What is this Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Stuff Anyway?
Over the past few years, Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) has been a hot topic with more and more companies setting a renewed focus on the importance of managing DEI in the workplace.
Southwest CEO Bob Jordan even added DEI to the Company’s five-year strategy through the commitment to “do well by doing good.” To achieve this goal, let’s first get down to basics and answer, “what is this DEI stuff anyway”?
- Diversity is defined as all characteristics and experiences that define each of us as individuals – abilities, beliefs, thoughts, gender, skin tone, ethnicity, age, and so many more.
- Equity is about leveling the playfield. It is about offering fair, impartial opportunities in employment, training, promotion, and treatment; creating accesswhere obstacles exist. Equity means being treated fairly, but not necessarily equally. For example, two people in a training class might need the same materials in different formats; one is able to listen to a presentation, while another may need captions due to low hearing.
- Inclusion happens when every single one of our differences is seen, heard, and respected. Members of diverse teams who are respected are more likely to work seamlessly together, be highly engaged, and produce innovative and profitable results. Diversity and equity are prerequisites to inclusion, but their presence does not guarantee inclusion will follow. Inclusion needs to be cultivated and this takes time and commitment from everyone in the organization.
The greatest part of these three terms? They all work together to foster a sense of belonging.
How can you help someone feel they belong today? Be courageously inclusive of those around you; talk to and get to know someone new; accept opportunities to support others as an ally.
I’d encourage you to check out the 2022 Southwest DEI Report for more information on DEI at Southwest.