Why DEI in the Workplace is Important
Diversity Equity and Inclusion (DEI) are no longer just buzzwords, they are core values that companies have started fully integrating into who they are. Putting time and energy into creating a positive environment that emphasizes DEI will allow all employees to thrive and feel like they belong. Acknowledging and celebrating the differences of the individuals in your company leads to more engaging and meaningful discussions. Ultimately, DEI affects the company as a whole and strengthening it means creating a more collaborative and successful workplace environment.
The term DEI stands for Diversity Equity and inclusion. It is used to describe policies and programs that support the differences of different groups of individuals. In the workplace, diversity means the presence of having differences including race and ethnicity, gender and gender identity, sexual orientation, apparent and non-apparent disabilities, nationality, age, and more. Equity is the process of ensuring that systems and programs are impartial, fair, and offer individuals equal possible outcomes. Inclusion is about creating a space where all individuals feel they can contribute and have a sense of belonging. A company that values DEI reassures employees that they can feel safe expressing their ideas and viewpoints no matter who they are. Diverse, equitable, and inclusive companies have better business outcomes but, this isn’t a quick fix. It takes time, consistency, cooperation, and educating everyone in your company about the importance of DEI to create an environment based around it.
DEI in Staffing
In staffing, strong external DEI is just as important as internal. Analyzing and breaking down how you hire and the strategies your recruiting team uses to attract candidates is a critical part of implementing stronger DEI. This is an opportunity to seek new diverse ways to find talent. Attracting diverse and qualified candidates is vital in the hiring process and can open up many new and exciting doors for your company. Doug Arms, COO of TemPositions, emphasizes the importance of implementing strong DEI early in the employment cycle. “Too often we start too far down in the employment cycle when focusing on DEI efforts. When conscious or unconscious bias is not addressed in the recruitment process, it will have a long standing impact in not including a candidate slate that is representative of the community. So initially, attracting a diverse, qualified candidate slate is vital. Then it is important to educate the interview panel in inclusive interviewing – establishing, early and often, that the organization is seeking the best candidate, which includes those with varied backgrounds, ethnicities, and gender, etc. Failure to do so will limit DEI from its origin, and not allow it to recover.” This process does not only require you to hire individuals of different ethnicities, races, genders, ages, religions, and sexual orientations but also individuals that have different perspectives, world views, style, education, and skill sets. DEI is a powerful competitive advantage that gives you the opportunity to have more unique and thought provoking conversations that lead to ground breaking ideas.
It is clear that fostering ways to improve DEI has proven to lead companies to perform better and have more innovative and creative ideas. Implementing and improving strong DEI isn’t a quick fix, it takes hard work, consistency, and cooperation from your team or company. This needs to be a long term goal. Doug continues, “First is internal education and second is authentically representing the company’s values through the interview process. The world has changed and will continue to evolve. Diversity of background, experience and thought is vital to becoming an employer of choice where all employees feel welcome. It also is vital for client attraction, marketing, and strategy. You cannot possibly understand the expanding business climate if your workforce does not represent all of its facets.” Listening to your staff’s feedback is critical if you want to be confident that your workplace is taking the right steps to implement DEI. Just like a business plan, having multiple perspectives from people with different backgrounds always makes for a better plan.