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4 Ways to Improve DEI in the Workplace

DEI in the workplace


It all comes down to building self-awareness and empathy.

In a time when siloed-thinking is becoming the norm, due in part to curated search results, newsfeeds, and media outlets, the ability to empathize — to understand and even feel what someone else is experiencing — may seem like a lost art.

Additionally, the high stress and uncertainty that has accompanied a year of social justice protests, a global pandemic, and fluctuating work and education settings have all but guaranteed new or magnified instances of conflict within the workplace.

In an attempt to not only “do the right thing” by their staff, but to also avoid the loss of productivity, degradation of trust, and increased turnover that unmanaged conflict can lead to, organizations worldwide are looking to initiate or improve their diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) efforts.

Below are four ways that True Colors International’s Personal Success Workshop can help you deliver transformative change to your organization.

1) Plan a Shared Experience

Structured events or activities provide people with something they can connect around. They give people the opportunity to interact in a way that is outside of their daily routines and tasks.

When team members come together in a fun, interactive way, they feel a sense of collective accomplishment that sets the foundation for genuine relationship building and honest dialogue.

True Colors’ Personal Success Workshop is an engaging learning experience for groups of 30-60 employees. Each employee takes an online assessment, receives a personalized results report, and a 30-minute consultation.

By using the four colors orange, gold, green, and blue to differentiate the four primary personality types, True Colors helps employees gain self-awareness and an understanding of others around them, which leads to participants also developing an appreciation for their colleagues’ differences.

2) Create a Universal Language

Creating a universal language for everyone in an organization around self-improvement and DEI initiatives is critical for improved self-awareness and relationships. Without common words and definitions to use when discussing what can be emotionally hard topics, the room for misinterpretation is far too large.

A universal language allows people to best discuss their differences. Additionally, it paves the way for a more diverse and inclusive workplace by helping create a psychologically safe environment for allowing teams to take the next step of uncovering implicit bias.

3) Unlock Implicit Bias

So, what exactly is implicit bias?

The Perception Institute explains implicit bias as:

“Thoughts and feelings are ‘implicit’ if we are unaware of them or mistaken about their nature. We have a bias when, rather than being neutral, we have a preference for (or aversion to) a person or group of people. Thus, we use the term ‘implicit bias’ to describe when we have attitudes towards people or associate stereotypes with them without our conscious knowledge.”

An implicit bias could be held against a person because of their age, race, gender, sexuality, nationality, marital status, parenting status, socioeconomic status, and so on. It’s easy to imagine conflict getting stirred up in the workplace when, for example, one team member holds an implicit bias with an aversion toward another team member.

Implicit biases must be unlocked in order to prevent the conflict they inevitably stir up. What prevents people from becoming aware of their own implicit biases? Answer: A lack of self-awareness and empathy for others. Two areas in which True Colors can help.

4) Build Empathy Through DEI in the Workplace

True Colors guides teams, departments, and entire organizations toward achieving an environment of mutual understanding. This understanding creates a common ground for acceptance, enables conflict navigation, and lays the foundation for diversity, inclusion, and equity work.

By helping individuals become more self-aware, they are better able to unlock implicit bias and build empathy. Elevating empathy is the key to improving DEI efforts in your organization, as well as creating the empowered, confident, and productive teams you strive for.

A “New Normal” Is Upon Us — Make the Most of It

As more people are vaccinated, the return to in-person work and school will accordingly accelerate. However, not everyone will want to return to how things once were. It’s safe to say the labor force will never be the same and a “new normal” is upon us. Many employees will decide to remain remote or demand a hybrid schedule. Other employees will be thrilled to get back to in-person work. Familiar, as well as unique, instances of conflict will need attention.

New procedures, trainings, and ways of doing business will be absolutely necessary to thrive. These changes will undoubtedly cause some stress and growing pains, but they also bring about the perfect opportunity to boost your diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts. Make the most of the transition we are all experiencing. Build DEI into your new ways of operating. You won’t regret using this time to make a real, positive change within your organization.

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