DEIB: The Future of Work

Lisa Ardill

Content Editor at Workvivo

15 May 2023

Many of today’s organizations are growing more and more intentional in their efforts to create an inclusive, healthy workplace culture. You’re already familiar with terms such as diversity and inclusion, and you might even have a DEI coordinator or a similar position on staff.

But have you heard about DEIB?

DEIB is the latest acronym that attempts to capture the breadth and scope of everything a healthy, inclusive organization should be.

DEIB stands for diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging – four key traits every workplace should strive toward.

Here’s a quick overview of each of these four elements:

  • Diversity: Does the employee population include a wide range of characteristics across categories including, but not limited to, race, gender, age, national origin, sexual orientation, physical ability, and neurodiversity?
  • Equity: Do all employees, regardless of above characteristics, have the same equal opportunities for advancement, growth, compensation, and more?
  • Inclusion: Are all employees welcome? Do all truly have a voice, or a seat at the table?
  • Belonging: Do employees have a way to seek out shared interests and build positive relationships so that each can say they feel they belong?

At Workvivo, we believe DEIB efforts are one of the keys to unlocking sustained organizational success. Keep reading to learn why DEIB matters, how it helps, and how to implement DEIB in a way that truly makes a difference.

Why every organization should have a DEIB strategy

Developing and implementing a clear, defined DEIB strategy will equip and encourage employees and leaders at your organization to work with diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging in mind. But beyond the obvious, organizations with a DEIB strategy also enjoy these benefits.

Helps attract and retain top talent

DEIB is more than the sum of its parts: more than just creating a healthier, more welcoming environment, DEIB can actually help to attract and retain top talent.

Top talent exists across all demographics and every diversity metric. In today’s competitive hiring market, diverse talent has options. If you’re visibly championing DEIB and the other firm vying for a candidate is not, then you’ve made the decision that much simpler for the candidate (all else being equal).

The same is true of top talent regardless of diversity: the best and brightest typically want to work for healthy organizations that are trying to do right by their employees. A fair and inclusive DEIB strategy shows talent that you are that kind of organization.

Improves employee morale and productivity

DEIB can also enhance employee morale and productivity.

When job seekers and employees from every background understand that your company values include DEIB elements (and see real change as a result), they feel empowered to apply and, for those hired, contribute openly. When all feel valued, team members are generally happier and thus more productive.

Enhances organization’s decision-making processes

DEIB can help organizations make better decisions by providing a more diverse range of perspectives. This matters at every level of the organization, but typically the higher you look, the less diverse things become – and the more important a visible DEIB strategy becomes.

Much has been written about the whiteness and maleness of corporate boards (and while those percentages are dropping, the imbalance is still quite stark).

But even beyond those lopsided elements, there can be a sort of blind spot at the board level because of another imbalance: role imbalance. HR professionals are vastly underrepresented on corporate boards, for example (to the tune of just 3%).

When DEIB is elevated and frequently discussed, awareness builds at all levels, including at the top.

The result? An organization’s decision-making process is gradually shaped by the DEIB strategy, leading to more holistic, more equitable decision-making.

How to implement DEIB in your organization

If you’re ready to start working toward a more inclusive workplace built on an effective DEIB strategy, start with these five initiatives. Each one will gently reshape the work environment, improving the employee experience for an increasingly diverse workforce.

1) Encourage diversity in your application process

The hiring process itself might look innocuous: everyone fills out the same application and answers the same questions.

But take a step back and ask: who wrote those questions? Was anyone from an underrepresented group in the conversation?

Sometimes, bias can be baked into the questions themselves. Or, even if it isn’t, certain questions or elements can give a minority candidate pause before applying.

Some candidates are unsure even whether to give their real names on applications. Would a name that appears to be of Asian origin be viewed favorably or unfavorably? What about a name common in the Black community?

The statistics aren’t very forgiving: one recent study finds that even in the 2020s, (fictitious) candidates Emily and Greg get more job offers than identical fictitious candidates named Lakisha and Jamal.

