After the year we’ve had, it should come as no surprise that the number of chief diversity and inclusion officers (CDIOs) in the U.S. and around the world is on the rise. The sudden and rapid elevation of diversity, inclusion, and discrimination issues in nearly every aspect of our lives resulted in more visibility and increased demand for the role of CDIOs across the business world.
Of course, like anything that quickly rises to prominence, CDIOs have been on the receiving end of a sudden and forceful wave of controversy from both the business community and the general public. As someone who’s been in the diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) space for some time, I’ve heard it all: “The role is just for optics,” “CDIOs don’t even do anything,” and, of course, that the position is seen as a “revolving door” in many organizations.
It’s understandable that there are so many people who don’t understand the value of this job and the services we provide to businesses across the globe. After all, the position itself only began appearing prominently in the business community in the last decade. However, a hallmark quality of chief diversity officers is meeting people where they are on their DEI journey and providing them the resources they need to move forward. By addressing a few common myths about CDIOs, it is my hope that I can help some move past criticism and into understanding to jump-start their own DEI journey.