Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) have become HR buzzwords instead of inspiring much needed change in the American workplace. HR departments struggle nationwide spearheading DEI initiatives with resistance from upper management and lack of involvement from employees. Nonetheless, DEI initiatives are critical to ensure a productive and positive work environment.
Why are DEI policies important?
According to Dr. Audrey Jordan of Claremont Lincoln University “When we make the case for the importance of DEI, we can do so in two crucial ways: the moral case and the business case. The human or moral case refers to our shared humanity and how when one group suffers we all suffer, and when we invest in the equity of every group, we all benefit…By investing in diverse people with situational fairness in mind, you can save money by reducing costs on things like mental health and physical health. Investing in education also helps reduce these costs as you can also free all the innovative talent and contribution of people who think and create and consume differently. This creates better aligned choices for people with diverse interests and needs. Your business will attract potential candidates and customers when they see themselves represented among every level of your organization and workforce. A sense of shared power and opportunity translates to better products and services, and happier, more committed staff and colleagues!”
What does DEI mean?
In June, the Biden administration released their guidance on DEI. They define Diversity as the practice of including the many communities, identities, races, ethnicities, backgrounds, abilities, cultures, and beliefs of the American people, including underserved communities. Equity as the consistent and systematic fair, just, and impartial treatment of all individuals, including individuals who belong to underserved communities that have been denied such treatment. Lastly, Inclusion as the recognition, appreciation, and use of the talents and skills of employees of all backgrounds. University of Michigan Chief Diversity Officer Robert Sellers breaks DEI down as such – diversity, equity and inclusion – which he likened to various aspects of attending a dance:
- Diversity is where everyone is invited to the party
- Inclusion means that everyone gets to contribute to the playlist
- Equity means that everyone has the opportunity to dance
How can I initiate DEI policies at my workplace?
At ILSMD we found it beneficial to simply start with a DEI Council or coalition. Many corporations encourage their staff to create a task force to help identify and implement DEI policies that will improve their work environment. ILSMD’s veteran DEI team can assist your company or agency’s initiative to ensure the effectiveness of a DEI program. We can help recruit employees for the council, establish norms and create curated trainings for management and other DEI stakeholders.