Blog Post

What Is “Diversity, Equity and Inclusion”?

November 1, 2022
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Diversity. Equity. Inclusion. The concepts aren’t new but they’re more important than ever. Most companies have some sort of DEI initiative. But diversity, equity and inclusion in today’s workplace go beyond the concept of equality. Whether you’re looking to optimize the framework you already have or are starting from the beginning, it’s good to understand DEI in greater detail. As the world becomes increasingly diverse, DEI is a business imperative.

The Components of DEI

So, if DEI is not equality, what is it? It’s perhaps best to address that question by first understanding each of the components of DEI and how they look in action.

What Is Diversity?

Workplace diversity starts with hiring people from different backgrounds and life experiences. Although early definitions centered around race and gender, diversity also applies to ethnicity, age, sexuality, language, background, education, personality traits and more. And it’s not just about bringing in diverse people, it’s also about ensuring that these valuable employees can participate and contribute in ways that benefit the individual, the company and society at large.

What Is Equity?

Equity is a term frequently conflated with equality. The terms are similar but when companies pursue equality over equity the outcomes will be strikingly different. Equality is about treating everyone the same regardless of what they need to succeed and despite the systemic inequities that have existed for generations. Equity, on the other hand, recognizes that historically unequal access is inherent in economic, educational and social structures. So what’s required is the application of different methods so that everyone has an opportunity to succeed. That’s how equity differs.

What Is Inclusion?

When the workplace is inclusive, employees feel valued and accepted as part of the larger organization. It happens without them having to become something they are not. Inclusive companies celebrate and encourage diverse ideas and approaches, giving everyone the same opportunities for advancement.

What Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Looks Like

As useful as it is to understand what DEI is, it’s equally important to understand what DEI is not. Superficial treatments of DEI initiatives predictably lead to less-than-stellar outcomes. Here are a few examples.This is DEI:

  • A visually impaired worker is given a large, high-quality monitor and other low-vision accommodations.

This is not:

  • The weekly staff meeting is always held in the late afternoon even though the single parent who must attend has a childcare issue.

This is DEI:

  • Resume screening during the hiring process is blind, eliminating names and addresses.

This is not:

  • Job candidate information on the resume helps decision makers identify candidates by gender, race, ethnicity or neighborhood.

This is DEI:

  • The company conducts a regular pay gap analysis to ensure gender pay e quality.

This is not:

  • Salaries are never included in job postings despite suspected discrepancies between men and women.

This is DEI:

  • Religious and cultural holidays are acknowledged and employees are automatically given the time off to observe these occasions.

This is not:

  • The company holds a yearly Christmas party and other holidays, like Rosh Hashana, pass by without mention.

It’s not unusual for management to feel overwhelmed by the number of small details that impact their DEI efforts. It can seem impossible to do everything. It’s important to remember, however, that small gestures go a long way toward ensuring that DEI is ingrained in the culture and is a responsibility assumed by all, not just a yearly check-box initiative. Once DEI becomes business as usual, it will be as natural as taking a breath. When that happens, you’ll reap the benefits that accrue to a truly diverse organization.

How To Set Up DEI Strategy That Actually Works

Diversity, equity and inclusion isn’t new, but it’s more important now than ever before. That’s because the world is changing and so is the marketplace. Companies need diversity to innovate and grow to meet evolving needs. Diversity is important in the upper ranks, as well. In fact, when it comes to gender, companies in the top quartile of diversity are 25% more likely to experience above-average profitability than those in the bottom quartile. Companies that currently have a DEI initiative can optimize it to ensure that it accomplishes their objectives. Those with no DEI framework can ensure that they build in certain components from the beginning. Here’s how to set up a strategy that works:

Start From the Top

A committed DEI program must have committed leaders. You don’t just need a sponsor; you need a top-down commitment to make change a priority. Your DEI effort goes beyond lip service. It changes the way employees work together. Tie DEI goals into your company objectives and values. That means that in addition to organizational data and metrics that really matter, you’ll need someone to hold managers accountable for meeting the objectives of the program.

