2023 has seen theDEI agenda become a hot topic. It’s come under attack more than ever before and in some cases, this has included criticism and questioning the value of employee networks - referring to them as ‘Woke Groups’. For example:
Did you know that the former Home Secretary Suella Braverman commissioned the HMICFRS to carry out an inspection into 'activism' and 'employee voice'? i.e. staff networks.
Or that the former Health Secretary, Stephen Barclay, wrote to all NHS organisations questioning the need for EDI roles and to reduce/remove the focus on EDI?
Or that Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla stated on his X account: "DEI must DIE"
Thankfully, there are more for DEI than against DEI!
The Grey Area recently published a report: The Future of Equality, Diversity and Inclusion. The report underscores the importance of maintaining and increasing EDI efforts at corporate and societal levels. Alex Suggs, co-founder of Different DEI agrees DEI will continue to play an important part of many organisations and business strategies.
Getting it right
To do DEI effectively and sustainably, organisations need to engage employees.
We know that employee networks provide a safe space for diverse communities, and their activities and contributions can increases employee engagement and retention. The Business Health Group survey predicts that in 2024, many employers (86%) will collaborate with employee resource groups (ERGs) to promote benefits and well-being initiatives to targeted groups.
So perhaps 2024 is the dawn of a new era:
Where DEI stops reacting to performative DEI actions and instead make meaningful and authentic interventions. Where we see the diversity calendar next to the risk register or risk management plan for DEI. Where the DEI team are working with networks to devise a mitigating plan?
Where networks are raising the bar, becoming both supportive to their members and strategic to the organisation.
Here’s our gift to you....
We will continue to use our expertise, knowledge, passion and innovation to support both networks and their eco system (sponsors, allies and EDI teams).
Here’s what to look out for in 2024:
Wishing you a wonderful time over the festive season and look forward to working with you in 2024.