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Using Black History to Propel the Future

on Feb 2, 2023 9:00:00 AM By | Deanna Singh | 0 Comments | Diversity Impact Children Race
I’ve been an activist and a vocal proponent of Black rights for as long as I can remember. As a high school student, I was livid when my school glossed over Martin Luther King, Jr. Day—a relatively new national holiday at the time. We celebrated Columbus Day, after all, which honored a man who didn’t actually discover anything, and who is a problematic historical figure for many, many reasons. As one of the few BIPOC kids at my high school, I felt compelled to do something to honor Dr. King and his legacy...
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4 Ways to Improve Retention Through Inclusion Practices

on Nov 17, 2022 9:00:00 AM By | Deanna Singh | 0 Comments | Diversity leadership Inclusion retention
Diversity and inclusion are not the same. A company can make a heroic effort to hire people of different races, ethnicities, genders, and abilities…and then completely fail to integrate and include them. In fact, this happens all the time. A company can become so absorbed with demographics, they forget that they’re dealing with people, not numbers. As the CEO of Diversity and Ability, Atif Choudhury, says, “Diversity is about counting people, inclusion is about insisting they count.” It's clear underrepresented employees often do not feel like they count. A recent report found that Black workers were 30 percent more likely to leave their jobs than white colleagues. Another study found that women are three times more likely to quit if they feel excluded at work. These are troubling statistics, but they are certainly not insurmountable. With an intentional plan and the motivation to put that plan into action, company leaders can significantly improve inclusivity practices. Start with these four action steps...
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6 Signs Your Workplace Would Benefit from a DEI Consultant

on Oct 19, 2022 9:00:00 AM By | Deanna Singh | 0 Comments | Diversity Inclusion DEI Consultant Equity
The plain truth is that most workplaces in the United States have not been set up to be diverse and inclusive. For decades, the default image of a business person has been a certain archetype (white, male, married to a woman, neurotypical…the list goes on), and it takes intentional and persistent effort to dismantle those norms.
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5 Ways to Invite Diverse Perspectives into Meetings

on Oct 6, 2022 9:00:00 AM By | Deanna Singh | 0 Comments | Diversity meeting Communication Inclusion
Many workplaces are so focused on diversity goals, they completely forget about inclusion. Yes, it’s an important first step to hire diverse talent. But that isn’t enough. To make the most of your diverse team and create a welcoming environment, it’s critical for leaders to consider everyone’s ideas, perspectives, and concerns. In part, that means holding meetings that work for everyone—meetings that encourage multiple viewpoints and make sure everyone’s voice is heard. According to a 2022 article by NPR correspondent, Stacey Vanek Smith, “Getting interrupted, talked over and ignored in meetings happens to everyone — but more often to gender minorities, people of color and more junior employees.” If you fall into any one of these categories, you are probably well aware that this is true. In one study by George Washington University, men interrupted women 33 percent more often than other men. And Black people often report feeling silenced in the workplace. Not only does silencing affect employees on a personal level, it can also affect a company’s bottom line. Higher workplace engagement can lead to higher productivity, a better attendance record, and improved retention. There are clearly many benefits to engaging and including your people, and team meetings provide a great opportunity to begin fostering intentional inclusion. Here are 5 ways to invite multiple voices—and multiple perspectives—into meetings:
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6 Ways to Push Back Against Unconscious Bias

on Aug 25, 2022 9:00:00 AM By | Deanna Singh | 1 Comment | Diversity Race Fear Bias
Our brains have evolved over thousands of years to take mental shortcuts. We are capable of processing about 11 million pieces of information per second, but only 40 pieces of information is processed consciously (while the vast majority happens subconsciously). Because of these neuro-shortcuts, when we meet new people, we tend to automatically make snap judgments about them. Years ago, this was a safety mechanism. Our brain’s amygdala, which controls our fight or flight reflex, would give a signal to run/react/fight in the face of the unknown. Today, that animal impulse still lingers in the form of unconscious bias. Obviously, the human race has come a long way over the past couple thousand years, but that has only complicated unconscious bias, not eliminated it. Now, instead of fearing unknown entities, we might instead believe social narratives about certain groups of people. According to Renee Navarro, Vice Chancellor of Diversity and Outreach at UCSF, “Everyone holds unconscious beliefs about various social and identity groups, and these biases stem from one's tendency to organize social worlds by categorizing.” Categorizing. Mental shortcuts. Unconscious processing. While these cognitive tendencies might occur instinctively, that doesn’t give anyone a free pass to hold onto their biases. It is our collective responsibility to acknowledge unconscious bias and work to change the narrative (both in society and within our own heads). Start with these 6 steps...
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10 DEI books to Spark Workplace Discussions/Action

on Jul 28, 2022 9:00:00 AM By | Deanna Singh | 0 Comments | Diversity personal development Resources Inclusion
When it comes to building a more diverse and inclusive workplace, education is key. Workshops, seminars, and training courses are all valid ways to learn about diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI), BUT you can also take your education into your own hands and pick up a book. Sure, blog posts and articles can deliver bits of wisdom, but books take a deep dive. They provide a rich wealth of knowledge that you can take and use in your everyday life. There’s a reason some of the wealthiest people in the U.S. (think Oprah, Bill Gates, and Warren Buffett) are also exceptionally well-read. Books can deliver insights and ideas to fuel your hustle. When it comes to DEI-centered books, you have a lot of options (including my own publication, Actions Speak Louder). However, not all DEI books are created equally. We did the research and put together a list of 10 engaging and educational books that cover diversity, equity, and inclusion topics. Pick the ones that spark your interest, find a cozy spot, and start reading!
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4 Ways to Develop Underrepresented Talent

