Diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging (DEIB) have long been buzzwords in business circles; but what exactly are their definitions?
Diversity refers to the demographic makeup of your workforce. This could encompass gender, ethnicity, physical ability, age, religious beliefs and socioeconomic background – among many other variables.
Inclusion at work refers to creating an atmosphere in which employees feel welcome. It involves anti-oppressive practices and policies which offer equal chances for promotion and retention.
1. Invest in your people
Employees who feel connected with their organizations experience higher engagement and performance levels as well as greater resilience during tough times.
Diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) initiatives are vitally important to any organization that hopes to succeed. Studies show that companies with diverse and inclusive cultures outshone those without. Implementing DEI initiatives into company culture is one key strategy for recruiting top talent while having a positive effect on its bottom line.
Successful businesses understand that one key aspect of Diversity & Inclusion (DEI) is creating an atmosphere in which all employees feel included at work. This involves making sure those with shared characteristics such as race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, religion, socio-economic status, age physical abilities and political beliefs feel like they have a home at their company. Furthermore, creating a safe space where employees can express themselves freely while having meaningful dialogues with managers and coworkers is also key in DEI efforts.
One way to create a sense of belonging is through celebrating different religious and cultural observances, such as Jewish holiday celebrations or Muslim Eid celebrations, for instance. Another approach would be providing support and resources for employee wellness – for instance if your company offers health benefits you could select an employee wellness provider who supports family building for all, not only those identified as cisgender.
Investing in your people starts with recruitment strategies. Drawing talent from diverse pools of candidates will allow you to attract top talent while also reflecting the demographics of your population – something which helps combat unconscious biases in hiring practices, performance reviews and promotions. Involve employees in conversations about what it means to belong and show you care for their experiences within your organization.
Investing in your employees can be challenging in today’s political environment, yet essential if you want them to reach their highest levels of productivity and happiness. By encouraging a culture of belonging among your staff members, you can set them up for success and make a positive difference in society.
2. Build a culture of inclusion
Inclusion has become an essential aspect of modern workplace culture for many companies, cited as both a business imperative and essential part of employee engagement. But while its benefits have been widely documented, workplace cultures still have room for improvement when it comes to making employees feel like they belong in their workplace environments.
Establishing an inclusive culture takes time, but there are steps you can take to get you started. Make sure your leadership teams represent the demographics of your workforce; and train people on how they may unintentionally harm others at work.
One important step toward creating an inclusive work environment for all employees is providing them with opportunities to socialize and bond. This can be accomplished through company-wide all-hands discussions, employee surveys, networking events and policies and programs that ensure all workers can perform their duties without being hindered by discrimination or harassment.
It is also crucial to foster an atmosphere of belonging among employees through meaningful recognition and support, such as employee appreciation programs like Culture Cloud Recognition from O.C. Tanner or by encouraging employee affinity groups and mentoring programs. Finally, providing a safe space where employees can freely express themselves is also key for employee happiness in the workplace.
Diversity is a reality; inclusion is a choice. In order to promote inclusivity in the workplace, all types of differences must be acknowledged: race, sex, gender, age, disability status religion and sexual orientation among others.
When all employees feel included, they can bring their full selves to work without concern about how they will be received or perceived. In an ideal scenario, employees won’t even need to think twice before knowing they’re welcome in their workplace as individuals; when this occurs, success becomes limitless! In addition, an increased sense of belonging may also contribute to greater employee retention and innovation within an office environment.
3. Build a culture of equity
Many companies express an eagerness to create more inclusive cultures; however, when it comes to implementation these changes, results can often vary due to lack of planning and resources dedicated to effectively making these changes in daily operations of the business.
Diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) refers to policies, practices and behaviors designed to ensure all employees feel valued and empowered regardless of race/ethnicity, age, gender identity/expression/sexual orientation status/disability status/socioeconomic status or location. Establishing an equitable and inclusive work culture may not always be straightforward – yet its success can make or break any company.
In order to foster an inclusive culture, it’s crucial that individuals understand the distinctions between diversity and inclusion. With all of the acronyms and terms used within D&I circles, it can be easy for the two terms to become confused with one another.
As part of understanding diversity and equity, it’s also vital to differentiate the two. Diversity refers to differences among people; equity involves creating fair access for employees regardless of their diversity background to opportunities, advancement and benefits.
An inclusive company may still not be equitable if they fail to accommodate employees with disabilities or cultural and religious beliefs, such as working from home when necessary or giving people time off work to observe religious holidays.
An equitable policy would include providing Kosher food in its own refrigerator and non-Kosher items in another, creating separate prayer spaces, or offering flexible work arrangements for parents in order to help them balance both home and professional lives more easily.
Communication of these changes must ensure everyone feels included, starting with recruitment of diverse employees; but it must continue even after newcomers arrive, via town hall meetings, Slack groups, employee resource programs or events that highlight various experiences and viewpoints.
4. Create a culture of belonging
Belonging is an experience of connectedness and community that involves feeling accepted and valued for who you are. According to BetterUp, belonging in the workplace is a crucial human experience that directly influences everything from job satisfaction and wellbeing to employee performance. BetterUp reports that belonging closely correlates with other personal experiences like mattering and identification – when people feel included at work they are more likely to express themselves freely–leading them down more authentic paths towards productivity.
Belonging in the workplace is one of the key tenets of diversity equity inclusion and belonging, yet requires considerable work from an organization. Prioritizing D&I initiatives, creating psychological safety through open communication channels, and supporting employees’ professional growth efforts all are vital steps toward making their employees feel connected to each other–and the organization.
But, in order to create an inclusive culture, one must also consider an organization’s mission, values, and vision–its raison d’etre. Everyone in the company should support valuing differences and celebrating uniqueness – while leadership must embody and demonstrate these values so all employees feel supported, welcomed and safe within the workplace.
Ensuring your employees feel a sense of purpose in their work is also critical, which means connecting their efforts to larger global issues, helping them understand how their contributions impact others, and offering opportunities for skill-development that will improve both their careers and lives outside of work.
Leaders in any organization must recognize that they may possess unconscious biases that undermine diversity and inclusion efforts by leading us down paths that do not promote an inclusive and equitable workplace environment.
Overall, the Covid-19 pandemic has demonstrated that diversity goes beyond hiring diverse people – it involves creating an inclusive workplace where all employees feel valued and that they belong. Achieve this requires everyone from C-Suite executives down to frontline workers committing their efforts; though it takes longer to achieve than initially hoped – but its rewards far outweigh its costs.