Outside Help for Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion?
When an organization creates an internal position to support Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion work in the organization, it can be incredibly isolating for a EDI representative. The work that they are doing is something that challenges others to look internally and make some changes. The conversations can be uncomfortable, which might lead an ambitious, equity minded individual, to be perceived in negative ways by colleagues.
Give Your Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Representative Some Support
Hiring an outside consultant allows your EDI person to have support from the outside EDI community. Various consultants can help your in-house inclusion representative navigate the challenges that this role entails. They also need to be considering their own career goals and may need a neutral person with which to discuss their next steps.
Organizations do not usually have a large support group for a EDI person, or oftentimes rely on a Human Resources representative to try to navigate teaching inclusive practices to a staff. This can be an isolating experience and these people may make mistakes that are hard to repair. Hiring a consultant to assess sticky situations can take the burden off of those who will show up each day doing equity work in isolation.
After the workplace culture shifts from a Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion department, to a place where everyone is participating in the conversation, then there will no longer be a need for an outside consultant on a regular basis because the whole team will be working hand-in-hand with the equity representative. Until then, your EDI person will need support and advocacy and it is up to leadership to support them.