Focus on DEI is critical to business success
Many business leaders have heard of diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI). For the uninitiated, DEI refers to designing and applying programs that promote opportunity and equality for members of marginalized groups, such as people of color, women and the LGBT community. They're created to equalize the playing field in the workforce, working to right historical wrongs.
While advocating for equity and social justice is important for moral and ethical reasons, it's critical for your company's success, too. This is due to a multitude of factors, which we'll explore here. We'll also demonstrate how DEI helps generate profits and drive other positive outcomes.
Understanding DEI's components
Diversity, equity and inclusion may seem like interchangeable terms, but that couldn't be farther from the truth. Each element has its own goals and ways of achieving them. Let's unpack them:
- Diversity: This refers to almost exactly what the word typically means. As America's SBDC explains, workplace diversity refers to a workforce composed of people from all different races, genders, sexualities, religious affiliations and disability status, to name a few.
- Equity: Not to be confused with equality, this facet is concerned with ensuring that processes have fair and impartial outcomes for every individual. Here, resources are distributed in such a manner that recognizes people have different circumstances based on their backgrounds.
- Inclusion: Perhaps the hardest to measure objectively, inclusion involves making sure every staff member feels comfortable and a sense of belonging at their workplace. Diversity and equity feed into this particular constituent.
How DEI benefits organizations
Although DEI may seem like trend hopping, the reality is that it's critical for more than just socioeconomic equality: It gets results. How?
- The better the DEI, the better the skill set: As Forbes explains, when you have employees from multiple backgrounds, you're almost guaranteed to attract and have access to a wider range of skills and abilities. With greater prowess in different fields comes the ability to produce high quality goods and services that your rivals are unable to match.
- DEI is the mother of innovation: Naturally, people from different walks of life have unique insights and perspectives. According to CNB, these views and varying understanding can coalesce into a pool of unlimited creativity and problem-solving. This means your business can tackle challenges in unique ways that your competitors can't, putting you in the lead.
- DEI isn't just about your workforce: Of course, DEI helps to create a positive work environment and company culture, making your team happy and productive. But, it also helps a business know their consumers better. Organizations that take the time to understand how identity affects lived experiences, needs and desires can use this knowledge to better serve their customers.
Companies can enjoy overwhelming success when they truly realize that their workforce and target market aren't homogenous, and adapt accordingly.