In a recent podcast episode from Fly High Coaching’s Career 101 Podcast, aspiring anti-racist leader Dr. Jill Wener talked about the many benefits of diversity in the workplace. In the podcast, Wener shared her personal anti-racist journey and outlined important tips and methods she’s learned along the way. The success of DEI, as Wener notes, comes from having the right tools and training in place so that everyone’s experiences are heard. Keep reading for more key takeaways from Dr. Wener’s interview.
When different identities are represented on a large scale, there is a greater chance of more voices being heard. These identities (race, gender, physical ability) make up a diverse group of people who have unique ideas based on their different experiences.
Without diversity in the workplace, companies have blind spots that can result in unintentional prejudice or discrimination– someone will always be left out. Dr. Wener says, “You don’t know what you don’t know if you don’t have to think about it”. If you’re in a position of power and you’re not part of a marginalized group, there’s the very likely possibility that you won’t consider everyone’s experiences.
Diversity in the workplace should be more than just a ‘nice to have’. It must be a policy that’s intentional and supported by every top leader in the company. It’s more than putting BIPOC employees in leadership roles, or DEI positions.
DEI policies must be supported within the company. When speaking on the intentionality of DEI programs, Dr. Wener explains that “it’s a huge disservice and waste of opportunity and energy” to not fund these programs. The more effort put into these programs, the greater the outcome will be for the workplace.
Dr. Wener’s final point was about how others can become advocates for people who are part of marginalized groups. Allies must first recognize their blind spots and check their microaggressions. In what ways do you engage with other people who don’t share the same experiences as you? How do you interact with them? Are you intentional about supporting these people every day?
Companies must “provide training that includes tools that teach people how to interact when things get heated”, says Dr. Wener. In her final point, she encourages companies to arm their employees with tools that teach them about the many different concepts of diversity.
All in all, workplace diversity is a practice that takes time, intentionality, and togetherness. And in her interview, Dr. Wener equips companies with remarkable tools and knowledge that can help fight the fight against systemic racism. To listen to Dr. Wener’s full episode, click here.