Hire Good Resources

Ensure that you put the right people in place. You may have the people internally to lead the effort but it never hurts to bring in outside consultants to facilitate the setup. DEI conversations can be tricky and the last thing you want is a ham-fisted approach that puts the people you need most on the defensive. DEI is going to be everyone’s job.

Find Mechanisms to Expand the Dialogue

Every good DEI initiative begins with a conversation. You’ll need to keep the conversation uplifting and productive. Affinity groups can help. They can give a voice to those who are underrepresented, provide input into critical decision-making processes, and help companies decide how and when to weigh in on important social issues.

Recognize the Culture Change

DEI is a cultural change in most companies. You’ll need to examine your systems and policies, your language and even your values. Diversity doesn’t just happen. Companies that are diverse and inclusive get there through a series of deliberate and proactive decisions. There are reasons why there may not be qualified people from every community and identity in your workplace and why, when they do come, the outcomes may not be as expected. Culture change will require aligned systems to support the beliefs and behaviors you want to instill.

Find a Common Cause

Companies that truly believe in diversity reflect those values by showing up in the communities they serve. One of the best ways to participate in the many underserved world communities is through philanthropic activities. Such efforts are good for humanity, good for the planet and a great way to engage employees. It can be a challenge to find something the company can do together to embrace diversity, equity and inclusion values. Groundswell is one way to make giving an employee benefit as well as to embrace diversity as a corporate value.Groundswell can get your corporate giving program up and running effortlessly. No more tracking of donation receipts or vetting nonprofits. Each employee is set up with a personal giving account established just for them. It works just similar to a 401(k), only it's for charitable giving. Now your company can easily support diverse perspectives with a giving program that is equitable and inclusive.

Diversity Is Increasing. Are You Ready?

In the years to come, the people you hire will be increasingly diverse, coming from different backgrounds and life experiences. This diverse perspective will help shape both your culture and your destiny. Your company will need to invest time and energy to yield the benefits promised. In the ever-changing business landscape, companies must be able to adapt and evolve. The concepts of diversity and inclusion are not new, but are becoming more important than ever before. With a diverse group of employees, companies can gain new perspectives, learn from one another and become stronger as a result. Start today with Groundswell.

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Unlocking Philanthropy: A Ready-to-Use Corporate Giving Policy for Modern Businesses

Sample Corporate Giving Policy You Can Use Today

In today’s socially conscious environment, more companies than ever are recognizing the value of corporate philanthropy. Not only can a robust giving policy boost a brand’s image and reputation, but it can also play a pivotal role in community development and global betterment. If your company is considering the establishment of a formal corporate giving policy or refining its existing strategy, this sample policy might be the perfect starting point for you.

Download Sample Policy

Pillars of a Strong Corporate Giving Policy

Corporate giving programs range from employer donation matching programs to full blown corporate social responsibility programs with grantmaking and volunteerism.  Many companies find somewhere in the middle that aligns with their size, budget, geographic presence and most importantly company values and commitment to diversity and inclusion. But what truly makes a corporate giving policy stand out? Let’s delve into the key features, from donation matching to the strategic use of platforms like Groundswell.

1. Donation Matching: Doubling the Impact

One of the most effective tools in a giving policy is donation matching. This is where companies match employee donations to eligible non-profits, effectively doubling the contribution. Such programs not only amplify the impact but also motivate employees to participate, knowing their chosen cause will receive twice the support.

2. Charitable Stipends: Encouraging Employee Choice

Charitable stipends are allowances given to employees to donate to a non-profit of their choice. This not only encourages a culture of giving but also empowers employees to support causes they’re passionate about. The stipends can be a fixed amount annually or can vary based on the employee’s role or tenure.

3. Dollars for Doers: Volunteering Translated to Contributions

“Dollars for Doers” programs convert volunteer hours into monetary donations. When employees volunteer their time for a cause, the company makes a donation equivalent to the hours spent. This fosters a culture of hands-on involvement and ensures that both time and money are being donated to valuable initiatives.

