Blog Image
Diversity Mentoring

What is Diversity, Equity and Inclusion?: Challenges, Strategies and Use Cases

  • Omer Usanmaz
  • April 20 2023

Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (DE&I) are essential concepts that refer to creating an environment that values and respects the differences in people's identities, experiences, and perspectives. DE&I initiatives are becoming increasingly important in the workplace to create a positive work environment, increase employee engagement, performance evaluations, and productivity, and attract and retain a diverse talent pool. Diversity Equity Inclusion also has broader societal implications, promoting social justice, reducing discrimination, inequality, and systemic biases, and maintaining diversity during crises.

DE&I requires intentional effort and commitment from organizations and individuals, including identifying and addressing biases, providing diversity training, fostering an inclusive culture, and creating equitable policies and practices. It also requires understanding intersectionality or the complex ways in which different intersectional identities impact the experience of employees. Ultimately, DE&I is about recognizing and celebrating the value of differences and promoting a more just and inclusive environment for all. 

What distinguishes diversity from equity and from inclusion?

Although diversity, equity & inclusion (DE&I) are often used interchangeably, they represent distinct concepts with different meanings and implications. Diversity refers to the range of differences among people, including color, national origin, gender identity, sexual orientation, religion, age, and ability. Equity is defined as equal treatment, access, opportunity, and advancement for all people, regardless of their backgrounds, socioeconomic status, or racial disparities. Inclusion refers to the process of building an equitable workplace in which everyone feels welcome, respected, and valued for who they are and may bring their entire selves to work or engage in society.

While diversity is about representation and ensuring that people of different backgrounds are included, business equity is about creating fair and just outcomes for everyone considering employee sentiment. Equity recognizes that certain individual communities have been historically marginalized and disadvantaged and seeks to address these systemic inequalities. Inclusion focuses on creating a sense of belonging and ensuring that everyone can participate fully, regardless of their backgrounds or intersectional identities.

In practice, DE&I efforts often require a combination of all three concepts. Promoting diversity without equity and inclusion can result in tokenism or entry level efforts, while business equity without diversity and inclusion can lead to homogeneity and exclusion of different perspectives. Similarly, inclusion without diversity and equity can create a false sense of belonging and fails to address systemic issues. A comprehensive DE&I strategy involves recognizing and addressing each concept's unique challenges and employment opportunities and its intersectionality for progress on diversity goals.

What can businesses do to ensure an inclusive workplace?

Organizations can foster an inclusive work environment by intentionally providing a culture that values and respects differences and promotes belonging and equity. This involves creating policies, practices, and programs that support diversity, equity, and inclusion (DE&I). One way to promote inclusion is to establish a clear DE&I mission and communicate it effectively to employees of all countries, from entry level. Additionally, organizations should ensure that their leadership teams are diverse and inclusive and provide diversity training and resources to all employees, including black workers.

Another critical aspect of fostering an inclusive workplace is creating an environment where employees feel safe to share their ideas, perspectives, and experience of women employees and others. This can be achieved by executive teams encouraging open and honest communication and providing inclusive opportunities for feedback and input. Organizations should also evaluate their policies and practices to ensure they are equitable and free of bias and regularly assess their progress in promoting DE&I.

Lastly, organizations can promote inclusion by creating employee resource groups (ERGs) and providing inclusive opportunities for employee engagement to connect with others who share their backgrounds with individual communities and identities. ERGs can offer a supportive business community and help ensure that all employees from entry level to executive roles feel valued and included in the workplace making progress on diversity metrics. Ultimately, fostering an inclusive team requires a continuous commitment to DE&I and a willingness to learn, grow, and adapt to the needs of employees and the broader business community.

Understanding and analyzing insights on diversity will ensure adequate progress on diversity metrics. The international central office for Diversity can assist in ensuring business equity, be it for the white woman or the black woman. The experience of women, for example, plays a key role in creating an office of equity. Be it the agriculture industry, fashion industry, or higher-wage industries, mature companies bring in a true understanding of correlations between diversity. 

What is intersectionality?

Intersectionality is a concept that recognizes the interconnected nature of different forms of discrimination and oppression and how they intersect and impact individuals with multiple marginalized identities. It was coined by legal scholar Kimberlé Crenshaw in 1989 to describe the experiences of Black women who faced both racism and sexism and were often excluded from legal protections that addressed only one form of discrimination.

