Understanding DEIB in the Workplace

The path to creating workplaces that work for all is an evolution. First the focus was on diversity, which meant having representation across different dimensions of identity. Then came diversity and inclusion (D&I), which also addressed the need for culture change to better fit a diverse workforce. Equity was added next, which focused on equal opportunity. And now we include belonging to get DEIB, which is a feeling in a workplace that makes people want to show up and be engaged, because they feel it is their workplace too.

According to a PwC survey, developing a more inclusive workplace is becoming the standard across industries, with 75% of organizations investing in DEIB programs. However, according to the same survey, only 4% of organizations are successful in key aspects of effective DEIB programming. Having the right tools isn’t enough, knowing how to use them is key. Keep reading to learn more about DEIB training and to answer the question, “What is DEIB?”

What is DEIB?

DEIB stands for Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging; these are the four pillars of a successful strategy for creating a workplace that benefits everyone and drives talent retention, productivity and engagement. Here’s the breakdown:

Diversity

Diversity refers to a company’s diversification in terms of not only race and gender, but also sexual orientation, age, national origin, physical ability, religion, and many other factors. It’s also about having diversity of thought, including employees from different backgrounds, socioeconomic status, and experiences.

Equity

Equity represents how fair the workplace is. While equality means all people have access to the same resources and opportunities, equity recognizes that all people are not the same, and therefore may not all require the same thing in order to do their best work. For example, a neurodiverse employee may need noise canceling headphones in order to concentrate, while a working parent may need alternative working hours in order to balance both work and caregiving responsibilities to the best of their ability.

Inclusion

Inclusion emphasizes the importance of creating a welcoming environment to ensure that everyone is heard and has the opportunity to express their ideas despite differences. Think back to a time when you didn’t feel quite like you belonged in the workplace. Have you ever felt not included or like your ideas weren’t being heard? Have you ever had to hide a part of yourself at work? If so, what kind of toll did or does it take on you and your performance? Did it hinder your ability to connect with other people or them to you?

According to a Deloitte study, 61% of employees report they are “covering” or hiding some dimension of themselves to assimilate into their organization. Meaning they are not bringing their whole authentic selves to work. Companies can not benefit from diverse teams if they lack inclusion.

Belonging

Belonging represents the bonds and connections that form between workers from all backgrounds when employers actively encourage inclusion, equity, and diversity at work. Belonging focuses on the employee experience of feeling accepted at work, every team member should believe that they are needed and wanted and that their contribution is valued and welcomed.

One pillar is not more important than the other, a balance of all four is necessary for real change in the workplace. Through diversity we ensure that people from different backgrounds have an equal opportunity to be hired, equity ensures that those people have an equal chance to advance into leadership, and inclusion guarantees that everyone is involved through a welcoming environment. While this is where most training stops, DEIB training goes an extra step. Belonging is the finishing touch, it’s the bonds between people that form when they know they are welcome and wanted.

Why is DEIB needed in the workplace?

DEIB ensures that no employee is at a disadvantage because of their background, but DEIB can benefit businesses too. Organizations have found success through increased innovation, creative solutions, and even financial gain thanks to making DEIB a workplace priority. Here are just a few examples of research that demonstrates why DEIB is needed in the workplace:

DEIB Leads To Increased Innovation

  • According to an HBR study, companies that participated in DEIB practices had 19% higher innovation revenues than those that did not.

DEIB Meaning: A More Engaged Workforce

  • According to Findem, employees collaborated 57% better with their peers, and worked 12% harder
  • According to a Deloitte study, DEIB provides a company with a 40% better and more accurate decision making
  • The same study also found a 46% increase in competitive advantage

DEIB Contributes To Better Profits

  • A Deloitte study found that DEIB provided a 34% increase in financial performance.
  • Companies with diverse leadership raise their revenue and profits by twice as much as those without
  • According to Mckinsey, companies in the fourth quartile for both gender and ethnic diversity were 27% more likely than all other companies to underperform on profitability in 2019.

DEIB Helps To Attract And Retain Talent

  • Employees are 19% more likely to stay with their organization longer with diverse leadership.
  • According to Glassdoor research, 76% of job seekers value a diverse workforce when considering job offers.
  • Glassdoor also found that 32% of employees and job seekers would not apply for a position at a company that does not have a diverse workforce. This figure is significantly higher among certain groups:
    • 41% of Black job seekers and employees would not apply for a position at a company that does not have a diverse workforce.
    • 30% White job seekers and employees would not apply for a position at a company that does not have a diverse workforce.
    • 41% of those who identify as LGBTQ+ job seekers and employees would not apply for a position at a company that does not have a diverse workforce.
    • 32% of those who identify as non-LGBTQ+ would not apply for a position at a company that does not have a diverse workforce.

DEIB requires effort from the top down. Without leadership that supports DEIB efforts and without employees who encourage and place value in DEIB training, there will be no accountability for making positive culture change happen. Encouraging and maintaining DEIB can be a delicate balance, so measuring success or failure is crucial. It can be hard to accurately measure progress when you don’t know what to look for, so Consciously Unbiased offers Enterprise-Wide DEI Training to help ensure the retention and understanding necessary to make real change.

DEIB Training in the Workplace

To really improve and transform organizational culture, a meaningful DEIB program must go beyond the standard training with people needing to be at the center of long-term change. A healthy dose of DEIB training in the workplace is about creating a safe place that prioritizes the four elements of physiological safety. According to the Neuroleadership Institute, the four elements are:

Inclusion Safety

This means that members feel safe being a part of the team. They do not feel excluded, and believe they are wanted and valued. This stage requires that all members be included and welcomed, regardless of gender, age, social background, sexual orientation, neurodiversity, or any other characteristics.

Learner Safety

Team members learn by asking questions and trying new things without the risk of being penalized for making mistakes. Members of the team may be free to innovate, make (and admit) minor mistakes, and seek help. At this stage, team members will provide feedback to one another as well as seek input.

Contributor Safety

Members are comfortable contributing their own ideas without fear of being judged. This is a more complicated state to be in as contributing your own ideas can increase team members’ psychosocial vulnerability. At this stage, retrospectives and evaluations are extremely effective practices.

Challenger Safety

Team members should feel that it is okay and safe to (respectfully) challenge the ideas of others (including those in positions of authority) and the status quo, or propose significant changes to ideas, plans, or methods of operation. This “stage” of psychological safety is imperative, as it can prevent possibly damaging ideas from entering the outside world and help correct problems or potential problems in terms of what is working and what is not working within an organization.

The workplace environment after a successful DEIB training should encourage employees to inspire change within themselves and address their biases in a safe and non judgemental environment. DEIB not only helps maintain a healthy workplace, but also benefits the bottom line. In today’s competitive environment, companies stand to lose a lot if they do not invest in your employees.If you’re interested in building DEIB in your workplace, Consciously Unbiased offers an interactive training session called Psychological Safety that explores practices that strengthen this mindset and the behavioral traits that encourage psychological safety in leaders, teams, and individuals.

 
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Holly Corbett

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