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Smarter Workplace Awareness Month Week 5: Leadership for Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion: An I-O Panel

Submitted by Erin E. Bowen, Tony Cooley, and Kisha Jones

What better way to celebrate Smarter Workplace Awareness Month and I-O contributions to organizations than with a mini-panel on diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI)? It’s a topic that cuts across the 2021 Top 10 Work Trends, which is itself a testament to the profound importance of DEI considerations as an integral part of the workplace experience.

With this in mind, we’re sharing a few highlights and key points from a recent video panel and including a link so you can view the entire 30-minute discussion on your own (you’ll want to watch just for our discussion of the “Dilbert” comic strip’s recent take on DEI!).

Erin Bowen, Thompson Professor of Leadership in the Psychology Dept at the University of Texas-Arlington, hosted the panel. Joining her were Tony Cooley, Principal Analytics Consultant at C.H. Robinson, and Kisha Jones, Assistant Professor of Management at Florida International University. Kisha and Tony are two of SIOP’s “Trend Champions.”

Panel Highlights and Key Points


“What does diversity, equity, and inclusion have to do with hiring & keeping the ‘best of the best’ employees…retaining that talent – unleashing their full potential?”


“Hiring and retaining top talent means recognizing that the talent pool and the potential for high-quality talent is broadened when you try to attract and select a diverse set of candidates, or use it as the applicant pool from which you’re drawing. I think that means going outside of the box in terms of who you’re attracting to apply to the job in the first place.

Given just the changing dynamics of some companies in being more lenient around remote work or policies around returning to work, that broadens the talent pool...It’s a great opportunity for companies to consider talent from all over the world.”


“From an I-O perspective, what is missing in the DEI research?”


“From a practitioner standpoint, it seems like a lot of the research is focused on gender, ethnicity, age perhaps – and maybe not considering other facets of diversity, like disability, for example. Or intersectionality of those demographics – how are the experiences different for say, BIPOC females versus White females, instead of just looking at the male/female difference.”


“Understanding the experiences from an intersectional perspective is important, and also understanding how organizations can incorporate intersectionality in terms of understanding – like Tony’s comments earlier on how benefits have a differential impact on groups but thinking of it from an intersectional perspective.

From a selection perspective, with companies having an increased interest in developing more inclusive environments, thinking of how those can be created, and one area is selection. A lot of companies could consider it a competency…if it’s a competency that the company wants to have present, is it something that companies can select on, how can we develop measures for that?”


Enjoy the panel and video, and share your own thoughts on DEI and leadership on social media with the hashtag #SmarterWorkplace. We also encourage you to visit the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion resource on the SIOP website.

Finally, this week is the last installment of the Bias Check-In Podcast SWAM interview series with Susana Gómez Ornelas and Claudia Della Pona. This week they interviewed Eric Sydell, EVP of Innovation at Modern Hire, coauthor of Decoding Talent, and the SWAM Trend Champion for Trend #8, The Future of Work. How has work changed, and what role can I-O psychology play moving forward? Join us as we discuss the use of AI, remote work, automation, and more.

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