Practical Concepts and Tools to Advance on your DEI Journey by Dr. Steeve Coupeau
Dr. Steeve Coupeau serves as Executive Publisher at NYIHA MEDIA.
Many organizations increasingly face an environment where board/ management diversity is increasingly demanded by consumers. Lenders and government agencies that award subsidies require diversity contracting plans upfront and expect compliance with diversity requirements in annual reports. Community‐based groups serving diverse client populations are also under pressure to move beyond diversity to more fully embrace equity, and inclusion.
Here I aim to explore a set of concepts and tools to ensure proficiency with DEI. In order to attract and retain diverse talent, managers need to identify, develop, and leverage the strengths of diverse employees and listen to their employees when issues arise. A best practice is to foster mediated, safe spaces to facilitate brave, constructive, respectful conversations about diversity in the workplace.
Defining Key Terms
By diversity, I mean a reflection of society’s differences, including race, ethnicity, gender, ability, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, and religion.
Equity is just and fair inclusion into a society in which all can participate, prosper, and reach their full potential. This is a broad and inspiring definition. How do we bring the aspiration of equity into reality? The pandemic has underscored the urgency of digital equity and its intersections with structural inequality. In order to tackle inequality, we need to recognize the intangible qualities of local initiatives where community members are cultivating solutions. Best practice is to actively facilitate interactive and inclusive conversations within local communities focused on local priorities and solutions.
Effective solutions that advance equity are inclusive, with sectors of society that are often marginalized (such as BIPOC populations, women and youth) included in decision‐making processes and sharing the benefits.
Equity is not the same as “equality.” While equality can be achieved by distributing resources identically to all workers across all platforms, equity recognizes that, in order to achieve a truly just society, resources must be distributed commensurate with need.
Lastly, by inclusion, I mean co‐creating authentic partnerships to produce knowledge and design solutions that foster belonging.
In closing, diversity is an important tool that helps support the pursuit of equity, but it should not function as a standalone goal. If a local workforce is diverse, it is not necessarily also equitable. Diversity falls short of inclusion if diversity of representation does not extend to leadership and board membership.