June 9, 2022
The Importance of Including a Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging Policy in Your Company HR Handbook
By Kiley VanGilder
Why does it matter?
Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging (DEIB) efforts are some of the most important topics in the workplace today. But oftentimes these words can turn into buzzwords that get turned into check boxes and annual mandatory trainings. The truth is, when you turn DEIB into into an intention and strategy instead of just buzzwords, you begin to see how impactful they can be to every aspect of your company, including attracting talented potential employees, and even your community around you.
So how do we begin to incorporate DEIB into the workplace? We can begin by learning what DEIB stands for and understanding the importance of each word individually, then coming up with a DEIB strategy and implementing it effectively and clearly.
So, what does DEIB stand for?
D stands for Diversity.
Merriam-Webster dictionary states that diversity is “the condition of having or being composed of differing elements: VARIETY.”
An employee might ask themself: Are there people who look like me in the workplace?
Diversity in the workplace occurs when a company has employees that have a variety of social and cultural characteristics.
E stands for Equity.
Equity ensures that everyone has access to the same resources, treatments, opportunities, and advancements in the workplace. The idea is to eliminate all barriers that may cause some groups to not fully participate.
An employee might ask themself: Do people like me have access to opportunity in the workplace?
I stands for Inclusion.
Inclusion refers to how people with different identities feel as part of the group. It is the practice of ensuring that people feel a sense of belonging in the workplace and that they feel supported and comfortable.
An employee might ask themself: Do I have the opportunity to make an impact and influence in the workplace?
B stands for Belonging.
Belonging is the feeling of security and support from the workplace. The ability to show up as ones true authentic self, and not feeling they need to change themselves to fit in. Belonging is showing up as your true self, and not leaving little bits of yourself behind to fit in.
An employee might ask themself: If I was to show up as my full authentic self, would I be judged? Would I have to hide who I am or could I just truly BE ME?
So now that we know what DEIB stands for, how do we begin to incorporate it into our company?
One way is to include a DEIB policy into the company’s employee handbook. That way, we aren’t just talking about DEIB, instead we are signing off on it. This means when we are all showing up to work everyday, we are making a commitment to keep DEIB efforts and practices at the top of the list. This includes, treating everyone with dignity and respect, committing to an anti-racist workplace, and much more. It means that we are taking it a step further to create a work environment that everyone can feel safe and accepted in and commit to learning and adapting as we learn more.
So how does including this policy create a thriving work culture? That alone does not. But it is the first step to show everyone that the company is committed to protecting everyone and that anything other than that will not be tolerated. It is in place to protect employees. And when employees feel accepted, protected, and free to just be THEM, your bottom line increases. Employee engagement is higher, working relationships can be built stronger and more authentically, and your culture starts to evolve overtime into something wonderful!
Of course there are other factors that need to be considered and taken when creating a DEIB strategy, but you can start today with this small, but MIGHTY step to begin to create a more inclusive workplace within your company. DEIB is a lens that you can and should be using on every single part of your business. Take the step today and commit to learning and growing alongside your employees and community.
Get a free online lesson, available for a limited time, on how to build your own Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging Policy, and join our community to learn more and begin implementing DEIB efforts into your workplace today.