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DEI: What it is and why you should have a strategy

By SME Institute

In recent years, there has been an increasing focus on diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) in the workplace. DEI is a relatively new field that organizations are only just beginning to invest in, but it’s an important one. But what does DEI actually mean? And why is it so important for businesses to have a DEI strategy?

DEI is important because it encompasses a wide range of activities meant to foster a workplace where everyone feels comfortable, respected and valued. From hiring practices to employee development to marketing campaigns, there are many ways to incorporate DEI into your business. And when you do, everyone wins.

A study by McKinsey & Company found that companies in the top quartile for racial and ethnic diversity are 35 percent more likely to have financial returns above their respective national industry medians. The study also found that gender-diverse companies are 15 percent more likely to outperform their peers, while ethnically-diverse companies are 35 percent more likely than non-diverse companies to achieve above-average profitability. Clearly, DEI is good for business. But it’s also the right thing to do.

Here’s a quick overview of what DEI is and why you should care about it.

What is DEI?

Diversity refers to the variety of experiences and perspectives that people bring to the workplace. It includes, but is not limited to, race, ethnicity, gender, age, religion, national origin, disability, sexual orientation and veteran status.

Equity is ensuring that everyone has access to the same opportunities and resources. It’s about creating a level playing field so that everyone can succeed.

Inclusion is making sure that everyone feels like they belong. It’s about creating an environment where people feel comfortable being themselves and sharing their ideas openly.

When you put diversity, equity and inclusion together, you get a workplace where people of all backgrounds can come together and thrive.

Why Does DEI Matter?

There are many reasons why DEI should be important to your organization. First of all, it’s the right thing to do. Everyone deserves to be treated fairly and with respect. Secondly, diverse organizations are proven to perform better than those who don’t value DEI. Diverse teams are more innovative and creative because they bring different perspectives to the table. They’re also better able to serve a wider range of customers since they have a better understanding of the needs of people from different backgrounds. Finally, investing in DEI can help you attract and retain top talent. The best workers want to work for companies that share their values—and an increasing number of people place a high value on working for an organization that prioritizes diversity, equity, and inclusion.

Why Do I Need a DEI Strategy?

A comprehensive DEI strategy can help your business in many ways. First of all, it will make your workplace more attractive to top talent. In today’s job market, prospective employees want to work for companies that value DEI. By having a strategy in place, you’ll be able to show candidates that your company is committed to creating an inclusive environment.

How Can I Implement a DEI Strategy?

The first step is to assess where your organization is currently at in terms of DEI. Are you doing well in some areas but not so well in others? Once you have a good understanding of where you’re starting from, you can begin developing specific goals and objectives for your DEI strategy. For example, if you want to increase racial diversity in your workplace, you might set a goal to double the percentage of people of colour on your team within the next two years. Or if you want to make sure everyone feels included in your workplace culture, you might create an Employee Resource Group for LGBTQ2+ employees. There are many different ways to approach DEI—the important thing is that you take action and commit to continuously improving your organization’s practices in this area.

A well-executed DEI strategy will also improve team dynamics by fostering open communication and collaboration among employees. When people feel like they can be themselves at work and are respected for their unique perspectives, they’re more engaged and productive. And engaged employees lead to better customer service and improved business outcomes—everyone wins!

Developing a DEI strategy should be a priority for all organizations—not just because it’s the right thing to do but also because it makes good business sense. By taking steps to assess where your organization currently stands on DEI issues and setting specific goals for improvement, you can position yourself as a leader in this growing field while also making sure your workplace is one where everyone feels valued and respected.

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