Today, when we think that "diversity", "equality" and "tolerance" have become universal values, reality will still be mercilessly slapped, resounding from one side of the world to this side of the world.

Text | Louise

The Financial Times reported that TikTok London has triggered a wave of departures due to a "culture clash" between its employees and Chinese executives. The controversy was triggered by Joshua Ma, head of TikTok's European e-commerce business, saying in an internal meeting: "As a 'capitalist', I don't think there is a need to provide 'maternity leave' for employees at all."

TikTok employees say the company's culture is always too aggressive, unrealistic and disregarding employee rights, contrary to British working practices, and that puzzling goals and expectations make employees work more than 12 hours on a regular basis, from "breakfast" to "dinner", unconditional overtime just because "evening live broadcasts are more successful".

TikTok responded, and they are investing heavily in and expanding resources, structures, and processes to support a positive employee experience.

The Financial Times cited "culture clash" as the main reason for the expansion of TikTok in London, and the reason why TikTop kicked the iron plate in the UK market was not because of the funding gap, business model failure, or market competition, but the indifference to the issue of DEI in the workplace.

In the contemporary era where diversity, equality and inclusion (DEI) are regarded as basic human rights, taking DEI principles as the basic DNA of enterprises is no longer just to avoid evil, but is related to the sustainable growth of an enterprise, if building a solid and evergreen enterprise is everyone's vision, then DEI is not only a means to hit the sky, build an image, implement social corporate responsibility, but one of the key strategies for the company's sustainable growth.

Photo | Photo by Tim Mossholder on Unsplash

Q1: What exactly is diversity, equality and inclusion (DEI) in the workplace?

DEI (Diversity, Equity and Inclusion) means diversity, equity and inclusion, and in the past, women often used "Diversity & Inclusion" (D&I) to communicate related issues.

Is it too early or too late for business owners, managers, and human resources to talk about this topic? Let's start with a simple example.

The post-pandemic era of great shortage of work has spread from all over the world. As early as August 2021, the New York Times reported on the shortage of jobs at Starbucks and Walmart, and the data pointed out that even though the monthly unemployment rate in the United States climbed to 6% at that time, there were still millions of actual job seekers.

If unemployment remains high, why is there still a "shortage of work"?

On the economic level, the monthly unemployment benefits provided by the US government during the epidemic are much higher than the original salaries of grassroots employees, so many people prefer to receive benefits at home rather than return to the workplace; At the psychological level, the epidemic has given practitioners from all walks of life the opportunity to reorganize, and people have begun to rethink the nature of work from various places such as salary structure, abnormal working hours, and psychological damage caused by the workplace environment.

An epidemic has made everyone begin to wake up, what is the purpose of their hard work?

Is there a possibility of adjustment to the work environment that we once took for granted?

Do we even have the ability and right to pursue a better workplace environment?

Photo | Photo by Asael Peña on Unsplash

In the face of the wave of departures caused by the "employee awakening", how can enterprises be sustainable and transformed? How do you build a resilient organization? will be the key to retaining top talent, and DEI policies can start at the bottom and gradually stack employees' trust in the company.

In the face of so-called workplace transformation, HR and supervisors may say: the company has been operating for decades, the constitution has been determined, and it is difficult to adjust.

But here's the thing: Even though implementing DEI policies won't happen overnight in the long run, we can still start small and take it one step at a time.

Taking the New York Times survey of the recruitment status of General Motors, Amazon, Apple, Starbucks, Wal-Mart and other companies in the United States after the epidemic as an example, three entry points can be sorted out:

  1. Improve salary competitiveness: start with the salary structure, and give reasonable and fair (even higher than market conditions) treatment under the same grade and function.

  2. Create a friendly workplace: Provide paid physiological leave, flexible working hours, remote work, home office, office childcare and other related benefits.

  3. Provide employee growth opportunities: For example, Walmart, the largest retailer in the United States, pays 100% of its part-time and full-time employees for online college tuition, and provides free professional degree programs in business administration, supply chain and other fields at ten universities.

The above three points are only a small part of the implementation of DEI policies, but for a considerable number of companies, they are a big step forward.

