Embracing Diversity,Equity, and Inclusion:Are You Ready to Dance?

By Lucy Cotterell HR Consultant – Mogers Drewett LLP

Here’s a brief article for business owners, directors, HR professionals and managers. Let’s have a chat about something incredibly important and close to our hearts – diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI). These aren’t just buzzwords; they are the building blocks of a thriving, dynamic, and innovative workplace.

In today’s world, it’s essential for small to medium enterprises (SMEs) to embrace DEI to create a positive and productive environment for everyone.

Why DEI Matters
Imagine walking into a room where everyone looks, thinks, and acts exactly like you. Sounds a bit dull, right? Diversity brings a richness of perspectives, ideas, and experiences that can drive creativity and innovation.

When we talk about equity, we’re focusing on fair treatment, opportunities, and advancement for all, while inclusion ensures that everyone feels valued and respected.
Vernā Myers once said, “Diversity is being invited to the dance. Inclusion is being invited to Dance. Equity is allowing you to choose the music.” This quote beautifully captures the essence of DEI. It’s not just about having a diverse workforce; it’s about creating an environment where everyone feels they belong and can thrive.

Creating a DEI-Friendly Workplace
So, how can we, as leaders and people managers in business, foster a workplace that truly embodies DEI?

Here are some tips to get you started:
Start with Leadership: DEI initiatives should be championed from the top. As leaders, show your commitment to these values through your actions and decisions. Lead by example and make DEI a core part of your company’s mission and values.
Educate and Train: Provide regular DEI training for all employees. This helps in raising awareness, challenging biases, and fostering a more inclusive mindset. Remember, education is an ongoing process, not a one-time event.
Listen and Learn: Create open channels for feedback and listen to your employees’ experiences and concerns. Use this feedback to make informed decisions and improvements. Everyone’s voice matters.

Inclusive Hiring Practices: Ensure your recruitment process is fair and unbiased. Use diverse hiring panels, write inclusive job descriptions, and reach out to underrepresented groups. A diverse team starts with a diverse hiring process.

Support Employee Resource Groups (ERGs): Recognise that different people have different needs. Offer flexible working arrangements to accommodate those with caregiving responsibilities, disabilities, or other unique circumstances

Flexible Work Policies: Recognise that different people have different needs. Offer flexible working arrangements to accommodate those with caregiving responsibilities, disabilities, or other unique circumstances.

Celebrate Diversity: Acknowledge and celebrate the diverse cultures, traditions, and backgrounds of your employees. This can be through events, newsletters, or social media. Celebrations foster a sense of belonging and respect.

Equitable Advancement Opportunities: Ensure that all employees have equal access to career development and advancement opportunities. This includes mentoring, training programs, and clear pathways to promotion.

Transparent Policies: Develop and communicate clear policies on DEI, anti-discrimination, and harassment. Make sure everyone knows these policies and feels safe to speak up if issues arise.
Community Engagement: Engage with and support diverse communities outside your organisation. This not only enhances your company’s reputation but also shows your commitment to DEI values in the broader society.

The Bigger Picture
Embracing DEI isn’t just the right thing to do – it’s also good for business. Diverse teams are more innovative, better at problem-solving, and can relate to a broader customer base. For smaller enterprises, SMEs and charities, which often operate with limited resources, the benefits of a diverse and inclusive workforce are invaluable.

By fostering a workplace culture that values diversity, equity, and inclusion, we can create environments where everyone feels welcome and empowered. It’s about building stronger, more resilient organisations that reflect the rich diversity of our society.

“DEI is a really important area for businesses. Professional services have historically lacked diversity and have not understood the concept of ‘equity’ which has made it harder for certain groups to access careers and fulfil their potential. Whilst we have made great strides in this area, including clear career pathways, a broad range of funded training routes and access to in-house performance coaching, I am committed to continuously improving and adapting our approach to make sure we attract and retain the best people, it’s no less than our clients deserve.“
Sean McDonough Managing Partner,
Employment Lawyer Mogers Drewett

So, let’s take Vernā Myers advice to heart. Let’s not only invite everyone to the party but also ask them to dance and have their say on the playlist. Together, we can make our workplaces more inclusive, equitable, and diverse – and that’s something worth celebrating.

Lucy Cotterell- HR Consultant
Tel: 01225 750050, lucy.cotterel@mogersdrewett.com
Mogers Drewett, St James House, The Square, Lower Bristol Road, Bath BA2 3BH