DEI Isn’t Just About the Who, it’s About the How

Traditional Diversity, Equity and Inclusion efforts have focused heavily on recruitment and retention, totally missing the bigger picture issues that have kept either from having deep impact or being sustainable. The emphasis has been on “diversity hires'': Where are they? How do we get our position descriptions to them? How do we convey a compelling story about our organization that will draw them to want to work for us? 

We create targeted lists of places we think all the “diverse candidates” will be: HBCUs, community and activism focused groups, specified professional organizations. We send our one recruiter who seems to be either a member of the target community or comfortable in intercultural interactions as the spokesperson. And we aren’t successful.

It’s been a bit of a dog chasing its tail story for decades. In 2022, traditional focus on recruitment and retention won’t help us build a diverse and competitive organization. 

Recommendation: Create and use a hiring philosophy to ensure consistent, internal and external, understanding of your organization’s approach.

Example: Your Organization’s Inclusive Hiring Philosophy.

We BELIEVE that true creativity is possible when a wide variety of voices and perspectives are included and all contributions are valued. 

We REFLECT diverse identities and lived experiences at all levels of our organization and across all roles. 

We INVEST in building equitable, diverse, inclusive, and anti-racist relationships with our employees, our clients, our partners, and our communities.

We INTEGRATE tools and processes to remove bias from our workplace and from our creative work for clients.

Internally, you have a guide to stick to. Externally, demonstrating your organization’s commitment to a diverse workforce speaks volumes, letting qualified candidates know they are joining an environment where inclusivity is a priority.

Hiring diversity and cultivating it are two different things. When we focus on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion efforts at ALL levels of our organizations - operationally and in our internal processes. We see the deep impacts on organizations; through the experiences of the employees, in the work that we produce, and the way we show up for our values in our daily lives. 


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DeEtta Jones & Associates (DJA) guides leaders and organizations on a journey that builds capacity, strengthens innovation, and increases organizational performance by creating a more equitable, diverse, and inclusive environment.

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