The cultural impacts of a racialized pandemic have created a rejuvenated interest in DEI (diversity, equity, and inclusion) spaces over the past few years. Such interest has opened new doors for folks to join the ranks of “DEI experts,” while also creating new pathways for underrepresented peoples to gain access to positions of power—and perceived power. According to LinkedIn data, between 2015 and 2020, there was a 71 percent increase worldwide in all DEI roles. The number of people globally with the “head of diversity” title more than doubled (107 percent growth).

Despite this growth, not much has changed regarding the power structure in these spaces, which still center on C-suite (statistically less diverse), and tend to be populated with groups that are less knowledgeable on research in the DEI space. Black and Indigenous people and other people of color (BIPOC) make up just 17 percent of the C-suite, according to Gartner, a technology research and consulting company; less than 1 percent of Fortune 500 CEOs publicly identify as LGBTQ+.

This power imbalance is further compounded when people in these positions of power fail to actively engage in corporate DEI training themselves, which often means a missed opportunity to gain a deeper understanding of the factors impacting underrepresented peoples.

Here are seven strategies for building a more equitable DEI program.

  1. Embrace Equity-Centered Design
  2. Partner with Trusted Messengers
  3. Offer DEI Learning Opportunities
  4. Include Wellness in DEI
  5. Realign Around Inclusive Language
  6. Reexamine Written vs. Actionable Commitment
  7. Create Ongoing Checks and Balances

Read the full article about DEI strategies by Rhianna C. Rogers at RAND Corporation.