DEI strategy is a nuanced topic that has received ample attention in recent years. But what is a DEI strategy and why is diversity, equity, and inclusion important in the first place? DEI is a buzzword that’s thrown around a lot, but are all companies enforcing the same DEI strategy? Does that strategy even work? If you’re wondering how to promote diversity and inclusion in the workplace, this article will help. Let’s start to explore answers to these questions.
What is Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion?
Let’s define DEI (diversity, equity, and inclusion), starting with perhaps the most easily understandable part of the equation: equity. Equity sounds like equality, but it’s really about justice. Think of equity as scaled equality. For instance, if bread rations were given out to every household, shouldn’t a household with seven members receive a greater share than a household with three members?
Equity is about leveling the playing field so everyone has an equal opportunity to succeed given their circumstances. Waiving test fees for low-income students, for example, is an act of equity.
What is diversity and inclusion? Diversity in the workplace is about hiring people from different backgrounds and perspectives. Inclusion in the workplace is about making sure each person feels valued and seen, regardless of whether or not they are members of a minority group.
Why is Diversity and Inclusion Important?
Now that we’ve answered the question, “what is diversity and inclusion?” the next consideration is, “why is diversity and inclusion important?” Not only does representation through diversity and inclusion facilitate change, but it fosters deeper relationships and encourages learning amongst employees about people from different walks of life.
This generates innovation, creativity, and a deeper understanding of clients. It also provides higher revenue potential and opens the door for recruiters to choose a wider range of talent. Simply put, these changes should be the driving intent behind any DEI strategy.
What is a DEI Strategy?
Now, to answer the “what is a DEI strategy?” question more thoroughly. The best DEI strategies follow the guidelines below and approach the work from a genuine place of care. Keep in mind that a DEI strategy is personal to each company – there is no “one size fits all” answer to this question.
How to Promote Diversity and Inclusion in the Workplace
How to craft a DEI strategy that fits your company’s specific needs and values? There are several factors that affect the strength of a DEI strategy:
- A strong commitment to the cause from company leadership goes a long way.
- A clear mission is key in developing a strong DEI strategy for current and future employees.
- Programs like unconscious bias training can help employees develop a better understanding of discrimination and inequity.
- Recruitment is key.
- Encourage conversations regarding questions like, “why is diversity and inclusion important?” and “what is diversity and inclusion, really?”
Diversity and Inclusion Best Practices
We’ve compiled six diversity and inclusion best practices that will go a long way towards honing your company’s DEI strategy.
Know Why You Are Prioritizing Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion.
This is essential. It is easy for employees and potential new talent to suss out a phony, performative DEI strategy.
Gather DEI Data
Ask the important questions and gather data accordingly. Is the current crop of employees diverse? Who is staying with the company? Which employees are participating in development programs? What talent do you want to bring into the pipeline?
Generate Support For DEI
If employees and managers don’t feel personally connected to the cause, then any diversity, equity, and inclusion strategy is bound to fail. HR should understand how diversity and inclusion in the workplace is relevant to organizational goals.
Consider External Resources
There are organizations dedicated to implementing and improving upon diversity and inclusion in the workplace. There are specific DEI organizations that can fit your company’s specific DEI needs. For instance, the Trevor Project provides resources and teaching materials for LGBTQ+ allies. Other consulting firms such as Seramount, CEO Action for Diversity and Inclusion, and DiversityInc also provide external assistance.
Start With The Basics
Diversity and inclusion best practices are most efficiently employed when starting small. To make diversity and inclusion in the workplace a part of company culture, starting with a few achievable, measurable DEI goals is critical. This builds momentum while introducing employees to the practice of diversity, equity, and inclusion.
Create A System Of Accountability
To promote diversity and inclusion in the workforce in a way that is sustainable, accountability is key. This doesn’t mean firing anyone who says something potentially out of line; it means educating employees about diversity and inclusion in the workplace from a place of love. This also means transparency. Providing updates of diversity and inclusion progress is a great step towards accountability.
We’ve summarized the key ideas that pertain to promoting a strong DEI strategy in the workforce. A diversity, equity, and inclusion program can open many doors for new talent and create opportunities to reach new heights with regard to the success of your firm. Now, go forth and create a mindful DEI strategy for your company!
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