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A post appeared in my LinkedIn feed about designing intentional workplaces. A space where employees “bring their full selves to work, and feel like they belong.” If you follow my blog, you know one of my themes is diversity and inclusion. So when I read about DEB, it caught my eye. DEB stands for diversity, equity and belonging.

First, props to Envoy for the above quote and DEB strategy. This company develops tech-based platforms to better manage intake processes such as welcoming visitors and booking meeting rooms. I love they produced an eBook on this strategy yet aren’t positioned specifically in this arena.

Here’s an interesting statistic from the post. Jobs dedicated to DEB have grown by 20%. In addition, leadership teams can expect candidates to ask about “their company’s DEB efforts as much as their product roadmap.” Honestly? I think this is awesome! Equally, I wonder how many of us are ready to share our DEB vision?

Defining DEB

The words Be Known reflect DEB which means diversity, equity and belonging
Photo by Mitchell Griest on Unsplash

Let’s start by defining the mindset and culture defining DEB.

DIVERSITY. Diversity is the intentional seeking and embracing of difference. I’m defining embraced difference as learning about the unique strengths of your team. Not only their strengths but also their expertise and passion. Likewise, thought leadership and perspective. It’s acknowledging how this collective skill set is formed through individually lived experiences. As a leader, dial into how this informs each team member’s thinking and communication. And use this input to inform your planning.

EQUITY. Equity means impartiality and fairness. It’s an intentional practice aligned with diversity. Equity is sitting in the middle and finding equal footing among your team members. Equal footing doesn’t mean common ground! In order to value difference, bring various perspectives together to form a new perspective. Consider something undiscovered. It’s a worthwhile endeavor and requires stellar listening and interpreting skills. As a result, you’ll create value and voice for all.

BELONGING. A good leader motivates; a true leader mentors. Mentoring means listening with respect and intrigue. When you embrace this, your team knows you have their back. In order to get someone’s back, listen to learn. Mentoring is tough. For example, negotiate team member’s goals with organizational goals. Consider infrastructure and growth opportunities as well. I encourage leaders to be bold! Rise up, ask (or push!) a boundary to find new progression paths. At the end of the day, make your team feel safe and valued. As a result, you’ll evoke trust and honesty. And yes, belonging.

Connecting diversity, equity and belonging together

A white hand is painted with a rainbow kaleidoscope across the palm to reflect DEB which is diversity, equity and belonging
Photo by Sharon McCutcheon on Unsplash

So maybe it’s me because I dig this stuff. But diversity + equity + belonging are unique yet beautifully connected. Do you see it?

  • The D. Invite different approaches and opinions to formulate new solutions. Establish a meeting space where all voices are invited and heard.
  • The E. Be the referee among the voices. Call a penalty if needed. Celebrate a first down when new ground versus common ground is discovered.
  • The B. Invite an array of voices. You’ll help team members flourish. In essence, this is mentoring. Mentoring fosters growth and growth inspires untapped talent.

Take a deeper dive into DEB with Envoy here. Take a deeper dive into brand building leveraging DEB with Seachange Branding here. As always, I’m not a solo voice. Share your own DEB thoughts and/or work experiences.


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