What is DEIB in the Workplace?

Venn diagram in magenta, blue, and yellow on a navy background.

Updated January 2024

D-E-I-B. These four letters are on the minds of many business leaders. Inspired by a constantly changing world, many companies are creating DEIB initiatives. But what does DEIB mean, and why does it matter in the workplace?

DEIB stands for Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and (most recently added) Belonging. Research has shown that an emphasis on DEIB in the workplace can lead to significant financial benefits, an edge against competitors, and improved employee morale.

If you’re ready to learn more about what DEIB is and why it matters, keep reading!

What is DEIB? Defining Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging

“Diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging” are, on their own, just words. So why are they grouped together?

First, let’s break down the individual terms.

  • Diversity refers to the range of human differences, including ethnicity, race, gender, sexual orientation, age, and ability.
  • Equity is the fair and just treatment of all people. It also allows all individuals to have an equal opportunity to reach their fullest potential.
  • Inclusion is the active, intentional, and ongoing engagement with diversity — in other words, making sure everyone feels welcome, respected, and valued.
  • Belonging refers to the feeling of connectedness or attachment to a person, place, thing, or group. This comes from the culmination of diversity, equity, and inclusion.

Taken together, DEIB is a framework that helps organizations examine their practices to ensure they are equitable and inclusive of all individuals. This means creating an environment where everyone feels welcome and can participate equally.

Infographic defining diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging while also sharing different dimensions of diversity.


What is Diversity in the Workplace?

Diversity in the workplace looks like employing people with different experiences, backgrounds, and identities. A diverse workforce starts with recruiting and onboarding, and it continues through employee retention strategies. DEI must be a priority at every step if an organization wants to attract and retain top diverse talent.

What is Equity in the Workplace?

Equity in the workplace looks like providing employees with the resources they need to do their jobs well. Equity acknowledges that different employees will need different resources, based on their existing skills and experience.

What is Inclusion in the Workplace?

Inclusion in the workplace looks like a positive culture where employees feel welcomed, accepted, and respected. When everyone feels like they can speak up and be heard, employees are more likely to contribute their best ideas. This leads to better business outcomes.

What is Belonging in the Workplace?

Belonging in the workplace takes inclusion a step further. Imagine a conference room filled with people sitting around a table. Inclusion means that diversity has a seat at that table, while belonging means that diversity can speak up at the table without fear of retribution.

Why Am I Just Learning About Belonging?

Many of us have been hearing about DEI for many years now, so why is the acronym changing?

Forbes calls Belonging “the intersection of DEI and engagement.” It’s the natural byproduct of creating a culture where DEI isn’t just tolerated—it’s celebrated. Belonging means that everyone, regardless of race, gender, sexual orientation, age, or ability, can bring their whole self to work without fear of unfair consequences.

It’s one thing to hire a diverse staff. It’s another thing to make sure they’re all treated fairly on a good day.

But to make sure someone is still treated fairly even on their worst day?

That’s belonging.

In the Forbes article referenced above, “studies show that belonging is one of the most powerful predictors of DEI efficacy in the workplace.” Essentially, when a company places a focus on belonging, they are “walking the walk.” They are showing that they’re actually committed to making a diverse and inclusive workplace where everyone is engaged because everyone feels safe.

Why is DEIB Important in the Workplace?

DEIB practices aren’t just the right thing to do—they make good business sense too. Companies who prioritize DEIB:

  • Gain access to a wider pool of qualified talent
  • Perform better financially
  • Improve employee morale
  • Increase employee retention
  • Inspire innovation and creativity
  • Make better decisions
  • Decrease employee burnout
  • Remain competitive
  • Protect company culture

For more information, read our detailed guide on the benefits of DEIB in the workplace.

How to Get Started with DEIB in the Workplace

For employees to flourish, leadership needs to be aligned on what DEIB looks like in the workplace, and why it matters. In summary, DEIB in the workplace looks like a shared commitment to:

  • welcoming employees from all backgrounds
  • offering training and mentoring so all employees can succeed
  • creating an environment where employees can be their authentic selves

DEIB in the workplace is not just a one-day training or an inspirational quote on Martin Luther King Jr. Day. DEIB is the daily practice of recognizing and celebrating differences between employees.

Now that you know what DEIB is, you might be wondering what to do next. If you want to start recruiting diverse candidates for your company, Insight Global can help. We have a video guide that breaks down how to create a DEIB recruiting strategy.

Watch this free DEIB video to learn:

  • Tips to define your DEIB recruiting goals
  • Ideas to update your current hiring and onboarding processes
  • Resources to find qualified candidates from underserved communities
  • Training you need to provide to key stakeholders

If you’re ready to discover top talent from untapped candidate pools, watch this workshop today!