Spoiler alert: not everyone in your organization will be on board with your DEI principles. Not surprised? The question becomes, then, what do you do about it? The answer is, nothing.
Now are you surprised? Let me explain. When diversity, equity and inclusion become a part of your organization’s core values, they are no longer debatable or vulnerable to the whims of anyone. They become a part of your company’s identity. As you choose to lean into that identity, there will be some that lean away from it and, in some cases, choose to leave. The exit of a few detractors, however, should not deter you from pursuing what is good for the many in your workplace.
Ice cream icon Ben & Jerry’s has developed a widely-respected reputation for not being ambiguous on issues of social justice. From being the first company to offer health insurance to same-sex partners of their employees, to investing millions of dollars for an in-house social activist team – Ben & Jerry’s has never shied away from using their position for the causes they care about.
There’s no doubt that the ice cream moguls lost some naysayers along the way, but in the end, having a team that shares the core values of their organization has not only transformed their workplace, but the world around it.
Don’t misunderstand, I’m not recommending a mass firing of your staff; give everyone a chance to grow and evolve. I am, however, suggesting that you be more intentional about the company you keep. Start with your hiring process. Sit down with your senior management team and be open to defining the mind-set of people that would and wouldn’t work for the direction your organization is headed. Next, design a line of questioning with your recruiters that would help them discern which category a candidate falls into. For example, do they believe there is a set standard of norms that others must follow? Do they see value in collaboration? Do they display out-of-the-box thinking? Do they have a vision for inclusion and have they done any work to see it come to light?
Author Brene Brown wrote, “Only when diverse perspectives are included, respected, and valued can we start to get a full picture of the world:” Transforming your workplace into a more diverse and inclusive community is a commitment worth going all in on. We can only invite everyone, we can’t make them get on board. Move your ship forward with the people who desire to journey.