The phrase ‘First Wave DEI’ refers to the time period before May of 2022, with many decades of slow (and unsteady) progress toward greater awareness (and in some cases, appreciation) of the societal importance of diversity, equity and inclusion. Race, gender and sexuality were the primary focus of DEI initiatives during this period. In the workplace, Human Resources departments were primarily responsible for establishing and enforcing equitable policies.
The ‘Second Wave DEI’ period began in the wake of George Floyd’s murder where we saw an acceleration and intensification of efforts to drive change in actions, mindsets and results. The increased focus and passion also produced an intense push-back from some individuals and groups. The societal ‘conversation’ (and conflict) easily spilled over into the workplace conversation (and conflict).
‘Third Wave DEI’ refers to a near-future period where the focus would expand beyond the ‘big three’ concerns (race, gender, sexuality) and will emphasis on –
- DEI initiatives that expand to encompassing the full range of human diversity
- Inclusivity to cultural, language, lifestyle, life experience, and work experience
- Workplace conflict will begin to move along a different path from the societal conversation
This article throws light on the challenges and opportunities that will spring over from this Third Wave of DEI, and what needs to be considered when creating a truly inclusive society and workplace.