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Is DEI Dead? No, It Needs A Culture Revolution

As the Director of Talent Operations and Culture at ZRG Partners and Founder of Do Better Consulting, Desiree Goldey brings over 25 years of hard-earned wisdom to the forefront of talent acquisition and DEIB (Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging) initiatives.

Executive Contributor Desiree M Goldey

The murder of George Floyd in 2020 sparked a global outcry against systemic racism and ignited a wave of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) initiatives within organizations. While the initial surge was a positive step, many companies adopted a "checking the box" approach, focusing solely on increasing diversity numbers without addressing the underlying cultural issues that perpetuate inequity.

discussion in office lounge with colleague

This superficial approach to DEI is a disservice to the movement and a betrayal of the fight for true equality. It's time to move beyond performative actions and build inclusive cultures where everyone feels valued, respected, and empowered to reach their full potential.

DEI Metrics

Data-driven evidence: The cost of inaction

The consequences of neglecting a genuine commitment to DEI are stark and measurable:

  • Reduced innovation: McKinsey reports that companies with diverse leadership teams outperform those with homogenous leadership by 35%.

  • Talent loss: A study by Deloitte revealed that 43% of employees have left a job due to a lack of inclusion.

  • Financial underperformance: A report by Forbes demonstrates that companies with diverse workforces have a 25% higher chance of outperforming their competitors.

These statistics paint a clear picture: prioritizing DEI is not just a moral imperative, it's a strategic business decision with tangible financial benefits.

Metrics and accountability: Building the foundation for true inclusion

The key to creating an inclusive culture lies in establishing clear metrics and holding ourselves accountable. This means:

  • Tracking diversity data: Measuring representation across all levels of the organization is crucial to identifying and addressing any disparities.

  • Conducting regular climate surveys: Employee feedback is essential for understanding the lived experiences of your workforce and identifying areas where improvements are needed.

  • Linking DEI Goals to Performance Reviews: Integrating DEI objectives into individual and team performance assessments ensures accountability and reinforces the importance of inclusive practices.

Data-driven insights provide a roadmap for progress, ensuring that DEI efforts are not simply performative gestures but rather a continuous process of improvement.

A collective responsibility: DEI as a top-down leadership initiative

It's crucial to understand that DEI in an organization cannot be the work of one person. It requires a dedicated, top-down leadership initiative with active participation from all levels of the workforce.

Leadership must champion the cause, setting the tone and driving the cultural shift through:

  • Public commitment: Explicitly stating the organization's commitment to DEI and outlining clear goals and objectives.

  • Resource allocation: Dedicating resources, including budget, personnel, and training programs, to support DEI initiatives.

  • Leadership development: Equipping leaders with the knowledge and skills to build inclusive teams and foster a culture of belonging.

While leadership sets the direction, every employee has a role to play in creating an inclusive environment. This includes:

  • Embracing unconscious bias training: Recognizing and actively dismantling personal biases that can hinder fair and equitable treatment.

  • Practicing allyship: Actively supporting and advocating for marginalized colleagues and challenging discriminatory behaviors.

  • Holding each other accountable: Providing constructive feedback and calling out instances of bias or discrimination.

Building a truly inclusive culture requires a collective effort, where everyone understands their responsibility and actively participates in the journey.

DEI strategy

Revamping your DEI strategy

DEI is not a one-time fix; it's a continuous journey of cultural transformation. If your organization is committed to building a truly inclusive environment, it's time to move beyond the "checking the box" mentality and embrace a data-driven approach.

Reach out to Desiree Goldey or visit Do Better Consulting to help your organization revamp your DEI hiring strategy, implement effective metrics, and train your leaders to champion inclusion at every level.

Together, let's build workplaces where everyone feels empowered to thrive, not just because it's the right thing to do, but because it's the key to unlocking our collective potential. Remember, DEI is not a destination; it's a continuous journey, and success requires a collective commitment from leadership and all employees alike.


Desiree M Goldey, Director of Talent Operations and Culture at ZRG Partners

As the Director of Talent Operations and Culture at ZRG Partners and Founder of Do Better Consulting, Desiree Goldey brings over 25 years of hard-earned wisdom to the forefront of talent acquisition and DEIB (Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging) initiatives. Based in the dynamic city of Austin, TX, Desiree has become a formidable voice in shaping the future of talent and workplace culture. Her approach? Unflinchingly challenging leadership norms and reshaping hiring strategies to be more inclusive and effective.

Known for her no-nonsense attitude and a knack for blending sarcasm with humor, Desiree's rallying cry, 'Do Better, People,' is more than a motto—it's a call to action against the vices of homophobia, sexism, and racism, and a stand against mediocre leadership. Her continued mission is to push boundaries and encourage leaders to step up, ensuring that every voice is heard and valued in the workplace.



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