For the past decade, companies have been touting the need for equitable and inclusive work environments where every employee feels valued, respected and heard. Many companies have hired DEI executives, launched employee resource groups, communicated expectations and most recently donated large sums of money to social justice organizations. Although these actions may be helpful, failing to address the following 2 Must-Haves for fostering an equitable and inclusive work environment can pose a significant barrier to real change.
- Companies must have engaging leaders who can build trust, are fair and equitable in their decision-making, are inclusive in their daily dealings and can facilitate open and honest dialogue.
- Companies must have effective Human Resource leaders who are independent, courageous and empowered to effectively address issues of fairness, equity and discrimination.
Will Senior Company Leaders and Board of Directors set clear expectations for these leadership “must-haves” and more importantly will they have the courage to remove leaders who fail to align with them? Their positive actions will send a clear signal that they take seriously their responsibility for fostering an equitable and inclusive work environment. Their lack of action will be seen as a vote for the status quo.
Every employee deserves to work in a fair, equitable and engaging work environment where they feel valued, respected and heard. Does your company have the courage to institute the changes needed to make it so? Because if nothing changes, nothing changes.