Many people choose a career in HR because they care about people. They want to support them as the work toward their goals have a positive impact on their community. The people they end up helping day-in and day-out come from all backgrounds, experiences, and ways of viewing the world. Foundational to an HR departments’ ability to help all of them is building a workplace where everyone feels they belong. This work is known as Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging (DEIB).
DEIBis not just another buzzword or corporate initiative. It’s about creating meaningful organizational change that makes your organization stronger. This is what you should know about DEIB and how to foster it at your workplace for the benefit of your employees and the company.
What Does DEIB Stand For?
DEIB stands for diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging. It is a holistic approach to recruiting, retaining, and advancing diverse talent in any organization. It seeks to ensure everyone has an equitable opportunity to participate and succeed in their respective organizations.
DEIB is used interchangeably with the shortened DEI. Theconcept of DEIBhas been around since the late 1960s following civil rights activism which fought for equal opportunities and representation across racial, gender, and socioeconomic backgrounds. We’ve come a long way since then, but more work still needs to be done to overcome a lack of diversity. Understanding what DEIB will help you develop goals that can transform the employment landscape.
Diversityrefers to the various characteristics, demographics, and experiences of an organization. This includes:
- gender identity and expression
- sexual orientation
- physical ability and neurodiversity
- veteran status
- educational background
- language fluency
A diverse workforce can often lead to a broader range of thinking. This is invaluable for business and society as it offers broad perspectives and more creative solutions to problems.
Equityrefers to the fairness of opportunities and treatment within an organization. It focuses on making sure that everyone is given the same chances and access to the resources they need to achieve success. Equity is about creating a level playing field for all without any prejudicial biases or discrimination against any group of people, especially marginalized groups.
For example, equity means addressing disparities in pay between men and women doing the same job. It also means ensuring that those from underrepresented backgrounds, such as people of color, LGBTQIA+ individuals, and people with disabilities, are given equal access to career development programs, promotions, and leadershipteam roles.
When properly implemented, equity initiatives can go a long way toward making sure everyone’s talents are maximized to their fullest potential without bias or prejudice. When employees of color see others who look like them in the workplace, they are more comfortable and motivated.
Inclusionrequires creating a work environment where everyone is treated fairly, regardless of gender, race, sexual orientation, or other factors. It involves creating an atmosphere of respect and understanding between all employees.
A key component of inclusion is ensuring everyone’s voices are heard. This can be done through open dialogue, feedback loops, and surveys that solicit input from staff members on how they feel about their workplace experience.
Ultimately, inclusion at work helps all employees to feel safe expressing themselves without fear of judgment or repercussions. When implemented correctly, it can lead to a moreproductive work environment with more significant innovationand collaboration across teams.
Belonging refers to when employees feelaccepted in the workplace. Creating an open and supportive culture is crucial to foster belonging at work. In this culture, team members feel that their perspective is valued and adds something useful, whether they are junior or senior-level team members.
Why DEIB Matters for the Workforce
Over half of workers quit because “they didn’t feel a sense of belonging at work,” according to aMcKinsey surveyconducted during the Great Resignation.
By setting up an environment that promotes DEIB in the workplace, employers can create an atmosphere where everyone feels respected and included. This fosters a sense of shared purpose and responsibility within the organization, which leads tohigher levels of employee engagement.
DEIB also helps organizations attract talented individuals who may be excluded or marginalized by traditional recruitment processes. Employers that factor diversity into their recruitment processes find it increases creativity and innovationwithin theirworkplaces. DEIB-focused hiring practices also reinforce a mindset of acceptance and respect while nurturing a healthy working environmentwhere everyone’s talents are maximized to their full potential.
How to Promote DEIB in the Workplace
Even though we have made great strides in applying DEIB in the workplace, there are still unmet DEIB needs. Unequal treatment persists, and some employees continue to experience discrimination and discomfort in their workplaces. Here are a few things employers can do to ensure their DEIB policies effectively address these needs:
- Create a safe space: An open and supportive atmosphere where employees can discuss any DEIB-related issues without fear of repercussions can help generate change.
- Train staff: For DEIB policies to be successful, it is vital that all staff are appropriately trained on how to implement initiatives, use fair decision-making techniques, and foster respect and inclusion among their team.
- Take discrimination reports seriously: If employees trust that you will handle issues surrounding favoritism or discrimination of minorities, they will be more likely to feel comfortable speaking up.
- Offer more opportunities for advancement: Whether through educational webinars, job shadowing, or academic courses, providing everyone the same chance to grow and develop in their careeris essential for both employees and employers. It builds trust in both you and your promises surrounding DEIB practices.
- Foster a DEIB culture: This can be done by encouraging employees to have honest conversations about their experiences and opinions and creating employee resource groups (AKA affinity groups)for regular discussion.
- Improve your hiring process: To create a more fair process, consider anonymizing job applications, using inclusive language in job descriptions, focusing on skills rather than background, reviewing and standardizing your interview questions, and building a diverse staff for your interview panel.
- Focus on your employee strengths: This shows that you are paying attention to what each individual brings to the table and that you appreciate their uniqueness. Moreover, you can celebrate how their strengths can be further developed to add value to your business and their careers.
- Track the progress of your initiatives: Setting and measuring key metrics to track across time can hold your organization accountable and help you highlight the changes you make. This will help employees see the tangible results of DEIB initiatives.
- Encourage wellbeing check-ins: This can help you address any issues employees might face related to DEIB or anything else that causes them stress, such as burnout.
Combining Wellbeing and DEIB Strategies
Only one out of every four employees believes their employer cares about their wellbeing. One way to change this is to ensure that wellbeing strategies are equitable, comprehensive, and inclusive of the needs of all employees.
Diverse employee experiences, such as socioeconomic status, can affect health and wellbeingdifferently. To remedy this, a consistent and customized wellbeing experience for all employees is essential. Prioritizing solutions tailored toward every individual’s unique needs can help you build a healthy, happy, and productive workforce.
Wellness initiatives are a great way to boost your DEIB strategy and improve the lives of your staff. At Gympass, we can help you develop a winning program. Speak with a wellbeing specialist todayto learn more!
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- What is diversity, equity, and inclusion? (August 17, 2022). McKinsey & Company. Retrieved on March 15, 2023 from https://www.mckinsey.com/featured-insights/mckinsey-explainers/what-is-diversity-equity-and-inclusion.
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The Gympass Editorial Team empowers HR leaders to support worker wellbeing. Our original research, trend analyses, and helpful how-tos provide the tools they need to improve workforce wellness in today's fast-shifting professional landscape.