First published on LinkedIn.
Welcome to the January edition of #TanaSpeaks with Dr. Tana M. Session. This is a monthly newsletter designed to expand your perspective in the workplace. Don't miss an issue and be sure to +subscribe.
Welcome to 2023!! I hope you have had some restful time off and are ready to get back to business. As we jump into a new year, I want you to remember why you do what you do and refine your purpose to foster the growth of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion & Belonging in your organization. In order to do that, we need to hold ourselves accountable.
At the start of a new year, many of us try to form New Year's resolutions around goals we want to achieve to better ourselves. It is no surprise that most of us give up on these goals as the year drags on because we lack a level of accountability. For companies to progress in their DEIB goals, it is vital to build accountability into your DEIB strategies. Create goals within your strategy to keep track of your progress. It helps to ensure your leaders are involved and take ownership of the DEIB strategies by reviewing metrics.
BUT... less than one-third of organizations actually review metrics such as new hire representation, attrition rates, promotion rates, and engagement survey trends by demographic groups (Paradigm). If you are not tracking the data, you have no way of knowing how your strategy is progressing and no way of holding yourself and your team accountable.
As you expand your knowledge of DEIB, it can be helpful to understand how employees experience culture differently. We tend to focus on just aspects of gender and race/ethnicity and there are so many layers to our identity, which is where Intersectionality matters. We need to understand that various other parts of people's identities will affect the way culture is perceived for them. By conducting surveys to gather data on employee experiences, you can find the gaps in your strategies and identify any groups that could be falling through the cracks.
Another way companies can stay accountable is by effectively communicating and responding to external events surrounding DEIB. Many recent world events have left a significant impact on work, such as the rise in anti-Asian violence due to the COVID-19 Pandemic and a renewed focus on anti-Black racism following the deaths of the Buffalo, NY grocery store victims, George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and many others. It is important for companies to create a framework for communications around DEIB when such events occur.
Despite companies efforts to provide inclusion statements, only 47% of Black employees felt their employers were committed to DEIB, compared with 62% of White employees (Paradigm). This is why I urge companies to create a functional process for DEIB communications so they do not become overwhelmed and are properly able to provide support to all groups within their workplace when necessary.
There is a lot of work ahead in 2023...and DEIB is more critical than ever for a thriving organization. I wish you all the best of luck in your endeavors. Let's keep the momentum going!
It's my honor to announce that I will be a speaker at SXSW in March 2023 in Austin, TX. My topic will be 'Driving Diversity Forward with Data'. Tickets available now! Hope to see you there!
JANUARY OBSERVANCES & HOLIDAYS:
This month is filled with diverse observances, so do your research and be intentional about how you communicate this to your employees before creating any social media posts or external messaging.
Poverty Awareness Month: This important endeavor is observed in America all month long in January. Did you know that the U.S. ranks second highest in poverty rates among its peer countries? Poverty Awareness Month is about taking an opportunity to learn more about this
social ill, raise awareness among others, and understand how everyone can help.
January 4: World Braille Day is meant to raise awareness of the importance of Braille as a means of communication for the visually impaired
January 16: Martin Luther King Jr. Day commemorates the birth of Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., the recipient of the 1964 Nobel Peace prize and an activist for nonviolent social change until his assassination in 1968.
January 22: Lunar New Year is one of the most sacred of all traditional Chinese holidays, a time of family reunion and celebration.
January 27: The International Day of Commemoration to remember the victims of the Holocaust is the the anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz death camp in 1945 and UN Holocaust Memorial Day.
Until next month... Be well and stay safe & healthy!