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  • Lack of Conceptual Clarity About DEI&B and Its Designated Leadership Slows Progress

    March 20, 2023 | By Kevin Gray

    Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion
    A group of job applicants waiting for an interview.

    TAGS: best practices, operations, diversity and inclusion, surveys, nace insights, talent acquisition

    Interviews with diversity, talent, and industry experts revealed confusion, conflation, and a general lack of conceptual clarity around fundamental differences in DEI&B in their organizations, according to NACE’s Recruiting for Equity at HBCUs and Beyond: Current Practices and Pitfalls.

    All interview participants affirmed the importance of diversity and stressed the importance of attracting compositionally diverse intern applicants. However, most admitted that chief executives and other senior leaders seemed to confuse or conflate terms like equity, equality, and inclusion.

    For example, one middle manager with a consulting analytics company says that not everybody knows the true difference between “equity” (giving people what they need) and “equality” (giving everyone the same thing). Because there is no agreement on terms, there is no agreement on goals, which prevents the needle from moving, she explains.

    The report identifies core questions of DEI&B as:

    • Diversity asks: Who’s in the room? How are they similar and different?
    • Equity asks: Who’s trying to get in the room, but can’t? What are the barriers? And is everyone treated fairly?
    • Inclusion asks: Does everyone feel seen, heard, respected, and understood? Who else needs space at the table?
    • Belonging asks: Does everyone feel safe, secure, and valued, just as they are, as part of the team? Able to be authentic?

    These can provide direction for employers and managers to engage deeply in dialogue about increasing diversity, achieving equity, fostering inclusion, and building belonging in workplaces for staff and student interns.

    Qualitative data for NACE and The Center for the Study of HBCUs at Virginia Union University’s Recruiting for Equity at HBCUs and Beyond: Current Practices and Pitfalls were collected from participating NACE-member employers through one-on-one interviews with a senior member of the company’s recruiting team. Interviews for were conducted from October 2021 to March 2022. The participants all work as senior DEI&B or HR personnel within companies that are NACE members. A total of 17 participants were interviewed. The report is available on NACEWeb.