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DEI Explained: What Does Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Really Mean?

While, as a whole, companies have made significant strides toward advancing diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) in the workplace, many industries need to catch up. For example, the tech industry is lacking greatly, with 1 in 4 companies having more than 70% white employees (Built In, 2022). Investing in DEI is necessary for companies to gain a competitive advantage, attract and retain top talent, and achieve financial sustainability.

What is DEI?

Let’s break down some critical terminology.

D&I: Diversity and inclusion

DEI: Diversity, equity and inclusion

Diversity: is about the individual differences, uniqueness, and experiences that make us who we are and shape how we view and interact with the world around us. Diversity refers to a multicultural environment in which employees of different races, colors, creeds, national origins, ethnicity, personality, religions, gender, disability status, family backgrounds, education, life experiences, beliefs and orientations.

Equity: is about providing everyone with what they need to succeed despite their differences in gender, race, ethnicity, age, national origin, religion, disability status, sexual orientation, education, or anything else. It means eliminating barriers that may have prevented the full participation of all your employees or groups.

Inclusion: is a conscious decision to create a culture that ensures everyone feels seen and valued by allowing employees and customers to be their authentic selves and feel comfortable doing so. It is about creating an environment where employees believe their thoughts and ideas are valued, that management listens to and appreciates their input and that they’re allowed to speak their minds without fear of retaliation. And it is about creating an environment where employees believe they have a fair and equal opportunity for growth and advancement.

Why does DEI matter?

DEI matters for many reasons, from increased brand reputation to better financial performance. Here are a few reasons to start prioritizing DEI in your organization today.

1. 76% of employees and job seekers said diversity was important when considering a job offer. (Glassdoor, 2020)

2. Companies with gender-diverse executive teams are 21% more likely to outperform their less diverse counterparts on profitability. (McKinsey, 2020)

3. Companies are 2.6x more likely to retain their workforce if they have strong DEI measures. (Josh Bersin, 2021)

4. When a company fosters an inclusive workplace, 83% of Millennials are actively engaged at work. (Built In, 2022)

Knowing where to start on your DEI journey can take time and effort. Let us help. Speak to one of our DEI consultants today.


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