Let’s Talk Business: March 18, 2022

Read this week’s Let’s Talk Business column in The Emporia Gazette.

According to a recent study released by Deloitte, a significant 40% of respondents who don’t trust their organization’s commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion would consider leaving. In these days of worker shortage, don’t allow your business’s initiatives to languish.

Many organizations pledged to establish or expand diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) programs since the spring of 2020. Nearly two years later, have those efforts to address societal disparity and injustice translated to trust from the workforce?

Trust begins with making and demonstrating effort. When workers perceive their workplace lacking in its ability to execute its DEI strategy, or lacking the accountability to fulfill its DEI commitments, trust suffers. Promises must be kept. Don’t drop the ball. And don’t commit to bigger actions than you can implement.

The study also noted that trust is a critical factor for a worker’s performance and operational success. If employees do not trust that their employers will fulfill the commitments they’ve made, levels of engagement can go down and employees might not put forth their best efforts. On the other hand, an environment of trust indicates that engagement levels can increase up to 20% and the likelihood of an employee leaving the organization decreases by 87%.

Many employers have felt the effects of the “Great Resignation”, with notable shifts in how workers feel about the role of work in their lives as well as workers’ increasing expectations that employer and employee be on the same page values-wise, including commitments to diversity, equity, and inclusion.

Those responding to the Deloitte survey offered concrete suggestions for fashioning and implementing a solid DEI program. These suggestions are key to building trust, whether for a DEI program or as building blocks for any company culture:

  • Solicit input and involvement from all employees throughout program phases and cycles.
  • Set clear, well-researched goals, especially those that address challenges faced by diverse groups within the organization.
  • Commit funding for expertise, personnel, and programs that demonstrate and reflect the strategic importance of this work.
  • Increase accountability and demonstrate this by regularly communicating evidence of progress.
  • Stay committed in the long term to hiring, training, and promoting from diverse groups, including for leadership roles.
  • Be honest and sincere about what you are doing and why.
  • Always be transparent when communicating motivations, progress, momentum, and even mistakes.
  • Create a psychologically safe environment in which people can speak freely about their experiences and thoughts.
  • Maintain focus on DEI even as other business imperatives arise.

The good news is that, for the most part, workers do trust their organizations’ and leaders’ commitments to diversity, equity, and inclusion. Significantly, the Deloitte study reported, these results are consistent across demographic groups.

Read the entire study report here:


It’s a great day in Emporia!


“Let’s Talk Business” is a weekly column of the Emporia Area Chamber of Commerce and Visit Emporia. The mission of the Chamber is to be proactive in creating an environment for business and community success, guided by the vision that positive attitudes promote positive actions. Contact us at 620-342-1600 or chamber@emporiakschamber.org and visit our website at www.emporiakschamber.org.