Diversity in the workplace is top of mind for leaders this year, but starting the conversation and assessing where your company stands with respect to diversity, equity and inclusion is proving difficult for many. With the introduction of our new On-Demand survey for assessing workplace diversity, equity, and inclusion, Engagement Multiplier is providing our clients with an important first step in understanding how their employees feel about these issues in their workplace.

Defining diversity

Traditionally, diversity has been defined along the lines of race, gender, age, creed, sexual orientation, disability, and religion. Increasingly, however, the concept of diversity is much broader. We thought the following definition of diversity, from the folks at BuiltIn, was particularly apt: Diversity encompasses the spectrum of infinite dissimilarities that distinguish individuals from one another.

Taking this broad view of diversity, and relating it to the workplace, company culture, and our teams, we offer the following definition:

Diversity is about a collective, and can only exist in relation to others. It’s the representation of all our varied identities and differences (race, ethnicity, gender identity, national origin, socio-economic status, thinking and communication styles, etc.), viewed collectively.

Defining equity in the workplace

Equity is a new concept for many, and there’s more to it than simply a level playing field. Unlike equality, in which the goal is to treat everyone in the same way, equity is more complex. As described in HR Technologist, equity “attempts to identify the specific needs and requirements informed by demographic traits such as ethnicity, nationality, age, gender, etc. It then tries to address the differing needs of each group by bridging the gap between minority and majority groups. This makes equity central to the genuine empowerment of minority groups (and not just theoretical equality).”

With these ideas in mind, and thinking in terms of equity as it relates to the workplace, we define equity as follows:

Equity is an approach that ensures everyone has access to the same opportunities. Equity recognizes that advantages and barriers exist, and that, as a result, we all don’t all start from the same place. Equity is a process that begins by acknowledging that unequal starting place and makes a commitment to correct and address the imbalance.

Definition of inclusion at work

This broader definition of diversity also demands from us an expanded understanding of inclusion. As your team becomes more diversified, it’s also important that everyone can actively participate. Here’s how we define inclusion:

Inclusion relates to the quality of the human experience. It’s not a natural consequence of diversity, it’s people with different identities feeling and/or being valued, leveraged, and welcomed within a given setting. Inclusion happens when differences are welcomed, alternative perspectives are respectfully heard, and where every individual feels a sense of belonging.

The benefits of diversity in the workplace

From the boardroom to the front line, diversity has been proven to widen perspectives and enhance performance. Breaking down how diversity improves performance at work is particularly revealing, but not a surprise to one who also understands how employee engagement improves performance. A more diverse workplace in which employees feel included and valued enables them to perform without fear of discrimination or repercussions.

We thought Harvard Business Review described this particularly well:

“Creating psychological safety and building employees’ trust can be an excellent starting point for the second action: taking concrete measures to combat forms of discrimination and subordination that inhibit employees’ ability to thrive.”

Removal of those barriers, and enabling people to be their true selves at work, provides tremendous upside for employers, in terms of employees’ enthusiasm, engagement, and capacity for innovation. Importantly retention also rises, and as a company becomes an employer of choice, its recruiting pool broadens.

Assessing DEI within your organization

Much like how we examine employee engagement through multiple dimensions— diversity, equity, and inclusion are all perspectives into the same topic or end goal of equality in the workplace.

Our new On-Demand survey assessing diversity, equity, and inclusion is designed to help understand how employees perceive the company from each of these three perspectives, as well as overarching themes of awareness and commitment.

The feedback leaders receive from the survey will enable them to understand how their employees feel, and will create a foundation on which they can build future initiatives and actions. Current Engagement Multiplier clients can find the survey and its accompanying success guide on their dashboard. Engagement Multiplier is also making the survey available at no charge to non-clients as well. To gain access to our platform and the DEI survey, simply fill out this form and let our team know you are interested in using the DEI survey.