Creating an inclusive environment means creating a place where people are free to be their authentic selves without feeling the injustice of inequity as a result.

Unconscious bias can sometimes tilt an application through the language used in the job description, too. For example, some job descriptions use overly masculine or aggressive language even when aggressiveness does not factor into the role.

Practical tips: Consider whether you can anonymize names in the job application process, and consider forming a diverse reviewing committee to evaluate current and future job descriptions for hidden bias.

2) Create a flexible holiday and PTO schedule

The traditional American holiday schedule is, well, traditionally American. There’s nothing wrong with that, but what about diverse employees who celebrate Diwali? Ramadan? The Chinese New Year? 

Of course, you can’t close down the shop for every single global holiday – you’d never be open!

But building your holiday schedule around mostly American, mostly Christian holidays could discourage candidates from other backgrounds.

Consider adopting a flexible holiday schedule if the nature of your business allows. Employees who don’t celebrate Christmas but do celebrate another holiday in December or January can flex their holiday time, while those who celebrate Christmas or Passover can continue to enjoy their traditional holiday time.

If that approach isn’t logistically feasible (e.g., there would be nothing to do during the Christmas break because there would be too few employees or customers), then consider a flexible PTO schedule with a few flex holiday days built in.

3) Build successful employee resource groups (ERGs)

Employee resource groups, or ERGs, are volunteer-led affinity groups within a business. Your employees might form a Hispanic Professionals ERG, a Disability and Mobility ERG, or a Working Families ERG – and those are just a few possibilities!

These can be valuable places for employees who share a characteristic or background to discuss their work experiences honestly and openly. These discussions can lead to productive changes as well as a sharing of knowledge on how to navigate the workplace from others who have been there and done that.

Workvivo’s employee profiles are an effective tool for celebrating people’s differences and interests, and they can be used as a starting point for creating ERGs.

4) Promote diversity in leadership roles

An organization can talk about diversity and inclusion all day long, but if no senior leaders or members of management look like you, it can be hard to believe that there’s a path forward into leadership at your organization.

As you make hires for the leadership team, promote diversity there just as you do for general hires. All the benefits of diversity within the employee pool exist at the leader level as well. Plus, a company with diverse leaders leads by example, showing employees that the commitment to DEIB isn’t just marketing jargon or human resources babble.

5) Connect employees’ personal goals to the company vision

Your company vision should be more than something that goes on a plaque on the wall. It should be an inspiring statement that can unify and excite employees at every level of your organization.

Along the same lines, each employee should be encouraged to develop a set of personal and professional goals. Managers and leaders in your organization should work with their employees to help them create plans to reach those goals.

As you do this, look for ways to connect employees’ goals with the broader company vision. Where you can successfully make these connections, you’ll create a deeper sense of belonging – that’s the b in DEIB, after all.

Enhance your organization’s DEIB initiatives with Workvivo

Changing a company’s culture and reframing its commitment to being or becoming an inclusive environment and an equitable workplace won’t happen overnight: these are significant, wide-ranging endeavors that take careful thought, planning, and execution.

Successfully implementing a DEIB strategy requires more than brainpower and execution, though: you’ll also need the right set of tools, technologies, and systems to facilitate the culture shift.

Workvivo is the perfect complement to a renewed commitment to DEIB. Our social intranet is an ideal digital platform for employee engagement and can help foster a culture of belonging for every ethnicity, gender identity, nationality, and more.

With Workvivo’s safe social space, employees can enjoy DEIB programs such as ERGs, providing a digital forum for mentorship as well as frank discussions about psychological safety and well-being.

Executive teams, corporate divisions, project teams, and individual employees all benefit from Workvivo, which can serve as a platform or launching pad for numerous DEIB practices.Ready to reach your DEIB goals, grow diverse teams, and promote equal access for all? Workvivo helps you move forward. Request a Workvivo demo now!