As an HR professional, you will likely lead at least one meeting about diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging (DEIB) for your organization. Having conversations about DEIB in the workplace is not only good for the well-being of the company, but more importantly, it improves the lives of the people who work there. Leading an effective meeting is key to ensuring DEIB measures can be efficiently implemented into company policies and employer/employee attitudes.
The way your meeting will run will largely be up to you and the setting and feel of your meeting, but here are some of our top tips for running a DEIB meeting smoothly.
Practice Inclusion and Belonging in Your Meeting
Embody the principles of inclusion and belonging in how you conduct the meeting. Make sure you avoid exclusionary language, use correct and respectful language and labels, and ensure every voice in the meeting is heard and respected.
Redirect Dominating Voices
While participation is a vital part of a DEIB meeting, pay close attention to anyone who may be dominating the conversation so much that it silences other viewpoints. If this happens, steer the meeting towards those who may not be getting the chance to speak up yet.
Foster a Healthy and Safe Environment
Having honest and authentic conversations requires group members to feel safe, comfortable, and respected. Set any ground rules or expectations at the beginning of the meeting to help foster a conducive environment for all participants to share freely.
Exemplify Active Listening Skills
The fastest way to shut down fruitful discussion is to make others think you aren’t listening or taking them seriously. Practice active listening by putting away distractions, like your phone, maintaining open body language, making direct eye contact when someone is speaking, asking clarifying questions, reiterating what was just said, and thanking people for their comments. This will not only encourage active participation but also foster a secure environment.
Decide on Actionable Items
Constructive discussions about areas of improvement are important, but they lose their significance if no actionable items are identified. Establish SMART goals with your team to ensure real change and progress can be made within your organization.
Reinforce Why DEIB Is Important
Remind your team members that DEIB is crucial to your company’s overall success as well as the individual successes and experiences of employees. Research shows that companies that value DEIB outperform their competitors by 400 percent and are better equipped to weather economic downturns. Emphasizing DEIB has the potential to take your organization from surviving to thriving. This is in addition to fostering an inviting and healthy work environment for all groups of people, especially those that are marginalized.
Sample DEIB Meeting Agenda
The following is a sample diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging meeting agenda to be used as a guideline as you prepare for your own meeting:
- Introduce any special speakers or guests
- Briefly discuss what DEIB is and your expectations for the meeting, including what you hope to accomplish and what you expect from participants.
- Elaborate on the meanings of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging
- Discuss why DEIB is important in the workplace
- Determine what the ideal standpoint would be for your company in terms of DEIB
- Identify lapses in company policies and workplace atmosphere with regard to DEIB
- Identify any obstacles to achieving the ideal DEIB environment you defined earlier
- Encourage sharing of personal experiences or observations with DEIB (both positive and negative)
- Determine Actionable Items
- Establish SMART goals and assign tasks to group members
- Set a follow-up time for tasks
- Set a time for the next meeting
As you prepare for your upcoming meeting, use these tips to create a clear and concise plan to effectively help your organization work towards fostering more diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging in its workplace.
Let HREN Be Your Guide
Are you seeking to enhance your HR knowledge? HR Education Network (HREN) is here to help. Along with assistance in recertification, acquiring PDCs, and exam preparation, HREN also provides invaluable resources and courses focused on DEIB. These courses are beneficial not only for your professional growth but can also be a key component in team training. Make the move towards a more inclusive career and workspace environment with HREN. Get started today!