Amplifying the Voice of the Employee “VOE” is Crucial to DEI Success

When organizations enthusiastically jump on the bandwagon to implement DEI initiatives, they must first pause to consult the very people these initiatives are designed to support: the employees.  Amplifying the voice of the employee (VOE) is foundational when crafting DEI initiatives.

As a DEI expert and strategist, I’ve witnessed firsthand how bypassing the Voice of the Employee (VOE) can lead to suboptimal outcomes.

Why is VOE pivotal in crafting effective DEI strategies, and how can organizations ensure they’re not just implementing DEI but living it?

The Pitfall of Presumptions

  • Assuming Isn’t Knowing: Many organizations fall into the trap of thinking they understand the needs of their diverse workforce. However, assumptions can lead to more significant harm imposed on the most marginalized and generic initiatives that fail to address specific issues or experiences of different employee groups. For instance, a generic gender diversity program might overlook the intersectionality of other identities a woman may hold, like race or sexual orientation.
  • Missed Opportunities: Organizations miss out on valuable insights by not seeking employee input. Employees can offer unique perspectives on existing cultural barriers, personal experiences of inclusivity (or lack thereof), and practical suggestions for improvement. This feedback is crucial for developing interventions that resonate with and effectively support all employees.

The Power of Tailored Solutions

  • Context is Key: DEI is not a one-size-fits-all endeavor. Each organization has its culture, values, demographic makeup, and specific challenges. Tailoring DEI strategies to these unique aspects means the initiatives are more likely to be accepted and effective. For example, a company with a significant number of remote workers might need different inclusion strategies than a company with a hybrid workforce.
  • Employee Engagement: Involving employees in developing DEI strategies provides valuable insights and fosters a more profound sense of ownership and commitment to these initiatives. When employees feel heard and see their feedback being acted upon, it builds trust and enhances the overall impact of DEI efforts.

Embracing VOE in DEI Strategies

  • Open Forums and Surveys: Organizations should establish spaces for employees to express their opinions and experiences. This can be achieved through employee resource groups, anonymous surveys, focus groups, and open forums. It’s essential to ensure that these channels are accessible and genuinely anonymous to encourage honest feedback.
  • Representation Matters: Decision-making processes should include diverse voices. This representation ensures that various perspectives are considered, leading to more comprehensive and inclusive DEI strategies. It’s not just about having diverse individuals in the room; it’s about ensuring their voices are heard and their suggestions are considered.


The Voice of the Employee is a cornerstone in building effective and resonant DEI strategies. Moving beyond a one-size-fits-all approach, organizations must tailor their DEI initiatives to their workforce’s unique needs and voices. At Equity Principle Consulting, we understand the nuances of this process. We work closely with organizations to integrate VOE into their DEI strategies, ensuring that initiatives are well-intentioned, impactful, and meaningful to every team member.

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