If you are not sure exactly what the differences are between these three terms, that’s okay. The main thing is that you are reading here to find out more about diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI). With a goal to provide everyone in your organization with an equal footing, you can move forward in your DEI path by crafting strategies around them.
Defining DEI and Encouraging It
When examining a team or an entire business, the term “diverse” applies to differences between the people in that unit. Within a certain group, there can be a range of experiences, ways of thinking, appearances, sexual orientation, and more.
Your organization can be diverse, but that does not automatically mean it is inclusive. While differences may exist (diversity), not all your employees may feel valued. The same can be said for customers. Creating spaces that acknowledge who they are (both end-users and employees), shows them they are valued, and encourages them to bring their true selves to the table, will make for an inclusive and diverse workplace.
The third concept of DEI is equity. This concept involves acknowledging the various life experiences, needs, wants, and opportunities of all people. As a business owner, you have the responsibility to design systems that uphold equity or, in other words, provide everyone what they need for success, both for processes and systems.
Then, by encouraging equality, your workplace can maintain equity. But do not mistakenly use equity and equality interchangeably; equity, at its most basic sense, refers to fairness, while equality concerns sameness.
Using DEI Initiatives
Perhaps the biggest mistake that CEOs make is to focus exclusively on women and people of color who have been discriminated against historically while ignoring white males, who have had a position of privilege. Diversity and inclusion focus on those who have not been favored in the past, yes, but it does not exclude anyone.
Instead, successful workplace initiatives acknowledge the different characteristics of groups and require everyone’s support. There cannot be a DEI-strong organization if white males are not involved as that exclusion would go against all three concepts.
Furthermore, employers must look beyond only race and gender when having conversations about diversity. While those two traits are certainly the most obvious ones for many people, there are many others, including age, gender identity, and political belief.
Thus, to motivate and engage your teams, you must focus on more than race and gender. Another advantageous step is to commit to a leadership style that upholds diversity, equity, and inclusion in the workplace.
Making Positive Changes Starts at the Top
By making DEI a leadership essential for both you as the CEO and your managers, you can begin to achieve major organizational change. To drive DEI, you must create a vision that flows through to Human Resources and managers, making it known that upholding DEI is an organizational priority.
Using automated software solutions like those from Talcura, your HR team can easily communicate the executive commitment and vision to all employees, regardless of their role or department. Doing so will also help each of these people realize their actions and attitudes either help or hinder the DEI journey.