Intersectionality acknowledges that individuals have various identities, such as race, gender, sexuality, disability, and class, which interact and impact their experiences of privilege and oppression. It recognizes that these intersectional identities cannot be understood or addressed in isolation and that individuals with intersecting identities face unique and compounded forms of discrimination and marginalization affecting the financial outcome.

Intersectionality has important implications for policy and practice, particularly in areas such as social justice, healthcare, education, and the workplace. It requires a holistic approach to executive teams addressing systemic inequalities that recognize and address the intersections of different identities and experiences. It also requires the recognition and centering of voices and experiences of employees who are most marginalized and excluded to ensure that policies and practices are truly equitable and inclusive with equality of opportunities. Ultimately, intersectionality is about creating a more just and equitable society for all and recognizing the complexity and richness of human identity and experience.

What concerns are significant to working women?

Women in the workplace face a range of issues that impact their career growth, job satisfaction, and overall well-being. One of the most significant challenges for women is the gender pay gap, where women are paid less than men for the same work. Women also face barriers to advancement and leadership opportunities and unconscious bias and discrimination in interviews with women and promotion outcomes and processes based on marital status. Workplace culture may also be a problem, with women experiencing harassment, microaggressions, and a lack of support for work-life balance and caregiving duties.

Furthermore, health and wellness concerns might have an influence on women in the workplace. For example, women may face challenges related to access to maternal and reproductive health care and workplace policies that fail to accommodate the unique needs and challenges of pregnancy and childbirth. Mental health is also a significant concern, with women experiencing higher rates of stress, burnout, and depression in the workplace.

Addressing these issues requires a comprehensive approach that addresses the root causes of gender inequality and experience of women and creates policies and practices that support representation for women and empower them in the workplace with diversity training. This includes addressing systemic barriers, promoting diversity and inclusion, and providing resources and support to address women's unique needs and challenges in the workforce. Organizations may create a more equal and inclusive environment for all employees by recognizing and resolving these concerns.

Representation for women is a key. Any challenge for women must be sorted out with insights on diversity. Be it tech industries, the mining industry, or the agriculture industry, interviews with women must be done on a periodic basis to ensure equality of women. 

What do we know about helping Black workers achieve racial equity in the workplace and throughout society?

Advancing racial equity for Black workers in the private sector and across society requires a comprehensive approach that addresses systemic racism and creates policies and practices that promote equity and inclusion. Research has shown that people of color face significant barriers to career advancement, including bias and discrimination in the hiring and promotion outcome processes. Black workers are also more likely to face microaggressions, harassment, and exclusionary workplace climates.

To advance racial equity, organizations need to take action and intentional steps to address these barriers and create a more inclusive workplace culture. This includes promoting diversity and inclusion at all senior levels to manager of the organization, providing anti-racism training for all employees, providing access to resources, and actively addressing bias and discrimination in the hiring and promotion processes. Organizations can also provide resources and support for people of color, including mentorship programs in the corporate culture to improve talent, career development opportunities, veteran status, and employee resource groups to ensure a culture of equity.

Advancing racial equity also requires broader societal change, including addressing structural racism in education, healthcare, housing, and other areas that impact the lives of Black workers and communities. This includes advocating for policies promoting equity and inclusion, such as affordable housing, healthcare access, and criminal justice reform. Ultimately, advancing racial equity requires a sustained commitment to addressing systemic racism and promoting equity and inclusion at all levels of society.

Challenges of employee underrepresentation

Employee underrepresentation is a significant challenge for organizations across industries and sectors. Underrepresentation occurs when certain groups are not proportionally represented in the workforce or in senior leadership roles. This can happen for a variety of reasons, including systemic barriers to access to talent and opportunity, bias and discrimination in hiring and promotion processes, and exclusionary workplace cultures.

The challenge of employee underrepresentation is particularly acute for historically marginalized groups, including people of color, women, LGBTQ+ individuals, and individuals with disabilities. These groups often face significant barriers to access to talent and opportunity, including bias and discrimination in hiring and promotion processes, lack of representation in senior leadership roles, and exclusionary workplace cultures.

