10 DEI Topics
Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) covers a wide range of complicated yet crucial subject matter that affects the everyday lives of workers. It’s easy to get overwhelmed. So, we’ve done the work and compiled essential DEI topics to include in your next inclusion training and initiatives.
DEI Topic #1 – Diversity vs. Inclusion
In 2022, DEI topics have quickly become buzzwords. Diversity and inclusion are often used together and are thought to be interchangeable. But they are two completely different concepts. A workplace can be diverse and not inclusive, and vice versa. Diversity first answers the question “who are we?” While inclusion aims to solve the problem of “how do we make this work?”
If you’re looking for a way to talk about diversity and inclusion without overcomplicating things, EdApp has the right course for you. EdApp has partnered with Queer Eye’s Karamo Brown to create a simple, yet effective course on the basics of DEI. One of the first few lessons tackle the key differences between diversity and inclusion, all with real examples based on research and experience.
Try the course for free and expand your knowledge on DEI today.
DEI Topic #2 – Intersectionality
Originally a legal term tied to civil rights, intersectionality is the way forms of discrimination may overlap and complicate each other. As an individual, it’s likely you define yourself with multiple identities. And that’s what makes diversity. Not just different kinds of people, but people with multiple identities.
That’s why it’s a great DEI topic for your workplace. Being more in touch with your employee’s diverse experiences will make everyone feel safer at work and therefore more productive. Additionally, a great supplement to intersectionality would be cultural intelligence training, or how to become more successful in a global or multicultural context.
DEI Topic #3 – Work Microaggressions
Microaggressions are subtle, and often unintentional, acts of discrimination. Common examples of these are dated jokes or misinformed questions that can make marginalized people feel uncomfortable. Other times a microaggression can manifest in a change of behavior when a person is around someone who simply looks or dresses differently.
It’s an overlooked DEI topic. Microaggressions are “small” by definition, but they happen often. That’s why it’s important to learn how to spot and stop these slights in your work environment. The best way to learn is by citing examples from real experiences. Microlearning tools are effective for this. Interactive content can make you feel like you’re in someone else’s shoes.
DEI Topic #4 – Sexual Orientation vs. Gender Identity and Expression
Let’s be real. Any talk about LGBTQIA+ can get confusing (even for people in the community). There are as many identities as there are people in the world. So, an important DEI topic goes back to the basics. What’s the difference between sexual orientation and gender identity/expression?
Sexual orientation is who you are attracted to (or the absence of attraction). Gender identity is how you know and call yourself. Gender expression is how you show your gender identity externally. A workplace can avoid uncomfortable questions or microaggressions if the employees understand these concepts.
Try integrating social learning into your office culture. Encourage learning about each other’s different identities and expressions to make room for better communication and collaboration.
DEI Topic #5 – Racism
It may seem like an obvious answer, but because of the (often violent) history of racism, this DEI topic isn’t talked about in an upfront manner. To eradicate racism in the workplace, you have to know what it looks like, and more importantly where it comes from.
To start you have to understand that racism isn’t just about racist people but about systems we can undo by taking concrete action. We can create DEI initiatives and training at work to bring about change. Create meaningful lessons and training backed up by statistics, history, and lived experience. For impact, use interactive content and even digital learning tools.
DEI Topic #6 – Disability Awareness
Disability awareness is a critical DEI topic because people with disabilities have very specific needs, and those needs are often physical. To ensure safety and productivity in the workplace, employees must be trained to be sensitive to the different possible impairments. Sometimes impairments are not obvious, while others manifest only in certain situations.
Awareness is the first step to recognizing and stopping discriminatory practices and behavior. If you don’t already have a training program on disability awareness, create one and collaborate with your team. If you already have one, strive to make it better. Aim for continuous improvement to make sure your company culture is as inclusive as it can be.
DEI Topic #7 – Bystander Intervention
DEI topics are often more about prevention rather than cures. It’s much better to create a workplace that doesn’t tolerate an inch of discrimination. Regardless, it’s still important to know what to do when inappropriate behavior happens, even when you’re not directly involved.
Bystander intervention training includes knowing the appropriate responses and behavior when faced with a discriminatory action. The training also involves instilling a sense of collective responsibility within your company’s teams. This ensures that every employee feels safe wherever they may be.
DEI Topic #8 – Generational Diversity
Generational diversity is another DEI topic not often discussed in popular conversations about inclusion. Generation gap talks happen online, especially in social media and even in memes. But in real life, especially at work, it can be challenging to work with generation gaps. The lingo of Millennials differs from the lingo of Gen Xers and may cause miscommunication.
But beyond lingo, people from older generations might not be as tech-savvy as younger people. You must adjust your training to accommodate this reality as well. Learning management systems, like EdApp, have a group training feature that automates attendance tracking for in-person training. This is great for team members who still opt to take their training in person.
DEI Topic #9 – Unconscious Bias
Unconscious bias is one of the most common DEI topics because it’s one of the most important contributors to discriminatory actions. We all have unconscious bias, that’s because we learn this growing up. Images and ideas we see on TV, lessons we learned from our parents, and even stories we were taught in school all form our biases.
Unconscious bias training shows us which of our biases may be correct, incorrect, or even outright harmful. The process can be uncomfortable as we may need to change ideas that are fundamental to our worldview. That is why training needs to be created with intention and with the best tools. Take a look at some tips on how to create bias training that works.
DEI Topic #10 – Intentional Inclusion
Intentional inclusion is all about creating impactful action-based plans with your entire company. Actions speak louder than words and every member of your team is responsible for contributing to a safe and inclusive workplace. This means that everyone’s input regardless of their background is highly valued and recognized.
Integrate teaching intentional inclusion alongside your DEI initiatives. Your active efforts and plans for inclusion will define your company culture. So when somebody asks if your team is inclusive, you have a tangible answer to give. Your intentional inclusion reflects what you value as a company.