8 Tips for Fighting Diversity Fatigue

Amber Madison, Co-Founder of Peoplism, has identified eight ways D&I practitioners can combat diversity fatigue in their workplace.

1. Set realistic expectations around D&I work.

  • D&I is a business imperative.
  • Issues of D&I are infinitely complex and there are no quick fixes.
  • Progress is going to be hard fought over a long period of time.
  • Progress requires significant resources, willingness to change practices and policies.
  • Part of this process is failing.

2. Set goals that are clearly defined, discrete, and measurable. The goal post must be
clear or progress cannot be seen.

  • Instead of “increase inclusion,” something like, “increase inclusion by doing X, Y, Z.”
  • Consider process related goals around diversity (e.g. We will structure hiring processes
    in a way that mitigates bias.)
  • Consider process related goals around equity—representation at different levels. (e.g.
    We will conduct a pay equity analysis and make adjustments, if needed.)
  • If you are setting numeric goals around diversity and equity, be *VERY* careful about
    your messaging.
  • Be sure to set goals around inclusion, belonging and employee experience.

3. Show progress by tying initiatives to your goals.

  • Clearly tie each initiative you take on to a specific goal so that efforts don’t feel fractured.
  • Be clear that every initiative is a contributing factor to success rather than a promised
    silver bullet to success.
  • Report the outcome of every completed initiative (even if it’s just an email or Slack
    message, your employees are watching and want to know).
  • Don’t blindly take on initiatives because it seems like you “ should. ” Understand why it is
    right for your company.

4. Communicate to the entire company regularly.

  • At least quarterly: What D&I+ initiatives you are implementing and how they relate to
    your goals.
  • At least yearly: Your progress towards your goals. (Start small and manageable. It
    doesn’t have to be a fancy report. A sincere email or all hands announcement will do).

5. Get some concrete wins by showing responsiveness.

  • Ask employees about inclusion and belonging experiences.
  • Understand perception is EVERYTHING when it comes to inclusion and belonging.
  • Report back what you heard.
  • Report 2-3 concrete actions you are taking a result of what you heard.

6. Empower people to take action.

  • Give employees something specific they can do (though be clear it’s not a silver bullet).
  • Examples: Concrete tools for leading inclusive meetings, things you can say when you
    hear someone say something offensive, what you can do if you see someone getting cut
    off in a meeting, etc.

7. Be clear about Diversity, Inclusion, Belonging, Equity.

  • Make sure everyone involved in D&I+ efforts is clear on what these words mean at your
  • Spoiler alert: There is no clear agreement on definitions of these words…this is not as
    basic of a task as it sounds.
  • Share the meanings of these words with your employees.
  • When you talk about your efforts, be clear and precise about the main target of your
    efforts rather than throwing these words together in a jumble.

8. Don’t dodge the elephant in the room: Address isms head on.

  • You can start with unconscious bias, but be clear to employees it is a starting point.
  • If you have limited resources or your employees have limited attention spans, you have
    to start with a more hard-hitting conversation.
  • Conversations/trainings should include conversations about bias in your workplace
  • Conversations/trainings should address systemic biases and stereotypes, and help
    participants challenge their biases.
  • Conversations around sexism and racism MUST be treated delicately, or they can cause
    real damage. (That’s not an excuse to avoid them though.)


About Peoplism

Peoplism is an end-to-end D&I+ consulting firm that works with companies to develop and implement comprehensive D&I+ strategies. Their services include:
  • Assessments (hiring funnel, pay equity, inclusion + belonging, etc.)
  • Trainings (one-of-a-kind trainings–not unconscious bias—proven to help participants become less biased, and foster inclusion and belonging.)
  • Customized Strategies & Implementations (hiring, performance review, promotions, inclusive culture building, team belonging interventions, etc.)


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