI
“Why do you have to bring in someone from another place to talk to me? You are my neighbor. Why didn’t you just introduce yourself?”
It was a conversation that left me stunned, and a little embarrassed. With the best intentions of serving our whole community, I had hired an external consultant to help connect the organization with parts of the community we had not reached. As I stood in conversation with a local business owner, I second-guessed my approach. Had my uncertainty about how to do things just right caused me to neglect basic common sense in human interaction? Did I really need a consultant to show me how to talk to my own neighbor?
In my eagerness to take action, I had failed to differentiate where I should outsource support and what must come from within, fully integrated into every business unit, understood and embraced by the whole organization. Once I got over the initial defensiveness, this conversation helped me grow. Years later, knowledge gained through that experience shaped the way Humanidei works with clients. We uncover clients’ needs, then help them set strategies they can carry forward to action, on the right track for a diverse, equitable, and inclusive workplace.
With Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion work, this approach is essential: You cannot outsource an authentically inclusive culture. It must come from within. It is not work that can be delegated to an outside consultant or even an internal department. It must be integrated into every business unit, with success metrics set and accountability enforced.
This complete integration into your organization will move you from saying the right things about DEI to taking the right actions. It requires important planning on the front end, strategic alignment, resource allocation, and long-term commitment.
If you are considering launching a formal program to build a more diverse, equitable, and inclusive organization, the groundwork you lay now will make all the difference. It is what will ensure that no matter what may happen in your workplace, in your community, or in the world, you have a structure in place to support your employees, value their differences, and respect the unique experiences they each bring forth. Your approach should be designed to sustain for as long as your organization plans to employ unique individuals.
Humanidei was founded to help credit unions create more inclusive organizations. We work with clients to assess current organizational climate; identify obstacles to diversity, equity, and inclusion; and build strategies that can be carried forward to an authentically inclusive workplace.
By helping you understand the questions to ask and where to find answers in your organization and your community, you will move forward with greater certainty, ready to take your own action for authentic inclusion.
Contact us today (firstname.lastname@example.org) to schedule a complimentary 30-minute consultation.