4. Corporate Grants: Sowing Seeds for Bigger Change

Beyond individual employee contributions, companies can set aside a dedicated fund for corporate grants. These grants can be given to non-profits, research initiatives, or community projects that align with the company’s CSR objectives. Such grants can lead to substantial, long-term changes and foster strong partnerships with community leaders and organizations.

Why Choose Groundswell for Your Giving Initiatives?

Incorporating these elements into a giving policy requires streamlined management, transparency, and ease of execution. This is where platforms like Groundswell come into the picture.

Groundswell offers an efficient and affordable solution for companies aiming to elevate their philanthropic endeavors. Here’s why it’s the ideal choice:

  • User-Friendly Interface: Groundswell’s platform is designed for both companies and employees, ensuring smooth navigation and straightforward donation processes.
  • Versatility: Whether it’s donation matching, handling charitable stipends, or managing corporate grants, Groundswell offers solutions tailored to each company’s unique needs.
  • Cost-Effective: Groundswell provides a comprehensive suite of tools at competitive prices, ensuring that more of your money goes towards the cause rather than platform fees.
  • Transparency: Track donations, monitor employee involvement, and generate detailed reports to measure the impact—all in one place.

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An effective corporate giving policy is a blend of structure, employee engagement, and impactful contributions. By incorporating elements like donation matching, charitable stipends, “Dollars for Doers,” and corporate grants, businesses can create a ripple effect of positive change. And with platforms like Groundswell, executing these initiatives becomes not just feasible but also highly efficient and cost-effective.

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5 Tips to Boost Engagement & Impact on Giving Tuesday

Leverage GivingTuesday to boost generosity

Every November, the Tuesday after Thanksgiving is known as GivingTuesday, which often serves as the unofficial start of end-of-year giving campaigns. This comes on the heels of holiday shopping deals on Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, and Cyber Monday. It is a worldwide phenomenon, inspiring millions to lean into the end-of-year holiday spirit with generosity and compassion. For many charities, GivingTuesday has become their biggest day for donations – and can help resource their ability to have an even greater impact in the year ahead.

For companies, GivingTuesday and the end-of-year giving season offers an opportunity to double down on their commitment to social responsibility, strengthen relationships with employees, and boost their impact in the community and broader world.

At Groundswell, we partner with companies all across the country to design and launch GivingTuesday campaigns – leveraging our easy-to-use platform that makes it easy for employees to participate and send donations to the causes and charities that they care most about. Below are some best practices to boost engagement and inspire generosity during the giving season.

1. Make Giving Easy:

A lot of giving platforms out there make it incredibly hard to donate. Some don’t have all 1.5 million IRS-approved charities listed. Others require employees to navigate through a web of intranet or sharepoint sites to find the giving program landing page. And others require that HR is notified of any donations an employee wants to make. At Groundswell – we are committed to removing all of the friction, and ensuring that employees can find charities easily, through a platform that is accessible from the palm of their hand, so they can give whenever they want to.

2. Launch a GivingTuesday Match Campaign:

Through Groundswell you can customize and launch a special GivingTuesday match campaign in a matter of minutes. Simply pick the nonprofits to include in the special campaign, select the start and end-date for the campaign, and then determine the match – 2x, 3x – along with any overall budget limits, then you’re done!

3. Boost engagement by involving ERGs:

Share nonprofit recommendations from Employee Resource Groups to provide inspiration around causes and nonprofits that matter to your employees. You can feature these nonprofits on dedicated ERG Corporate Spotlights and Campaigns that will be visible to all employees on their Groundswell dashboard.

4. Surprise (and Delight) Employees With A Gift to Give:

Consider sending a surprise “gift to give” to reward those already participating in your giving program (and to incentivize others to enroll). These gifts might be used to further maximize impact through the existing campaign, or to donate to other nonprofits your employees care about. Groundswell’s custom gift feature allows companies to easily schedule and send gifts with little to no administrative burden.

5. Level up with Volunteer Matching:

Groundswell’s Volunteer Matching program – sometimes known as Dollars for Doers – recognizes that some employees may not have funds to contribute, but have time – and rewards them in the same way. It’s an inclusive approach that invites everyone to participate in GivingTuesday, even those who may not be able to donate their own funds.

