Handling Resistance to DEI Changes in The Workplace

Handling Resistance to DEI Changes in The Workplace

Implementing Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) changes can be a significant adjustment for many organizations. Many organizations choose to use a strategic DEI plan that outlines how the company will become more diverse, equitable, and inclusive over time and produce a more profitable and successful business. 

Every company will be at a different place in terms of DEI, so there will be differences in how much change will be needed to reach company goals. Businesses will also have other motivating factors for why they want to become a more diverse organization. In addition, all employees bring varying opinions, perspectives, and biases to their workplaces so that they may have differing views on the importance of DEI. By nature, a DEI plan asks employees to modify how they think, act, and believe regarding people different from them. Therefore, it is difficult to predict how employees will respond to the changes they will be asked to participate in to reach company DEI goals. However, employers can combat resistance to DEI changes in the workplace by using effective communication, SMART goals to stay organized, and change management methods.  

Handle Change with Effective Communication

Often, when organizations want to make substantial changes to their operation, employees can be resistant. When making changes based on DEI concerns, employees may not understand why the changes are necessary. They may also be curious as to how changes will affect them. If changes occur because of an incident with a specific employee or group of employees, they may feel as though they are being blamed for something they did not do. This could be in the case of any incidents in the organization regarding sexual harassment, discrimination, or bias. Employers should communicate effectively and clearly with their employees to alleviate any concerns. They should alert them to what is changing when changes occur, how changes will affect employees, how the company plans to implement changes, and how they will benefit everyone. 

Use SMART Goals

Employers should make the transition into a DEI plan as easy as possible. This is not just for the benefit of the employees, but it also allows for the plan’s implementation to go smoothly. Many organizations already have flexible and soft adaptability skills; however, all employees can appreciate a well-executed change. DEI plans should outline SMART goals, meaning specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound. The organization is key to ensuring that a transition goes smoothly.

Use A Change Management Method

Kotter’s 8-Step Process for Leading Change method is one of the most effective ways to implement organizational change management. It is an award-winning approach used in various organizations, including businesses. The steps are:

1. Create a sense of urgency

2. Build a guiding coalition

3. Form a strategic vision and initiatives 

4. Enlist a volunteer army

5. Enable action by removing barriers

6. Generate short-term wins

7. Sustain acceleration

8. Institute change This method is designed to help your organization succeed