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Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion (DEI) is an umbrella term for the practices, policies, and programs that promote social reform within an organization. Although it is an umbrella term, each component of DEI has its own definition:
Robert Sellers, the University of Michigan’s Chief Diversity Officer, has a popular analogy:
“Diversity is where everyone is invited to the party
Inclusion means that everyone gets to contribute to the playlist
Equity means that everyone has the opportunity to dance”
As practitioners define what DEI means for their organization, two other terms are becoming increasingly popular: Racial Equity, Diversity, Inclusion (REDI) and Justice, Equity, Diversity, Inclusion (JEDI). Regardless of the nomenclature, making progress on DEI efforts requires an intentional and strategic approach.
DEI has been shown to improve business outcomes while increasing employee engagement and retention. Organizations that value DEI reap the benefits of better financial outcomes, more innovation, and stronger decision-making. Many of these positive consequences stem from employees who are more engaged and feel motivated to contribute to the organization’s success.
Job seekers are also placing higher importance on DEI when selecting a place to work. Competition for talent continues to be fierce in many industries and DEI is a differentiating factor for hiring companies.
Understanding the current state relative to demographics, employee opinion, and sentiment and where current DEI work is being conducted.
Reviewing business and talent strategies for the current state of requirements and DEI opportunities, identifying external stakeholders, and creating a business case for a comprehensive DEI strategy.
Clarifying the structured approach to establishing an impactful governance model, identifying sponsors and drivers of the strategy, and drafting a formalized DEI strategy.