2-13: Diversity, Equity & Inclusion: Its Importance and How Priority Bridge Can Help Promote This
We’ve all heard the phrase diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) many times. It holds a great deal of significance in all aspects of life, but especially in terms of business. Even if you may not know exactly what it means, you can undoubtedly sense its inherent meaning. Understanding these concepts more fully - their professional application, and how to support the endeavor to improve DEI - are great stepping stones on your path to becoming more educated on this topic. Let’s dive into understanding DEI a bit better and why it should be a business imperative.
Diversity is what makes every person uniquely you. It’s a term that gets used quite often today, both in the business world and society in general. At its core, diversity is simply a state of showing a great deal of variety, like one of those assorted chocolate boxes where you never know what delicious flavor you might find. Diversity comes in many forms in regards to people, including: race, gender, ethnicity, nationality, sexual orientation, age, (dis)ability, religion, socioeconomic status, or political perspective.
In a simple sense, equity represents fairness or impartiality. This may sound similar to equality, however equity is not the same. They both share the goal of treating individuals fairly and without bias, although they reach this end in slightly different ways. Equality says every person should be treated exactly the same. Equity, however, supports fairness by treating people differently based on their needs. For instance, equality is giving students the same test in a class, but equity is ensuring students with disabilities are provided the tools or quiet spaces they need to support their test-taking experience. (Think EEOC requirements). Thus, equity is focused on justice throughout an organization’s systems and processes.
Inclusion is the result of intentional actions taken to include individuals in a group, such as a particular business structure. The key with inclusion is its deliberate nature. It ensures that diverse people feel truly welcomed and immersed into a group. We’ve all had at least one group social or professional encounter where our presence in the group felt more like a burdensome necessity than being warmly integrated into the group. It’s incredibly important for individuals of diverse backgrounds to not only be brought into the conversation, but that they are active participants in decision-making. Inclusion is about being open to ideas that may be different from your own and actively listen to them in a non-judgemental way.
A common way to think about diversity, equity, and inclusion is like a party. Robert Sellers, Chief Diversity Officer at University of Michigan, has a simple way to think about these concepts as they relate to a dance. He describes diversity as everyone being invited to the party. Equity is everyone getting to contribute to the playlist. Inclusion is everyone having the opportunity to dance. While a model like this may oversimplify the intricacies of each element, it’s a great starting point for building a deeper understanding of DEI.
So why should you care about DEI? At its core, this is about providing opportunities in the workplace for all people, regardless of their individual qualities, beliefs, and background which make them who they are. Increased DEI leads to an influx of diversity of thought - a powerful asset for employers. Improving diversity, equity, and inclusion in a professional setting is not just important due to their ethical and moral implications, but their clearly quantifiable benefits for an organization as well.
Here are a few stats to illustrate this point: “Companies in the top-quartile for gender diversity on executive teams were 21% more likely to outperform on profitability and 27% more likely to have superior value creation.” “Companies in the bottom quartile for both gender and ethnic/cultural diversity were 29% less likely to achieve above-average profitability than were all other companies in our data set.” Source: McKinsey & Company’s Delivering Through Diversity, 2018 “Companies in the top quartile for racial and ethnic diversity are 35% more likely to have financial returns above their respective national industry medians.” Source: McKinsey & Company’s Why Diversity Matters, 2015
Company culture plays an essential role in the success of effective DEI initiatives and ensuring they generate lasting results. As company culture is ultimately set by executives, there must be a clear translation of values and mission of the organization from leadership to all other members. Unfortunately, there may be a detrimental disconnect at this stage in some cases.
“While executives think they are clearly communicating with employees, just 51% of employees say they understand the vision and goals of their organization.” Source: Grant Thompson’s Return on Culture: Proving the connection between culture and profit, 2019
We can see that clear messaging is essential. Sustaining a culture that is fully committed to helping all employees not just feel like part of the team, but empowered change agents. Tracking the progress of any DEI initiatives shows the leadership team what is working and what needs adjusting, however…
“Though 93% of executives say they are attuned to company culture and have taken steps to strengthen it, a staggering 69% of executives don’t actually measure culture.” Source: Grant Thompson’s Return on Culture: Proving the connection between culture and profit, 2019
Measuring culture and how receptive employees are to changes informs decision making to improve success. This is where Priority Bridge can be of assistance. These two tools can be valuable additions in the process to strengthen diversity, equity, and inclusion in your organization.
Priority Bridge Organizational Culture Benchmark
This tool is very powerful for the leadership team as they are ultimately responsible for setting company culture. It enables them to transform what may be an intangible concept of culture into a true measurable asset of the organization. Gaining insights and understanding into employee attitudes and priorities of cultural values shows what employees feel most strongly about and any areas of disconnect between the strategic goals and reality. This then shows a more clearly defined path to adjusting the company culture, thus improving the employee experience and overall performance.
Priority Bridge Cultural Fit Assessments
This tool allows a company’s hiring team to measure how well a job candidate aligns with the cultural values of the organization. Candidates may be a perfect fit based on their education and experience, however ignoring qualities a person may value, like efficiency or teamwork, would leave an important piece of the puzzle missing. The Cultural FIt Assessments given to potential hires allow HR professionals to make more informed, objective, and data-driven decisions. Focusing on the compatibility between candidate and company/hiring team values ensures that the candidate will feel comfortable and confident within the culture and their new position.
These two tools can provide incredible insights on their own, but when paired together, can help organizations make great strides towards improving and strengthening company culture. For instance, the leadership team may believe diversity is the most important company value, only to find out this may not be the case after reviewing the Organization Benchmark Results. With that new knowledge, they can then create new initiatives to more strongly embody that value. One key strategy may be to hire more professionals from a variety of backgrounds and ensure new hires find diversity to be as important as the organization does. This is where the Cultural FIt Assessments come in. In this way, the company can begin to holistically make positive changes that will help employees feel more supported and empowered and will be reflected in positive financial trends.
Priority Bridge LLC. Is dedicated to helping organizations of all types achieve greater success by using a proprietary analytical process that increases the cultural fit of employees to an organization. Eliminate Bad Hires. For Good. Hire right the first time, every time with the right cultural fit using Priority Bridge.