Diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) are intertwined concepts that help organizations support employees and customers more effectively. DEI policies aim to ensure equitable representation, access, participation of groups within an organization.
Gender-diverse companies tend to outperform those that lack it; however, diversity alone cannot suffice.
Diversity refers to the representation of various demographic groups within an individual population or organization. It can include differences such as race, ethnicity, gender, age, religion, sexual orientation, marital status, culture, education, life and career paths, socioeconomic status, physical ability and language or dialect. Diversity encompasses many ideas perspectives and values while equity emphasizes impartiality when conducting procedures that impact an organization’s diverse workforce such as hiring and raises; also by addressing historical barriers or privileges that marginalized minority groups; creating an inclusive workplace culture that promotes belonging among employees.
While most employees support diversity, many are dissatisfied with how their organizations implement it. A lack of equitable practices may contribute to high turnover rates and an exclusionary environment for underrepresented employees – hindering business efforts to recruit top talent while negatively affecting results.
As more businesses prioritize DEI, they are realizing the potential financial benefits that this can bring them. According to McKinsey research, businesses that prioritize diversity outperform those that do not focus on it as strongly; additionally, DEI helps businesses identify new market opportunities and better understand customer needs.
Companies with strong DEI initiatives enjoy a stronger public image, are more trusted by customers, employees and other stakeholders, and seen as innovative and forward-thinking – for instance Google’s 2020 Diversity Annual Report shows this commitment in action by working to address educational inequities in communities where it works.
Since there is no single solution to diversity and inclusion, organizations should use a few key practices as guidelines for starting their DEI initiatives. A comprehensive DEI initiative should encompass multiple social identities while working to address any particular challenges each group experiences; for instance, policies that focus solely on recruiting women into senior positions might oversimplify experiences of transgender or nontraditional family role women who experience discrimination; similarly, training alone might fail to address specific barriers faced by women of color in the workplace.
Diversity refers to the various characteristics and experiences that define an individual, such as race or ethnic background, religion, age, gender identity/sexual orientation/socioeconomic status etc. Accepting diversity means accepting differences as they exist among us all.
There are various ways for companies to encourage diversity in the workplace. They could hire employees from diverse backgrounds or offer training on unconscious bias. Furthermore, creating spaces in which employees from underrepresented groups can have their voices heard can also contribute to this goal; such as company town hall meetings, anonymous surveys or team-building activities. It’s essential for employers to communicate with employees to determine what they require in order to feel safe and empowered to be themselves at work.
Companies that place diversity at the core of their operations enjoy significant competitive advantages over those who don’t. Such companies are better prepared to attract and retain talented employees, serve customers more efficiently and expand into new markets; additionally, these businesses have greater ability to avoid groupthink and make better decisions than their counterparts without prioritizing diversity. According to research by McKinsey, teams comprised of greater diversity are more innovative and productive.
Diversity is only half the equation when it comes to making an impactful difference; inclusion is the second element. Inclusion involves providing employees with equal access and influence over all aspects of a company’s operations and culture; being accepted by leadership, having equal access to professional development opportunities, as well as creating a safe work environment where each person can bring all aspects of themselves to work.
An organization can promote inclusion by offering flexible working arrangements for parents or caregivers, mentoring programs for employees who are underrepresented, and paying all employees an equal salary regardless of gender or race. They could also establish safe spaces where employees experiencing discrimination or harassment can seek help.
Diversity refers to the spectrum of attributes that distinguish people from one another, including age, ethnicity, gender, religion, sexual orientation, education experiences and physical abilities. Inclusion involves acknowledging and celebrating these differences to make sure everyone feels welcome in all spaces; it involves accepting people with diverse backgrounds experiences perspectives approaches which make up one another in work environments.
People often mistake inclusion and equality for one another. While inclusion refers to ensuring people feel valued within an organization, equality involves fair treatment and access to opportunities; equity refers to recognizing structural inequalities which benefit certain groups over others and thus affect whether people have equal chances to succeed or fail.
Women may be well represented in the workforce but may still not feel fully included due to longstanding gender norms and pay gaps, just like people of color or LGBTQ+ people may not have access to resources necessary for success at work. Inclusivity also includes identifying and addressing biases within organizational culture that create barriers to inclusiveness.
Inclusion is an essential aspect of business success, enabling individuals to bring all aspects of themselves to work and having a direct effect on employee engagement. McKinsey research indicates that employees who feel included tend to be more enthusiastic and committed toward their jobs and organizations – as well as more innovative and productive – which drives company performance forward.
Diversity, equity, and inclusion discussions can be challenging discussions that require an established language to facilitate discussion. Our Diversity and Inclusion Glossary was created as an aid for this dialogue by providing definitions of key terms to facilitate this important dialogue.
As part of our efforts toward more inclusive culture, we have also prepared a set of questions to guide this conversation and aid your work with colleagues and others – so that all can work towards building inclusive communities, workplaces, and societies together.
Belonging is a fundamental need that all humans seek to fulfill (Baumeister and Leary 1995; Deci and Ryan 2000). Being part of a group that provides safety, support, acceptance and motivation is central to belonging; especially important are experiences where an individual feels marginalized, excluded or discriminated against in some way.
Strong senses of belonging are critical components of employee engagement and organizational success. Workplaces with high levels of belonging experience a 56% boost in job performance and 34% rise in intention to stay. Furthermore, employees with strong belonging tend to be more productive and make an impactful contribution on the bottom line than those who feel left out.
Diversity and inclusion have the power to shape culture, so organizations must take an active approach in creating environments in which belonging thrives. Organizations can foster it through cultural training, creating welcoming environments and promoting an environment in which differences are celebrated as assets rather than disdains. Furthermore, belonging can also be fostered through addressing microaggressions, bias and discrimination and having socially aware procedures and departments.
Equity differs from equality in that equality presumes everyone receives equal treatment; equity focuses on eliminating any obstacles preventing people from accessing resources and opportunities that will help them thrive, whether this involves gender, race, ethnicity, religion/spirituality, sexual orientation, age socioeconomic status language and (dis)ability as potential issues.
EDI seeks to foster an inclusive campus community where all employees and students feel welcomed, respected, supported and valued. To accomplish this goal, we need to assess employee sentiment around inclusion through psychologically safe interviews or focus groups – this data will allow us to gauge whether our diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives are seen as “tick the box” activities or are truly embedded into our culture; furthermore it can inform what we can do foster belongingness on campus – ultimately making the campus community feel like home for everyone.