(Recommended reading: DEI strategy between | ten years of hard work, ten seconds of inflammation!) Let women's cultivation be seen by society, and enterprises can do this)

Since 2021, there is still a shortage of workers around the world, and many companies use material things as an incentive to raise salaries, reward and provide facilities, hoping to recruit more recruits. For example, Shanghai Yin Technology, a major automation component manufacturer in Taiwan, provides employee dormitories, sports rest areas, and employee dormitories like mansions.

However, rather than actual "resources", DEI policy is more inclined to build an invisible "environment", a work environment willing to give equal development, pluralistic dialogue, fair interaction and open communication, and its pull will sometimes be more effective than spending a lot of money on hardware investment.

On the contrary, recently Facebook founder Zuckerberg shouted the slogan "some people are not worthy of the company", and limited Meta employee benefits, canceled free laundry for employees, postponed dinner, reduced new recruitment, and canceled benefits in a large way, which not only made Meta's image plummet, but also made it the largest stock price decline among Silicon Valley technology giants in recent times.

The New York Times described the era of Facebook employees enjoying luxury benefits as over, and even topped the list of "people's most hated companies" in the past few months, which shows that the long-term "gold is the best, the failure is in the middle" business strategy, coupled with the change in market winds, once the company is robbed, it is easier to plummet.

After all, rooms can be changed, but the place of responsibility, faith, trust and love is home, and the workplace is also the workplace.

(Year in Review: 2021 DEI Event Review: From East Olympics to Transgender Gender Identity, Seeing Diversity, Equity and Inclusion)

Q2: What is workplace diversity / diversity?

Why do we need diversity in our workplaces?

Imagine that when the world is becoming more and more changing, your users and customers are no longer limited to a specific region and field, the development of science and technology and demand have spawned the deconstruction of various industries, and many "coopetition relationships" that have never been thought of in the past are also emerging.

In this case, how can a company's talent be limited to an established ethnic group (e.g., specific gender, function, background, education...), how can it face this changing world?

The more diverse talent you have, the more flexible companies can be, and the era has come for a more volatile market. For enterprises, behind the diversity of talents is more unlimited business possibilities.

According to the McKinsey survey, companies in the top quartile of racial and ethnic diversity are 30% more likely to earn returns above the median of their industries; Companies with diverse genders are 21% more likely to earn better returns.

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The so-called diversity of the workplace, we can simply divide into several categories:

  1. Physiological categories: age, appearance, figure, gender, race, sexual orientation, gender identity, etc.

  2. Cultural category: nationality, class, growth background, education, ideology, political orientation, etc.

  3. Professional category: education, experience, seniority, etc.

  4. Personality categories: interests, personality, preferences, etc.

The diversity of a person's identity is reflected in many aspects, including social differences in race, gender identity, sexual orientation, religion, nationality, body type, age, height, etc., as well as various preferences and ideologies of emotional orientation.

In addition to the physical diversity described above, workplace diversity/pluralism also includes diversity at the perceptual level.

Because we know that a person cannot have only one aspect, there are still "extroverts / introverts", "sociable / not good at socializing", "rigorous / loose", "logical / imaginative" differences within him, how to open up various possibilities in the workplace and welcome people with different identities, backgrounds, personalities, and orientations to participate together, which is the pluralistic value advocated in the workplace DEI.

(Guess what you want to see: DEI strategy| companies want to recruit diversified, but are afraid of being misunderstood and discriminated against?) Reduce "unconscious bias", HR can do this)

Q3: What is Equity?

The so-called fairness refers to the unconditional treatment, opportunity and progress space of companies, organizations and departments to everyone.

This is the key to assisting every employee in the enterprise to complete self-practice, affirm efforts, and create gains. And that's what Gen Y and Gen Z workers need to find work.

Workplace fairness requires organizations to "identify" and "remove" obstacles to past employees' full participation in the company's systems, such as difficulties in women's promotions, gender/education equals in the workplace, and unequal rights such as men not being granted parental leave.

In addition, fairness affects who can get promotion opportunities and whether employees can get a sense of value and achievement in their work, so fair treatment at work must be conscious and carefully designed, and leaders must thoroughly review the company's policies, processes and environment to ensure that every employee feels true fairness.

