What is DEI in the Workplace?

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

D-E-I. Three letters that you’ve probably seen before but still don’t fully understand. (Don’t worry, you’re not the only one.) What does DEI stand for, and why does it matter in the workplace?

First, DEI stands for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. Second, it matters because research has shown that an emphasis on DEI 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 DE&I is and why it matters, keep reading!

What is DEI? Defining Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

What does “diversity, equity, and inclusion” mean, and why are these words grouped together as DEI?

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.

Taken together, DEI 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, and inclusion 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.

Why is DEI Important in the Workplace?

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

  • 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 DEI in the workplace.

How to Get Started with DEI in the Workplace

For employees to flourish, leadership needs to be aligned on what DEI looks like in the workplace, and why it matters. In summary, DEI 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

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

Now that you know what DEI 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 DEI recruiting strategy.

Watch this free DEI video to learn:

  • Tips to define your DEI 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!