A- A+

Hire a Diversity Officer + Watch Your Business Grow

Hiring a Diversity Officer

January 4, 2021

2020 has been a year of soul searching individually and professionally across our nation. While it was promising to see many organizations offer their statements of support to remove barriers and systemic racism, it is critical that organizations act to change how they operate. Team members, communities, customers, vendors and investors are advocating for change, so now is the time to get serious about the work of diversity, equity and inclusion (DE&I).

Many companies are being pushed to examine both their internal and external business models, processes, policies, products, workforce and succession plans. Some are even searching for their first officer to lead their diversity efforts. EMC embraces DE&I efforts through its support of nonprofit organizations in communities where employees live and work, but also by committing to an inclusive work environment. No matter where an organization is on its diversity journey, it’s important for them to have laser focus on their purpose as they move forward.

The Important Role of Diversity Officer

Diversity officers are being established in many companies and the individual leading the effort may be called chief diversity officer, director of culture/diversity/equity/inclusion/belonging, etc. No matter the title, the work remains similar — to lead the organization in aligning its business objectives and embed diversity, equity and inclusion as a business imperative in everything they do. It is important to have someone dedicated to ensuring that strategies are created, goals are set, metrics are established and progress is made.

When deciding how to align your diversity officer to your leadership team, I encourage you to remain focused on your purpose for driving diversity as part of your business strategy. This person is a leader in your organization and in your community, so consider aligning the role directly to your CEO with a direct or dotted line. Success hinges directly on CEO involvement, as well as collaboration with legal, communications, HR and others in the C-Suite. This role must have a seat at the table to achieve meaningful progress and change. Transforming your company in to a move diverse, equitable and inclusive organization takes time and hard work. When you hire someone to lead this effort for your team, you will watch as people’s minds open to the innovation and collaboration necessary to drive positive engagement and increased profitability.

Greater Des Moines (DSM) welcomes diverse talent to the region. As one of the fastest growing business communities, inclusion and attracting diverse talent in the workplace is a key strategy of the Greater Des Moines Partnership. Learn more here.

You can join The Partnership’s own CEO Commitment to Racial Equity in DSM here.

Lonnie Dafney

As the first diversity equity and inclusion director for EMC Insurance, Lonnie Dafney is a strategic thought leader who brings more than 20 years of proven experience and knowledge in the areas of diversity, equity, inclusion, human resources, executive coaching, talent management, team engagement and leadership and management development.