Diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) is an integral component of business that can help organizations acquire talent, maximize performance and form productive teams.
Learn the terminology surrounding DEI to develop and implement your strategy more successfully. In this article we explain what each word means before exploring their interaction.
Definition of Diversity
People tend to emphasize the significance of diversity, inclusion and equity (DEI) when discussing its significance in teams or organizations; however, the conversation often becomes more nuanced than that. People can easily become confused over how various terms relate one to another; such miscommunication can further impede DEI efforts and could potentially hinder progress made towards DEI goals.
At first, it’s essential to define diversity. Simply stated, diversity refers to any variety of differences present within any setting, whether related to gender, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status religion and disability. Diversity provides new perspectives that help organizations thrive.
Inclusion refers to the practice of appreciating all of life’s differences within an organization, from making sure people feel welcome to providing accommodations so that people with disabilities may work at a pace comfortable to them.
An employer that values diversity may provide a dedicated area for employees who wish to pray or meditate during the workday, create a program connecting employees with mentors in the community or offer educational opportunities about DEI.
Diverse and inclusive workforces are crucial in helping organizations meet their business goals, according to research conducted by McKinsey. Companies who prioritize DEI tend to be more profitable with higher revenue than their counterparts that don’t prioritize DEI.
At its core, diversity should be seen as an outcome rather than an input. Simply increasing the presence of women does not guarantee it to become more inclusive; longstanding gender norms may preclude them from progressing to senior levels and finding employment with certain qualifications if there have been no efforts made to expand its pool of candidates from underrepresented communities.
Definition of Equity
As organizations strive to be more diverse and inclusive, it’s crucial that they understand the difference between diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI). A DEI strategy doesn’t simply involve creating an accepting culture that welcomes different social identities; rather it also means providing equal opportunity for all groups to thrive and produce results. Furthermore, challenging any unspoken biases or practices which limit or exclude various demographic groups is part of this initiative.
Successful Diversity & Equality initiatives must be integrated into an organization’s core strategies and processes from day one, such as talent screening, hiring practices, work standards or any other policies that support equity in recruitment or hiring decisions. Furthermore, an effective DEI initiative must incorporate various activities as well as metrics that measure progress over time.
DEI requires everyone in an organization being on board; that includes leadership teams. Leaders must model and foster an inclusive and diverse culture by sharing personal experiences about discrimination or bias with others to encourage openness; also reviewing language usage to ensure appropriateness for today.
DEI programs tend to succeed when prioritized at the executive level and supported by an effective management structure. Furthermore, building diversity into every aspect of business such as marketing, HR, operations, finance and research and development should also be an essential goal. Furthermore, creating a clear definition of diversity-inclusive workplace is also necessary so all employees understand how the company supports and values different identities and contributions of employees.
An inclusive workplace recognizes and values all types of human differences, from age, ethnicity and gender differences, geographic location, religion, sexual orientation, disability status and socioeconomic status to age, disability status and socioeconomic status. Such workplaces recognize and appreciate employees’ unique contributions while offering them the resources to reach their full potential.
Definition of Inclusion
Diversity refers to the different traits and characteristics that individuals bring into an environment; inclusion is about making those differences relevant and welcoming for all. Achieve true inclusion requires taking a comprehensive approach which takes into account race, gender, sex, age, national origin culture religion disability socioeconomic status sexual orientation etc.
DEI initiatives often focus on hiring for diverse groups or increasing female representation in technical industries, for instance. While these are great initiatives, they don’t address all the barriers preventing employees from feeling included at work. Just having a diverse team doesn’t guarantee an inclusive workplace; individuals’ experiences and challenges differ wildly; even though a woman might be highly represented on an executive team she may still feel isolated if her role lacks support from colleagues and she feels disconnected from them all – ultimately leading her not to feel like part of something bigger.
Inclusion goes beyond simply hiring more individuals from marginalized communities; it means providing those individuals with opportunities for success and fulfillment in their roles. Simply increasing diversity without investing in inclusion could prove counterproductive; individuals may feel unvalued or unwanted and leave as a result – according to research conducted by McKinsey & Company from 2020, businesses that prioritize diversity and inclusion outperformed those that did not prioritise such policies more successfully.
The BU Living Language Guide is a curated glossary of DEI terminology, offering various definitions for certain concepts. However, it should not be seen as an exhaustive listing nor replacement to academic literature or other resources on the topic. This glossary is intended as a resource for students and staff members seeking more knowledge about diversity, equity and inclusion topics. We welcome feedback and suggestions for terms to add; simply contact us using our form! 2019 Boston University. All rights are reserved by Boston University; use with attribution only; this content cannot be reproduced, published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without its express written consent.
Developing a DEI Strategy
As companies strive to become more inclusive and treat all employees equally, they may face some obstacles. Managers can find it challenging to know what goals should be set and implemented within their organizations; additionally, many may lack the resources for hiring HR consultants or third-party experts that could assist them in creating an equal treatment strategy or program. It is crucial that such initiatives include all levels of the organization so everyone has equal participation opportunities and can contribute towards its success.
An effective DEI strategy may consist of various elements, including:
Implement a Diversity and Inclusion Training Program.
Establish a Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion policy and hire diverse talent for key roles.
Hold companywide meetings and events that promote an environment of inclusion and equality.
Integrating DEI into all aspects of the business – from hiring processes to creating an environment in which employees feel safe sharing who they truly are at work – will create an exceptional employee experience and enhance business performance.
While some organizations disagree on the order of DEI acronym, many agree that such strategies are essential in attracting and retaining talent, providing positive experiences for customers, clients and community.
Diverse workforces bring fresh perspectives to problem-solving and can generate creative solutions, while better comprehending different customer groups and needs.
Employees who feel included at work tend to be more productive and experience higher job satisfaction, making DEI initiatives an excellent way for leaders to demonstrate they care about their employees’ success in the workplace.
Organizations today are grappling with how they can have an actual effect on the lives of their workers and communities, so taking a strategic approach is imperative for success and measuring its effects. A plan with clearly-delineated metrics is the key to measuring how your efforts impact those around you.
McKinsey Global Institute estimates that just 10% improvement in diversity and inclusion could create $2 trillion more economic output by 2025, not to mention increased quality work production, enhanced creativity, innovation, and creating greater competitive advantages.