In a curious twist, the secret to truly impactful DEIB initiatives is not to unite, but to separate… the acronym.
Diversity. Equity. Inclusion. Belonging.
Treat each letter as its own initiative.
In drawing distinct lines between each component we find easier ways to navigate scenarios—and more importantly, create culture that serves both people and the bottom line.
And it’s not just about hiring practices or pay gaps. DEIB is baked into the very fabric of how organizations speak to their customers, employees, values, and even products. For most people in your organization, it might be brand new.
How do you manage such a complex network of influences and considerations?
Impact Through Simplicity
The growing need to not only introduce, but also amplify DEIB strategies within organizations can feel like a lot of pressure to ‘get it done’ now, now, now.
Let’s remember that anything worth doing is worth doing well. And sometimes that means one small bite at a time. DEIB isn’t a box to tick, but a core cultural shift. Like steering a 1200ft cruise liner, it can take time.
Let’s start with defining DEIB and some small
ways to weave practices into your organization:
Understanding and embracing that difference is the essence of the human experience and that it adds value rather than detracts from what can be accomplished. Making and holding space for these different perspectives, experiences, and backgrounds.
1. Work to know and pronounce correctly the names of each person you work with. Take time to ask for clarification if you’re unsure whether you have it right. Our names reflect who we are and knowing each other’s names is foundational to building relationships. Talk about the meaning behind or reasons your name.
2. Spend 10 minute at the start of team meetings with a check-in that fosters connection. “What is a favorite childhood memory?” “What do you do to practice self care?” “What is one value that you feel was instilled in you as a child?” “What is a book you are reading right now?” Notice: how are you different from each other? How are you similar?
Equity represents policies and practices that help ensure fair treatment, access, and opportunity for all employees. Organizations that set equity as a goal, take individual needs into consideration, while also readjusting the organization to account for the disadvantages underrepresented groups face.
1. Meet with your team and talk about what equity means to them. Take turns and have everyone add to the discussion. End with a collaborative definition that works and has shared agreement.
2. Watch this short video explaining equality and equity and discuss as a team. What are examples of this that you see in your lives? Agree to co-creating a safe space for further discussion and invite participants to share a personal story of experiencing an inequity in their lives, starting with a member from underrepresented groups first.
Inclusion builds a culture where everyone feels welcome by actively inviting every person or every group to contribute and participate and removing all barriers, discrimination and intolerance. People don’t feel excluded based on their identities and are invited to see themselves authentically reflected in their company’s values.
1. Hold a brainstorming session using a Jamboard to begin a team ideation on bias. Capture examples of bias and feelings when encountering bias for further dialogue.
2. Share personal stories of inclusion with your team. Take 3 minutes per person to share a story of when they felt excluded and how it made them feel, behavior, or react. Talk about useful strategies in moving past feeling excluded by others.
A workplace that fosters belonging is supportive, respectful and collaborative and aims to get all employees to participate and contribute. Companies can do all they can to embrace diversity, act inclusively, and practice equity, and individuals ultimately need to trust in the culture as authentic and safe in order to whole-heartedly choose to belong.
1. Create team rituals that foster belonging such as celebrating wins, starting meetings with questions such as “What’s the biggest thing on my mind, what’s something I’m making progress on that feels good to me, and what’s something I’d like support with,” and normalize expressing empathy aloud to one another.
2. Practice Levels of Listening by watching this video together as a team. Pair into small groups and using the prompt “being here with you I notice…” take turns speaking and listening. By upping our skill at deep listening, we can help create the environment for belonging for our team mates and employees.
DEIB Resources for Learning and Inspiration
Listen to Christine’s conversation with Nikki talking about best practices for how companies can launch DEIB initiatives into corporate cultures and Nikki’s 3-level approach to her work in Racial Equity: