DEI Is Everyone’s Job
WITH JONITA WILSON, CHIEF DIVERSITY OFFICER, DISCOVER FINANCIAL
October 10, 2023
Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) is a concept that has gained much attention in the corporate world, yet many still question its relevance and impact. To shed light on this, we have here Jonita Wilson, the Chief Diversity Officer at Discover Financial, who believes that DEI is not just the responsibility of chief diversity officers but is a company-wide job.
The Collective Responsibility for DEI
When asked why she believes DEI efforts should not be solely the responsibility of chief diversity officers, Jonita explains that many organizations tend to rely solely on their diversity staff to drive and lead these efforts. However, the role of these officers and their teams is to assist the organization in pushing towards DEI and belonging. It's crucial for everyone to understand that DEI is the responsibility of all individuals within the organization.
Instilling the DEI Mindset
How does one instill this collective understanding within a company? Jonita believes that if this mindset becomes ingrained, we will see more progress, advancement, and maturity in our organizations. Not everyone will immediately embrace these principles. But as with any business strategy, getting everyone on board is not always easy. It comes down to recognizing that the advancement of DEI benefits both the business and everyone's success. In terms of gender or race, but overall accountability and growth, we can create a win-win situation for all.
Communicating the Importance of DEI
Do companies truly understand DEI, or is there still work to be done in communicating its importance? Jonita believes that there is always work to be done in terms of communication. We can continually strive to advance and remind people of the importance of DEI. If organizations proactively include and uplift diverse groups, it can significantly expand their business growth.
Just imagine the positive impact on sales or product usage by embracing diversity regardless of how individuals identify. It's a win-win situation for the bottom line. Companies will see their financials grow and gain the opportunity to capture a significant market share. While there is more work to be done, we need to get creative in our communication to emphasize that everyone is involved and everyone benefits from DEI efforts.
As Jonita Wilson, CDO, puts it, "This is everybody's job, all of us. It's not just my job as a chief diversity officer or my diversity team. It's everyone's.”
So, the next time you think about DEI, remember that it's not just the responsibility of a single department or a group of people. Instead, it's an integral part of the company's culture, success, and growth – and it's everyone's job.