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12 Employee Benefits Survey Questions Modern Companies Should Ask

In today's business environment, having the right and highest performing talent is more critical than ever. With benefits packages playing a vital role in these decisions, how can companies truly gauge their effectiveness? By initiating regular employee benefits surveys.

Scroll down for a free survey template below.

Let's dive in to the importance of asking the following questions.

Is our workforce satisfied with the current employee benefits package?

Gaining insights from "how satisfied are you with our company’s benefits package?" can offer companies a quick pulse on the effectiveness of their benefits. A dip in satisfaction might signal a need for re-evaluation, especially if you're looking to maximize your budget.

How comprehensive are the employee benefits we offer?

Do employees feel that the organization covers a wide range of their needs? Asking, "do you feel our benefits package is comprehensive in its offering?" can shed light on any potential gaps in coverage.

Are we showing true commitment to Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion through our benefits?

Are the company's efforts in promoting DE&I resonating? This can be gauged by asking if the benefits genuinely support diversity and inclusion. If they aren't, here's an opportunity to collect ideas directly from your employees.

Read more about how to make sure your giving program is equitable and inclusive.

Do our benefits reflect our company culture and values?

The question, "do you feel our benefits package supports our cultural values?" will highlight any potential discrepancies in practicing what you're preaching.

Did you know? Two-thirds of employees say it’s important for a company to align to their values.

Are we catering to the needs of a remote or multi-location workforce?

With remote work on the rise, is the company adapting its benefits accordingly? It's essential to find out if employees feel supported, regardless of their work setting.

Would employees recommend the company based on our benefits?

This is an easy one to skip, but it's a great question to ask. See how influential your benefits package is for employee referrals. Determining if employees would advocate for the company based on its benefits can be a key metric for recruitment.

How do specific benefit categories fare?

By querying satisfaction levels across various benefits – physical health, social impact, mental health, financial health, and fringe benefits – can companies discern which areas are thriving and which need enhancement?

What additional benefits do employees desire?

Is there a particular benefit that could make a difference in employee satisfaction and retention? Discovering this can be as straightforward as asking, "if you could choose one benefit not currently offered, what would it be?"

If your workforce desires a more meaningful benefit, see why decentralizing your corporate philanthropy strategy can achieve greater impact at scale.

How often should I send an employee survey about our benefits?

While every business has their own set of unique needs, conducing a quarterly employee survey at minimum can help you get a pulse check.

There will be some natural and unplanned peaks in valleys throughout the year that can drastically affect employee morale and company culture. By proactively seeking feedback through surveys, companies can foster a culture of continuous improvement, ensuring they remain at the forefront of employee satisfaction.

What are some affordable benefit options we can provide employees?

Corporate matching or giving programs can be a low-cost addition to your benefit offering that supports your employees’ unique passions and perspectives through charitable giving and boosts your company’s commitment to social impact.  Groundswell offers a comprehensive solution with a simple implementation and nearly zero administration burden.

[Free Template] Employee Benefits Survey Questions

  1. How satisfied are you with our company’s benefits package?
  2. Do you feel our benefits package is comprehensive in its offering?
  3. Do you feel our benefits package supports our cultural values?
  4. Do you feel our benefits package supports our commitment to Diversity & Inclusion?
  5. Do you feel our benefits package supports our remote or multi-location workforce?
  6. How likely are you to recommend applying based on our benefits package?
  7. How satisfied are you with our physical health benefits (i.e. health care, sick leave, etc)?
  8. How satisfied are you with our social impact benefits (i.e. corporate matching, volunteering, etc)?
  9. How satisfied are you with our mental health benefits (i.e. vacation time, EAP, etc)?
  10. How satisfied are you with our financial health benefits? (i.e. retirement, student loan assistance, etc)
  11. How satisfied are you with our fringe benefits and perks? (i.e. fitness subsidies, stipends, etc)
  12. If you could choose one benefit not currently offered, what would it be?
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