on Jul 14, 2022 9:00:00 AM By | Deanna Singh | 0 Comments | HR Diversity Hiring Business
Whether consciously or not, certain people are often unsupported in their professional development. A company’s diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) efforts should not stop with recruiting a diverse set of people. Rather, it is crucial to nurture diverse talent and provide equal opportunities and support systems for traditionally underrepresented individuals to advance. Why nurture traditionally underrepresented talent?
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4 Dangers of Groupthink (and how to avoid them)

on May 19, 2022 9:00:00 AM By | Deanna Singh | 1 Comment | Diversity meeting Business Communication
Picture yourself in a team meeting. One of the more vocal team members proposes a strategy to address a current problem, and everyone nods and agrees without question. The team doesn’t consider other options or examine potential issues with the proposed strategy. No one voices an alternative idea. Instead, everyone moves on. This is an example of groupthink. In essence, groupthink involves making a decision as a group without much critical thought, discussion, feedback, or dissention. This term was coined in the 1950s, but was popularized by psychologist Irving Janis, who published a book called Groupthink in 1972 (revised in 1982). Chances are, you’ve experienced some form of groupthink.
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Your DEI-Centered Business Plan

on Feb 2, 2022 4:00:00 PM By | Deanna Singh | 0 Comments | Diversity Hiring Race Business
Last week, we discussed the need for diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI), why it matters, and how companies can begin to center themselves around DEI. This week, we’re going to dig into one particular aspect of DEI: creating a DEI-focused business plan. No matter if you’re a one-person shop or working in a Fortune 500 company, it is crucial to have a business plan that reflects your company’s values, ethics, and mission. Words matter. Remember that old saying, “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me”? That was a convenient lie for anyone who wanted to insult or belittle others without consequences! But the truth is, words can have a profound impact. When you’re creating or reworking your business plan, consider the language imbedded in it. Ask yourself:   Is it inclusive?   Will it attract a more vibrant and diverse workforce?   Does it reflect a genuine desire to support DEI work?   Does it put people before profits? In addition to examining the language of your organization’s business plan, it’s a good idea to go through each section and rework them to reflect the company you want to become. Change starts from the top, down, and from the inside, out. A business plan is as “inside” as it gets. It is the core of the organization and should reflect its integral values and moral standards. To center your company around DEI, try reworking the following sections of your business plan:
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Why Care About DEI in the Workplace?

on Jan 26, 2022 5:00:00 PM By | Deanna Singh | 0 Comments | Diversity Hiring Race Business
Today, the U.S. is having a moment of reckoning in terms of discrimination towards racial and ethnic groups, women, the LGBTQ+ community, and those with disabilities. In a recent survey from Monmouth University, 76% of respondents said racial discrimination is a big problem. Compared to 2015, that’s a 25-point jump! The recent “Me Too” movement has shed light on discrimination and harassment toward women (with studies showing that nearly half of all women face major workplace discrimination). And 46% of LGBTQ+ workers have dealt with discrimination in the workplace, while a staggering 82% of Americans with disabilities are unemployed (as of 2020). These statistics are troubling, and point to an urgent need for proactive reform and leadership centered around Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI). Creating a welcoming workplace is the right thing to do from not only an ethical and moral standpoint, but also from an economic standpoint. According to Harvard Business Review, “Diverse and inclusive companies find and nurture the best talent, increase employee engagement, and improve customer willingness to buy.” A diverse, equitable, and inclusive workforce is a satisfied and industrious workforce. It should come as no surprise that if a company nurtures and protects its employees, that company will experience higher retention rates and greater productivity. A company’s attitude toward DEI can be conveyed right away, during recruitment, interviewing, and hiring and, unfortunately, intrinsic bias is often baked into the hiring process. For instance, applicants with “Black-sounding” names get fewer callbacks than applicants with “white-sounding” names. And Latino applicants are 24 percent less likely to land an interview than white candidates. To combat bias, organizations can take conscious steps to equalize their hiring process, such as: Diversifying their recruitment/hiring team Actively recruiting candidates from colleges with high student diversity Having a strict “no nepotism” policy Publishing recruitment materials that use inclusive language Actively seeking candidates that add to the company culture, rather than those who look/act/think like everyone else Making sure all members of the recruitment/hiring team receive ongoing DEI training (consider enrolling in my “How to Be an Ally” virtual summit in March!) The hiring process is, of course, only one piece of the puzzle. Beyond that, it is crucial to emphasize DEI at every level—from the leadership, down—and to make it a cornerstone of the company’s business plan (more on that next week!). Without this DEI focus, diverse employees are more likely to be marginalized and undervalued and, ultimately, more likely to leave. According to a recent report, over one-third of Black employees plan to leave their companies within two years (a number 30 percent greater than their white counterparts), and 33 percent do not feel respected or valued. I could throw more statistics at you, but this really boils down to common sense: If people feel comfortable, respected, and included in their place of employment, they will want to stay and make meaningful contributions. Imagine signing up for an intramural basketball team. You’re shorter than average, so your teammates assume you’re no good and never allow you a chance to play (even though you’re secretly quick as lightning and can nail almost every three-point shot!). How long would you want to stay on that team? This same basic premise plays out all the time in the workplace. Far too often, people make snap judgments about others’ capabilities based on who they are or how they look. How can we do better? Though there is no magic, one-size-fits-all solution for creating an equitable workplace, there are several steps companies can take:
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