DEIB: Belonging in the Workplace

The Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion movement has been instrumental in promoting a more collective, united environment in society and in workplaces. Yet, the recent addition of ‘Belonging’ to the acronym – forming DEIB – sheds light on a critical component of the diversity initiative beyond mere inclusion. Exploring this evolution begs the question: what is the essence of belonging and what are its implications for workplaces globally?

The Rise of Belonging

While Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) efforts focus on representation and fair treatment, “Belonging” delves deeper into creating an environment where individuals feel genuinely valued and integral to the group. Inclusion may get people to the table, but belonging ensures they feel welcome, seen, and understood when they’re there.

Dr. Brené Brown, a research professor and best-selling author, speaks to the profound human need to belong: “True belonging is the spiritual practice of believing in and belonging to yourself so deeply that you can share your most authentic self with the world.” This sentiment underscores the need for acceptance of what makes people unique. Embracing and creating a safe place for expression is essential to inclusion.

For example, consider a workplace gathering where team members from diverse backgrounds are present (inclusion). Belonging isn’t just about giving everyone the chance to speak; it’s about ensuring their perspectives are respected and genuinely appreciated. That’s the gap belonging aims to bridge.

The DEIB Impact on the Workplace

Belonging enriches DEI in several meaningful ways:

  • Enhanced Individual Engagement: When employees feel a sense of belonging, they are more engaged, productive, and loyal. They believe that their contributions genuinely matter.
  • Innovative Thinking: A culture prioritizing belonging fosters diverse thoughts, leading to breakthroughs and fresh perspectives.
  • Reduced Employee Turnover: A genuine sense of belonging can reduce feelings of isolation, leading to lower employee turnover.

5 Brands Recognized for DEIB

Companies are stepping up their DEIB game. Here are a few brands recently recognized for their efforts.

  1. Google: Google’s commitment to fostering an inclusive environment is evident in its annual diversity report, which outlines progress and challenges in its DEIB journey. They have implemented various initiatives, including employee resource groups for underrepresented communities and unconscious bias training for their teams.
  2. Accenture: This global consulting firm has set clear targets for gender diversity and has committed to providing a more inclusive environment for people with disabilities, LGBTQ+ individuals, and veterans. Their efforts include scholarships, mentoring programs, and partnerships with diverse organizations.
  3. Intel: Intel has been transparent about its DEIB goals, mainly to increase the number of women and underrepresented minorities in its workforce. They’ve invested heavily in educational programs and initiatives to ensure diversity at all levels, from entry-level to leadership roles.
  4. Microsoft: Their diversity and inclusion initiative revolves around three core priorities: increasing diversity, fostering an inclusive culture, and ensuring accountability. They have invested in partnerships, programs, and hiring practices to bring these priorities to life.
  5. Airbnb: Airbnb’s commitment to DEIB extends to its platform, ensuring hosts and guests from all backgrounds feel welcome. Internally, they have committed to increasing the representation of underrepresented minorities in the U.S. and promoting an inclusive work environment.

4 Requirements to Cultivate Belonging

The shift towards belonging is not merely a policy change; it’s a cultural transformation. Here’s what it demands:

  1. Authentic Leadership: Leaders should lead by example, fostering open dialogue, actively listening, and ensuring everyone feels valued.
  2. Ongoing Education: Continuous workshops and training sessions on the importance of belonging, confronting biases, and understanding different cultural nuances can make a significant difference.
  3. Resource Allocation: It’s crucial to invest in resources, be it time, personnel, or funds, to ensure belonging isn’t just a buzzword but a practiced reality.
  4. Change in Organizational Thinking: The focus should move from mere representation to genuine appreciation. Hiring a diverse workforce is just the start. The real challenge is ensuring everyone feels that they belong.

Belonging Uplevels DEI

As businesses evolve, it’s essential to recognize that DEIB is not just about ticking boxes. It’s about fostering a workspace where everyone, regardless of background, feels they’re an integral part of the organizational tapestry.

Embracing belonging marks a significant shift in how we perceive diversity and inclusion. As more companies understand its implications and significance, it’s poised to redefine workplaces, ensuring they are diverse, inclusive, and genuinely welcoming and harmonious.


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