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The Smarter Startup

You Want to Implement DEIB Programming, But Where Should You Start?

Diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging should be a part of your long-term strategic plan. Start with these meaningful action items.

DEIB can seem very intimidating. As soon as you start planning, thoughts about where to start and how to prioritize your efforts can be overwhelming.

  • “What if I do or say the wrong thing?”
  • “What if I offend?”
  • “What if I miss the mark on what I am intending to do?”
  • “What are the costs and risks to the business?”

These are valid and common concerns, but the best way to start is to start.

CEOs, Leadership Teams, and People Ops should start by educating themselves on DEIB so they are comfortable having conversations that can lead to creating and rolling out effective policies and programs. It is critical to understand what DEIB is before you can help others understand why it’s important within every organization, and especially yours.

Defining DEIB


Diversity is about the different characteristics in a group of people that make each of us unique. This includes personality traits, intellectual distinctions, and variations that shape our identity, such as age, race, disability, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, marital status, parental status, gender, as well as things like work style. A report by McKinsey & Company recognized that organizations with ethnic and culturally diverse leadership are 33% more likely to outperform their peers.


An equitable culture ensures everyone has access to grow and develop, regardless of identity or financial background. As a company develops its career paths and compensation bands and promotes employees, it is very important for Leadership and People Ops to plan, discuss and review teams to ensure everyone is treated equitably.

Inclusion & Belonging

Inclusion & Belonging is creating an environment where employees feel welcomed, supported, respected, and valued and provides an environment that encourages each person to contribute their best work as their whole and authentic self. In the workplace, it is easy to make someone feel left out with a time-off policy when recognizing Christmas vs. Winter Holiday as a day off.

Getting Started

For greater long-term success, DEIB should be a part of your long-term strategic plan. While you may not immediately be able to add to your headcount, you should consider working with your People Operations Partner or hiring a DEIB champion on a full-time or consulting basis.

Here are two meaningful action items to help you get started on DEIB programming:

Action Item 1: Examine your company’s mission, vision, and values. Is your mission, vision, and values language inclusive? Host a company All Hands, and discuss how a diverse and inclusive workforce and work environment supports the overall growth.

Action Item 2: Enlist volunteers to create a DEIB statement to guide how your company will integrate DEIB into how your team operates and your company does business. When this is complete, test the company’s current policies/practices against your DEIB statement. Review and update language to be inclusive. Consider asking for volunteers to be on a DEIB focus group to take on new projects.

Effective DEIB programming is built over time – there are no overnight solutions. Ingraining DEIB into your company now will make it easier to discuss uncomfortable topics, take action, introduce change, and build programs to achieve a culture that attracts and retains a great group of diverse people. It becomes natural over time to implement and scale programs that are not simply symbolic but truly systematic!