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Why are diversity equity and inclusion (DEI) important in the workplace?
Diversity & inclusion

Why are diversity equity and inclusion (DEI) important in the workplace?

Velents Team
Updated on:
July 22, 2022
Reading time:
5 Min

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The definition of diversity and inclusion is changing. It's not just about having a certain number of people from different groups or pretending that everyone is the same. Now it's about understanding how important it is for employees to have their different identities respected, and taking steps to make sure that all employees are treated fairly. This includes getting rid of bias and making sure everyone has the same opportunities to succeed.

What is Diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI)?

Diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) is an approach to organizational change that recognizes and values the ways in which people differ. It's about creating a workplace where everyone can reach their full potential, regardless of their background or identity.

Equity is about making sure everyone has the same opportunities to succeed, regardless of their background or identity. This means creating a level playing field, eliminating bias and ensuring that everyone has the same chance to reach their full potential.

Inclusion is about making sure that everyone feels welcomed, respected and valued for who they are. It's about creating a workplace where everyone can be themselves and feel like they belong.

When organizations focus on DEI, they create a more positive work environment for everyone. Employees feel appreciated and valued, and they're more likely to be productive and engaged.

Why are diversity equity and inclusion important?

The value of diversity, inclusion and equity is much deeper than their definitions say. Here are some of their benefits in business.

Creating a prejudice-free zone

The social benefit, rather than the economic benefit, is the most essential reason for organizations to practice diversity, equity, and inclusion. It's about putting things right from the wrongs of the past. Business decisions in the past deliberately excluded all but one group while also discriminating against the rest.

A level playing field

From an economic standpoint, it only makes sense for organizations to aim for a level playing field. The more diverse an organization is, the more likely it is to tap into new markets and better understand the needs of all consumers. Furthermore, research shows that organizations with a higher level of diversity tend to outperform those who don't.

Increased creativity and innovation

When people from different backgrounds and perspectives come together, they bring with them new ideas and ways of looking at things. This diversity of thought leads to increased creativity and innovation.

Improved bottom line

Aside from the social benefits, there are also tangible economic benefits to diversity, equity, and inclusion. Studies have shown that organizations with a higher level of diversity tend to have better financial performance. In fact, a report by McKinsey found that companies in the top quartile for gender or racial and ethnic diversity are 35% and 15% more likely to have financial returns above their respective national industry medians.

Better recruitment and retention

A diverse workforce also helps with recruitment and retention. A study by the Harvard Business Review found that companies with a higher level of racial diversity are 35% more likely to have better-than-average financial performance, while those with a higher level of gender diversity are 15% more likely to have better-than-average financial performance. Furthermore, organizations with a strong commitment to DEI are more attractive to potential employees, which helps with recruitment. Finally, studies have shown that a diverse workforce leads to increased employee satisfaction and loyalty, which helps with retention.

In order to be successful in today's business world, it is essential for organizations to focus on diversity, equity, and inclusion. DEI is important for a number of reasons, including creating a prejudice-free zone, leveling the playing field, increasing creativity and innovation, improving the bottom line, and better recruitment and retention.

What is the difference between equality, diversity and inclusion in the workplace?

There can be a lot of confusion between the terms diversity, equity and inclusion. Here's a breakdown of each one:

Diversity is about differences. It's about recognizing that everyone is different and that those differences should be celebrated.

Equity is about providing equal access. It's about making sure everyone has the same opportunities to succeed, regardless of their background or identity.

Inclusion is about feeling welcome and respected. It's about creating a workplace where everyone can be themselves and feel like they belong.

So while equality is about making sure everyone is treated the same, diversity and inclusion are about recognizing and valuing differences. And equity is about making sure everyone has the same opportunities to succeed.

What is a DEI example?

DEI is important for creating and sustaining a successful workplace because it believes that all people can flourish personally and professionally. Before you start evaluating your efforts and implementing new methods, make sure you fully comprehend each component, both on its own and how they interact.

