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Should DEI become IDE?

Diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) has been a huge topic for years, with an increased emphasis over the last year or so. While companies have placed an increased focus on it, my impression (with little data to back me up) is that most companies are failing.

To hopefully move things forward, I want to propose a slight change in the rhetoric. Should we be focusing on Inclusion more than Diversity? Should we be calling it Inclusion, Diversity, and Equity (IDE)?

Most of the diversity discussions I see are outward focused - How do we go find more diversity and bring it in to the organization or how do we diversify our executive team (in many cases from outside the organization).

Is that superficial action that struggles to make lasting change? I fear it might be.

If a company goes out and recruits a diverse workforce (race, gender, sexuality, viewpoints, etc.), but those people do not feel included or able to be authentic in the workplace, how successful was the venture? My guess is that the turnover would be higher among these people because they will recognize quickly that they are a band-aid to the bigger issue and being used for data purposes.

However, if the company works more on inclusion, when those diverse candidates come in, they will feel welcome and they will feel the ability to be authentic and will want to stay.

These efforts should be going on concurrently - no reason you can't be working on both at the same time, especially because they go hand-in-hand. But doing multiple big things like that is not the strength of most organizations.

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