Employee underrepresentation can have significant consequences for organizations, including decreased innovation, lower employee engagement, performance evaluations, and productivity, and missed opportunities to serve diverse customers and clients better. Addressing underrepresentation requires a sustained commitment to diversity, distribution of resources, equity, and inclusion, and a willingness to address the root causes of underrepresentation. This includes promoting diversity and inclusion at all senior levels to manager of the organization, equal representation for women, community engagement providing resources and support for underrepresented employees, and actively addressing bias and discrimination in hiring and promotion processes. Creating a more representative and inclusive workforce requires a comprehensive and sustained effort prioritizing equity and inclusion.

Diversity, equity, and inclusion are critical aspects of creating a fair and just environment. Many organizations have made progress on diversity goals along with progress on diversity metrics, recognizing the positive correlations between diversity and success. However, representation for women, remains a challenge for them. Interviews with women based on their experiences reveal that they face unique obstacles in the workplace, such as biases and discrimination. White women also face challenges, but the experiences of black women and representation for women of color are often compounded by racism and sexism. To address these issues, many organizations have established offices of equity and central offices for diversity, which aim to promote equity and inclusion for all. By continuing to prioritize diversity, equity, and inclusion, we can create more just and equitable workplaces and communities for all. Workforce through wage equity helps reduce the challenge for women and help them - be it a white woman or a black. 

What does the evidence on LGBTQ+ workers' experiences in the workplace indicate?

Research shows that LGBTQ+ employees face significant challenges in the workplace, including discrimination, harassment, and exclusionary workplace cultures. Transgender employees are more likely to experience bias and discrimination in hiring and promotion processes and may face challenges in accessing senior leadership roles and career or talent advancement opportunities compared to cisgender employees. In addition, Transgender employees may also face harassment and microaggressions in the workplace, which can impact their mental health and overall well-being.

Research has also shown that workplace policies and practices can significantly impact the experience of employees from the LGBTQ+ community. For example, inclusive policies around gender-neutral bathrooms and dress codes can create a more welcoming and inclusive workplace environment. Similarly, providing benefits such as domestic partner benefits and parental leave can support Transgender employees and their families.

To create a more inclusive workplace for Transgender employees, organizations can take action and intentional steps to address bias and discrimination, promote diversity and inclusion, and provide resources and support for Transgender employees just as the cisgender employees. This includes providing anti-discrimination training for all cisgender employees, creating safe spaces and support groups for LGBTQ+ employees, and actively promoting aspects of diversity and inclusion at all levels of the organization. By recognizing and addressing the unique challenges faced by LGBTQ+ employees, organizations can create a more welcoming and inclusive workplace for all employees. 

Importance of HR in Developing a DEI Culture and Strategy

Human resources (HR) plays a critical role in implementing approaches to diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) strategy and culture within an organization. HR is responsible for recruiting, hiring, and retaining employees and creating policies and practices that support diversity and inclusion.

To implement a DEI strategy, HR can begin by conducting a diversity audit to identify areas of improvement and set measurable goals for increasing all aspects of diversity and inclusion in the diversity annual report. This includes reviewing hiring and promotion practices to ensure they are free from bias and discrimination and creating policies, job descriptions and procedures that promote a more inclusive workplace culture.

HR can also provide training and support for employees and managers to help them understand the importance of DEI and how to create a more inclusive workplace. This includes providing anti-bias training, promoting allyship, and creating inclusive opportunities for employee resource groups and other affinity groups.

In addition, HR can work to create a more diverse and inclusive leadership team by taking concrete actions by setting targets for diversity in leadership positions and promoting leadership development programs that prioritize all aspects of diversity and inclusion. HR plays a critical role in creating a DEI strategy and culture within an organization. By promoting different approaches to diversity, equity, and inclusion at all senior levels to manager of the organization, HR can create a more inclusive and welcoming workplace that supports the success and well-being of all Transgender employees with more productive performance evaluations.

