Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in the Workplace: 3 Examples to Implement Today
Diversity in the workplace is much-discussed as companies try to figure out the secret sauce behind improved employee engagement, enhanced innovation, expanded creativity, and better talent attraction and retention.
But what does diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) actually mean? And how does DEI show up in the workplace—whether that’s remote, hybrid, or full-time in-person? Let’s take a look.
What is diversity, equity, and inclusion?
Diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) are fundamental principles that guide the fostering of an inclusive and equitable workplace and value the unique attributes and perspectives of individuals from all backgrounds.
DEI strives to create a work environment and culture where every person feels respected, empowered, and included, regardless of race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, age, disability status, location, or other characteristics. Let’s break each term down individually.
Diversity in the workplace includes people from a wide range of backgrounds and experiences, each with their own perspective. It encompasses various characteristics, such as race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, age, religious beliefs, disability status, and socioeconomic background.
A diverse workforce promotes a vibrant and inclusive environment where employees feel valued, respected, and empowered.
How would you feel if you didn’t have the same workplace opportunities as your coworkers? Probably annoyed at best and upset at worst. This is why equity in the workplace is essential.
The concept refers to the fair treatment of all employees and ensures everyone has equal access to career opportunities, resources, and rewards, regardless of background or circumstance. Building workplace equity involves identifying and addressing systemic barriers and biases that may hinder certain individuals from achieving their full potential.
In a workplace context, inclusion means creating an environment and culture where individuals feel valued, respected, comfortable being themselves, and able to participate and contribute fully. Inclusion fosters a sense of belonging and ensures all employees have equal opportunities to thrive and succeed, regardless of backgrounds, identities, or differences.
At its core, inclusion focuses on actively valuing and leveraging every individual’s unique perspectives, talents, and contributions.
Diversity, equity, and inclusion: 3 workplace examples you can implement right now
1. Adopting new hiring practices and advertising to a diverse talent pool
To create a workplace that’s a rich tapestry of human diversity and incorporates people from a wide range of backgrounds, you’ll need to utilize hiring practices that think outside the box. For example:
- Removing names and personal information from resumes to avoid bias
- Attending career fairs that focus on diverse candidates
- Reaching out to underrepresented communities to expand the candidate pool
- Switching to a remote hiring model to access diverse talent from further afield
- Posting job openings on platforms and boards that specifically cater to diverse candidates or underrepresented groups
Implementing the above hiring practices will help attract diverse candidates, including different genders, races, and ethnicities, people with various disability statuses, neuro-diverse talent, and the LGBTQ2+ community.
Additionally, according to the Washington Post, Gen-Z is bypassing companies that don’t prioritize a diverse workforce, which is all the more reason to hire diverse employees.
2. Using inclusive language company-wide, from the top down
Inclusive language goes beyond remembering your coworker’s pronoun preference (which you should be doing, by the way!)
Using inclusive language starts with the CEO and must be a model for all leaders. It includes avoiding gendered terms (e.g., guys or paternal leave), being mindful of cultural differences, and using inclusive greetings, for example, “Hello all” instead of “Dear Sir/Madam.”
If you’re going to take inclusive language seriously, it might be worth the time to update your job descriptions for inclusivity and remove language that could potentially alienate various groups from applying. For example, would you apply for this position if you were a woman-identified salesperson?
“We’re seeking a motivated, upbeat salesman to join our dynamic team. The ideal candidate must be confident, competitive, and assertive. The salesman will be responsible for driving revenue, meeting sales targets, and building strong relationships with clients. The successful candidate will possess excellent negotiation skills and a passion for closing big deals.”
Or would you be more interested in this position?
“We’re seeking a motivated sales professional to join our dynamic team. The ideal candidate must be confident, proactive, and results-oriented. The salesperson will be responsible for driving revenue, meeting sales targets, and building strong relationships with clients. The successful candidate will possess excellent negotiation skills, effective communication abilities, and a passion for achieving customer satisfaction.”
Inclusive job descriptions avoid biased language, don’t perpetuate gender stereotypes, and focus on skills vs. qualities to have a better chance of hiring and creating a diverse workforce.
3. Conducting employee surveys and gathering valuable feedback
How do you know where to begin with diversity, equity, and inclusion if you don’t understand your most important customer — your employees?
Employee surveys gather feedback and insights about employee experience, and perceptions, and attitudes regarding diversity, equity, and inclusion. For example, exploring topics such as inclusivity, workplace bias, company culture, career progression, development opportunities, and the experience of underrepresented or marginalized groups.
The data allows organizations to assess the current state of DEI within the workplace and identify gaps and challenges in DEI practices and policies.
For example, DEI surveys highlight areas where improvements are needed, whether addressing unconscious bias in hiring, promoting inclusivity in decision-making, or providing equal opportunities for professional development.
By surveying employees, you provide a path for people to voice their opinions, concerns, and suggestions. This helps to foster a sense of inclusion, showing employees that their voices are heard and valued.
It also helps build trust and transparency (a key guiding DEI principle) within the organization, as employees feel empowered to contribute to developing inclusive practices.
A data-driven approach allows organizations to refine and adjust their DEI efforts based on employee feedback. For example, regular employee surveys enable organizations to track progress and measure the impact of DEI initiatives over time.
By comparing survey results from different time points, organizations can assess whether the strategies have resulted in positive changes and use this information to identify areas that still require improvement.
The insights and data gathered from employee surveys inform the development of DEI strategies and guide decision-making processes.
Organizations can use the survey data to identify priorities, set goals, and establish action plans that address the specific needs and concerns raised by employees. This ensures that DEI initiatives are aligned with the experiences and expectations of the workforce and helps promote employee engagement.
Overall, surveys are a powerful tool for organizations to gather insights, engage employees, and drive meaningful change in advancing DEI. By listening to employee feedback and leveraging survey data, organizations can make informed decisions, track progress, and create a more inclusive and equitable workplace culture.
To get started hearing what your employees say, sign up for a free trial of 15Five, and join companies such as Spotify, Hubspot, and Pendo, that use the platform to better understand and manage their workforce.