6 Steps to Push Back on Pushback

While most organizations want to institute DEI practices, it is highly likely that you will face some resistance in trying to move initiatives forward. Below are some tips to make progress in executing your DEI plans.

Be strategic. Create a plan that includes everyone by asking for their input in the creation of the plan. Use surveys and focus groups to gain buy-in and show that you are incorporating everyone’s thoughts and feelings into the development of your initiatives from the start. 

Define diversity. Emphasize the definition of diversity and inclusion and that it includes all people. Come prepared to explain that while some data may identify gaps for specific dimensions of diversity, it doesn't mean that efforts don’t impact everyone. Everyone is a part of the conversation when discussing diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI).

Commit. Show true commitment from the leadership level-down, throughout the entire organization. Make sure leaders know that they will each be held accountable and that accountability will then trickle down to employees. This gives employees a sense that DEI is not just a feel-good effort, but rather an effort that leadership is invested in and committed to. 

Be open to feedback. As you continue to roll out your plans and training, be ready for feedback. Build in ways for individuals to provide feedback, whether that’s an anonymous email box, a suggestion box, or a survey. Make sure individuals know they are a part of this process and are free to share their thoughts and opinions to be heard.

Meet people where they are. Make sure to find consultants that match where people inside your organization are on their DEI journey. Make sure topics are similarly appropriate. This helps to ensure that training isn’t viewed as combative or accusatory. Approach training with empathy, authenticity, and openness, and ensure it’s a safe space for everyone to learn.

Communicate, communicate, communicate. Present the clearest, most concise, most consistent view of where your organization is on its DEI journey. Communicate through multiple channels, many times. Be transparent and communicate everything - small wins, big wins, roadblocks, and questions.