Should You Start a Diversity, Inclusion, and Belonging Program?

December 1, 2023
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Talent leaders continue to struggle with big questions related to developing a Diversity, Inclusion, and Belonging (DI&B) initiative, including:

  • Given the business climate and potential resistance, should I even begin a DI&B initiative?
  • How do I embrace DI&B in a way that doesn’t create resistance?
  • What are the “real” risks of launching a DI&B program?
  • How do I get my leadership to align and own the strategy?

If you’re trying to answer these questions on behalf of your organization, you’ll want to listen to our recent webinar on DI&B, Diversity Journey: Where Do We Start? My guests were RHR Partner Jimmy Davis and RHR Sales Manager Kelli Ryon.

It’s clear that a culture of belonging has become the lever that advances talent retention and performance as well as organizational strength and resilience. In fact, it’s now the foundation of visionary leadership, effective teams, and successful companies.

So, should you begin a DI&B initiative now? Our answer is yes. A culture of belonging is the connective tissue that enables your people to meet current business demands and achieve long-term organizational success. Waiting to develop this culture simply leaves you lagging behind your competitors and risks your most important talent leaving for better opportunities in an inclusive environment.

“DI&B is the foundation of visionary leadership, effective teams, and successful companies.”

Will you be met with resistance from some quarters? Probably. As organizations respond to changing employee expectations, they need to transition from a rigid and hierarchical set of standards to human-centered ways of working. The long-term benefits are worth addressing the pain points and being patient with the organization as it embarks on a journey to belonging.

What are the “real” risks of DI&B? Defining success is one. Most businesses struggle with clearly communicating what the organizational culture needs to feel like in order for a DI&B program to be deemed successful. Your new cultural norms will need to include both formal and informal aspects that promote your organization’s vision and values and define who gets seen, heard, and rewarded—and who will truly belong.

How can leadership own the DI&B initiative? By modeling the new behaviors and communicating clearly, consistently, and frequently. It’s vital for program credibility and employee trust.

To learn more about beginning your diversity journey, download the complete webinar Diversity Journey: Where Do We Start? To begin a conversation with RHR International about our DI&B practice, contact Kelli Ryon.

For nearly 80 years, RHR International has been a globally respected leadership consulting firm composed of behavioral scientists and practitioners dedicated to helping founders, board members, executives, business teams, and HR professionals master the art and science of leadership. RHR’s solutions use the combined power of psychology, business expertise, and the newest technologies to build robust leadership succession pipelines through world-class assessments and coaching/development programs. RHR believes leadership is a crucial force for good in the world, and our mission is to unlock the potential in every leader.

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Cristina Jimenez is a talent, leadership, and culture expert with 20 years of industry experience. She is a senior partner and the global head of RHR International’s Diversity, Inclusion & Belonging practice and has been instrumental in the firm’s own cultural transformation.