The Dallas Regional Chamber’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Leaders Connect group tackled a broad range of issues in its virtual quarterly meeting on Tuesday, April 13. This included hearing about Southern Methodist University’s Latino Leadership Initiative, discussing how employers are planning for the return to the post-pandemic workplace, and sharing how companies are addressing employee hesitancy toward vaccinations. The group also discussed ways to show support for employees during recent violence against Asian Americans, and the outcome of the Derek Chauvin trial.
Here are four takeaways from that session:
- Ana Rodriguez, Managing Director of the SMU Cox Latino Leadership Initiative (LLI), highlighted the shifting U.S. demographics (Hispanics comprised more than half of total U.S. population growth from 2010 to 2019) and shared how several Fortune 1000 companies are working with the LLI as a pipeline for diverse talent. She also cited studies that indicate workplace teams that better represent their communities get better results, and that diverse teams are more productive.
- A survey of the DEI Leaders Connect group showed 63% of respondents indicated their employers are planning a return to the office workplace between July and September. Many of the respondents also said with the return to work, employees are expecting to receive more flexibility in schedules, workplace attire, and other practices and benefits.
- In another question, leaders indicated that 67% of represented companies do not plan on mandating vaccinations for returning employees with 33% indicating they are still undecided. Instead, many employers plan to only encourage employees to receive the vaccine. Those employers plan to educate and inform those reluctant to receive the vaccine through outreach from experts and peers. Other respondents said that their employers plan to use incentives – such as gift cards – to encourage and reward employees who are fully vaccinated.
- Finally, DEI Leaders Connect attendees said they held roundtable discussions and offered support to their employee groups, given the recent increase in attacks against Asian Americans, and the start of the Derek Chauvin trial. He is the police officer being tried for the death of George Floyd. DEI Leaders Connect attendees said employers need to be prepared for an emotional reaction to the trial’s verdict, regardless of what conclusion the jury reaches.