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Going Beyond Your DEI Acronym

This is a guest post by Orange Grove Consulting.

With the increasing spotlight on diversity and inclusion across the country, the two letters commonly associated with the initiative– “D & I” – have also seen an evolution.

Leaders are opting to expand and clarify the language, and so the classic acronym has added a few letters. You’ve probably seen acronyms like JEDI (Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion) or DEIB (Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging) making rounds on social media and the HR world.

The intention is to broaden the meaning of these efforts, expanding the focus to incorporate key aspects of the diversity process.

More Terminology Means More Planning

While the intention behind carefully selecting terminology is commendable, often the organization doesn’t incorporate a meaningful plan of action behind the acronym. Thereby making the effort more of a distraction or even confusing to employees.

Along with changing the name, organizations need to move from words to strategic actions that increase inclusion.

What is in a Name? Often, Misplaced Focus.

We’ve seen that often the effort over what to call the program and how it should be accurately represented can take time away from actually beginning the work toward an inclusive workplace.

Focusing on the name of your D&I initiative without moving into strategy creation is akin to “greenwashing”—making environmentally friendly statements that sound good, without actually doing anything of substance about the issue.

Creating a Goal-Aligned DEI Strategy  

To move from statements to actual change, your organization will first need to figure out how diversity initiatives can help you work towards your current operational goals.

Without defined strategic goals linked to inclusion, your organization may apply resources without a real understanding of how they will impact inclusion….  or, perhaps even blindly copy tactics from another company regardless if they’re appropriate for you.

Tips for Accelerating DEI Performance

There are a few different ways that your company can integrate DEI strategy to align with overall operational goals, and ultimately with accelerated business performance.

Diverse Hiring

For example, intentionally examining your talent acquisition process to remove bias and unnecessary legacy requirements can have two major advantages:

  • 1- widening the candidate pool and potentially sidelining the talent shortage
  • 2- (hopefully) hiring diverse talent and accessing fresh perspectives.

Diverse hiring is one of the best ways to get bottom-line business benefits since a diverse leadership team has been shown to significantly increase financial performance.

Incorporating Inclusion into Workplace Culture

Another example is to pair employee retention with increasing inclusion in the culture.

After you’ve begun hiring a diverse team, it’s essential to provide leaders with inclusive skillset training so they’re ready to manage people from different backgrounds and encourage interactions that promote inclusivity. With these changes, you’ll begin to see greater employee satisfaction and more innovation in no time – which is a recipe for employee retention for talent of all demographic backgrounds

No matter which D&I acronym you choose to use at the end of the day, your organization will ultimately need to back up the term with action. It is, after all, the work that results in meaningful and lasting change toward an inclusive workplace, not the terminology you choose to describe it.

If you’d like to learn how one Orange Grove client drove its JEDI acronym strategic journey-- watch here.

Does your organization know how to take the next step in its DEI journey?

Orange Grove Consultants are experts in operationalizing inclusion.

Learn More

About the Author

Keely Denenberg is a Senior Client Partner at Orange Grove Consulting. She is a seasoned strategic account management professional with experience in the staffing, recruiting, and leadership development industries.  She is passionate about supporting organizational diversity and equity to create more innovative and inclusive workplaces for talent at all levels.

Last updated: 15 Aug 2022

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