Employees have a greater expectation that employers will take a stance on important societal and cultural issues, including those unrelated to an organization's mission. There has been a paradigm shift from DEI (Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion) to JEDI (Justice, Equity, Diversity, Inclusion) and making JEDI the center of the conversation.
DEI is a framework that supports fair treatment. This concept relates to the actions taken in order to change behavior, mindsets, and implement practices that create an equitable environment with inclusivity for organizations, teams, and individuals.
According to the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), DEI represents:
Diversity refers to the similarities and differences among individuals accounting for all aspects of their personality and their identity.
Equity in the workplace, refers to fair treatment in access, opportunity, and advancement for all individuals.
Inclusion describes the extent to which each person in an organization feels welcomes, respected, supported, and valued as a team member. Inclusion is creating a safe environment where respect and a sense of belonging are fostered.
Difference Between DEI and JEDI
Justice offers a deeper layer to the DEI framework. Justice attaches the responsibility to identify and remove systemic barriers while widening access to resources and opportunities. Moreover, justice addresses conflict and aims to redistribute power, while amplifying the voices of the most marginalized.
Implications of Justice
As defined by the J.E.D.I Collaborative (an organization that builds frameworks, toolkits, and resources for companies to make steps towards JEDI commitments), justice is dismantling barriers to resources and opportunities in society so that all individuals and communities can live a full and dignified life.
Below are some ideas on how employers can reflect and cultivate JEDI in the workplace:
Collect feedback on how your organization can improve the needs of underrepresented/disempowered groups. Consider hiring external support with expertise in diversity to help you identify questions to ask your team.
Reflect on current examples and the history of inequality in relation to the communities your organization are serving.
Understand the current barriers employees face. This can include revisiting HR processes and policies like making career advancement opportunities more accessible.
Brainstorm how to create open access to resources and opportunities for employees, by establishing a clear and equitable DEI vision for employee growth.
Recognize and support clients/partners who actively engage in efforts to promote justice.
With the concerns of inequality that circle around privilege, power, and oppression, justice is related to addressing those concerns of disparity. We have the ability to make changes to improve today but recognize the terrible injustices many have faced that are a part of an individuals’ journey.
The JEDI framework is constantly changing with a growing positive impact. Since JEDI has become the center of the conversation, employers must be open to changing their practices and policies more than ever. They must be ready to take action to make real change happen. As we learn to implement new practices and address inequalities, this will help cultivate healthier environments for the upcoming workforce.