What is Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion?
It is a phrase that describes what organizations need to consider to create an environment that welcomes and includes all identities. We know this as DEI. Forward-thinking organizations are now making DEI a part of their overall strategy and not assuming awareness will happen on its own.
Independent Sector is a national membership organization that brings together a diverse community of changemakers with a mission to foster a sense of belonging. According to Independent Sector, leaders are uncertain about the steps needed to turn dialogue—and intention—into action. Many organizations have the desire to increase diversity, but the reality of an environment that enables people of different backgrounds to succeed isn’t translating to success.
DEI has always been an important albeit not often spoken about initiative. A number of events in the past few years have brought societal awareness forward, such as the #MeToo movement, Black Lives Matter, and Every Child Matters. It is no longer a “nice to have” workplace program, but rather a necessary part of organizational culture carefully woven into policies, procedures and day-to-day interactions.
Employers need to blend this topic into their corporate strategy. It is up to them to create a sense of belonging in the organization for all employees. After all, everyone thrives with a sense of belonging. This must be part of a cultural renovation to ensure diversity is embraced and gender norms, salary discrepancies, and past biases are non-existent.
Here are the ways employers must take action for an intentional strategy toward improvement:
- Evaluating the reality of gender, race, pay equity, and inclusion competencies as they exist currently.
- Involving the entire workforce: this includes communicating a Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) initiative to ask for ideas from employees at all levels.
- Educating leadership, human resources, and hiring managers to include an audit of existing direct reports and what opportunity exists to create DEI.
- Creating strategies for attracting and then promoting/hiring diverse talent.
- Ensuring mandatory employee education courses are offered, internally or externally, as part of an annual awareness training requirement.
- Creating an ongoing steering committee/s to continue forward-thinking and ongoing cultural changes supporting DEI.
- Ensuring representation is evident not only in staffing but in product offering, marketing, and suppliers.
- Uncover community opportunities whereby the organization can offer mentorship to visible minorities or higher-risk youth within the industry.
- Creating a flexible work environment to accommodate religious commitments, childcare arrangements, medical appointments, volunteerism, and allergies.
- Implementing a respectful culture of using, understanding, and remembering preferred employee pronouns that regard and recognize identities, regardless of orientation.
- Auditing the physical workplace facilities for accessible entrances, accessible washrooms, gender-neutral facilities, and available elevators.
- Developing a dashboard of Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) to measure and evaluate DEI over a specific period.
Speaking of training, we cover how you can invest in your people & protect your training budget in this post.
Is Your Workplace Prepared?
What We Know
- Boston Consulting Group found that diverse management boosts revenue by 19%.
- Deloitte found that diverse companies enjoy 2.3 times higher cash flow per employee.
- Deloitte also found a diverse workplace has 30% better team performance results.
- McKinsey found that 43% of companies with diverse boards noticed higher profits.
- According to Glassdoor, 69% of executives rate diversity and inclusion as important issues.
In December 2020, the Federal Government announced its 50 – 30 Challenge that asked Canadian organizations to aspire to gender parity on boards and senior management as well as 30% representation on boards and senior management of other underrepresented groups, including Indigenous Peoples, racialized persons, people living with disabilities (including invisible and episodic disabilities) and members of the LGBTQ2S+ community. Unfortunately, there are no accountability measures, and therefore, reported changes do not appear to exist.
Many, if not most, organizations are now looking within to identify whether they have a diverse representation of employees with inclusive policies that respect the equity of women, including visible minorities, Indigenous Peoples, persons living with disabilities, and members of the LGBTQ2S+ community.
- Diversity suggests perspective, representation, and support of inclusion, including the many ways people differ.
- Inclusion suggests the creation of environments that promote feedback and openness that support diversity.
- Equity suggests fairness, openness, and sameness, including valuing diversity and inclusion.
“Companies with more inclusive business cultures and policies see a 59% increase in innovation and 37% better assessment of consumer interest and demand.” – International Labour Organization
Employers now need to blend this topic into their corporate strategy and create a sense of belonging for all in the organizational setting. Everyone thrives with a sense of belonging; this must be part of a cultural renovation to ensure diversity is embraced and gender norms, salary discrepancies and past biases are non-existent.
In addition to implementing an all-inclusive training protocol, employers must action an intentional strategy for improvement by:
- Evaluating the reality of gender, race, pay equity and inclusion competencies as they exist currently.
- Involving the entire workforce by communicating a Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion initiative to ask for ideas from employees at all levels.
- Educating Leadership, Human Resources and hiring managers to include an audit of existing direct reports and what opportunity exists to create DEI.
- Creating strategies for attracting, and promoting/hiring diverse talent.
- Ensuring mandatory employee education courses are offered, internally or externally, as part of a regular awareness training requirement.
We all learn our biases and inconsideration somewhere, and likely enter the workforce with our preconceived notions already formed. It is only as a collective group, at school and work, that we can learn together how to better understand, and react, to the differences we all have, whether visible or not.
Consider the collusion and collaboration, the patience and understanding, and the acceptance and appreciation of a workplace that supports:
- Visible minorities
- People with disabilities
- Gender diversity
- Inclusive language
- Cultural holidays and celebrations
Visit this link to learn all about The Everything DiSC Suite of Programs!
X5 Management has partnered with The Canadian Diversity Initiative and is pleased to offer diversity and inclusion training online. We’re proud of the quality of our diversity and inclusion courses that we have bundled for ease of learning. We know this self-directed and effective training will supply the learning needed to help any team better understand the importance of an effective workplace that supports Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. The Certificate of Successful Completion will create a sense of accomplishment, too.
X5 Management will be able to provide each employer with a dashboard for tracking training enrollment dates and successful completion dates for each module. Each employer can decide reasonable deadlines for completion so that employees are trained in a contained period. New employees can be added to the employer dashboard at any time. This DEI tracking resource will ensure training efforts are aligned with expectations and that the training is consistently being taken with minimal follow-up.
Positive Outcomes of a Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Strategy
There are four key things to consider when determining the success of a DEI strategy:
- A sense of pride by more informed and educated employees thus contributing to a positive internal culture due to employee engagement and trust.
- An empowered business image that is better equipped to build a more inclusive workplace, benefitting the organization and the community in which they exist.
- A bigger talent pool due to a restructured recruitment process to include more diverse candidates.
- A more diverse yet qualified workforce, including leadership, ultimately contributing to a broader perspective on decision-making.
“Diverse companies enjoy 2.3 times higher cash flow per employee, a 30% improved team performance and a 19% increase in revenue compared to less diverse counterparts.” – Deloitte
It is time for all decision-makers to recognize the importance of DEI, and ensure thorough and comprehensive programs and initiatives are implemented for the well-being of the entire workforce. The value shared cannot be measured, but the gains will be felt by all. It really is an organizational priority for today’s culture.
Kris is a Certified Everything DiSC® Workplace Facilitator and a Five Behaviors of a Cohesive Team™ Accredited Facilitator working with X5 Management, an Authorized and Award-Winning Partner of Everything DiSC®. She is also a Certified Diversity and Inclusion Professional.
X5 Management offers an extensive list of courses/workshops that can support virtually any business’s training needs in any industry. If your business wants to take advantage of the grant so that you can expand on your sales and service-related training for your employees, X5 would be pleased to discuss your organization’s training needs.