DEI Is Being Renamed IED (!) But It Still Means DIE YT
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Earlier: NYT: It's Not Diversity Inclusion Equity (DIE), It's Diversity Equity Inclusion (DEI)

From the Washington Post news section:

DEI is getting a new name. Can it dump the political baggage?

Under mounting legal and political pressure, companies’ DEI tactics are evolving.

By Taylor Telford and Julian Mark
May 5, 2024 at 8:05 a.m. EDT

… In March, Starbucks got shareholder approval to replace “representation” goals with “talent” performance for executive bonus incentives. At Molson Coors, “People & Planet” metrics have displaced environmental, social and governance (ESG) goals, and the acronym DEI has disappeared altogether.

Amid growing legal, social and political backlash, American businesses, industry groups and employment professionals are quietly scrubbing DEI from public view—though not necessarily abandoning its practice. As they rebrand programs and hot-button acronyms, they’re reassessing decades-old anti-discrimination strategies and rewriting policies that once emphasized race and gender to prioritize inclusion for all.

It’s a stark contrast to 2020, when the murder of George Floyd unleashed a racial justice movement that prompted companies to double down on policies aiming to increase opportunity for groups that have historically faced discrimination. Less than a year after the Supreme Court struck down affirmative action in colleges and universities—a landmark ruling that found race-conscious admissions violated the right to equal treatment under the Constitution—a growing contingent of critics is arguing that DEI creates inequalities of its own. …

And many companies have held onto their programs since the Supreme Court ruled against Harvard and the University of North Carolina last June. Six months after the ruling, the employment law firm Littler Mendelson reported that 91 percent of the 320 executives surveyed said the ruling had not lessened their prioritization of DEI. In fact, 57 percent said they had expanded their DEI programming in the past year.

But that sentiment is far more subdued than it was in 2020, when corporate America poured more than $50 billion into racial justice causes. Meanwhile, the DEI industry—which was worth an estimated $9 billion in 2023, according to market researcher Fact.MR—is also rethinking its public face, consultants say.

Last fall, a few months after the Harvard-UNC decision, Taylor was already noticing growing antipathy toward the methods that companies, institutions of higher education and other organizations used to diversify in their ranks. So instead of referring to DEI, Taylor switched to calling these efforts “IED,” putting the focus on “inclusion” as DEI accrued cultural and political baggage.

“IED” gives me warm and fuzzy feelings. Great acronym, guys!

When IED become unpopular, they can then change to my old choice: DIE.

SHRM, the human resources association he heads, changed the name of its annual DEI conference to “Inclusion 2023.”

… A growing number of companies—including language app Duolingo, JetBlue and Molson Coors—are either listing DEI as a “risk factor” in shareholder reports or removing mentions of diversity goals outright. A Bloomberg Law analysis found that two dozen public companies have incorporated similar risk-factor language into their filings. And several companies, including Kohls, Salesforce and Workday, have dropped references to diversity goals in regulatory filings, the Wall Street Journal reported.

… In its proxy statement last year, Starbucks said it was “holding our senior leaders collectively accountable” for goals that focused “on improvement in Black, Indigenous, and Latinx representation at the manager level.” It also had goals around executive mentorship for BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and other people of color) employees, scores on inclusive leadership surveys and other metrics, Bueno said.

But starting this year, Starbucks is weighting its incentive plan more toward financial performance, tethering representation-related rewards to “talent” goals. The company’s 2024 proxy statement references a goal to “ensure that leaders have accountability” for “creating a culture of belonging.”

… Bueno estimated that 35 to 40 percent of large-cap companies—those with a market capitalization of $10 billion or more—have some DEI targets in their executive bonus criteria. About half of them frame these policies around quantitative targets, while the rest take a more qualitative approach. Still, “companies are treading carefully,” given the legal climate, he said.

It’s fascinating how seldom over the last half century the mainstream media mentions the existence of affirmative action executive bonus criteria.

A question I got asked a lot on my book tour is whether the zeitgeist is changing. Personally, I dunno. There’s a vibeshift (e.g., I’ve made eight public appearances this year, after going more than ten years without making one from winter 2013 to summer 2023). But the forces of DEI IED DIE have plenty of institutional clout.

So, we shall see.

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