How Promoting Equity Can Create A More Inclusive Workplace
If you’re a leader or someone passionate about social justice, then DEI- or diversity, equity and inclusion- is something for you to take seriously.
Increasing diversity in the workplace is a great start but it only covers the tip of the iceberg- and that’s why many organizations fail to promote equity.
That’s why it’s important to understand what equity is, in order to ensure all employees have an equal opportunity to succeed and thrive in their organization.
In these sections, you’ll learn how design principles can help create more human-centered systems; why simply putting yourself in another person’s perspective isn’t enough; and how moral panic isn’t always the best way to enact social change.
By understanding these concepts, you can build equity into your organization so everyone enjoys the same levels of opportunity and success.
Not only does this benefit your business but it helps contribute towards a fairer, more just society overall.
We Must Recognize Inequity To Create Lasting Change Through Equity
Too often, discussions about diversity result in an erroneous assumption that equity is just a synonymous term for equality.
In reality, equity and equality are two separate concepts.
Equality is about making sure everybody has access to the same things – whether it be equal rights, opportunities or recognition- while equity is about creating room for differences and ensuring that people have access to what they need personally to thrive and succeed according to their own unique vision of success.
Equity, then, goes beyond surface level inclusion initiatives and demands a reconfiguration of our systems in order to promote true social justice.
It is especially troubling that this understanding is not widely shared when one considers the magnitude of inequality and injustice embedded deep within the structures of our society.
Take for example the education system in America which relies on local property taxes being used to fund schools; instead of redistributing tax revenue equally, richer neighborhoods get more money – benefiting wealthy families over poorer ones who don’t have sufficient resources to make up the difference in funding.
Furthermore, wealth tends to fall along racial lines in America with white communities owning significantly more assets than other minority groups at large; correspondingly, this impacts attending schools where more funding again disproportionately advantages white students compared to those from minority backgrounds.
It’s clear that inequity was baked into current US educational system – individuals most likely weren’t intentional with excluding people yet even so marginalization persists via “innocent” design choices which still perpetuate privilege roadblocks all the same.
Ultimately though what’s crucial isn’t how we arrived at our current situation but how we move forward from it- real progress happens when we learn how to identify unfairness within the systems around us and tear them down constructively so everyone can benefit justly regardless of race or background
The Power Of Human-Centered Design And Empathy In Overcoming Systemic Bias
If we want to make sure that everyone’s voices are heard and have real equity, then it’s time to design organizations which prioritize diversity.
We can learn from the practice of human-centered design in order to offset systemic bias and create better results for everyone.
Human-centered design is the most widely practiced methodology in design today because it focuses on the needs and experiences of those who will be using a product or service.
What sets it apart from other approaches is that designers invite any potential users to take part in brainstorming issues, prototyping designs, and giving feedback at every step.
As an example, during an initiative by the non-profit Embrace which aimed to create low-cost incubators, they decided to use a human-centered approach.
They invited Indian mothers and medical professionals who could tell them firsthand about medical needs on the ground and what works best in India specifically.
The outcome was an innovative new design for an incubator which didn’t rely on electricity or need much heavy materials – all lightweight, portable, and ultimately lifesaving!
The Keys To Equitable Leadership: Values, Humility And Acknowledgement Of Systemic Advantage
Equitable leaders have one key tool in their arsenal for creating systemic change: a system-oriented approach.
By adopting this line of thinking, they can make contributions to the entire organization, from values to structures.
Furthermore, through their personal connections with industry leaders, equitable leaders can even work to reform the broader environmental context in which their organization exists.
This is due to their ability to question the current status quo and find new ways of doing things.
At its core, an equitable leader must have three qualities that support this system-oriented approach.
First, they must possess and embrace values of respect and fairness towards both employees and customers.
Second, humility is needed as they acknowledge how certain advantages may lead them down paths not everyone has access too.
Finally, these advantages should be owned up to publicly; by doing so it helps dispel myths around success solely being determined by hard work alone and underscores the complexities of achieving equitable outcomes.
Design Systems For Equity: How To Create Effortless Equality In The Workplace
Organizations can be designed to ensure equitable outcomes without any extra effort.
Many managers view designing an equitable system as only being about identifying the right people to put in the right roles; however, this is not enough.
To make sure that access to positions is open for all, a company must rethink its policies and layout.
Getting rid of harassment and rearranging office rooms away from a frat house design are just two examples of what needs to happen.
The key is creating a system that is affirmative, not just reactive.
To do this, organizations should use methods like displaying cues and reminders, or automatically setting up promoting periods.
By doing things like this, companies can begin to change institutional norms while still having everyone’s best interests, including those of women and other marginalized groups, at heart.
Ultimately, organizations don’t need to struggle with creating equity – they can design systems so that success follows naturally with little thought or effort on their part.
Effective Communication Can Help Leaders Promote Positive Inclusive And Equitable Behaviors
When it comes to promoting positive change in the workplace, strong communication is key.
Leaders need to be mindful of the language they use and ensure it is respectful and inclusive.
But beyond the obvious conventionality, there’s far more to equitable communication than just using proper terms.
That’s why leaders can benefit from learning about a concept known as behavioral change communication (BCC).
This approach has been used to support public health initiatives, such as preventing disease and promoting healthy habits, but it can be used for just about any type of social issue that we’re trying to address.
Generally speaking, BCC involves recognizing obstacles to change, framing communications in a way that breaks through psychological barriers and targeting behaviors that will lead to positive action.
For example, when working on protecting the environment, one might use BCC by emphasizing how everyone is affected by global warming right now and then asking people to carpool or complete virtual meetings instead of air miles.
In this way, BCC can help reinforce positive behavioral change through effective communication.
Creating Respectful, Inclusive, And Accessible Content With The Reach Model
When creating or distributing marketing content, it’s of utmost importance to ensure that the message you are sending out is positive, inclusive, and respectful.
To do this, you need to use the REACH model: Representation, Experience, Accessibility, Compensation, and Harm Reduction.
In other words, ensure your marketing communications accurately represent a variety of genders, body types, and ethnicities.
Ask yourself if you possess enough relevant experience to address an issue – if not, invite those who do into your process.
Ensure accessiblity by implementing measures like alt texts on your website so screen-reading software can provide descriptions of images to those who are vision impaired.
Make sure everybody involved in content creation is compensated fairly and lastly consider the consequences of your work to protect people’s privacy.
By utilizing this REACH model consistently when developing and distributing your content, you can be sure that you’re providing positive messaging for all audiences.
As a final summary, Equity Book encourages leaders to design and advocate for fair and inclusive policies.
This is not only important for the sake of social justice, but it is also key to business success as younger generations are looking for organizations that uphold their values.
When creating such changes, it is possible to effect and encourage those in power to make these changes.
If the higher-ups fail to do this, then people now have options where they can take control of the situation themselves – like organizing a walkout if necessary, as was exemplified by Wayfair’s employees in 2019.
In essence, everyone holds the power to make a difference; Equity Book hopes that more people will be inspired by its message and use it in their everyday dealings.