Diversity, equity and inclusion are extremely important when it comes to a well-rounded organization — though they’re often seen as ‘buzzy phrases’ thrown about in the business world these days. 

Yet, this peppy, three-word phrase actually gives corporations all the information they need to close gaps in diversity. Find out how to use these words to empower your employees — instead of ensuring DE&I becomes just another ‘overpromise that underdelivers.’

Why Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Are Important

No matter what industry you’re in, diversity, equity and inclusion are important. Everyone benefits from a diverse and inclusive workplace, including those who believe they benefit more from a ‘traditional’ professional environment.

When it comes to diversity and inclusion, flexibility is the key to success. One’s ability to adapt to change and ingenuity directly correlates with his or her ability to actively change the working environment to be more inclusive.

Diversity

Diversity refers to the types of people you hire. From race to gender to age to weight, diversity is about the inclusion of all people. For example, other types of diversity might speak to the inclusion of people with:

Equity

Equity deals with the actions taken to promote diversity. What processes and procedures does your organization have in place to ensure the workplace is inclusive? 

Do you strive to hire diverse teams whose members all bring a fresh perspective to the conversation?

Do you offer peer mentorship programs to help employees support and encourage each other to go after promotions?

Are all employees encouraged to apply for promotions at junior, mid and senior levels?

Inclusion

An inclusive workplace ensures all employees feel welcome and accepted in their environment, regardless of race, sex, sexual orientation and appearance. 

One way to help combat microaggressions in the workplace is to offer employees the ability to work remotely. The parent who needs to work non-traditional hours should be present for her (or his) family now is no longer singled out or called a diversity hire — because everyone receives the same flexible treatment.

How Workplace Flexibility Plays a Role in DE&I

One of the most seamless ways to ensure your organization is focusing on diversity, equity and inclusion is to create a flexible workplace. It’s equally important to prioritize the diversity of how people work — not only who’s getting hired. This sets the example for employees that it’s OK to go drop off kids during the middle of the day and still be an effective leader.

Flexibility In Action: Who Benefits From a Flexible Workplace

  • Working mom (or dad) who needs to pick up the kids from school
  • Employees who need to excuse themselves for religious reasons throughout the day
  • Those who cannot afford to live in costly metro areas and would spend hours commuting to and from an office each day
  • Persons with disabilities who may not be physically able to get to work each day
  • Anyone with a debilitating mental condition, such as PTSD, OCD or severe depression

The simple act of creating a flexible work environment can save money, resources and help create a more diverse and inclusive workplace.