Solve DEI Issues With Vision


Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) initiatives are programs and efforts implemented by organizations to promote and ensure the representation and fair treatment of individuals from diverse backgrounds. These initiatives aim to create a more inclusive and equitable workplace and society by addressing and reducing discrimination and bias and creating opportunities for underrepresented groups. On the surface, DEI efforts are fantastic and likely needed. However, like most things, they can sometimes be abused or contorted to a negative end.

The central premise of diversity is to acknowledge, respect, and value differences among people. Organizations that promote diversity aim to create a workforce that reflects the diversity of their customers and the larger society. The organizational benefit is that different backgrounds provide different perspectives. These differences can lend well to innovations.

Equity refers to the fair and just treatment of all individuals, regardless of their background. The central premise of equity is to ensure that everyone has an equal opportunity to succeed and that resources and opportunities are distributed fairly and impartially. Organizations that promote equity aim to eliminate discrimination and bias and to create a level playing field for all employees. This one often gets contorted (or abused) when opportunity is confused with outcome. When outcomes become the focus, the opportunity becomes irrelevant, and effort becomes relative.

Inclusion refers to the active engagement and participation of all individuals in an organization. The central premise of inclusion is to create an environment where everyone feels valued, respected, and heard. Organizations that promote inclusion aim to create a welcoming and supportive culture for all employees and to ensure that the perspectives and contributions of all employees are taken into account. Of course, this is great – in theory. However, this is much easier to achieve when everyone in the organization actually wants to be there because of what the organization is trying to do. And this is where things get complicated.

Productivity refers to the efficiency with which an individual or organization converts inputs into outputs. Productivity measures how well a person or organization can produce a desired outcome or result in a given period. Productivity is often measured by comparing the amount of output produced to the amount of input used. A higher productivity rate indicates that more output is produced for a given amount of input and is generally considered a good thing for an individual or organization.

Of course, being productive implies that you are getting something done. However, many organizations lose sight of or lose focus on what they are organized to get done. Focusing on the organization’s overall objective provides a strategic advantage because it allows it to direct all of its energy and resources toward achieving the specific purpose rather than spreading them too thinly across multiple goals. This focus also breeds efficiencies and effectiveness and allows the organization to identify and prioritize the most important tasks and activities required to achieve its goal. Moreover, it will enable the organization to be responsive to market changes, adapt to the customer’s needs, and ultimately, stay competitive.

Distractions can harm organizations because they divert focus away from the organization’s vision, mission, and goals. When employees or members of an organization are easily distracted, they may spend less time working on essential tasks and more time on the less important or less relevant tasks. This can completely undermine productivity because it can lead to an increase in the amount of time it takes to complete projects and achieve goals. Distractions can also lead to mistakes, which can be costly for the organization in terms of time and money.

With the preceding in mind, we must understand that when an organization is more focused on DEI efforts than its organizational purpose or vision, it has a problem. Similarly, it is a clear sign that bias has infected the organization. The reality is that DEI efforts require little effort if the organization can focus on its vision. Consider the idea that an organization truly wants to achieve success. If they do, the priority must be obtaining the very best people for the various tasks it is hiring for, not focusing on things hindering organizational focus.

Many forget that DEI initiatives are not the organization’s sole responsibility. A candidate must come prepared and qualified to hold the position being sought. This is to say that an organization would be unwise to hire based on age, race, gender, sexual orientation, or ability alone. If an organization wishes to succeed, it must adhere to a more reliable metric; skills. Hiring the best person for the job can go a long way toward DEI initiatives. If anything, doing so emphasizes fair and just treatment of all individuals, regardless of their background, and it ensures that everyone has an equal opportunity to succeed as long as they put in the effort to hone and refine their skills.

Of course, to achieve the best outcome, the organization must have a clear and written standard for the job they are hiring for. Regardless of age, race, gender, sexual orientation, or ability, the best person for the job should be sought. If predefined standards are established, potential candidates could and should be measured against those standards alone.

Technology can play a crucial role in this initiative by using “blind pooling,” which omits personal information (such as names) and focuses on the job’s criteria alone. This ensures that the candidate pool is selected based on qualifications rather than biases or traits. Additionally, technology can assist in confirming a candidate’s qualifications before the interview, further limiting the potential biases of the hiring team.

The interview should assess three key areas: 1) communication skills and overall attitude, 2) ability to problem-solve and think critically, and most importantly, 3) motivation, passion, and enthusiasm for the organization’s vision. This last point is often overlooked, but ensuring that the candidate is qualified and motivated to work toward the organization’s goals is critical. Moreover, it requires that the organization be vision-focused. While this may be an unpopular thought, we must remember that an organization is formed to achieve that organization’s vision, not to serve the individuals of the organization.

By focusing on organizational vision, the qualifications, and the candidate’s passion and rejecting nonsense, the organization can ensure that the best person for the job is hired regardless of their background. This approach also promotes a positive and engaged workforce, it is entirely fair, and best of all, it helps employees stay focused on the organization’s vision rather than political distractions.