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What Does Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in the Workplace Look Like?

By now you’ve probably heard not only about the need for DEI or diversity, equity, and inclusion in your workplace but the business case for DEI efforts. DEI is not just a morally right thing to do. DEI work has been proven to optimize productivity and reduce turnover. But what can diversity, equity, and inclusion in the workplace look like? Read on to learn more about DEI efforts and how to implement them in your workplace. 

So, What Is DEI?

If you’re new to DEI work, read this section to help you lay the groundwork and find out what diversity, equity, and inclusion mean. 

  • Diversity in the workplace is quite simple. It means the inclusion and acceptance of employees of all backgrounds. 
  • Equity in the workplace ensures that everyone receives the same respectful treatment and transparency in consequences and rewards. In an equitable workplace, everyone has equal access to opportunities. 
  • Inclusion is an extension of the diverse and equitable workplace practices we’ve already discussed. An inclusive workplace provides all employees with equal access to opportunities and ensures that employees from traditionally underrepresented groups (like those based on gender, race, disability or age) feel they are treated equally. 

With these definitions in mind, what does diversity, equity, and inclusion in the workplace look like?

There’s No Quick Fix When It Comes to DEI

DEI efforts in the workplace look like actively and enthusiastically talking about diversity, equity, and inclusion, every day. Right now, you likely already have some DEI efforts in your business. Take a look at your employee handbook, training exercises, and workplace culture. Most onboarding and annual training exercises address DEI best practices

two business women talk

It takes more work for DEI to have a lasting impact though, and that work can’t come from just one person. It has to be a team effort. That means: 

  • talking about diversity, equity, and inclusion every day
  • taking the time to assess and audit your DEI efforts on a regular basis (consider using a diversity audit tool)
  • giving equal prioritization to each arm of DEI work; diversity cannot work without inclusion and equity and inclusion cannot work without diversity and equity, etc. 
  • confronting microaggressions in the workplace (wondering how to address microaggressions in the workplace or what are microagrressions at work?)

Most importantly, when DEI gaps are found, fill them as quickly as possible. If you do find DEI gaps in your workplace, don’t be embarrassed. Every workplace has gaps. That’s right. Every. Workplace. What’s important is finding the fix through workplace community involvement and with the principles of diversity, workplace equity, and inclusion in mind. 

If you are looking for resources to help you talk about DEI in your workplace, conduct DEI audits and assessments and provide training, visit DEI for Employers.

DEI in your workplace

External links are provided as informational resources only and are not necessarily endorsed by Ontario East.



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