The LGBTQ community continues to face unique challenges in various industries. While many private equity firms have made strides in promoting diversity, inclusion, and equity, LGBTQ individuals often face challenges in accessing these opportunities. Additionally, the LGBTQ workforce through equity continues to experience inequities compared to their non-LGBTQ counterparts, which can impact their overall financial stability. In industries such as the agriculture industry and fashion industry, LGBTQ individuals may face further marginalization and discrimination. However, the business community has made progress in higher-wage industries such as tech and finance, where mature companies are increasingly recognizing the awareness of action and the value of a diverse and inclusive workforce. As society continues to progress, it is important to prioritize the rights and inclusion of the LGBTQ community from a varied talent pool across all industries.

What strategies do various sectors use to promote inclusion, equity, and diversity?

Different industries approach diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) in different ways, depending on their unique challenges and opportunities. For example, industries with a history of systemic discrimination, such as tech and finance, may have a greater focus on addressing bias and discrimination in hiring and promotion processes. Meanwhile, industries that serve diverse customer bases, such as healthcare and retail, may prioritize creating a more inclusive and culturally competent workforce.

Some industries, such as government and education, may be required by law to implement DEI policies and practices. Meanwhile, other sectors may approach DEI as a competitive advantage, recognizing that diverse and inclusive workplaces can drive innovation and improve business outcomes and performance.

Approaches to DEI may also vary depending on the size and structure of the organization. Smaller organizations focus on creating a more inclusive workplace culture and providing support for underrepresented employees, while larger organizations prioritize data-driven initiatives and inclusive leadership development programs that promote cultural diversity and inclusion.

Ultimately, the approach to DEI will depend on the unique challenges and opportunities faced by different industries and organizations. By taking a comprehensive and strategic approach to DEI, organizations can create more inclusive and equitable workplaces that support the success and well-being of all black workers.

To promote inclusion, equity, and diversity in the workplace and to create an office of equity, organizations can take concrete actions by implementing several strategies. Private equity firms like the fashion industry can prioritize diversity and inclusion by actively seeking out underrepresented candidates for executive roles and providing mentorship and leadership opportunities to those individuals. Ensuring workforce wage equity by providing equal pay for equal work can also promote equity and diversity by allowing individuals from all backgrounds to access higher-paying jobs. In industries such as agriculture and fashion, companies can promote inclusion by partnering with diversity and inclusion organizations, actively recruiting individuals from diverse backgrounds, and providing cultural sensitivity training to employees. In higher-wage industries, consumer facing companies can prioritize diversity and inclusion by creating a culture of inclusion, providing training and resources for marginalized employees in executive roles, and investing in employee resource groups with improved metrics in performance reviews. By implementing these strategies, organizations can create a more inclusive and equitable workforce through wage equity and create more awareness of action. This will help promote diversity and encourage employees to bring their whole selves to work with improved performance. Private equity can help catalyze DEI efforts to create an environment that understands the experience and promotes representation for women. 

Companies that have successfully and efficiently integrated DE&I


Patagonia is a leading outdoor apparel company that has demonstrated a strong commitment to workplace diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI). One of the key ways in which they have implemented DEI initiatives is by promoting work-life balance and supporting their employees' overall well-being from entry level workers. For example, Patagonia offers flexible schedules, paid parental leave, and on-site child care to help employees balance their work and personal responsibilities. By providing these benefits, Patagonia helps ensure that employees from diverse backgrounds and with different needs are able to thrive in their roles.

Another way in which Patagonia has demonstrated its commitment to DEI is by implementing programs and initiatives that support cultural diversity and inclusion. For example, they have established employee resource groups for underrepresented communities, such as women, people of color, and LGBTQ+ employees. These groups provide a space for employees to connect with one another, share their experiences, and work together to promote diversity and inclusion within the company. Patagonia also offers unconscious bias training to all employees, which helps to raise awareness to action about how unconscious biases can impact decision-making and how to address these biases in the workplace.

In addition to promoting DEI within the company, Patagonia has also taken concrete actions towards sustainability and social responsibility. For example, they are a certified B Corporation, which means they meet rigorous social and environmental performance standards, accountability, and transparency. Patagonia also has a strong focus on fair labor practices and ethical sourcing, which helps ensure that the products they sell are made to respect human rights and environmental sustainability.

