Today’s post is from Sally Helgesen, the best-selling author of numerous books including here most recent one, Rising Together: How We Can Bridge Divides and Create a More Inclusive Workplace. She’s also in the Thinkers50 Hall of Fame.

Her post today is addressing the turmoil in the DEI/woke debate and since she is an expert in this area I asked her to chime in.

Here’s Sally,

The “DEI is woke” chorus that dominated headlines at the start of this year has quieted down as the activists pushing it have moved on to other causes. Yet I continue to hear from clients concerned that their commitment to diversity, and their efforts to build more inclusive cultures, might generate political pushback or land them in social media crosshairs. And that as a result, DEI might not survive.

I’ve worked in the field ever since my book, The Web of Inclusion, published in 1995, first to put the language of inclusion into the workplace. This longevity of experience has enabled me to address client concerns with confidence.

The bottom line? I do not see DEI going away.

This doesn’t mean that the language won’t change, or that practices won’t evolve. I see evidence of companies wanting to focus on inclusive behaviors rather than unconscious bias, which is more subjective and can be divisive. But there’s little chance that organizations will abandon their efforts to broaden the range and scope of their talent, or cease trying to build cultures in which the widest possible range of people feel as if they belong.

The reason is simple: the talent pool from which organizations must draw has become extremely diverse. And it’s becoming more so as economies become ever more global. In addition, companies are more reliant than ever on the skill, creativity, and hearts-and-minds engagement of people at every level. People, after all, are what add value to products and services, make continuous incremental improvement possible, and make great teams possible.

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