Almost three years ago, many organizations were faced with various crucial decisions around diversity, equity, and inclusion. Some of those action steps included the hiring of a DEI focused role, implementation of employee resource groups or a DEI Council, and even added goals and desired outcomes to the organizational strategic plans.
In my work, I interact with executives across multiple industries and experience levels. There is an overwhelming trend that DEI leaders are tired, feel unsupported with unfulfilled or stalled activities, budget cuts, shifts in organizational priorities and overall lack of power and not having a true voice at the table. There are cases where individuals committed to the work feel tokenized or that the DEI goals were not tied to a core business strategy.
This idea is that DEI fatigue is wreaking havoc on morale and stifling the productivity and organizational commitment of those charged with driving change and impactful solutions. At Engage Mentoring, we believe that mentoring can help with DEI fatigue. Mentoring, when leveraged as a tool to improve inclusion initiatives, fosters a work environment that is open and welcoming, and promotes lifelong learning and career growth. It is critical that companies put programs in place that work and have sustainable and measurable results.
There is overwhelming research-based evidence that companies who are intentional in their investment of resources into DEIB initiatives, have better outcomes. Unfortunately, according to data from Monster’s January 2023 future of work report, diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives may be among the first parts of a business to be eliminated in a recession.
The report also showed that eleven percent of employers surveyed said that DEI programs “are among the first to go when they are forced to cut costs,” second to company events and bonuses.
Currently, only 5% of recruiters said that DEI efforts are one of their top three priorities.
Meanwhile, about 40% of recruiters told Monster that, “more than ever,” workers expect to learn about potential employers’ DEI efforts.Now more than ever, leaders must think long term, and understand the relationship between inclusive cultures and the bottom line.
Yalonda Brown is a seasoned professional whose expertise spans over 20 years in both the private and public sectors. Her drive and self-determination has resulted in a myriad of demonstrable accomplishments as an intuitive leader, thought partner, and high functioning performer. Yalonda serves as the President of Diversity Initiatives for Engage Mentoring where she leads the national expansion of diversity-focused mentoring and leadership programs for companies, universities, and nonprofits.