Here are some of the endless examples for DEI in the workplace:

  • Providing equal access to training and development opportunities.
  • Creating flexible work arrangements to accommodate employees' different needs.
  • Professional Development, ensuring that all employees have the opportunity to grow and advance in their careers.
  • Offering unconscious bias training to managers and employees.
  • Leadership, having diverse leaders who can provide different perspectives and champion DEI initiatives within the organization.
  • Celebrating employees' diversity through events and programs.
  • Recruitment and retention, proactively seeking out candidates from diverse backgrounds and hiring a workforce that reflects the communities you serve.

These are just a few examples of how businesses can foster a more diverse, equitable and inclusive workplace.

How do I write a DEI plan?

Here are some coordinated steps to writing a DEI plan:

1. Define your goals: What do you hope to achieve with your DEI plan? Be specific and realistic in your goals, and make sure they align with your company's values.

2. Assess where you are now: Take a close look at your current DEI efforts. What is working well and what needs improvement? This will help you identify areas of focus for your plan.

3. Develop strategies and action items: Based on your goals and assessment, develop strategies and action items that will help you achieve your DEI objectives.

4. Make the case for why DEI is important to your organization. How will it improve your bottom line?

5. Engage the right stakeholders: DEI is not something that can be achieved by one person or department. To be successful, you need buy-in and support from the entire organization. Engage key stakeholders in the development of your plan to ensure its success.

6. Implement your plan: Put your plan into action and make sure you have the resources and support you need to succeed.

7. Evaluate and adjust: Regularly evaluate your DEI efforts to see what's working and what isn't. Be prepared to adjust your plan as needed to ensure you're making progress towards your goals.

What are some challenges of implementing a DEI plan?

There can be challenges when implementing a DEI plan, but with careful planning and execution, these challenges can be overcome. Here are some common challenges you may face:

  • Getting buy-in from senior leadership: If senior leaders aren't on board with your DEI initiatives, it will be difficult to get the resources and support you need to be successful.

  • Resisting the urge to do too much: It's important to start small and focus on a few key initiatives that will have the biggest impact. Trying to do too much can lead to overwhelm and ultimately, failure.

  • Lack of resources: DEI can require additional resources, such as training, hiring, and marketing. If you don't have the budget for these things, it can be difficult to make progress.

  • Difficult conversations: When dealing with sensitive topics like race and gender, there can be a lot of emotion involved. Be prepared to have tough conversations and create a safe space for employees to share their thoughts and feelings.

Despite these challenges, implementing a DEI plan can be incredibly rewarding and beneficial for both your employees and your business. When done well, DEI can help create a more positive and productive workplace culture.

What is a good DEI statement?

When it comes to DEI statements, companies are quick to market themselves as being "woke" or "inclusive." However, these terms can be misleading. A company may put out a good DEI statement, but that doesn't mean they're actually doing anything to back it up.

In order for a DEI statement to be truly effective, it needs to be more than just words on a page. It should be a living document that outlines the company's commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion. It should also detail what the company is doing to create a more diverse and inclusive workplace.

A good DEI statement will address the following questions:

  • What are we doing to foster a more diverse and inclusive workplace?
  • How are we recruiting and retaining a diverse workforce?
  • How are we promoting equity in our workplace?
  • What processes do we have in place to ensure that all employees feel included and respected?

Answering these questions is a good start, but a truly effective DEI statement will go even further. It will include specific actions that the company is taking to make progress on diversity, equity, and inclusion. And it will be updated regularly to reflect the latest initiatives and progress made.

A DEI statement is only as good as the actions behind it. So when companies market themselves as being committed to diversity, equity, and inclusion, they need to make sure they're living up to their words. Otherwise, it's all just lip service.

Here is an example of a DEI statement:

"Our company is committed to creating a diverse, equitable and inclusive workplace. We will take action to recruit, hire and retain a workforce that reflects the communities we serve. We will also create programs and events that celebrate our employees' diversity. Our goal is to create a workplace where everyone feels respected, valued and empowered to reach their full potential."

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