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What Is DEIB? Definition & Ideas for Organizations to Improve

What Is DEIB?

DEIB stands for diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging. Often used interchangeably with similar acronyms like DEI and D&I, the DEIB acronym notably adds “belonging” to these descriptors which have grown in usage and attention in recent years.

The real meaning of DEIB goes far beyond just a handful of words. In fact, DEIB has become the ultimate needle-mover. In today’s workforce, organizations embracing these values have gained a major leg up on their competitors, as they enjoy improved employee retention, performance, collaboration, and fulfillment.

On a broader scale, the movement for organizations to better support DEIB initiatives is shifting our societal landscape for the better. As more companies commit to DEIB programs and values, we continue to chip away at the change-making work of creating a more equitable future.

3 Key Reasons Why DEIB Is Important

For many, the importance of DEIB is simply common sense (see the previous paragraph). Those who champion DEIB understand the importance of involving more voices, providing equal opportunities, feeling safe at work, and acknowledging the different challenges faced by historically marginalized groups.

To get a bit more granular, let’s consider the role that DEIB plays within companies and organizations. Here are three key reasons that highlight the importance of embracing diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging at your organization.

1. Performance Shouldn’t Be Analyzed in a Vacuum

It’s nearly impossible to show up as your best self at work if you don’t feel represented, included, or supported by those around you. For managers and supervisors, holding your team members accountable to equal standards is only fair when the environment is equally conducive to everyone’s success. For that reason, companies should invest in DEIB programs to ensure everyone is fully empowered to perform at their best. 

2. DEIB Generates Positive ROI Outcomes

Teams that embrace DEIB initiatives are more productive, collaborative, and fulfilled. One recent study from Harvard Business Review revealed that belonging was tied to a significant increase in job performance, a reduction in turnover risk, and a reduction in employees taking sick days. Moreover, a 2022 report from Mckinsey revealed that employee happiness and well-being make a sixfold difference in talent retention.

In another McKinsey study from 2019, diverse teams were revealed to outperform homogeneous teams in driving profitability. Here are some key highlights:

Companies in the top quartile for diverse executive teams are…

25% more likely to have above average returns.

Companies in the top quartile for ethnic and racial diversity are… 

35% more likely to have above average returns.

Companies in the top quartile for gender diversity are…

15% more likely to have above average returns.

Since coaching is often used as a resource to support and improve DEIB at organizations, consider this analysis of the ROI of coaching for a more detailed breakdown.

3. Inaction Is Not a Neutral Stance

While some companies continue to operate “business as usual,” ignoring the movement to better support DEIB is not just a neutral stance. Rather, inaction only serves to perpetuate shortcomings which then perpetuate toxic workplace cultures.

One of our leading missions at a)plan is to operationalize equity or the idea that lasting change must be embedded in our organizations and society as a whole. That means shifting from talk to action on DEIB initiatives and joining the movement in meaningful ways.

Ideas for Organizations to Improve DEIB

To operationalize equity, DEIB requires commitment. A one-off seminar or article isn’t enough to create actual change. Instead, leaders, managers, and employees must learn what it means to lead from a place of embracing these values.

While not exhaustive, here is a list of ideas for organizations looking to improve diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging. At a)plan, we’ve helped inspire and lead efforts to successfully implement these ideas at dozens of change-making organizations.

Idea: Commit to representation at the top and prioritize BIPOC hiring.

Idea: Make sure underrepresented groups have the support they need. Under-represented employees (UREs) face unique challenges that must not be ignored.

Idea: Create a DEIB-focused task force to lead your efforts (see our case study with Tides, where we helped the organization form a People & Culture Task Force).

Idea: Have open discussions about DEIB and create a safe space for employees to be heard. This is a key focus in many coaching engagements.

Idea: Educate! Through initiatives like DEIB training, employees learn skills to create healthier workplace environments through their communication, collaboration, and participation.

DEIB Initiatives that Make a Difference

Organizations should not be expected to know intuitively how to plan and implement the ideas in the section above. In fact, “winging it” will probably do more harm than good. Instead, organizations in need of support can search for holistic DEIB initiatives or DEIB programs (like coaching) that focus on a number of desired outcomes and wrap them into a cohesive program.

At a)plan, we specialize in designing custom coaching programs for organizations, which often means DEIB-focused coaching programs. These engagements typically include a mix of DEIB training for larger groups and one-on-one coaching for specific employees, managers, and/or executives. Anyone who needs or wants support can benefit.

Remember, commitment is the key. A great DEIB initiative can’t “fix” your company overnight. Instead, diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging must be viewed as an ongoing prioritization—one that is often best sustained with outside support.

DEIB Training Experts at a)plan coaching

Hiring a company to conduct your organization’s DEIB training or coaching is no light decision. Most organizations search for the right mix of coaching experience, coach diversity, program structure, program customizability, and cost-effectiveness. At a)plan, we are proud to deliver in all these areas.

Some of our a)plan coaches specialize in DEIB programs and have successfully led such programs at major organizations. Below are a few examples of these highly vetted and experienced coaches. To work with coaches like Santalynda, Desmond, and Amy, let us know a bit more about your organization and what you hope to achieve or improve in the world of diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging.

Coaching supports individuals in navigating within organizations to move beyond “fitting in” and comprising themselves to move toward a real sense of belonging.

A coaching relationship can help you open up thinking and give rise to actions that might very well not have happened otherwise.

My mission is to work with people who experience exclusion and outsider-ship. Let’s create a new world beyond what we know to be possible today.

Looking to invest in diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging at your organization? We’d love to learn more. Get in touch >

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