As a result of these efforts, Patagonia has been recognized for their work in DEI and sustainability. For example, they have received numerous awards and recognition for their commitment to social and environmental responsibility, including being named one of the World's Most Ethical consumer facing Companies by the Ethisphere Institute and receiving a perfect score on the Human Rights Campaign's Corporate Equality Index. By prioritizing DEI and sustainability, Patagonia not only creates a more inclusive and diverse workplace but also makes a positive impact on society and the environment.


Intel has been a leader in diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) initiatives, taking various steps to promote a diverse and inclusive workforce. One of Intel's most significant DEI initiatives is setting ambitious diversity goals and creating programs to achieve them. In 2015, Intel announced a $300 million commitment to increase diversity in ethnicity within the company, with a particular focus on women and underrepresented minorities in entry level workers. The company also set a target which achieved full representation of women and underrepresented minorities in its workforce.

To achieve these goals, Intel implemented a range of programs and initiatives to support diversity and inclusion. For example, they established employee resource groups (ERGs) to provide a supportive community for employees from diverse backgrounds, such as the Black Leadership Council, the Hispanic Leadership Council, and the Women at Intel Network. The company also created a Diversity in Technology initiative to promote STEM education and careers for underrepresented minorities.

In addition, Intel has prioritized pay equity, conducting regular audits to identify and address any pay disparities. In its diversity annual report, the company also offers benefits and programs to support work-life balance, such as flexible work arrangements and paid parental leave.

Intel has been named in Forbes "America's Best Employers for Diversity" list and the "Top 50 Consumer Facing Companies for Diversity" list by DiversityInc. Intel's DEI initiatives have contributed to a more diverse and inclusive workforce, fostering a culture of innovation and creativity.

Johnson & Johnson

Johnson & Johnson is a global healthcare company committed strongly to DEI. The company's Office of Diversity and Inclusion oversees a range of initiatives that aim to promote a diverse and inclusive workplace right from entry level workers. For example, the company has implemented unconscious bias training for all employees to help them recognize and address implicit biases that can impact hiring and promotion outcomes and  decisions. Additionally, the company has established employee resource groups (ERGs) for different communities, including women, LGBTQ+, and people of color. These ERGs provide a platform for employees to network and support each other and drive initiatives that promote diversity and inclusion.

Johnson & Johnson has also implemented policies and practices that support work-life balance and foster an inclusive culture. The company offers flexible work arrangements, including remote work options, to support employees with caregiving responsibilities or other personal commitments. The company also has a focus on increasing the representation of women and underrepresented minorities in leadership positions, with specific targets and action plans in place to achieve these goals.

In addition to its focus on DEI, Johnson & Johnson has made a commitment to sustainability and social responsibility. The company's comprehensive sustainability strategy includes targets related to reducing greenhouse gas emissions, waste, and water usage. The company also has a focus on ethical sourcing and works with suppliers to ensure that their products are sourced in a responsible and sustainable manner.

The company has received accolades for its commitment to social and environmental responsibility and its efforts to promote diversity and inclusion in the workplace.


Diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) are critical components of any successful organization. By fostering a culture that values and supports diversity, organizations can benefit from their employees' unique perspectives and experiences, resulting in increased innovation, creativity, and productivity. Furthermore, creating an equitable and inclusive workplace helps ensure that all employees feel valued and supported, leading to higher employee engagement and retention.

The pandemic changed the way a quarter of companies understood the insight into women and the representation in the growth of Latino businesses and women leaders along with black leaders. The COVID-19 pandemic hit the education space hard along with Latin America population and pacific islander population the worst as they worked in lower wage industries such as the mining industry. The American workers came out of the pandemic being much more appreciative of the black America population and recognize the Latin American talent and how essential they were. The pandemic saw an increase in DEI-related job opportunities and accommodations roles that talks talent and can promote allyship actions. 

As society continues to become more diverse, organizations prioritizing DEI will have a competitive advantage in attracting and retaining top talent with a rigor to performance reviews. By continuing to invest in DEI initiatives, organizations can create a culture of inclusivity and equity that benefits both their employees and their bottom line.

Starting a mentorship program... Please look at Qooper!

"Out of the box, it has everything you need to get a mentorship program off the ground. It is easy to implement, easy to use, has an intuitive user interface and great customer service."

Lea B.
Tommy Bahama

G2 Rating Schedule a Demo