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Uncomfortable work is necessary for sustained change.

Engaging with Equality, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI) content and resources is a cornerstone of my professional development. Whether through research, events, or LinkedIn posts, staying updated on industry trends is crucial for EDI leaders given the rapid pace of our field. 

During a recent EDI webinar, I attended while enjoying a sunny holiday in January, the discussions prompted reflections on the current state of our sector. 

Understanding Timelines: In the aftermath of George Floyd’s tragic murder in 2020 and the resurgence of the Black Lives Matter movement, there was a sense that EDI could be swiftly “solved”  within a five-year strategy period. While EDI leaders successfully secured budgets and autonomy for their initiatives, the challenge now is managing expectations. It’s vital to convey that EDI work is a continuous effort that delves into centuries-old oppressive structures. Acknowledging this complexity is crucial to avoid potential setbacks such as shrinking teams and slashed budgets, which many organisations are currently grappling with. 

Legacy vs. Quick Wins: Business leaders must embrace the idea that the impact of our EDI initiatives might not be fully realised within our working lifetimes. Successfully challenging ingrained structures takes time and concerted effort. While quick wins are impactful and boost morale, deeper, more uncomfortable work is necessary for sustained change. EDI should be viewed as part of an organisation’s legacy, not merely a checkbox for their website. 

Essential and Desirable Skills: The debate surrounding the necessary skills for EDI professionals has evolved over the years. Some argue for lived experiences, while others emphasise business transformation expertise. The reality is that different organisations have varied needs, and a diversity of skill sets within EDI teams can be beneficial. It’s essential for employers not to hastily cut or restructure EDI teams based on a perceived lack of certain skill sets, as each organisation requires a tailored approach. 

Remaining Responsive: As EDI professionals, we must remain attuned to trends, legal changes, and feedback from peers. While opinions on the current state of EDI may differ, it’s crucial for those in influential positions to approach their work with compassion. The impact of EDI extends beyond individual efforts; it’s a collective responsibility that goes beyond immediate concerns. 

In navigating the complexities of EDI work, let’s foster a collaborative and understanding approach,

focusing on solutions and the broader significance of our shared commitment to inclusivity.

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We do not provide professional help to individuals in urgent crisis. If you are experiencing a mental health emergency, please call 999 immediately. For support with suicidal thoughts, consider contacting the Samaritans UK, a trusted organisation specialising in confidential assistance during emotional distress. Your safety is paramount and there are professionals available to provide the urgent help required in such critical situations.