Know a DEI Skeptic? Use These 3 Strategies to Engage Them

Not everyone is on board with diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives. For those that are hoping it will fade away, it is time to engage them proactively before they disrupt the culture.

The good news is that most people believe in the value of diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives in the workplace — yet the minority, although vocal, is roughly 20% of the workforce. For these DEI skeptics, we recommend a three-pronged approach:

  1. First, learn more about their story and what is holding them back.
  2. Ask for their engagement directly.
  3. Offer up a specific way they can show support and hold them accountable.

Learn more about their story and what is holding them back

Overwhelming people with facts and figures is tempting, but often not helpful in changing perspectives. Instead, meet skeptics where they’re at. Give them time to process their fears, concerns and ideas. This can be helpful information for allies that want to better understand the challenges of DEI work. Chances are some other concerns could be valid. As with any line of work, there are always pros and cons and paradoxes that are more often in between.

We’re all a product of our lived experiences. It’s hard for people to take on a perspective that they themselves don’t share. This is why storytelling is so powerful as allies. Asking questions to learn about people’s upbringing, caregiving roles they experienced at home and exposure to other races and cultures growing up is key. People’s socioeconomic class has a significant tie to our perceptions as adults. For example, many lower-class white people share the belief in the myth of meritocracy — meaning hard work pays off. Yet, when you compare notes with people of color, they are unique challenges they often face due to the intersections of racism and classism.

To reach a DEI skeptic, consider asking these questions….


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At Next Pivot Point we have lots of resources to help you facilitate successful diversity and inclusion initatives. Schedule some time with our team today to discuss where to start or how to do better. You can also check out: