Advancing Meaningful DEI Outcomes within SCP

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Advancing Meaningful DEI Outcomes within SCP

By: Ryan C. Warner, PhD, CRC

Recent events, grounded in historical context, have served as a catalyst for organizations to take notice and directly address the problem of inequities within our workplaces. As psychologists, it has been the status quo to acknowledge that diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) are important and should be ingrained in every aspect of our work. Serving as DEI champions should be intentional and deliberate throughout our consulting practices. And within this context, questions may surface that trigger spirited discussion. For example, what actions do we intentionally and deliberately engage in on an ongoing basis to enhance DEI when working with individuals, teams, and organizations? What exactly are diversity, equity, and inclusion anyway? And, as psychologists, how do we lead change that inspires and invigorates others?

You may have heard the saying: “Diversity is being invited to the party, inclusion is being asked to dance, and equity is being a part of the party planning.” Diversity is specifically defined as the presence of difference (e.g., gender, racial/ethnic, religion, age, difference of thought, etc.) within a given setting or organization. Inclusion is about individuals of different identities feeling and/or being valued, leveraged, and welcomed. Equity is an approach that ensures everyone has access to the same opportunities through a fair, inclusive process. When examining Division 13, how can SCP members work together to ensure that diverse perspectives are encouraged, considered, and weighed in the decisions that shape our organization and its future? What are the actions we need to take to achieve equity and foster meaningful inclusion – the kind that facilitates progress so that DEI is celebrated and appreciated by all? These are important questions that should be viewed as more than abstract discussions spurred by events of the day.

Therefore, as a newly established domain within SCP, the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Domain is committed to working together with all members to create a culture in which DEI is not just appreciated but embedded in all that we do. As a kickoff for this newly formed Domain, SCP invited all members to attend a Town Hall in August 2021. This event aimed to engage participants in respectful, educational, and open dialogue around diversity, equity, and inclusion within the Division. Led by me (Dr. Ryan C. Warner; Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Domain Lead) and Dr. Larry Norton (President, Society of Consulting Psychology), about 30 members discussed how enabling DEI can benefit SCP and identified actions to further enrich DEI within the Division.

Enabling DEI to Benefit SCP

When DEI is celebrated as part of an organization’s culture, the effects can be profound. For instance, several studies have noted an increase in engagement, satisfaction, and productivity. Additionally, member recruitment becomes easier as well. As a collective body of educated, informed, and enlightened professionals, hopefully we feel a sense of obligation to promote equity and justice, given the work we do with diverse individuals, teams, and organizations. Furthermore, even if we believe we are already fully competent in providing culturally adaptive services, we still have an ethical responsibility to further enhance our DEI practices to best meet the needs of the evolving and diverse workforce.

Based on SCP member feedback, enabling and integrating DEI can benefit the Division in various ways.

1.  Improve Member Engagement 

One benefit of promoting DEI is to improve engagement from members. Inclusion at SCP means that all members—across various dimensions of diversity—feel valued, respected, treated fairly, and supported in ways that invite engagement and a sense of personal satisfaction. When the diversity of strengths and unique backgrounds is acknowledged, this ultimately leads to a stronger and more vibrant organization. What does this look like “on the ground”? Based on member feedback, inclusion will lead to more meaningful engagement with conferences and events and will assist with preparing future generations of psychologists and consultants. When inclusion gaps are identified and explored, there is more diversity of thought, which leads to more innovative ideas to help shape our future in a changing world. If we fail at this, we are not genuinely representing and growing the breadth of consulting psychology and its current and future practitioners and clients.

2.  Boost Consulting Services 

As a Society that is committed to applying psychological insights for the success and fulfillment of different individuals, groups, and organizations, it is essential that DEI be at the forefront of our work. We all do not have to be DEI experts; however, it is essential that each and all of us take a deliberate approach to best meet the needs of a growing and diverse workforce and of increasingly multicultural organizations and societies. According to an SCP member: “Ingraining DEI within everything we do is not only the right thing to do, but it is required to exist in this day and age. If we don’t incorporate and infuse DEI, we are not truly representing and advocating for consulting psychology.” Specifically, enabling DEI can benefit SCP by providing tools and resources to members about implicit bias, culturally adaptive consulting services, and self-assessment to better serve our clients.

