Too many times, Diversity Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging training is overlooked and simply a box to check for many schools and organizations. However, on Friday, November 11th, the students of the Strategic Human Resource Management Center had the pleasure of welcoming Nancy Geenen and Nancy Carreño to facilitate an interactive and engaging session on Diversity Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging, taking the understanding and practice of DEI to a deeper context. Nancy G. joined us as CEO and Visionary at Flexability and Nancy C. joined us as a Sr. Talent Acquisition Business Partner from ADP. Flexability works with companies to help them build sustainable diversity equity and inclusion programs and trains leaders to create healthy and accountable teams. Certified Facilitator Nancy G. was gracious enough to share her vast expertise with us.
We began with defining DEI both with the textbook definitions as well as sharing our own experiences that have impacted our personal understanding of DEI. We discussed inclusion and its impact and how that translates into leadership skills that we would use as future HR leaders. Nancy G. shared methods of measuring inclusion, such as surveys and interviews, and spoke to inclusion as a strategy for increasing an organization’s productivity, performance, and profit. We continued with equity, discussed intent, and how it can be measured through data analytics. Next, we considered intersectionality and the different identities we hold as individuals in the workplace. Nancy G. shared some effective initiatives we could use in our future roles to help promote and encourage DEI in our future work environments.
We then held an open conversation surrounding bias microaggressions in the workplace. We shared examples from our personal experiences and heard from other students and faculty. Nancy G. dived deeper into the consequences of these biases, and how ultimately it affects performance in an organization. Finally, we ended the session with a case study in which we broke up into groups and worked through a real-life business issue where an HR director was facing a challenge embedded in DEI issues. We were able to use what we learned from the presentation, class material, and previous experiences to brainstorm solutions to this real-world DEI problem. We discussed the other groups’ solutions and were challenged to build upon each other’s ideas to find an answer that we could eventually use in our future careers.
The challenges we discussed during this session are common challenges that all of us will surely face at some point in our careers as HR professionals, and it was a great opportunity to practice these skills and build upon the knowledge and depth of what has already been covered in our HR courses. I was grateful that the SHR Center committed to holding a DEI session beyond the surface-level standards that I have experienced, and for the opportunity to build these crucial skills that I will use throughout my career. Furthermore, I am hopeful the Wisconsin School of Business will continue to challenge the status quo by holding engaging, meaningful discussions and workshops on Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging.