You’ve likely heard of DEIB — diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging. But saying you respect DEIB is very different than actually putting it in place.
Workplaces, schools, and individuals should all aim to improve their efforts toward DEIB. We’ll give you an overview on what DEIB means, how it affects people, and ways in which you can implement it yourself.
Everything You Should Know About DEIB
DEIB is an acronym for diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging. DEIB isn’t just important morally. It can transform the way you see the world and influence how you treat people at work, school, and in your everyday life.
Fostering a DEIB environment can spark true change and ideally start a chain reaction of diversity.
DEIB vs. DEI
Although there’s some confusion between DEIB vs. DEI, they’re actually referring to the same basic principles. While DEIB stands for diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging, DEI stands for diversity, equity, and inclusion.
Even though it’s missing the “belonging,” like in DEIB, DEI aims to represent the same thing.
DEIB Explained: Breaking It Down
The acronym DEIB can be broken down to its individual principles: diversity, equity, inclusivity, and belonging. By exploring these respective concepts individually, you can better understand the initiative as a whole.
The first word, diversity, refers to the variety of personalities, cultures, backgrounds, and experiences in a group of people. For example, there’s a plethora of diverse people from identity groups and communities, which include characteristics like:
- Sexual orientation
- Physical and mental abilities
- Military or veteran status
Of course, there are many more groups and subgroups that add to the diversity of humankind, but this list includes some of the most common ones.
On the other hand, equity is having equal access and treatment for everyone, no matter who they are or what their background is. Equity involves realizing and understanding that we didn’t all start at an equal place. For example, some people are born into wealth whereas others never experience wealth in their life.
Inclusivity is an environment where everyone can feel safe to express themselves and more importantly, exist and thrive in a safe space. Some examples of inclusivity you can use in your daily life include doing things like:
- Standing up against bigotry, discrimination, and harassment when you witness it
- Having a diverse group of friends and peers from other backgrounds
- Opening yourself up to having conversations about diversity, equity, and inclusion
Lastly, belonging is a sense of acceptance, support and security in an environment. For example, some things that promote belonging include:
- Building and fostering relationships
- Encouraging various perspectives and opinions
- Making valuable, intentional connections with others
There are tons of DEIB examples to better shed light on what it looks like, but one of the best examples is in the workplace.
Here are a few specific DEIB examples to check out in work environments.
What does DEIB look like in the workplace?
DEIB can manifest in different ways in the workplace. Some DEIB examples at work could include things like:
- A workforce made up of lots of different experiences and backgrounds
- Accommodations and accessible opportunities
- Hiring pools with applicants from minority groups
- An executive team full of diversity
- Environments where people are free to express themselves
Why Is DEIB Important?
On a surface level, DEIB is important. But it goes even deeper than that.
Bigotry and discrimination has been baked into society. There’s a thick history of societal discrimination and its long-lasting effects on communities and groups of people.
DEIB is important not only because everyone deserves to be treated fairly, but also because people are happier, more productive, and efficient when they live in a diverse, inclusive environment.
The importance of DEIB at work
DEIB at work is particularly important. Creating safe, equitable environments for people at work isn’t just morally important. It’s also central to employee happiness and business success.
Research shows that employees who feel like they’re accepted at work are more likely to:
- Think that — regardless of race — people are treated equally
- Look forward to working
- Remain at the company longer
- Describe their workplace as “fun”
In terms of company-wide benefits, workplaces that prioritize DEIB are more likely to have:
- A rise in Employer Net Promoter Score (eNPS)
- Increased job performance
- A decline in sick days
- A decrease in turnover risk
Not only is DEIB morally important, but it’s also critical to a company’s success.
How to Create and Implement a DEIB Culture
No matter if you’re an employee or an executive of a company, you should aim to implement DEIB in your daily life.
Here are some tips, tricks, and strategies to create and implement a culture of DEIB.
DEIB in the workplace
To initiate and implement DEIB in the workplace, there are plenty of methods, strategies, and tips and tricks to help you get started. Here are four easy ways to achieve DEIB in the workplace.
- Provide employee resource groups (ERGs). An ERG is an internal community at a workplace meant to bridge connections between groups of people while also providing a safe space for communication. These are especially important for minority or underrepresented groups who are more likely to face bigotry at work. Examples of ERGs could include LGBTQ+ employees, veterans, working parents, and disabled employees, among others.
- Hiring a diverse group of employees, including for higher-level executive positions. The responsibility of a company to have diverse employees falls on the human resources (HR) team and senior leaders and executives. On that note, make sure that applications and job postings feature inclusive language to better reach a wider audience.
- Offer developmental and educational resources. Providing employees with opportunities for development is another great way to include DEIB in the workplace. For example, an employer could offer a yearly mandatory unconscious bias training session to educate employees and reiterate the importance of diversity and equity as a whole. You can also include information about inclusive language in a formal guide that’s routinely updated. Having educational and informational resources that provide context on the historic, societal discrimination underrepresented groups face is a good idea, too.
- Acknowledge and celebrate traditions and holidays common around the world, not just holidays popular in the U.S. Be mindful of different holidays when scheduling meetings or assigning deadlines.
DEIB at school
Another prime environment to encourage DEIB efforts is in schools, both K-12 and universities.
If you’re a student, teacher, or professor at a school, check out these three ways to implement DEIB at school.
- Offer gender neutral restrooms for both students and teachers. Having gender neutral bathrooms is an easy way to promote inclusivity. If your school already has men’s and women’s restrooms, having at least one gender neutral bathroom is a great first step.
- Make sure the classroom is a safe space for everyone. Shut down any bigotry, discrimination, or obvious bias immediately. Make sure to openly celebrate diversity with both students and faculty, including during holidays.
- Don’t be afraid to talk about bias. Some people treat “bias” and “discrimination” as “dirty words” and are uncomfortable with discussion. However, this has the opposite effect of DEIB. Normalizing having conversations about bias and discrimination encourages further education and discussion.
Everyday DEIB strategies
On a personal level, there are individual DEIB strategies that you can experiment with to improve your own knowledge and expectations, as well as raise awareness.
Here are three easy ways to promote diversity and equity in your own daily life.
- Use social opportunities like group outings to make diverse connections with people who are outside your “circle.” For example, you can join a local hiking group to meet new people who you might not have met in your other circles, like at work or school. Meeting people in different identity groups than you can improve your understanding of others, including their experiences and background.
- Improve your own understanding of bias. Nobody is immune from unconscious bias, for example. Identifying, acknowledging, and checking your own biases is necessary to promote a culture of DEIB. Try taking a test like the Harvard Implicit Association Test (IAT) to pinpoint your implicit biases. Then, you can directly target your preconceived notions. Continue educating yourself by reading up on historical and societal discrimination and its lasting effects on society.
- Actively work on avoiding bias. Once you have an understanding of your own biases, you can practice with Yoodli, an AI speech coach. Yoodli will analyze your speech and speaking patterns for DEIB by evaluating your monologuing, if you’re interrupting others, or using non-inclusive language, for example. Once you’re aware, you can continuously work on it and re-evaluate with Yoodli, which also offers a dashboard to track your progress.
- Raise awareness about the importance of DEIB. Although you’ll need to continuously have an open mind, learn, and educate yourself about diversity and equity, raising awareness about the importance of DEIB is a must. Don’t shy away from “difficult” conversations with friends, family members, or peers. Even though it could feel uncomfortable at first, challenge any discriminatory or offensive comments. The first step to inciting change is a simple conversation.
The Bottom Line
Successfully implementing and fostering an environment with DEIB doesn’t happen overnight; it’s continuous effort that should constantly evolve. Creating change takes time, but DEIB is so worth investing in.
Change begins with one person. Spreading awareness of DEIB is a great first step to take.