April Fool’s: Why DEI is No Joking Matter
It may be April Fool’s Day, but Diversity, Equity and Inclusion are no joke! Dr. Logan and team are here to help you get a grip on why DEI is critical to the success of your organization and community in 2022.
These days, it is imperative that everyone be aware of DEI strategies and pitfalls. The social and legal responses to unintentional (or intentional) acts or statements of discrimination can ruin your company’s brand, a good name and go viral — and not in a good way. It may seem like there is increased sensitivity or attention to certain issues and that there is so much new information to keep up with, but the reason behind that is that our society is engaged in a reckoning over our values, our identity, and who we want to be.
Most of the push for diversity, equity, and inclusion comes from voices that have too long been silenced or marginalized and are finally beginning to be heard. Heeding their calls isn’t a sign of weakness, giving in to cancel culture, or being too “politically correct.” It’s a way of establishing yourself as an ally in our society’s progress, and not a barrier, and being on the right side of history. It’s a way of simply doing the right thing and preparing your organization, school or community to lead and succeed in the 21st century.
Beyond wanting to be a good community member, business organizations should pay careful attention to the trends that are pushing for more sensitivity to DEI in the workplace. The five major trends driving the business case for diversity and inclusion are:
- Changing Demographics. For the first time more than 50% of children under age 5 are people of color. Women are 50.8% of the U.S. population and account for 49% of the college-educated workforce. In 2011 people who identify as LGBT totaled approximately 9 million adults or 3.5% of the U.S. population. In 2015, millennials, born between 1981 and 2000, surpassed Generation X, born between 1966 and 1980, to become the largest share of the U.S. workforce.
- Buying Power. In 2015, the buying power of Hispanics was $1.3 trillion, up 167% since 2000. In 2017, buying power of Blacks reached $1.3 trillion, an amount larger than the GDP of Australia and Spain. The total buying power of the adult LGBT population in the U.S. is expected to reach $1 trillion in 2018 while women control $4.3 trillion of the $5.9 trillion in U.S. consumer spending that keeps companies afloat. The female persuasion also influences 70–80% of all household spending and in 2018, millennials had the most spending power of any generation at some $200 billion.
- Talent and Skill Shortages. With some 10,000 baby boomers hitting retirement age every day, most organizations recognize their succession plan is ineffective because of the vast number of baby boomers all going into retirement within a few years of each other, with less younger folks to pick up the slack. While the primary labor-force age population will be flooded with 26 million racial minorities between 2010 and 2030, a net loss of 15 million Whites is anticipated.
- Employee Expectations. Currently, only 23% of employers believe their staffers are fully aligned with the company’s purpose and a mere 13% of employees are actively engaged at work, according to a Gallup poll. Businesses used to be places where workers conformed to business norms; today, businesses have to adapt more to the expectations of employees by responding to the various elements of workforce diversification. To do this, they need to redefine what commitment to work looks like, be much more flexible, and show that they understand and value the workforce’s changing demographics.
- Globalization and Technology. In 2013, developing countries contributed 50% of the world’s GDP. Globalization will continue to broaden Americans’ understanding and acceptance of people from different cultures and nations. Technology is changing where and how we work and how customers access us. It brings about increased flexibility and removal from the traditional workplace, allowing employees to work digitally. Corporate leadership must develop cultural competencies in order to communicate and negotiate cross-culturally.
These trends should be taken seriously in order for your organization to thrive in the future.
If you are a person with any kind of privilege, as many of us are, certain kinds of discrimination may not affect us and are probably easy to overlook. But if you are oppressed because of your gender identity, sexual orientation, race, class, ethnicity, ability, citizenship status, language, or anything else, you probably know what it feels like to face jokes or discrimination because of that marginalized identity. If you don’t, people you love certainly do. Keeping that in mind, remember that incorporating DEI into your personal, work, and social life has lasting impacts on your business success, the health of your community, and your own identity. And Dr. Logan is always here to support your journey of education around DEI — check out his service offerings here!