Any employer worth their salt knows diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI). In recent years, organisations across the globe have been prioritising these three words in their workplace strategies. These terms have become key pillars in today’s workforce, from implementing inclusive recruitment strategies to providing diversity training. And with good reason. Companies with diverse teams and inclusive practices enjoy enhanced problem-solving, creativity, innovation, and productivity.
But did you know that a new pillar has been added to the term DEI? Interestingly, organisations and experts have recognised the importance of belonging in recent years. As our understanding of the workplace evolves, “belonging” has become a critical component of individual and organisational success. That has resulted in the term DEIB.
This guide covers everything you need to know about this new pillar, including:
- DEIB meaning
- A brief history of DEIB in the workplace
- The benefits of DEIB at an organisational and societal level
- How employers and individuals can contribute to diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging
First up: What does DEIB mean?
What Does DEIB Stand For?
DEIB (or DEI&B) is an acronym that stands for Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging. Essentially, it’s a set of principles designed to cultivate a more diverse and inclusive environment. As a result, people from all backgrounds feel seen, heard, valued, and empowered.
In the workplace, fostering a strong sense of belonging helps employees feel more engaged and accepted. This results in improved morale, reduced turnover rates, and better teamwork.
Next up: A brief history of DEIB.
Where Did The Term DEIB Come From?
The term DEIB has become a popular framework in recent years because it recognises the importance of each component in the bid to create equal, diverse, and inclusive organisations and how these are interconnected. In other words, the DEI&B framework covers all aspects of creating inclusive and equitable workplaces.
Let’s look at what each element of the acronym means.
- Diversity: Recognising and embracing the variety of backgrounds, identities, and life experiences that people bring to an organisation. Aims to tackle discrimination based on protected characteristics like gender, ethnicity, race, and disability.
- Equity: Acknowledging that different people may need varying levels of support for there to be true equality. It addresses systemic barriers that certain diverse groups may experience and aims to level the playing field.
- Inclusion: Ensuring that all people feel valued, respected, and empowered. Without inclusion, diversity can only go so far. In other words, underrepresented groups need to be represented in senior positions.
- Belonging: Fostering a sense of connection and acceptance in organisations so that all groups and identities feel like they truly belong.
Put simply, diversity is about representing a number of different identities and backgrounds while inclusion actively involves and values them. Finally, equity ensures everyone has the same access to opportunities and resources, considering systemic barriers that some groups may face.
The next section explores why DEIB matters in today’s businesses.
What’s The Difference Between Diversity & Inclusion?
Diversity refers to the presence of different identities and backgrounds, while inclusion is the practice of actively involving and valuing these diverse identities within an organisation or community.
Why Is DEIB Important?
DEIB matters because it is a framework for promoting fairness, respect, and equal opportunities. That serves in creating a great place to work and allows you to empower diverse employees. In doing so, your business can reap the benefits of enhanced collaboration, insights, and creativity.
Additionally, it assures that your organisation is complying with UK laws, regulations, and best practices regarding equality and discrimination. This includes the Equality Act 2010, an essential piece of legislation in the UK.
What Is The Role Of Leadership In DEIB?
We probably don’t need to tell you this, but behaviour change is a top-down activity. What we mean by this is that leaders play an essential role in setting the tone for DEIB initiatives in your organisations. That’s why it’s so important to get their full support.
When leaders prioritise inclusive behaviours and policies (diverse recruitment practices, inclusive hiring commitments, and workplace accommodations), others will follow suit.
The result is a welcoming working environment where everyone feels a strong sense of belonging.
To sum up, leaders must be proactive about DEIB for there to be real change in your business.
How Can Individual Employees Contribute To DEIB?
DEIB only works when everyone in your organisation does their part. As such, proper education is essential. Providing awareness training gives individuals the tools and knowledge to address their own behaviours and make necessary changes. Ideally, the training you provide should inspire staff to continue educating themselves about different cultures, unconscious biases, and speaking up against discrimination.
When this happens Individuals are equipped with the know-how and techniques to be a supportive ally for their colleagues and step in when they witness discrimination, bias, or cultural insensitivity.
How Can Organisations Measure The Effectiveness Of Their DEIB Efforts?
Measuring the impact of DEIB initiatives is a critical step for your organisation. Why? Because it shows you where you are performing well and where more work is needed.
The best way to gauge this is by conducting various types of checks. For example, these could include monitoring employee surveys, promotion rates, diversity in leadership positions, and other key representation metrics.
Taking employee feedback into account is vital. After all, you need to understand how the real experience your employees have working in the company. Even if the numbers indicate success, this doesn’t matter if certain groups still feel marginalised.
Of course, remember to include questions and metrics to track employees’ sense of belonging in your organisation.
How Does DEIB Affect Business Performance?
Research shows that organisations with strong diversity and inclusion perform better over all. Diverse teams leverage a wide range of perspectives and approaches, facilitating better problem-solving, innovation, and empathy.
This also benefits customers. When organisations can put themselves in the shoes of a diverse audience, they can better understand and serve their clientele. All of this leads to sustainable business success.
What’s more, by building an inclusive work culture, you reduce the costs associated with staff turnover, such as job advertising and training new starts.
How Does DEIB Impact The Bigger Picture?
While DEIB is commonly used in organisations, its impact is much broader. For example, the more educated and aware our society is about the topic, the more driven they will be to support social change.
As a result, DEIB can help to reduce inequality, foster empathy across different groups, and create a more cohesive society.
What are some common challenges in implementing DEIB initiatives?
Employers face several challenges when implementing DEIB initiatives in the workplace. These include:
- Resistance to change
- Lack of awareness or education
- Difficulty obtaining buy-in from leadership
- Tackling deeply ingrained unconscious biases
- Handling uncomfortable conversations about biases and behaviours
- Trouble dedicating resources for the ongoing commitment to DEIB efforts
All of these challenges can be addressed through education. The more your workforce learns about the impact of DEIB, the more susceptible they will be to change. As such, being clear and consistent is key. Remember, affecting behavioural changes takes time and requires your senior-level management to lead by example. Once they’re fully on board, you’ll start to see results.
DEI is an increasingly top priority for British job seekers, because it tells them a lot about you as an employer. As these concepts continue to evolve, the new pillar of belonging is becoming equally important.
Organisations that prioritise DEIB are setting themselves up for a sustainable future. Not only do DEIB initiatives positively impact productivity, results, and morale, but they ensure your company continues to attract and retain the very best talent.
Do you want to optimise your company’s DEIB initiatives? Embracing Future Potential can help. Browse our blog for up-to-date news on a range of employment topics and the latest workplace trends. You’ll find detailed guides on everything from adopting inclusive language to overcoming unconscious bias.
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