What is ED&I?

Two coworkers smiling. Image by Jason Goodman via Unsplash – thanks Jason.

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Equity, diversity and inclusion. We’ve all heard this phrase, but what is ED&I and what does it really mean?

Equity is about giving everybody fair treatment and eliminating barriers that might get in the way of access, opportunities or advancement. 

Diversity is about including people from a range of different backgrounds. This covers a variety of things like socio-economic factors, ethnicity, gender, and sexual orientation. 

Inclusion is about creating an environment where nobody feels excluded, no matter their background or the barriers they face. This means everybody has equal access to opportunities and resources, but most importantly it means all individuals feel psychologically safe. 

We believe inclusion should be the first priority. But why?

Why is inclusion the priority? 

Diversity before inclusion doesn’t work. 

Consider this scenario:

A company sets out to improve their ED&I.

They start by trying to diversify their workforce. They hire more employees using a diversity quota, bringing in more women of colour in the process. The business looks great on paper.

But, having been made up of mainly white men for years now, the company isn’t the easiest place for these new employees to fit in, making it harder for them to be effective at work.

These women start having issues with their wellbeing, their productivity drops, and many of them leave early with a bad view of the company. 

This is how diversity hiring goes wrong.

Whereas, a business that works on inclusion first will automatically attract talent from a diverse range of backgrounds into a culture where they’ll thrive.

Inclusion & Equity

Inclusion also breeds (and overlaps with) themes of equity: ensuring people of all backgrounds don’t face unconscious bias, creating a fair environment, and removing barriers to individuals.

What is ED&I? A lot more than we’ve discussed in this blog, but it all starts with inclusion.

So how do you build and measure inclusion?