September 22, 2021

The Importance of Why in the DEI Journey


Why in the DEI Journey


The members of the AZ Talent CoOp came together in 2018 to “Create More Together Than What Was Possible Alone.” In 2020 we explored what work would bring about transformational change and that was common across all People associations. Unanimously, we agreed that creating inclusive workplaces would support our pilliars of professional development, board development, membership and events, that support our membership experience and building our organizations capability.

We started our series of Creating Inclusive Workplaces in February 2020 in the same place committed organizations start their DEI journeys. We began with Why.  Our panel examined the significance of assessing the organizations “why” DEI was important, and the “why” DEI was important to all on an individual and personal level. We asked our participants to rate the importance of DEI,  and would they be interested in attending a series of peer discussions that would help determine “how” to start this important work. 90% said creating inclusive workplaces was an urgent and important priority for their organizations.

In Session Two and Three we explored Psychological Safety for individuals within an organization, and leadership’s role in creating psychological safety. Psychological safety can be described as feeling safe to live, work, learn, and speak up; feeling like you have a voice to contribute and challenge the status quo – without fear of punishment, embarrassment, or feeling marginalized.

Session 4 with Patricia Davis and TJ Lowery walked us through Defeating Racism @ Work and how we can move from awareness to being an advocate for people of color at work.

We will close out 2021 November  9th From 8:00 am to 12:00 pm, with AZ Biz Link and the Talent CoOp coming togther for a half day session at Fennemore Craig. The program title, “DEI Employee Experience & Internal Communications Best Practices”. Below is our agenda for the morning.

  • 8:00-8:30        Breakfast & Networking
  • 8:30-8:35        Opening Remarks
  • 8:35-9:00        Panel Discussion: The Power of Employee Resource Groups
  • 9:00 – 9:25      Guest Speaker #1Kianna Dobbs Talent Acquisition Strategies
  • 9:25-9:35        Engaging Activity/Polling/Etc. + Discussion
  • 9:35 – 10:00    Guest Speaker #2 Ted Smith Employee Onboarding
  • 10:00-10:10     Engaging Activity/Polling/Etc. + Discussion
  • 10:10-10:20     BREAK
  • 10:20-10:45     Guest Speaker #3 Christine Gannon Internal Continuing Education
  • 10:45-10:55     Engaging Activity/Polling/Etc. + Discussion
  • 10:55-11:20     Guest Speaker #4 Lindsay Moellenberndt Social Calendars Events/Holidays
  • 11:20-11:30     Engaging Activity/Polling/Etc. + Discussion
  • 11:30-11:35     Closing Remarks

In December we invite you to help us build what you need to tackle inclusive workplaces in your organization for 2022. Some topics to consider  are Unconscious Bias, Measuring Success, Employee Branding and the Role for Each of Us in creating inclusive workplaces. We will also offer session attendees an opportunity to continue the collaboration of efforts via in person or virtual.

Racism in the United States still exists. It is imbedded in our history and will take all of us to seek out unfair practices and beliefs. Some of these are not obvious.  It will be necessary to identify, evaluate the impact, and replace unfair practices with actions that support the success of all in the workplace.

Our workplace norms, practices, processes have evolved over the years. These practices create unwanted ageism, sexism, gender identity , discrimination of sexual orientation, and limited access for those with ability issues, and formerly incarcerated discrimination to name a few. These practices  need to be regularly examined for impact on the employee and customer experience. The goal being success in creating an ever evolving workplace that offers equitable opportunities for all stakeholders,  This will lead to an employee experience that is a happy, healthy human experience, now and for future generations to come.

What is your Why?

About Mary Henry