Where did the DEIB initiatives go?

I wrote this on LinkedIn earlier today and also wanted to save this post for ye olde blog. Check it out:

Leaders, if you still haven’t hoven inclusion and belonging (I’m usually DEIB, diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging for the rest of this) into your KPIs, OKRs, or just yearly initiatives, you’re massively and will continue to fall further behind. LinkedIn has a lot of thought-noise. And while I don’t have the resources or time to run extensive studies between what leaders think they’re doing and what employees are asking for, it’s great to see some data confirming what I already have been seeing since a few months after May 2020, when racial disparity became more “mainstream” (article from HBR below). What I do have is years of work with DEIB councils and initiatives, speaking with teams, middle managers, and executives, and heavy research for my book.

I’ve spent years speaking at corporations, building DEIB programs, and giving out (free) advice. There is evident reluctance and also disinterest from leaders when it comes to DEIB work. They’re comfortable with performative stuff—celebrating a day/week/month and occasionally written communication to teams. Still, they struggle to make process changes because it’s uncomfortable for them, or everything else is a priority.

Here are some common issues I’ve observed in my own DEIB work with other companies:

But I’m not just here to mention what’s wrong. Please start with the article below, and then, dive into chapters 4, 5, and 6 of my book, Inclusive Design Communities, for more actionable ways to get started (no, it’s not just about design, just the experience and lens through which I analyze things).

Article with the study from HBR