Key Topics for DEI Meetings: Guide for Leaders

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Businesses, organizations, and non-profits all utilize meetings as a platform for ideation, discussion, and decision-making. Meetings are where business leaders and employees come together as an intersection of business operations and company culture. 

Despite their utility, some employees begrudge meetings, claiming their contents are better suited to digital communication methods, like email or text. However, meetings promote connections between team members and can serve as the perfect discussion board for diversity and inclusion topics. 

Because meetings are an intersection of operations and work culture, discussing DEI in meetings supports changes and initiatives throughout the organization. Allowing others to feel heard fosters a sense of belonging, improves employee satisfaction, and provides other benefits. 

Making diversity, equity, and inclusion an agenda item for every meeting empowers others to learn about discrimination and aligns goals with progress. If you’re struggling with what topics to include, you’re in the right place. Coach Diversity Institute compiled a list of must-hit topics to add to your next meeting’s agenda.


Topic 1: Current DEI Trends and Statistics

An important topic to discuss at your next meeting is where DEI stands. You can catch up on current events, like Texas’s decision to ban DEI initiatives and programs or the MLB’s decision to include Negro League stats. 

In addition to staying updated with the latest in trends and news, you must also discuss benchmark performance data to understand the context of those headlines and changes. The Pew Research Center has a study filled with valuable information on the current state of DEI. 

Using these trends and data-driven statistics, you can discuss changes to internal DEI policies and initiatives. In 2024, boardrooms are discussing virtual reality training and new L&D courses as options to improve cultural competencies. 

Don’t forget that recognizing these trends and news stories at the beginning of your meetings is the perfect time to celebrate wins and reaffirm commitments to diversity, equity, and inclusion.


Topic 2: Review of Internal DEI Metrics and Goals

The trends, statistics, and benchmarks from the wider business world provide a measuring stick for your organization. To properly gauge your successes, you must regularly review internal performance through metrics and KPIs. 

A handful of must-track KPIs include diverse workforce statistics, pay equity, and employee satisfaction. Present your results and compare them with benchmark data, being as transparent as possible. This reporting highlights successes along with areas that still need improvement. 

During this discussion of internal DEI metrics, encourage dialogue about your S.M.A.R.T. DEI goals. Revisit or reset any goals that are no longer achievable or align with business needs. It’s crucial that actionable insights come from data-based DEI metrics and not from gut feelings.   

Your DEI metrics and KPIs should also include data on the diversity in various roles, such as hiring panels, C-Suite leadership, mid-level management, or front-line supervisors. While you’re at it, review the diversity of vendors, supply chains, and business partners. 


Topic 3: Unconscious Bias and Inclusion Training

Meetings are a prime opportunity to conduct DEI training, bystander intervention seminars, and refresher courses. As such, deliver intentional inclusion training sessions, activities, or webinars to capture the most number of eyes in the shortest amount of time. 

An example of an impactful course is unconscious bias training. Unconscious bias training is perfect for exposing and rewiring harmful learned behavior, like stereotypes, prejudices, and behavior that result in microaggressions, slights, or discrimination. 

These unconscious biases impact internal teams by preventing underrepresented groups from having an equal voice. It also impacts customers because unconscious stereotypes and microaggressions alienate these same groups by implying a lack of trust. 

Another meaningful program to invest in is inclusive leadership training. This type of training is ideal for building the inclusive and equitable habits, characteristics, and behaviors of managers, executives, managers in training, and front-line supervisors. 

Inclusive leaders embody inclusive workplace culture, enforce policies, model behavior, and serve as allies and voices for underrepresented employees. Yet, HR officers, social workers, management consultants, cultural diversity officers, and L&D departments also benefit from inclusive leadership training. 

Coach Diversity Institute is a leader in providing these training programs. Our robust training encourages awareness, fosters diversity, and provides tools every employee can use to support the equitable workplace culture you want to build. Explore our organizational programs to learn more about the curriculum! 


Topic 4: Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) and Initiatives

Employee resource groups (ERGs) are voluntary, employee-led organizations with the goal of fostering awareness, understanding, and acceptance within the workplace and community. Some of these ERGs include: 

  • Women’s Networks 
  • People of Color groups
  • LGBTQ+ Networks 
  • Veterans Support Networks 
  • Disability Awareness Groups
  • Mental Health and Well-Being Advocacy
  • Religious Diversity Networks
  • Neurodiversity Advocates

In your meetings, discuss the activities, successes, areas of improvement, enrollment, and employee engagement in these groups. Now is also the time to provide suggestions, plan for team-building activities, schedule seminars, and invite guest speakers. 


Topic 5: Open Forum for Employee Feedback and Discussion

Part of creating an inclusive, welcoming work environment is being receptive to all voices in your organization. Reserve a portion of each meeting for open-forum discussions and encourage employee feedback and input. 

To maximize the success of these open forum discussions, you must create a platform where everyone feels comfortable with sharing. Use these tips to foster those optimal safe space conditions:

  • Assign a designated note-taker to refer back to
  • Give employees permission to say and ask anything they want 
  • Be honest with your answers and responses
  • Ask follow-up questions and recap for clarity
  • Demand total attention to whoever is speaking
  • Follow-up with requests and action steps

During these conversations, enforce inclusive language standards and promptly correct anyone who doesn’t adhere to those efforts. It’s also essential that you take action on the feedback presented. Otherwise, team members might be hesitant to share in the future if they feel their concerns go unheard.


Topic 6: Planning DEI Events and Community Engagement

Finally, becoming a beacon of diversity and inclusion means sharing your DEI progress with your community. Use meeting time to coordinate DEI events and community engagement programs to spread your commitment. 

In addition to hosting DEI-related events, like Pride and alternative holidays, practice some of these engaging activities:

  • Start a local community mentorship program
  • Host a language, multicultural, and food exchange
  • Offer community volunteer days in partnership with employee resource groups
  • Launch an advocacy campaign on social media or through advertising channels
  • Support non-profit organizations with activities like food drives or Toys for Tots

Through these events and activities, you can raise awareness for DEI topics and issues while building brand recognition and reputation. Members of the community will champion your organization and praise the ties built through your efforts. 


Commit to Continuous Improvement in DEI with Coach Diversity

Meeting agendas often contain information that would be better in an email. Diversity, equity, and inclusion aren’t among those concepts. Instead, a meeting can be the perfect time to discuss DEI topics to reassert commitment, touch base on progress, and introduce new viewpoints. 

Meetings are when business operations collide with an inclusive culture, inviting the best of both to be present. Dedicating time to DEI topics in meetings equates to dedicated efforts to DEI throughout your organization, from hiring and developing to coaching and retention. 

While we’ve explored many DEI topics you should add to your next meeting agenda, supporting the DEI efforts in your business is an ongoing practice. The best way to stay sharp is through education and practice. Luckily, Coach Diversity Institute has a vast curriculum to support DEI education in your organization. Get in touch to schedule your next diversity training session!