3.  Grow the Future of Division 13

For SCP to grow and evolve, it is essential that all members have equitable opportunities to contribute to and influence future strategic direction. According to one SCP member: “The formalizing of DEI as a domain makes it [diversity] more sustainable, more of a formal component of the organization.” Another member went on to say, “The society would be more relevant in the world — and better prepared to truly encompass consulting psychology in a deeper way.” Furthermore, as a domain, DEI now has voting rights on the executive board, which can influence policies and procedures to shape the growth and future of the Division.

Actions to Further Enrich DEI within SCP

When making DEI sustainable for the future, identifying specific and attainable actions can assist with creating a culture of inclusion within the Society. Prior to becoming a Domain, the DEI Committee began laying the foundation to boost meaningful change. Previous initiatives to promote diversity, equity, and inclusions included continuing education webinars, the Self-As-Instruments learning series, diversity formation groups, and blog posts, to name a few.

To further build upon this work, feedback about ideas and actions that individual members and SCP governance can take to boost DEI was gathered. It is important to note that this is not a comprehensive list of all recommendations; additional input from past and future SCP membership surveys will help guide future DEI strategic direction.

Individual Member Actions to Boost DEI

  • Continue to develop and practice skills for engaging across differences. Engage in curiosity, reflective listening, and empathetic communication when engaging with members.
  • Encourage members to speak out, share their opinions, and be open to hearing different perspectives.
  • Treat anti-DEI as an ethical issue in psychology.
  • Reflect on ways to get the voices of those who might not be heard in large conference sessions. Convey these ideas to SCP governance and discuss with other SCP members to obtain input.
  • Respectfully speak up when you see obstacles or DEI barriers.
  • Provide resources to members that would be helpful for consulting with diverse clients, teams, and organizations.
  • Seek continued mentorship to examine biases and blind spots.
  • Read, engage in dialogue, and learn from others who share different backgrounds and experiences.

SCP Governance Actions to Boost DEI

  • Focus on how DEI is implemented within SCP membership practice.
  • Review the RFP process for education initiatives to ensure bias is mitigated when selecting presenters.
  • Facilitate buy-in from senior leadership.
  • Offer more onboarding opportunities to promote increased involvement from a greater diversity of members.
  • Ensure that the DEI strategic initiatives and mission are in alignment with Division 13 mission and values, and vice versa.
  • Add more inclusive and equitable processes and perspectives in the conferences (e.g., for people with disabilities, non-binary and transgender people, people who can’t come in person, etc.).
  • Surveys and needs assessment should be in rotation (2 years, 4 years, etc.).
  • Regularly send updated reports on DEI efforts to members (e.g., every 6 months or annually).
  • Connect with the new Chief Diversity Officer of APA for consultation.
  • Teach our members about the history of diversity within the organization.

Next Steps

We know that implementing and sustaining DEI is an ongoing effort. The DEI Domain is dedicated to identifying and exploring DEI areas of growth to continue propelling SCP forward for the future. Through quarterly webinar training, examining systemic policies/practices, DEI resources dissemination, membership survey data collection, conference events, and ongoing dialogue, the DEI Domain is eager to take a multifaced approach to advance SCP’s mission of promoting meaningful change and inclusion throughout the field of consulting psychology.

Through these initiatives and in alignment with the SCP mission, we hope that all members continue to engage in DEI awareness and growth. For true change to be accomplished, respective exchange between members is not only essential, but necessary. As members of SCP, we encourage you to reflect and take initiative on the individual actions outlined above. We also urge you to identify what gaps you see within your current consulting work that would benefit from more intentional DEI practices. Altogether, we look forward to you engaging with us and being part of our continued journey!

To receive the full SCP Town Hall discussion notes summary, learn how to become involved in the DEI Domain, or for any additional comments/questions, please email DEI Domain Lead (Dr. Ryan C. Warner) at: ryanwarner670@gmail.com.

Resources

APA Multicultural Guidelines

Comprehensive DEI Guide to Improve DEI within the Workplace

DEI SCP Webpage and Additional Resources

Diversity is Being Invited to the Party: Inclusion is Being Asked to Dance YouTube Video

SCP Inclusion at Work Blog Post

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