Credit: HRD Connect

The importance of DEI initiatives has risen to the top of the priority list for both guests and organisers. Training, statements, and certificates have seen a tenfold increase in search volume over the last three years. However, for mission-driven organisations and their members, it goes beyond mere platitudes. It’s about drawing in and keeping enthusiastic members, igniting innovative ideas, and making progress on important initiatives in each industry that our organisation community supports.

Meeting organisers are urged to expand on DEI initiatives year after year because significant improvements do not happen overnight. We all agree that diverse and inclusive meetings enhance everyone’s participation, yet increasing inclusion takes time.

Planning a subsequent meeting will allow you to strengthen the DEI foundation. Angela Hughey, co-founder and president of One Community shares her thoughts about the changing corporate environment to one that is more diverse, equal, and inclusive. She is a trailblazer who, over the past 13 years, has been instrumental in changing the corporate environment in Greater Phoenix to one that is more diverse, equal, and inclusive.

Examine Current DEI Efforts

Is there still room for development? Yes is always the response. Walk the walk and hold more diverse, egalitarian, and inclusive events as promised in your DEI declarations.

Many conference organisers might not be aware of this, but the location you select for your event has a critical role in conveying your DEI values. Long before the event’s schedule is finalised, DEI initiatives should be committed to, and picking a host city that shares the objective is essential.

“What you’re looking for is a commitment from leadership to really embrace and promote a sense of belonging through continual education,” says Hughey. And one of the ways to achieve so is to make sure your conference or event is being held in an inclusive community or state.

When considering suitable venues, she thinks that nondiscrimination regulations are crucial. But the desire to establish an environment where all participants flourish should also be supported by the culture of the urban area.

Recognise the Expectations

Hughey, who is also an event designer, argues that truly inclusive towns like Phoenix seek to make prospective event organisers aware of their position. Because the position makes sound business sense as well as intellectual reason.

It’s not just the moral thing to do, but it’s also a smart business move, she claims. “Inclusion plays a significant role when companies are potentially looking to come to the state or the region when it comes to economic development.”

Take into account all of the potential effects on the corporate world. “Millennials and younger generations want to travel to locations where people truly feel included and at home.

People want to work for an organisation where they can be completely themselves. And the corporate world is aware that when you foster a really inclusive sense of belonging, employees perform at their highest level,” says Hughey. “And when they do that, your staff is more productive and healthy, which leads to a bottom line that is more sustainable. Therefore, doing business fairly is always a smart idea.

This is particularly important now since great talent can afford to be picky and won’t hesitate to go. We genuinely want to see an effort from leadership to embrace and encourage inclusivity in the wake of the Great Resignation, the woman claims. “Entities want to make sure that they are developing internal best practises and that they are continuing their education.”

Although Hughey’s work is far from done—she has now focused on state-wide actions as well—it has been successful. On the Human Rights Campaign’s 2021 Municipal Equality Index Scorecard, Phoenix received a score of 100, which is the best possible result.

The Diversity in Speakers

From my point of view, I think that speakers are essential to the attitude toward diversity and inclusion as the part of the event that is most visible to the outside world. I believe that a dissatisfied audience is less inclined to attend future events.

Therefore, the event’s speakers should reflect the audience’s diversity. They should make sure that there is a good balance in practice between gender, race, ethnic background, skill, sexuality, faith, and many other factors. This will most likely contribute towards a successful DEI event, and if more and more people come to see this they will probably want to come to other events too, and maybe even spread the word to their family and friends. That is why diversity plays a huge role in events and making people come together, and connect on a deeper level.

A diverse group of members will result in deeper discussions, seminars, and events in addition to making the attendees feel welcomed and included.

It’s crucial to provide material that appeals to a varied audience so make sure to choose subjects for the event’s programming that will resonate with and have a direct influence on the populations that you are speaking to.

Consider including workshops on the difficulties women or members of underrepresented racial or ethnic groups have in achieving leadership roles, for instance, if the event is about leadership in the marketing industry.

Remote Working

The work-from-home paradigm  necessitates a considerably larger dependence on digital technologies for project management and communication, as well as a completely different set of workplace rules. These roles may include accountants, content marketing, HR and other roles.

Discord is one of the most well-known forms of technology created to enhance effective communication amongst colleagues. Paid collaboration solutions like Google Workspace are frequently used. The team dynamic and workflow structure will heavily influence the specific configurations and technology stacks, and these tools may initially be difficult to sell to a professional class that prefers to work in a social environment.

Communication might be improved and procedures could be more transparent with the use of project management software and messaging systems, but these technologies also need some getting used to. As well as best practises on when and how to message coworkers, colleagues need to set processes for tracking their own progress on projects.

Every employee inside the firm must make a sustained, long-term commitment to advancing diversity. Individuals may have a significant effect on the development of a more diverse and inclusive workplace by employing these tactical actions.

DEI is a constant process of fostering an inclusive culture inside an organisation, not simply another event or programme to organise or carry out. To guarantee that policies, processes, and practises are inclusive and fair, deliberate effort is needed. This is everyone’s job inside the organisation. A more inclusive and fair workplace will be a benefit for organisations that prioritise DEI as a continuous procedure rather than a one-time event.

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