Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

Diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) deals with the qualities that make people unique and how employers can use those qualities to best drive business goals. This includes things such as age, race, religion, disabilities, and ethnicity.

Diversity is the similarities and differences of people in the aspects of their personality and identity. This can include family status, sex, gender identity or expression, generation, language, life experiences, neurodiversity, and even veteran status.

Inclusion is the extent that each individual feels welcomed, respected, supported, and valued as a team member. Inclusion requires reciprocity. That is, one must both give and receive inclusion from others. Doing so results in more engaged employees who want to contribute to the
organization’s goals. Employees demonstrate cultural competence by communicating and working together with others from diverse backgrounds, thereby understanding each other’s needs and perspectives.

Equity is the fair treatment in access, opportunity, and advancement for everyone. Examples include eliminating barriers to fair treatment for disadvantaged groups. This occurs at every level from the team  throughout the organization. Effecting equity has to do with the fact that
inequity exists in our societies, and as a result, within our organization.

A well-designed diversity initiative addresses the key business priorities it will meet, changes in the workplace and the workforce that are needed to meet those business priorities, and elements that will be put in place to achieve those changes. The initiative must address both metrics and training. Once the needed changes have been identified, metrics can be designed. And training can address those gaps once they’ve been recognized. Both parts are crucial to the success of the initiative.

Effective initiatives align with the business objectives, focus on implementing specific changes to achieve results, identify the level of intercultural competence and ability to accept cultural change, and be strategic in ongoing communications.

Potential stakeholders can be both internal or external. Internal stakeholders include the board of directors, CEO and senior leadership, middle managers, employees, and employee resource groups. External stakeholders include community organizations and leaders, customers,
government agencies, investors, labor organizations, media, prospective employees, and suppliers. Stakeholders should be those whose needs are most important and relevant to the diversity initiative and those whose actions and behavioral changes are most important in achieving the initiative’s goals.

Typical areas of focus for comprehensive initiatives include revenues, expenses, employees, customers, suppliers, and external communities.

Employee resource groups are a popular element of DEI initiatives, particularly in larger organizations. These voluntary groups are typically formed around race, ethnicity, gender, disability, sexual orientation, parental status, national origin, religion or beliefs, and generation. They seek to engage employees by increasing diversity, as well as providing developmental and networking opportunities. It’s important to understand the business’ purpose and dedicate resources to manage the relationships. While ERGs have many benefits, they also have potential downsides. These include the group’s roles, funding, structure, and brand. A proper balance between the two can be struck through proper planning and effective policies. 

We can oversee your organization’s diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts. Contact us to find out how we can help.