Companies with diverse and inclusive workplaces are 35% more likely to outperform their less diverse counterparts. Recognizing the impact of diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) in organizational success highlights the importance of individuals becoming DEI advocates. Explore the best practices for becoming a DEI advocate and contributing to positive change in your workplace and beyond.
In the landscape of modern workplaces, diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) have become critical elements for fostering innovation, creativity, and overall success. McKinsey’s findings underline the business case for DEI, revealing that diverse and inclusive companies are more likely to outperform their peers. Here are best practices for individuals aspiring to become DEI advocates and champions of positive change:
- Educate Yourself: Begin by cultivating a deep understanding of DEI concepts, challenges, and opportunities. Engage in self-education through books, articles, webinars, and training programs. Familiarize yourself with inclusive language and practices to create a solid foundation for advocacy.
- Listen and Learn from Others: Actively listen to the experiences and perspectives of individuals from diverse backgrounds. Create spaces for open and honest conversations, allowing others to share their stories. This fosters empathy and helps you better understand the unique challenges faced by different communities.
- Use Your Privilege to Amplify Voices: Recognize your own privileges and leverage them to amplify the voices of marginalized individuals. Advocate for equal opportunities, speak up against discriminatory practices, and use your influence to create a more inclusive environment. Use your position to bring attention to underrepresented perspectives.
- Foster Inclusivity in Your Networks: Intentionally build diverse networks that encompass a range of backgrounds, experiences, and perspectives. Actively seek out opportunities to connect with individuals from underrepresented groups and support their professional growth. This expands the reach of DEI efforts beyond individual actions.
- Advocate for Inclusive Policies: Engage with leadership and HR to advocate for inclusive policies and practices within your organization. Propose initiatives that promote diversity, equity, and inclusion, and ensure that these policies are transparent, accessible, and consistently enforced.
- Be Open to Feedback: Acknowledge that DEI advocacy is a continuous learning process. Be open to feedback from colleagues, especially those from marginalized communities. Use constructive criticism as an opportunity for personal and professional growth, fostering a culture of accountability and improvement.
Research underscores the tangible benefits of prioritizing DEI in the workplace, affirming that organizations with diverse and inclusive environments are better positioned for success. By embracing these best practices, individuals can contribute to the collective effort of creating workplaces that celebrate differences and promote equal opportunities for all.
Becoming a DEI advocate is an ongoing commitment to learning, listening, and taking meaningful action. By implementing these best practices, individuals can play a vital role in fostering inclusivity, driving positive change, and contributing to the success of their organizations.
- McKinsey & Company. (2020). Diversity wins: How inclusion matters.
- Cox, T., & Blake, S. (1991). Managing Cultural Diversity: Implications for Organizational Competitiveness.
- Ely, R. J., & Thomas, D. A. (2001). Cultural Diversity at Work: The Effects of Diversity Perspectives on Work Group Processes and Outcomes.