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Is A Chief Diversity Officer Enough? It’s Not, And Here’s Why

Written by: Desiree M Goldey, Executive Contributor

Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.

Executive Contributor Desiree M Goldey

Diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) programs are becoming increasingly common in organizations, but many struggle to get them right. Read more here. A recent study by McKinsey & Company found that only 16% of executives believe that their DEI programs are effective.

Business people enjoying on a break at work

There are several reasons for this. One reason is that many organizations are simply not investing enough in DEI or even investing in the wrong places. A lot of the time, DEI programs are often seen as a checkbox exercise rather than a strategic priority.

Avoid the mistakes

One of the most prominent mistakes organizations make is appointing a Chief Diversity Officer (CDO) or Chief Diversity Equity Officer (CDEO) and immediately expecting them to solve all their DEI issues. A CDO is important to keep the programs on track, but they cannot do it alone. DEI needs to start at the top, with complete buy-in from leadership. It must also be fully integrated into every piece of the organization, from hiring and promotion to product development and marketing. Building an actual DEI or culture department is a fantastic approach if you are an organization that has the budget to do it. This gives the CDO support and a team that enables them to touch more parts of the organization. Another mistake that organizations make is rushing into DEI programs without first taking the time to understand their current state. It is vital to do an audit of your current workforce to identify any areas where there are disparities. You should also conduct stay interviews with employees to learn more about their experiences and what they need from your organization to feel more included.

Actionable steps

Once you have a good understanding of your current state, you can start to develop a DEI plan with actionable steps. This plan should be developed in collaboration with leaders from across the organization. It is crucial to have buy-in from everyone, from the CEO to the front-line employees. Announce your plan and allow employees to speak up if they feel like you are not staying on track. No DEI plan will be successful without a budget. It is vital to invest in the resources that are needed to implement and sustain your DEI programs. This includes funding for training, employee resource groups, and other initiatives.

It is also essential to track your progress and adjust your plan as needed. This means setting clear metrics and conducting regular check-ins. Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) is an ongoing voyage, not a final stop. It's crucial to maintain unwavering dedication as you progress in this crucial endeavor.

Diversity and Inclusion

Here are some additional tips for implementing a successful DEI program:

  • Don't try to do too much too fast. It is better to start small and focus on a few key areas.

  • Be strategic about your approach. Focus on the areas where you will have the most significant impact.

  • Get feedback from employees regularly. This will help you to identify what is working and what is not.

  • Celebrate your successes. This will help to keep everyone motivated.

Case study: Google

Google is one of the leading companies in the area of DEI. In 2014, Google launched its first DEI report. The report revealed that the company's workforce was overwhelmingly white and male.

Google took this feedback seriously and made several changes to its DEI programs. The company invested in training all employees on unconscious bias and inclusive leadership. Google also launched several initiatives to recruit and retain more women and people of color, such as its Code Next program and BOLD internship program. As a result of these efforts, Google has made significant progress in diversifying its workforce. The company's DEI report for 2022 showed that 41% of Google's employees are now women, and 31% are people of color. Google's success story shows that it is possible to create a more diverse, equitable, and inclusive workplace. However, it takes time, effort, and commitment. Read the full breakdown here.

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Essential for the future

“Do the best you can until you know better. Then, when you know better, do better.” Maya Angelou

DEI is essential for any organization that wants to be successful in the 21st century. A diverse workforce is more creative, innovative, and better able to solve complex problems. DEI also helps to attract and retain top talent. If you are serious about DEI, you need to start by making it a strategic priority. DEI must be integrated into every nuance of your organization, from hiring and promotion to product development and marketing. You must also invest the resources and infrastructure needed to implement and sustain your DEI programs.

Remember, diversity, equity, and inclusion work is not easy; it is challenging and requires people behind the work to have a passion for the end results. It is a journey that requires patience, persistence, and commitment. But it is a journey that is worth taking.

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Desiree M Goldey Brainz Magazine

Desiree M Goldey, Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine

As the Director of Talent Operations and Culture at Hub Recruiting, Desiree Goldey is a seasoned professional dedicated to driving positive change within organizations. With a career spanning over 25 years and a base in vibrant Austin, TX, she has emerged as a respected voice in the realms of Talent Acquisition and DEIB (Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging). Desiree is unapologetically committed to challenging leaders to elevate their strategies, particularly in the areas of hiring and culture. Her motto, 'Do Better, People,' encapsulates her mission to combat homophobia, sexism, racism, and subpar leadership while injecting her unique blend of sarcasm and humor into the discourse.



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