Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) in Women-Owned Organizations

Updated: Dec 6, 2021

It takes a lot of different tools, strategies, and resources to maintain a thriving organization. Whether you have a team of 3 or 300, it’s critical to keep up morale among your team members. This includes genuine promotion of diversity, equity, and inclusion, even in organizations run by traditionally underrepresented groups. Here are some tips to help explain what DEI is, why it matters, and how you can get started on promoting it.


What is DEI?

Diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) refer to creating a successful working environment in which everyone involved can thrive both personally and professionally.

Diversity surrounds the distribution of differences among members of groups or organizations with respect to a common attribute. This cannot be fully achieved, however, without equity and inclusion.


Equity is defined as the act of guaranteeing that all processes and programs are impartial, fair, and provide equal possible outcomes for every individual regardless of background.


Inclusion is the achievement of a work environment in which all individuals are treated fairly and respectfully, and are included in discussions that matter.


Implementing DEI

Now that you know what DEI is and what it entails, it is important to learn how you can implement it in your workplace.


The first thing to understand is that there is no “quick fix” or instantaneous way to become a perfectly diverse workplace. It is a mission that takes time and dedication, which can often include frustrating moments.

The best place to begin is to accept and affirm that all leaders within your organization are committed to DEI. This builds trust within your organization and amongst your team. From there, you should perform an assessment of where your organization rests in terms of DEI - where do you fall short?


It may be uncomfortable, but the best way to go about that assessment is to give voices to members of underrepresented groups. It can be easy to want to take the wheel and do what you think is best, but the most effective way to truly understand where improvement is needed is by having conversations with the very people who are impacted.


Impacts of DEI

Why does all this matter? The impacts of successfully implementing DEI can be seen in both the short and long term of an organization’s performance. In fact, the most diverse public companies are 35% more likely to have financial returns above their industry means.


Of course, the impacts will also vary depending on the type of organization in question. Three considerable examples include law firms, small businesses, and CPA firms.


Law firms will experience impacts beyond the workplace environment. As DEI becomes a more standard goal and expectation across industries, general counsel will naturally gravitate toward firms that reflect these values as well. So in addition to boosting morale through a healthier and more inclusive environment, you will likely experience positive impacts on parties interested in your representation.


Small businesses aren't too different when it comes to the impacts of DEI. Much like how clients seek representation from firms that match their values, people are also more likely to patronize businesses that do the same. This will proportionately boost your client base and sales along with the personal wellbeing of your workers.


CPA firms have many similarities as well. That said, there is a lot of work to do in this industry as a whole. Only about 50% of traditionally underrepresented groups feel that the profession is inclusive and only about 48% believe it is equitable. 43-55% of respondents from groups underrepresented at senior levels left their employers due to a perceived lack of equitable treatment and at least 30% because of a lack of inclusion. Lastly, even though 16% of Americans identify as Black, only about 4% of public accounting firms’ staff identify as Black. This number drops to 1% for partners.


 

There is no time like the present to ensure that your organization is reaching its full potential. By working with teams like DesCPA, you will have access to the tools that only years of education and experience can provide, and that includes expert insight on things like DEI education and implementation. Contact us today for a free consultation.


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