Diversity and inclusion have been growing priorities in HR, with more companies striving to create a fairer workplace. D&I, which emphasizes hiring and fostering diverse talent, has been a common focus to hire and retain employees from diverse backgrounds.
However, D&I goals can often fall short, as they don’t always plan for ongoing efforts that ensure long-term access of opportunity for all employees. This is why many companies are a conceptual shift from D&I to DEI, emphasizing equity as a key component for achieving a fairer workplace.
According to Catalina Colman, director of HR and inclusion at Built In, “Equity is the process of ensuring that processes and programs are impartial, fair and provide equal possible outcomes for every individual.”
For diversity and inclusion efforts to be successful, companies should first understand the fact that the workplace isn’t a level playing field for everyone. Employees come from all walks of life and navigate the workplace with uneven degrees of privilege and opportunity. Because of this, there often isn’t one-size-fits-all solutions to diversity efforts. Support for diverse groups often requires varying interventions in order to bridge gaps and provide opportunity for all.
So how can your team shift from D&I to DEI? Here are some ways to practice diversity, equity, and inclusion in your workplace:
1) Incorporate Equity Into Your Diversity Strategy
Integrating equity into your diversity strategy may require some reworking of your team’s methods and goals. You may need to question the systems that you currently have in place to carry out your diversity efforts. Below are some questions to consider:
1) Does your workplace provide opportunities for minority employees to learn, grow, and contribute?
2) What systemic barriers limit your diversity efforts?
3) How can your company continually ensure opportunities for all employees, regardless of their background?
Asking yourself these questions can help you and your team recognize and adopt an equity-centered mindset.
2) Hire a DEI Specialist
If you want to make sustained strides with your DEI efforts, you need to change the systems that keep diversity efforts running. One great way to do so is by hiring a DEI specialist.
Recruiting DEI specialists continues to be a growing trend in the hiring space, with online postings for diversity jobs rising by 30% in the past year. A DEI professional can help your team track progress and measure the success of diversity efforts. They can also spearhead new initiatives like inclusion trainings. Finally, they can continually find ways to make the workplace fairer such as suggesting tools for less biased recruitment or developing strategies to improve the long-term success and wellbeing of diverse employees.
3) Measure The Impact of Your DEI Efforts
One great way to make continual progress with your DEI efforts is to concretely measure their impact. For example, conducting diversity hiring reviews is a good place to start. These reviews will help you gain insight into how many recently hired and promoted employees are from diverse backgrounds. Soliciting your employee’s feelings of inclusion and the level of support they feel over time can also help you determine whether your DEI efforts have been impactful.
4) Remember That Equity is a Process, Not An Outcome
DEI facilitator Meg Bolger put it best when she stated, “Diversity is an outcome. Inclusion is an outcome. Equity is not an outcome. Equity refers to the process a company consistently engages in to ensure that people with marginalized identities have the opportunity to grow, contribute, and develop — regardless of their identity.”
With this in mind, remember that equity doesn’t always produce a final result. Incorporating equity into your diversity strategy means changing your mindset and being committed to making ongoing efforts that create a more just workspace for all.