September 20, 2023

What the affirmative action decision means for the future of DEI

The Supreme Court’s decision to gut affirmative action means colleges and universities cannot use race as a specific factor during the admissions process. This ruling has made many people question how it will impact hiring decisions and diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives.

This is a huge backslide from 2020 when more than 1,100 organizations committed a total of $200 billion to racial justice initiatives. The news can lead to more resistance to DEI efforts due to polarizing views in the workplace, in addition to the many DEI budget and team cuts companies have made in 2023 due to financial setbacks.

While the recent Supreme Court decision poses more challenges to advancing DEI efforts, it should not deter companies from continuing their commitment to creating diverse, equitable, and inclusive workplaces. This is the time to continue moving forward, so we listed three ways organizations can ensure DEI remains a top priority.

Companies must focus on diversifying their talent pipeline.

Companies may face a talent pipeline issue and a retention issue if the enrollment of Black and Latinx students declines at colleges and universities. This requires organizations to be more strategic about recruiting and advancing historically underrepresented talent.

Companies can focus their recruiting efforts at historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs) and Hispanic-serving institutions (HSIs). Establish partnerships with organizations that focus on advancing historically underrepresented talent, such as the National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE), the Association of Latino Professionals for America (ALPFA), or the National Association of Asian American Professionals (NAAAP).

This is also a great time to review your hiring requirements. Emphasize skills rather than degree and education requirements during the recruitment process. Identify where your company can provide on-the-job training and development opportunities. Acknowledge that alternative qualifications, such as vocational training or certifications are valuable for the role. Make sure language in job descriptions is inclusive and avoids unnecessary terminology that may exclude or deter candidates.

Company-wide DEI training is a must.

Education is more important now than ever since misinformation about DEI spreads quickly. Investing in educational initiatives about the definition and importance of diversity, equity, and inclusion can help employees better understand that equity does not equal oppression. This can be done through workshops, mandatory training programs, and sharing educational resources.

If your organization is looking for company-wide training, Perfeqta’s Introduction to DEI training session covers how DEI contributes to emotional well-being in the workplace, what an inclusive workplace looks like, and how working professionals can work toward being more inclusive.  

Take daily action – not just when a crisis arises.

Creating an equitable culture is an ongoing journey of growth and transformation. A social media post sharing your company’s stance on DEI during a time of crisis can feel performative if the company’s policies and workplace practices don’t align.

To create a culture of transparency and accountability, companies can:

  • Make time to discuss DEI progress in executive meetings. Remind company leaders of their commitments and emphasize why leadership buy-in is crucial for advancing DEI.
  • Update employees regularly on DEI progress and create a feedback loop so they know how to voice their thoughts and potential concerns.
  • Implement specific policies that show the company has zero tolerance for racism, homophobia, transphobia, ableism, and other acts of violence.
  • Have ongoing conversations with historically underrepresented employees about professional development opportunities available to them to highlight your commitment to their advancement.
  • Make sure your employee resource groups (EGRs) have a proper budget and support to carry out their programs and initiatives, and can continue being a safe space for members.
  • Conduct regular pay equity audits to identify and address discrepancies and ensure that compensation is fair, transparent, and aligned with industry standards.

Create an action plan: Work with Perfeqta to build an engaging and inclusive workplace culture.

We’ll help your team develop workplace strategies that boost employee engagement, improve retention, and foster a culture of belonging.

Our strategies and curriculum are tailored to your organization’s current state, so you don’t have to have everything figured out to get started.

Learn more about our company training sessions, career coaching, DEI roadmapping, and talent acquisition services here.

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