DEI in the Workplace: 5 Ways to Create a Diverse, Equitable and Inclusive Culture
Diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) have become priorities in many workplaces across the globe – and for good reason. Fostering a diverse and inclusive culture provides tremendous benefits for both employees and the organization.
From better decision-making to higher retention, the advantages are well-documented.
But creating that equitable and inclusive environment requires more than just good intentions. It demands purposeful action across all areas of the business.
Here, we’ll explore what DEI means, why it’s so vital, and five impactful ways your organization can help build a workplace where everyone feels welcomed, valued, and able to thrive.
What is Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion?
Before exploring how to put DEI into practice, it’s important to align on exactly what we mean by diversity, equity, and inclusion and why DEI is important.
Here’s a quick look at each of these related but distinct concepts:
- Diversity refers to the presence of differences within a given setting. In the workplace, this includes diversity in identity factors like gender, race, age, sexual orientation, disability status, religion, and educational background. It also encompasses diversity in experiences, perspectives, and ideas.
- Inclusion describes a sense of belonging. An inclusive environment is one where all individuals feel respected, connected to peers and leaders, and able to bring their full, authentic selves to work.
- Equity is focused on fairness. It’s about removing obstacles so that everyone has access to the opportunities, networks, resources, and support necessary to succeed based on their positionality.
Having a clear understanding of what DEI is and isn’t will allow us to better explore why building a diverse, equitable, and inclusive workplace matters.
Why Diverse, Inclusive, and Equitable Cultures Are Key
The case for caring about DEI is compelling and multifaceted. On the one hand, it’s simply the right thing to do. DEI helps combat structural disadvantages and aims to provide good workplace experiences.
Beyond that, though, it has clear bottom-line benefits, which include:
- Increased ability to attract top talent. 70% of job seekers value workplace diversity as important when evaluating offers.
- Improved decision-making, creativity, and problem-solving. Diverse groups consider more perspectives, yielding better decision-making.
- Higher profit. Companies in the top quartile for ethnic/cultural diversity were 35% more likely to outperform bottom-quartile companies in profitability.
- Enhanced brand reputation. 64% of consumers now are likely to make a purchase after seeing a diverse brand advertisement.
- Greater productivity. Inclusive teams foster enhanced creativity and innovation, leading to increased revenues and overall productivity.
In short, building a diverse, inclusive, and equitable workplace is both a moral imperative and a strategic one. It leads to better business outcomes while creating an environment where employees thrive.
5 Impactful Ways To Improve DEI in Your Organization
There is no quick fix to instantly create a perfectly equitable and inclusive culture. It requires an evolving, multifaceted approach across all aspects of your workplace.
Here are five powerful places to start:
1. Offer Ongoing Training & Education
Implementing robust training is a fundamental part of the process. Make offerings regular and focused on building critical skills. Some basics include unconscious bias workshops to uncover hidden prejudices, inclusive leadership development to give managers tools to champion diversity day-to-day, and support for employee resource groups to foster peer learning.
2. Review and Update Policies To Combat Bias
Take a close look at your current policies to identify gaps through a DEI lens. For example, re-evaluate hiring and promotion practices for unintended bias and create new, fairer standards. Examine compensation frameworks for gender equity. Enhance parental leave and remote work policies so all employees can excel. The goal is to audit existing guidelines with fresh eyes and adjust as needed.
3. Foster An Inclusive Day-To-Day Environment
Look at your current workplace experience – from onboarding to social events – through the lens of inclusion. Review norms around holidays, customs, and language for sensitivity. Create platforms where employees can safely share their concerns, experiences, and ideas.
4. Measure Progress & Impact
Finally, diligently track DEI metrics over time. Survey employees on feelings of inclusion. Monitor representation rates. Track disparities in recruiting, retention, and promotions. Data allows you to double down on successes and identify opportunities for improvement.
Actions Speak Louder Than Words — Contact The Norfus Firm
Transitioning to a diverse, equitable, and inclusive workplace is an evolving journey that requires sustained focus and commitment. But the payoff – in terms of business performance, culture, and employee satisfaction – makes it one of the most worthwhile investments an organization can make.
Contact us today to get started.