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Hot Take - How do we keep DEI’s seat at the table in an economic downturn

During an economic downturn, leaders are going to have more on their plate than they’ve ever had before. Organizational resources are stretched to breaking point for some companies, making the stakes for business leaders higher than ever. That’s why we interviewed DEI leaders from across the globe and asked them to share their predictions that the economic downturn will have on DEI and ways to keep our seat at the table.


❓ So, what DOES this mean for DEI’s seat at the table?


🔑 DEI isn’t just “the right thing to do” – it’s a business critical tool

At the moment, senior leaders’ priorities are numerous and they are being pulled in multiple directions. However, there are many innovative ways that DEI leaders are engaging them in DEI.

For many Heads of DEI, it’s key to move the  narrative around DEI from simply being “the right thing to do” towards positioning DEI as the critical business tool that it is. 

DEI is an enabler; making businesses better at what they do by creating diverse, equitable and inclusive working environments. That’s our super power. 

🕜 DEI is a long term priority, not a quick fix

It’s crucial to look at DEI not as a “one off, annual” task, but a continuous practice. Leaders need to understand DEI as a long term business priority, rather than a quick fix that can be ticked off a list. The practice of DEI needs to be part of employees’ day job rather than something additional. 

In terms of looking at the long-term and short-term effects of the economic downturn as it relates to DEI, the first thought might be to cut the budget. However, during these extremely hard times, it is more important than ever to focus on DEI and the best ways to support their people. 

DEI isn’t going anywhere

An economic downturn means a hyperfocus on maximum efficiency and ROI. Of all the leaders we interviewed, they all shared that DEI will continue to be one of the most important aspects of a business. But while it is crucial, it is also important to show the direct impacts it makes across the business as a whole. 

Keeping things simple in your delivery and using innovative ways to measure the success of your DEI initiatives is a great way to keep tangible business impacts front and center, making it harder for DEI’s voice to go unheard at the table. 

Some of the things DEI leaders are doing to achieve this:

💡 Capitalizing on the data they have by pivoting it to demonstrate multiple business impacts

💡 Utilizing both qualitative and quantitative data side by side to ensure important aspects of the story are not lost

💡 Partner with others across the business to embed DEI into the business

Is there anything you’d add to this? Does this align with what you’re experiencing as a DEI leader?


We’d love to hear your thoughts!

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