‘They’ll leave themselves’: Warner Bros. exec endorses ignoring employees who don’t follow DEI initiatives

News & Politics

Warner Bros. Discovery’s chief diversity officer supported and endorsed the idea of ignoring employees for at least 30 days if they don’t support diversity initiatives and to leave them behind in the hopes that they leave a company on their own.

During a digital roundtable titled “The Future of DEI in Corporate America,” Warner Bros. Discovery’s chief global diversity, equity, and inclusion officer, Asif Sadiq, discussed the methodology of dealing with employees who don’t fall in line with the diversity, equity, and inclusion framework.

Sadiq was joined by industry leaders in the DEI space, including Megan Hogan, global head of talent and chief diversity officer for Goldman Sachs.

In a segment of the discussion, Hogan laid out her strategy to deal with those who have resisted DEI efforts in the workplace.

“One of the things that came up was the frustration of having to work with or persuade the most powerful person in your ecosystem that the work is worth it, and they should reveal themselves more, they should take a bigger role, whatever it is. And we came up with this strategy: Find your people, and ignore the person you cannot persuade.”

“You know exactly who they are,” she continued.

Hogan then floated the method of ignoring an employee for an entire month until they get the unspoken message.

“If you can’t bring yourself to [ignore them] because of your professional orientation, give it 30 days. Ignore them for 30 days. Don’t take the bait, don’t send them the clip, don’t send them the newsletter, don’t send them the [pitch] deck. Just focus on the people who are willing to do the work. The new arrivals to the work, the new leaders who are preparing to be better allies, to be more vulnerable, to communicate better, and find your people even outside of your organization who can help you fine-tune, who can help you make sure you’re not reading the situation wrong, and let you know that you’re not alone.”

“30 days. You can do it,” she added.

Sadiq then chimed in, agreeing with Hogan’s method and adding that if companies are able to change workplace culture to be more DEI-focused, then employees who don’t like it would simply leave.

“Even beyond leaders, there’s always those few people you’ll never change,” the diversity officer began.

“You’ll never convince them. You can try up until the end of eternity, and it will still not happen. We waste so much energy doing that sometimes, as individuals, whether you’re in a leadership position or in a team and so on,” he went on.

“Focus on the ones who want to change, because that way you start changing culture, and if you change culture, often those people who don’t want to come around will start saying ‘this place isn’t the way it used to be’ and they’ll leave themselves, which is great.”

The online event took place through the Aspen Institute, an elite left-wing think tank with strong sentiments surrounding diversity.

The group sought to answer questions surrounding how to handle “DEI programs in the current socio-political climate,” while dealing with employee expectations and external pressures surrounding DEI.

In addition, the Warner Bros. Discovery executive also stated that it was a great time to double down on DEI initiatives.

“Rather than focusing on those things you can’t impact or can’t change, focusing on those things you can impact and you can change is so important. Even when we’re trying to look at, potentially, what sort of programs, things we’re doing, I think it’s a great opportunity to double down our efforts on things. To do an audit of what’s worked, what hasn’t worked, where do we put more effort into, where do we reduce effort.”

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