Photo by Redd on Unsplash |

For companies to get closer to a "fair workplace", they must first grasp 3 important principles:

  1. Elimination of privileges: fairness means that the same "privileges" will apply to all employees;

  2. Face up to injustice: Managers must realize that not all employees start from the same starting point;

  3. Establish a principle of equal treatment: Re-establish management mechanisms that take into account the needs of diverse employees.

Under the premise of fairness, all employees will have the opportunity to perform their "best level", they can feel that they are fully supported, have the same opportunities as others, even if they have different characteristics from others, they are still in the company's possible development space, which is not the most organic growth driver of a company?

No need to ignore human rights, reduce costs (cost down), do not struggle to check the efforts of employees, and do not need to establish loopholes in KPIs to monitor employees.

In a fair and growing workplace, employees will take the initiative to find a way out for the company and seek the best solution for the company's profits, because they know that all efforts have the premise of "fairness", all efforts will return to self-practice, and all efforts will be sincerely accepted, and there will be no change because you are different from others.

At this point, some people must be curious, what is the difference between the so-called "equity" and "equality"?

(The study found that more than 70% of respondents in the DEI Workplace Survey | said that the workplace is still unfriendly to LGBTQ people)

Q4: What is the difference between equity and equality?

Equality means that everyone is allocated the same resources to get opportunities and tasks done. That is, no matter who you are (tall, short, fat, thin, gender, sexual orientation, race, education, physical inadequacy...) you have access to the same resources.

Fairness refers to providing opportunities, resources and assistance "according to each person's circumstances" so that competition for all can be based on a fair principle.

It can be seen that what equity pursues is not a synergy of equality, because co-headed equality has its limits, and each innate condition is different, so you need to choose to give different sizes of stairs, elevators, and escalators according to each person's situation, so that the difficulty of their climbing is close to the same.

Once the company can systematically address the inequities and gaps, so that each employee can obtain the necessary resources in the most appropriate position, then they may have a better chance of changing, and for the company, providing equal conditions and environment will help stimulate talent to be as effective as possible.

Q5: What is Inclusion in the Workplace?

Many people ask: If we already have "diversity" in our workplace, can we naturally reflect the characteristics of inclusion?

The answer is no. Why?

Like the "fairness" in the workplace, the so-called "inclusiveness" in the workplace is also a deliberate action.

As part of the modern workplace, we need to know that employees are not just tools to pay to get work done, and that companies with strongman politics (executives, executives, and regardless of other people's opinions) will eventually perish.

No employee will be willing to give concrete advice to a company that is not "inclusive", and in this kind of organization without a relationship of trust between the top and the bottom, people will begin to fall for change.

When "the boss will not accept anything I say anyway" and "everyone is mixing anyway, I will mix for a day" become the norm, and the operation of the enterprise / organization will enter a kind of vicious circle.

You can imagine that a company full of distrust between organizations, unwilling to actively propose better ideas, and pursue common growth, will one day be dragged down by mutual distrust, and when such an atmosphere gradually becomes part of the corporate culture, good talents will also stay away.

After all, given the choice, no one wants to work in an un"inclusive" workplace.

(Read more: Women Fan DEI Workplace Survey | Companies Encourage Respect, but More than 60% Still Allow Inappropriate Gender/Age Jokes to Happen)

Photo | Photo by Sharon McCutcheon on Unsplash

Conclusion: Dear human resources and bosses, please consider DEI to be the most important thing in the modern workplace!

It is undeniable that diversity, equality and inclusion (DEI) has become an important element in governments, businesses, families and organizations.

Many well-known companies, including Apple, Google, Meta, Tesla, Microsoft, Amazon, etc., have also sent enterprise DEI white papers in the past two years to understand the company's demographic composition through data, and at the same time offer the next internal and external DEI policies.

The workplace is where all of us spend the most time in our lives, which is why diversity, equality and inclusion in the workplace are so important, how important is it that we invest our youth, talent, share glory, and get paid for our business and ideals.

If you ask me, I would say that this is something that is "one of the most important things in life."

Counting how much time you and I will spend in work and entering the workplace, and how important workplace DEI is, the conclusion is self-evident.