Diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) has gained increasing momentum within business circles. Yet the terminology around DEI can often be quite vague as individuals share different understandings based on their lived experiences.
Organizations should prioritize equity when engaging in DEI efforts in order to avoid inequities. In doing so, organizations need to ensure all individuals receive equal opportunities and resources.
Definition of Diversity
Diversity refers to the range of characteristics that distinguish individuals and groups, including demographic factors like race, ethnicity, gender, age, religion, sexual orientation and culture – not forgetting socioeconomic status as well. Diversity encompasses education, family life, social circles and any other aspect of a person’s life that they might find unique or valuable. Organizations benefit greatly by tapping into diverse talent pools that enable them to create more innovative products and services.
Diversity is important, but not enough by itself to foster an inclusive workplace environment. True inclusion means everyone feels valued and safe within an organization – this requires organizations to recognize any unconscious or implicit biases and address them head on, which includes welcoming diversity both verbally and visually as well as creating spaces where employees can bring all aspects of themselves (for instance prayer rooms or support groups) and create an inviting workplace climate.
Organizations must ensure all their employees know that all are valued and that any form of discrimination is unacceptable, while also giving those from underrepresented groups opportunities for advancement within the company through leadership training or including DEI metrics in performance reviews.
Successful cultures of inclusion require organizations to build inclusive cultures that recognize diversity while remaining based on equity and justice. Only in this way can organizations fully benefit from all the unique perspectives and experiences their workforce brings, such as offering fresh insight on an existing problem or opening up doors to growth opportunities.
Diversity can increase employee engagement and productivity, leading to higher revenues. A recent McKinsey & Company study discovered that companies with the highest level of diversity among executive teams experienced 25 percent greater revenues compared with companies with lower levels. Partly this can be explained by more diverse teams being more innovative and productive while engaging in less harmful practices such as microaggressions and stereotyping; they’re also less likely to engage in negative activities like microaggressions and stereotyping; additionally they tend to maintain higher customer retention rates as well as innovation efficiency.
Definition of Equity
Equity refers to fairness in distributing resources within social and professional environments. Unlike equality, which assumes everyone receives exactly the same thing, equity requires that people receive just enough resources in order to thrive; for instance if everyone were given shoes of identical sizes it wouldn’t be equitable; on the other hand if a pair were given that fit your feet perfectly then it is equitable.
Over the past decade, philanthropic organizations have placed equity at the core of their work. It now features in mission and values statements of many organizations as well as plenary and breakout sessions at conferences; yet its definition remains fluid; one misconception being that equity equals equality.
Understanding the difference between equality and equity can be subtle but crucially significant. The CDC’s report “Defining and Measuring Health InequalityExternal link:open_in_new” details how these concepts differ; knowing this distinction helps public health officials ensure their resources are directed where they will have maximum effect and impact.
Philanthropic organizations may provide health-focused opportunities to certain populations without necessarily setting out with the intention of improving overall health outcomes. This may be because their issues go deeper than simply access to resources; such as socioeconomic factors, housing situations and educational levels that cannot be controlled by an organization.
Social systems designed to cater specifically to one demographic can lead to an environment in which all individuals seem to receive similar treatment regardless of individual needs and circumstances. A definition of equity from a racial justice perspective might look something like this: “Equity means more than simply making sure everyone who represents our diverse communities are represented in leadership positions and other roles–it means also giving those representing these diverse communities an equal chance to shape institutions’ direction. Fairness must also play a part; equity is about fixing systems which give certain demographics advantages over others.”
Definition of Inclusion
Diversity, equity and inclusion are cornerstones of an inclusive workplace that many businesses strive to foster today. These concepts seek to ensure full participation of all people regardless of race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender identity, age, religion status or geographic location – especially groups who have historically been underrepresented or discriminated against due to identity-based factors like race ethnicity sexual orientation gender age religion disability status geographic location etc.
Diversity and inclusivity go hand-in-hand; however, it’s essential to realize that they do not equate. An organization may employ diverse workers but fail to create an inclusive workplace environment; similarly an inclusive workplace may still segregate.
Establishing a more inclusive and equitable workplace may seem impossible at times, but it can be done. By taking time to educate leaders about the value of diversity efforts and by creating an environment in which employees feel safe enough to express themselves freely at work; training on various cultural traditions as well as respect for holidays and traditions can make a big difference in employee retention and satisfaction levels.
An inclusive workplace is defined as an environment in which all people feel respected, valued, and supported – this means addressing microaggressions, bias, and discrimination, while providing all employees equal opportunities and advancement opportunities – such as making sure employees with disabilities have access to tools that enable them to perform efficiently at work.
Implementing an inclusive workplace begins with engaging and committed leadership teams that recognize these efforts, and including employees in developing and implementing DEI policies – this ensures all employees can contribute their unique perspectives and experiences to the workplace.
Establishing an inclusive workplace culture that values all employee contributions regardless of background or identity is also important in creating a productive and innovative work environment, with added financial benefits for companies embracing inclusive workplace initiatives such as higher customer retention rates. Employing these initiatives responsibly is an obligation every business leader and owner should accept.
Definition of Equitable Design
Equitable design refers to creating products and experiences that are inclusive for everyone, while taking into account individual differences. Its foundation lies in the belief that all people should have equal access to resources regardless of circumstances or identity; as designers it is our duty to make accessible user experiences inclusive for everyone, by avoiding conventional biases that don’t allow people with disabilities or other special characteristics such as age, gender, race, religion sexual orientation socioeconomic status language etc. to participate equally in society.
Equitable design refers to ensuring all groups enjoy equal levels of access and participation in your company’s goals and values, which requires an in-depth knowledge of its diverse population. To do this effectively, an inclusion strategy needs to be included as part of its business model – something diversity equity and inclusion (DEI) framework can do effectively.
Track your DEI numbers more closely; or conduct more complex analyses on how demographics impact hiring and promotion practices. Consider how many women you have at leadership levels within the organization, and if they feel supported by both colleagues and company leadership.
To ensure your company embodies the principles of equitable design, senior-level sponsorship should be given for this effort and made a priority within your culture. Furthermore, an effective customer feedback loop must be in place so all voices from underrepresented populations can be heard equally.
Taken together, these steps can help your organization reap all the advantages of DEI – such as improved business outcomes, an engaged workforce and a sense of belonging among employees. In fact, research by McKinsey indicates that companies with higher levels of diversity, equity and inclusion (DEIB) outperform their peers by up to 36%.
DEI can not only bring its benefits in terms of employee retention and morale but can also increase employee retention during times of change and transition. When people feel represented, their perspectives tend to stay with a company, potentially helping companies survive such periods more successfully.