Industry the April 2024 issue

Pressing On Past DEI Fatigue

Despite the challenges of stagnancy and pushback, we must continue to be deliberate about diversity, equity and inclusion.
By Ken Crerar Posted on April 1, 2024

My gut tells me to keep pushing it, to keep putting the topic out there, but the headlines tell me otherwise. For example, a November 2022 Fast Company article says that people are frustrated with lack of movement on diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives in the workplace, which can result in resistance to even talking about it. That’s in addition to the increased politicization of the issue.

Yet within this challenging environment, champions of DEI press on, and it is those fierce advocates whom I find most inspiring. You may have read earlier this year in Leader’s Edge about The Council’s DEI Advisory Committee. The committee’s role is to help educate, build partnerships, and drive measurement and accountability for DEI initiatives within our industry. Committee members are dedicated to continuing the conversation on DEI, despite potential fatigue, by writing about it regularly in Leader’s Edge.

This month, committee member Kevin Davis, founder and president of Kevin Davis Insurance Services, an Amwins Company, addresses DEI fatigue head-on in his piece, “Harnessing the Power of Belonging” (p. 36). “There is a growing lack of recognition of DEI’s importance and a growing disinterest in the topic,” Davis writes. “This is illustrated by layoffs in DEI departments and organizations questioning the necessity of formal diversity, equity and inclusion efforts at all.”

I believe we have opportunities everywhere to make more thoughtful decisions, initiating change in the ways that are possible, even if they are small—or, rather, incremental.

But instead of just lamenting this situation, Davis calls for movement and redirection. He addresses controversial topics like affirmative action and social justice issues in the workplace. He reminds us that we “need to be deliberate in explaining the meaning of this work, emphasizing what it entails and, equally important, what it does not.”

So I’m taking my cue from Kevin Davis and the rest of the DEI committee. I will continue to push, and I will be deliberate in my message. I believe we have opportunities everywhere to make more thoughtful decisions, initiating change in the ways that are possible, even if they are small—or, rather, incremental.

This issue of Leader’s Edge covers brokerage mergers and acquisitions. In that vein, I ask you this: If you are a buyer, what is your DEI strategy, and are you ensuring your acquisitions have a compatible approach?

According to Deloitte, “An M&A transaction presents multiple opportunities to rout out existing systemic inequities and infuse (or even implement) leading DEI practices within your organization’s existing programs and people management strategies.” From assessing a target company’s DEI practices and culture to evaluating its use of third-party vendors, acquirers can use the entire deal cycle to drive DEI initiatives, Deloitte says.

We all know M&A is booming in brokerage, so let’s view it with a new lens as an opportunity to further strengthen diversity, equity and inclusion. Let’s press on past the fatigue.

Ken Crerar CEO, The Council Read More

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