DEIB stands for diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging. The concept is the latest iteration from the term “DEI,” as companies understand the growing importance of an employee’s need to feel that they belong. This evolution also reflects how businesses are making hiring choices more and more based on the tenets of social responsibility.

What Is DEIB?

DEIB is centered on the idea that certain types of employees are at a disadvantage in the workplace due to unfair bias. DEIB outlines how organizations need to counter this problem by developing a workplace structure that focuses on these four concepts:

1. Diversity

Diversity is all about the backgrounds of your employees. Every employee fits a certain demographic, based on (but not exclusive to):

  • Ethnicity
  • Gender
  • Sexual orientation
  • Age
  • Religion
  • Birthplace
  • Nationality
  • Physical ability
  • Economic status

A diverse workplace means that you have a healthy mix of employees from among these backgrounds. However, this is only a starting point, because how they are treated within the organization is just as essential.

2. Equity

Equitymeans that each employee is set up equally for success. This is different from equality, which states that employees all get the same resources to enable success. For example, in an equal organization, each employee receives X hours of computer training. But what about employees who didn’t quite catch on within those limits? The principle of equity states that they would be given additional hours of instruction until they are up to par.

3. Inclusion

It might be great to have a diverse and skilled team, but that still does not ensure equal participation. In an inclusive organization, employees are able to express their point of view without fear. In addition, they receive constructive feedback and due consideration of their opinions

4. Belonging

To be inclusive is not enough if the employee still feels that they do not belong. It’s up to the whole team to make sure that an employee feels that sense of belonging. This can range from close talks with HR staffers to a senior manager giving the spotlight to a new employee so they can introduce themselves and discuss some of their ideas. Sound familiar? The idea of belonging originates with Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, and is essential for self-actualization.

Why Is DEIB Important?

When an organization implements a DEIB initiative, it benefits from increased social acceptance, improved access to better talent, risk reduction, and greater adherence to investor requirements. But the greatest advantage of DEIB is that employees and candidates enjoy it.

A workplace that feels inviting, and where there is respect for everybody’s background and opinions, leads to benefits such as:

  • Improved cooperation
  • Greater effort
  • Longer periods of retention

Job seekers also prefer working at companies that initiate DEIB concepts. Younger generations in particular demand action related to diversity. Not to mention, social media and job websites will expose companies that don’t live up to expectations. If a certain company is graded poorly for diversity on, for example, potential workers will avoid it.

Plus, for organizations where the bottom line is the most essential metric, DEIB still pays dividends. In addition, a sense of belonging can result in a 56% increase in job performance, among other advantages.

Inclusion vs. Belonging

Diversity was one of the first modern social justice concepts. But it’s not enough on its own – experts have explained that “diversity doesn’t stick without inclusion”. You can fill a workforce with diverse people, but if they are not allowed to participate, then the whole idea fails.

Belonging is a measure of how successful inclusion is. The organization can try all kinds of methods to induce inclusion, but if employees still feel like outsiders, then there’s something wrong. In short, inclusion is the action, while belonging is (hopefully) the result.

The main message here is that DEIB is holistic. Each part of it needs to be fulfilled in order for any of the parts to be considered successful.

Examples of DEIB Strategies

Major corporations everywhere engage in significant DEIB efforts. Here are just a few examples:

  1. Uber maintains a wide selection of employee resource groups (ERGs) based on sexuality, ethnicity, age, religion, and other qualities. It also files an EEO-1 report which represents detailed commitments to DEIB initiatives.
  2. Slack has a considerable number of DEIB programs underway, such as Slack for Good, Rising Tides, and Year Up. It sponsors numerous ERGs and reports DEIB statistics directly on its website.
  3. Indeed is a web-based employment agency that has shown commitment to DEIB through efforts like promoting a global office for diversity, inclusion, and belonging, as well as many ERGs. Indeed also hires from sources that are specific to certain DEIB groups such as DisabilityIN and Afro Tech.

The Challenges of DEIB Programs

DEIB is a concept that relies heavily, but not exclusively, on the human resources department. For HR employees, DEIB means:

Hiring and retention practices that make DEIB a priority

Due to challenges such as unconscious bias and institutional racism, HR professionals need to develop awareness of how they implement hiring objectives, taking special care to avoid racially-based favoritism. Similarly, due to bias in the workplace, HR must make sure that employees in DEIB groups are feeling safe, which is an important factor in retention rates.

Training all levels of the organization in workplace DEIB concepts and practices

The ability to implement a successful DEIB program requires employees to understand its concepts and to keep them in mind on a daily basis. This awareness also depends on the organizational hierarchy. For example, a production worker must learn to treat coworkers from DEIB groups in a respectful manner, while managers also need to keep personal biases in mind when making hiring, promotion, and salary decisions. It’s up to HR to teach and monitor employees so that they conform to DEIB standards at their particular hierarchical level.

Using effective measurement methods

It can be difficult to figure out how well a DEIB program is working. The simplest approach is to just ask employees. But in addition, it’s important to analyze data about engagement and turnover according to DEIB categories. If any differences pop out, it is time to investigate the root causes.  

GrowthSpace Powers DEIB Initiatives

DEIB is a complex undertaking that requires significant knowledge just to implement it. In addition, many DEIB concepts need to be exercised by various levels of employees, from senior managers to line workers. DEI training is at the heart of any effective DEIB effort, powered by GrowthSpace, which teaches employees about the thoughts and actions behind valuable social and organizational programs.

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