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Demystifying DEI— what, why, and how of it

Wednesday October 27, 2021, By Diversity Digest

Diversity, equity, and inclusion, or DEI, is an essential mantra for any business. Studies have shown the multiple benefits of a diverse, equitable, and inclusive workplace. It not just welcomes and celebrates differences but also enables bringing the best out of them. Eventually, it benefits the business, attracting the best of talent.

Here is demystifying DEI to know how they work in tandem.

Diversity: Decades ago, Canadian philosopher Marshal McLuhan said: ‘The world is a global village.’ While McLuhan’s words define the interconnectedness of different parts of the world through media technologies, today, the talent pool offers the scope for workplaces to be a global village. Diversity comprises multiple strands like genders, generations, languages, ethnicities, socio-economic classes, people with disabilities, etc. Bringing in diverse groups of talent means the advantage of diverse experiences, diverse viewpoints, and diverse potential, offering immense scope for innovation and lateral approaches to solving problems.

Equity: The workplace, systems, and procedures should offer the support and scope for all the different groups to contribute equally and effectively. Equity enables all to give their best without barriers through fair and impartial processes. It begins with the premise that not everyone is in the same position. Take the case of a person with physical disabilities. The workplace has to offer the space for moving around a wheelchair and have a washroom considering the person’s needs for him or her to perform without hindrance. In another example, take the case of a woman, mother of a toddler, for whom flexible working options will help deliver amid childcare demands.

Inclusion: Diversity and equity are complete only if the different groups have a sense of belonging or feel included. If diversity needs to yield results, people who form the diverse workplace have to stay. Or else it will merely seem like a token exercise or a good-to-have initiative. Take the example of a person from the LGBTQ+ community. Unless the organization sensitizes the rest of the workforce about the challenges they face to ensure there is no discrimination, they will not be comfortable bringing their original self to work. Inclusion, in this case, is also about ensuring that other employees adopt an inclusive language and comprehend the need for the usage of the correct pronouns around them for the person to feel welcomed.

A structured set of DEI goals is vital for the success of a business. It not just enriches the workforce with the best of talent but also boosts the company’s cultural competence.

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Diversity Digest
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