Expanded Focus on Diversity, Equity & Inclusion, The MDC Group

Companies have become more focused on diversity, equity, and inclusion due to the various economic, social, and cultural trends and events happening. Diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) is a term describing company policies and programs that promote representation, participation, and acceptance of individuals from different population groups. The groups include various age categories, ethnicities, cultures, socioeconomic backgrounds, religions, genders, abilities and disabilities, and sexual orientation. While DEI is a single term, each of its three components, diversity, equity, and inclusion, has a different definition.

  • Diversity concerns the make-up of a workforce. Companies look to include people from as many different races, cultures, ages, marital status, gender identities, etc., as is practical. A Merriam-Webster dictionary defines diversity as” the condition of having or being composed of different elements.”
  • Equity addresses justice without bias or favoritism. It’s different than equality in that equity realizes we all need different things and have had different opportunities in life. Equity addresses these differences and finds solutions to the inequalities in society. Equity helps build trust and a sense of ownership in new team members.
  • Inclusion can be the most difficult of the three for companies to achieve. The Society for Human Research Management says inclusion is ”the achievement of a work environment in which all individuals are treated fairly and respectfully, have equal access to opportunities and resources, and can contribute fully to the organization’s success.” In other words, it’s not enough to hire someone. The hired person must be accepted as a full participant by all. Organizations must make deliberate efforts to make everyone feel they belong.

Employers that support diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) strive to foster a company culture that embraces the value of individuality and celebrates the different backgrounds, cultures, and traditions of their employees.

Why is DEI important for a company’s success?

People from various backgrounds who have had different experiences bring a wealth of ideas and perspectives to a company. According to the International Labour Organization, “Companies with more inclusive business cultures and policies see a 59% increase in innovation and 37% better assessment of consumer interest and demand.”

Different backgrounds bring different perspectives and new ideas. As a simple example, a company comprised of all males may not understand the needs of women when designing a space or new product. The more groups or backgrounds represented on the team, the better the team as a whole will understand the communities it serves. Different cultures approach challenges differently, too.

Consumers, especially millennials and GenZers, look for companies with diverse workforces. They prefer working for and buying from companies that prioritize diversity, equity, and inclusion. The “Black Lives Matter” movement has made people of all generations more aware of continuing inequities in society. According to a McKinsey study, 75% of Gen Z consumers would boycott companies that discriminate because of race or gender identity.

Why is diversity without equity and inclusion problematic?

Hiring someone without being attuned to their individual needs can negate the benefits of hiring from different groups. For example, someone who might need certain physical accommodations, procedural adjustments, or scheduling variations must get the requirements to become fully integrated into the organization.

Diversity by itself can be tokenistic. Someone hired because of their race, gender, or ethnicity, can feel underappreciated and uncomfortable in their role. Coworkers may be resentful and untrusting, which often destines the new hire to fail. Diversity in the workplace is a good beginning, but it’s not the end. It can kick-off positive organizational changes only if new people become an intricate part of a company’s long-term goals. They need a sense of belonging, appropriate power, and acceptance to succeed.

What do workplace diversity, equity, and inclusion look like in your company?

Honestly analyzing your current staff is step one for any company looking to increase its focus on DEI. Companies start by tracking composition, hiring, promotion, and attrition, but more information can be procured through a useful tool called ONA, organizational network analysis. ONA studies patterns in internal communications, decision flows, physical proximity, and other data to track the connections between team members and visually present the results. Team members who are isolated or not integrated into regular communications and interactions may not feel included.

How to attract a diversity of applicants

Publicizing that the company wants to increase its focus on diversity, equity, and inclusion, by writing a statement of intent and publishing it on the website and in job descriptions is a great start. There was a time when adding EEOC required “equal opportunity employer” was enough. Today, many companies say more to demonstrate their desire to promote diversity and inclusion.

Here are three examples:

  1. “SurveyMonkey is an equal opportunity employer. We celebrate diversity and are committed to creating an inclusive environment for all employees.”
  2. “At Google, we don’t just accept difference — we celebrate it, we support it, and we thrive on it for the benefit of our employees, our products, and our community. Google is proud to be an equal opportunity workplace and is an affirmative action employer.”
  3. The MDC Group states the following on their website: “Diversity & Inclusion: Building Together–We welcome and pursue diversity at every level at the MDC Group. We are committed to providing an inclusive work environment that is equitable and respectful to all. We believe that it is through diversity that we can offer the most positive work culture and deliver the best client experience. We strive daily to build a team with diverse life experiences and acknowledge that diversity helps us all grow in empathy and understanding.”

People from different backgrounds often want and need various benefits. Attracting a broad selection of applicants means knowing what benefits people want and following through by offering them.

Today’s challenging workforce conditions mean companies must be smart about their Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion policies and efforts. People, especially those under forty, are more aware and concerned about DEI issues. They prefer working for and patronizing companies that embrace diversity. Having a diverse team also engenders a better understanding of the population the company serves, and diverse backgrounds mean unique approaches to problems. A company that focuses on DEI has a more compassionate and harmonious team.


Want to know more about how MDC can help? Drop us a line!