GIOF Annual Meeting • May 19–26, 2022
The Largest Annual Meeting of
 the Global DEI Community

Setting a context for change - how to work with leaders who do not buy into the diversity equity and inclusion agenda

May 19, 2022 4:30 PM CET BUY TICKETS

When leaders do not buy into the DEI agenda, employees leave, innovation and productivity drops and psychological safety is low, which leads to what one group of researchers call burning out, busting out and blowing out. In terms of burn out, 75% of employees said they are NOT proud to work for their companies. The term “busting out” refers to the negative impact on retention of quality employees, and blowing out 9% of employees have intentionally failed to follow through at work in the past 6 months.

Getting a leader’s buy-in into DEI is a tough challenge, but not impossible. Before leaders will value the information you’re giving, they’ve got to want it. Curiosity must come before content and a great way to spark some curiosity is through questions. Once leaders are curious we need to help them over come problem blindness by problematising the normal and giving the problem a name for example, up-until 1975 there was no term that women could use to explain “sexual harassment” in the work place. Then we need to create Psychological Standing within our leaders, using the power of personal story sharing is an effective way of building Psychological standing.

It is also important that DEI officers, HR people and DEI practitioners address the “curse of knowledge”. They need to recognise we have had years of immersion in the logic and conventions of the DEI agenda. So we tend to speak abstractly, summarising the wealth of “concrete” data in our heads, forgetting that the people we speaking to, who aren’t privy to the underlying meaning, hear only opaque phrases.

“We need to develop the habit of seeking understanding before making judgements, walking in another man’s shoes before passing judgement... We need to develop a new culture with less judgement, and a lot more love.” – Quinton Pretorius.

Quinton Pretorius Director and founder of Cultural Intelligence Africa