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  • Writer's pictureAJ Cheponis

How to discuss DEI

Updated: Jul 7, 2020

As a leader, we must accommodate different communication styles.

Knowing your communication style as well as your teammate's communication style is essential to have a meaningful, open, and honest discussion.

Even if you have a passionate workforce that wants to share feedback, doing so isn’t always easy. Especially now, when working remotely, communication can be challenging. So, now and forever, let your employees give feedback in a way that’s comfortable for them.

Think about how extraverted some of your employees are. Those who are especially outgoing may prefer providing feedback in an open group setting. By contrast, more introspective individuals may prefer sharing their thoughts privately with their manager.

Also, consider each person’s level of formality. Those who are more formal may prefer to share feedback through documented channels. On the other hand, less formal people may just skip the red tape and discuss their thoughts casually.

Take these factors into consideration, and you’ll be able to cater to your employee’s specific communication needs. Here are a few ways to gather feedback, based on behavioral type:

  • High extraversion, high formality: recorded town halls, round table discussions

  • High extraversion, low formality: virtual meetings, Slack DEI channels

  • Low extraversion, high formality: email threads, anonymous surveys

  • Low extraversion, low formality: 1 on 1 call with a manager

Remember that everyone has a different comfort level. Where one employee may feel compelled to talk at the next all-company meeting, another may need several weeks to send an email reflecting their thoughts. Some may feel too nervous to share thoughts at all.

And that’s OK. Always come from a place of encouragement and acceptance. Understand that honest DEI discussions are part of an ongoing process. The protests may subside, but the conversations in your organization should continue. Keep that momentum going, and don’t lose sight of the bigger picture—lasting change.

Want to improve communication further? Start by learning about employee behavior in the workplace.

How to discuss DEI

Now the hard part.

Having honest DEI discussions is only the first step in a larger movement. Once you’ve solicited feedback, there’s a much tougher step ahead: taking action.

Only by taking action can Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion become part of your company’s reality. It’ll take effort throughout the organization—from the very top, down to the individual level. But change must happen. And change can happen, so long as you and your people carry and protect that torch.

Understanding how your team is wired is virtually impossible without behavioral datapoints. If you need help in understanding how you and your team are wired... Contact us today, we'd love to help you achieve your goals.

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