Diversity and Inclusion Fatigue: The Hidden Barriers to a Successful D&I Program

Many companies want to make diversity and inclusion a priority within their organization, but few know how to successfully to do so. Those that attempt to implement D&I programs eventually face fatigue in their efforts and often end up neglecting either the diversity or the inclusion aspects of said program.

Candice Morgan and Adam Ward of Pinterest, and David Hanrahan and Trinidad Hermida of Niantic spoke on a panel, “Diversity and Inclusion Fatigue: The Hidden Barriers to a Successful D&I Program” at Reflektive’s Illuminate, the conference by people leaders, for people leaders.

Such fatigue generally happens because company advocates continuously push the issue without seeing the desired payoff. In this case, it’s easy to lose hope.

A common reason for companies not to have an effective D&I program in place is because its leaders lack the education and awareness necessary to do so. They often feel as if they simply can’t fix the problem, or they’re scared to make the wrong move.

Hermida’s solution is to encourage and facilitate courageous conversations between diverse constituencies and leaders, and to not be afraid to make mistakes along the way; it’s too important of an issue to ignore.

“There is a significant emotional tax that comes with feeling like you can’t bring your full authentic self to work, or that you’re not celebrated for who you are and what you bring to the table” she said. “In many cases, inclusion is synonymous with a sense of belonging.”

Here are a few ways to prevent D&I fatigue in your organization:

  • If it’s not already, make D&I a part of the company’s mission so that it’s engrained in the bigger picture. Diversity should become a natural lens for the company in areas outside of HR.
  • Understand why you’re making D&I a priority and ensure accountability in setting and measuring against goals.
  • Support employee resource groups (ERGs) but avoid overstepping. These initiatives should be led by employees, not HR.
  • Make D&I an ongoing conversation; check in with ERGs and empower them with the appropriate data and resources.

Remember: “Embedded D&I is a competitive advantage,” Morgan said.

See more from Illuminate here.

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