Diversity, equity, and inclusion (D.E.I.) is a booming industry, with estimated revenues up 25% over the last 12 months, the New York Times reports. Though many companies have invested in trainings for their employees over the years, findings show that there is still a need to educate workers on the topics of empathy, privilege, and power dynamics.
Michelle Kim, CEO and co-founder of Awaken, an experiential D.E.I. workshop company out of Oakland, California, believes inclusion is an ongoing process. “We’re seeing employees demanding action, not just lip service,” she says. Kim’s company holds sessions over the course of several months, combining large group activities, self-reflection, and small group conversations focused on themes such as exploring identities and inclusive language.
The key is to make everyone, from assistants to CEOs, feel as if they are part of the conversation. “If you’re not making people aware and holding them responsible at the upper levels of your organization, then you don’t have a chance,” says Kenneth L. Johnson, president and D.E.I. recruiter for East Coast Executives, a recruitment firm in New York City.