Since the 80s, increasingly progressive cultural movements have resulted in the idea of “Diversity and Inclusion” being widely adopted throughout business sectors in America. In the last few decades, business owners and executives have made efforts to comply with these cultural shifts using tools such as bias-focused diversity training and hiring tests. While these efforts have been made in good faith, studies show that they struggle to yield substantial improvement. Now business researchers have proposed that focusing on diversity and inclusion is not enough to tackle the challenges of today. They urge businesses to add equity and belonging to the list as well.
Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging (otherwise referred to as DEIB) are four concepts that work together to boost team dynamics, productivity, and innovation within organization. By incorporating DEIB into your business’s core values and mission you can make sure that all members of your business have equal opportunities to do their best work and feel valued.
Let us break down each concept:
Diversity – Refers to the individual characteristics employees have that make them unique. This can include gender, race, ethnicity, religion, age, sexual orientation, physical abilities, ideologies, socioeconomic status, and life experiences. The wider range of viewpoints and perspectives allows diverse companies to reach previously unexplored customer segments and approach them with new ideas.
Equity – Refers to the idea that all employees are provided with fair and equal opportunities based on their individual needs. This addresses the reality that not all employees can attain the same opportunities in the workplace without assistance and allows management to create policies and resources to counter that imbalance of opportunities. Equity in the workplace leads to more employees rising to leadership and other key roles in the organization, which leads to more diversity at a leadership level. Focusing on equity also can lead to higher employee retention since employees will recognize that they have more opportunities to grow within one company.
Inclusion – Refers to the procedures that an organization puts in place to make sure that everyone is integrated into the workplace regardless of their diverse backgrounds. In order for the benefits of having a diverse work force to come to fruition, employees need to feel psychologically safe and included. One method that companies use is Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO), which means that they commit to having fair, unbiased treatment in the workplace. Larger companies will hire diversity and inclusion managers as well to help implement and enforce inclusion policies.
Belonging — Refers to an employee’s perception of acceptance within the organization and feeling seen and heard within a given group. This is the newest concept added to the framework and researchers now say that it is essential towards long-term success in recruitment, retention, and performance outcomes. Belonging is the result of the three previous concepts being effectively implemented. It is hard to quantify belonging with numbers and instead is best measured by direct feedback from the members of a workplace.
Together, DEIB makes up more than just concepts. When Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging are implemented by businesses, they have the potential to jumpstart a company’s success and create an environment for innovation and creative ideas that can persist to later parts of the business life cycle.
Implementing DEIB policies is not easy but the Private Corporate Counsel can help. Our business attorneys can help review your current policies and systems in place and recommend changes. Contact us now and book a free consultation to learn more.