What is Diversity, Equity, Inclusion (DEI)?AboitizEyes
What are ways to improve Diversity, Equity, Inclusion in the Philippines?
- Discover individual and collective perspectives
- Put a focus on equity
- Celebrate diversity
- Lead inclusively
Diversity is the presence of differences in race, ethnicity, gender identity, sexual orientation, age, physical ability, and socioeconomic class. Equity concerns whether practices are impartial, and provide equal outcomes for everyone involved. Inclusion is the sense of belonging within a group.
Altogether, these elements create a concept: DEI. This is an ethos that recognizes the value of diverse perspectives in an organization, and how inclusivity and equity promote employee well-being.
To bring those values to life, companies in the Philippines must put diversity, equity, and inclusion at the heart of their organizational initiatives.
What Does DEI Mean in the Workplace?
We all want to feel like we belong. Naturally, this is something we seek even at work. Not only do we wish to feel included, but we also want all the members of our teams and organizations to feel the same way.
This is what DEI in the workplace means. When we promote this ethos in the workplace, we set up programs, policies, and strategies to create and sustain a more diverse, equitable, and inclusive environment. We also ensure that the people around us respect and accommodate others’ unique perspectives and needs.
At Aboitiz, we intuitively know that this is conducive to employee well-being, and can help us attract and retain the most diverse and talented employees. More than that, however, we know it is the right way to do business.
Four Powerful Ways to Improve Workplace DEI
So how do we build DEI in the workplace? Building this concept is deceptively difficult, but organizations can overcome these challenges by implementing systemic change, adopting inclusive behaviors, and most importantly, listening to their people.
Here are a few ways we have learned to navigate this concept, and identify concrete actions that helped Aboitiz Group foster better and more widespread diversity, equity, and inclusion:
Discover individual and collective perspectives
The first step is to discover the opportunities within your organization, not try to replicate initiatives that seemed effective for other businesses. After all, each working environment is wholly unique, so DEI strategies can’t work as a one-size-fits-all solution.
To gain awareness of the intricacies and issues that affect individuals, teams, and your organization as a whole, you need to speak with your people — and really listen to their concerns.
This means allowing them to articulate their individual and collective perspective. From here, consider how their identity, culture, and experiences with power and privilege might affect their perspective. You can start putting together the bigger picture from this, and identify the most relevant opportunities for change within your organization.
At Aboitiz Group, we consistently reach out to our A-people to find new ways to improve how we engage with them and provide the environment they need to feel included and fulfilled in their work with us.
Put a focus on equity
When discussing DEI initiatives, you have to consider placing equity before diversity and inclusion. There’s a good reason for this.
Our belief is that without equity, any effort made to promote diversity and inclusivity for our A-people is commendable — but ultimately not sustainable. This is because at the core of equity is providing everyone with fair but contextually appropriate opportunities. This is key to helping our people attain their full potential.
Rather than assume that every one of our A-people has the same experiences, we look for ways to help them advance through their careers and level the playing field, so to speak.
Part of this is our Aboitiz Mentorship program — a dynamic, two-way mentorship that encourages them to learn and help one another through their career journeys. We believe that this mentorship program helps bridge gaps, and nurtures a pipeline of future leaders within our company.
Another effort under this strategy is the Aboitiz Academy, which is a learning and training resources hub that showcases various modules and courses, geared to helping our people learn more about skills and topics they are interested in.
One of our past launches was a CSR module, which we used to enrich the knowledge, skills, and mindset of our CSR professionals. Through the Aboitiz Academy, they were able to better deliver their initiatives, attain holistic growth, and ultimately reach greater heights professionally.
Rather than shy away from the intrinsic differences that each new hire brings to the Aboitiz Group, we choose to celebrate them. This is key to creating the most value from the collective differences in beliefs, experiences, backgrounds, and behaviors that our A-people bring to the table.
This involves recognizing and engaging said differences and exploring the impact of this diversity on perspectives and approaches to work. From here, we can identify ways to optimize the contribution of all.
One of our most recent efforts to champion diversity in our workplace is through changing our working schedules and shifting to a more flexible work policy: Spreadquarters. By removing traditional constraints on work, we were able to take into account the individual needs of our team members.
Despite many of them working remotely and using flexi-time, we saw this change brought about better work-life balance, lower levels of absence, and lower levels of stress!
This change was a product of the REMIX program, which encourages employee-led initiatives and open discussions about diversity. Under the same program, we have adapted our DEI approach in recent years and established tailored-to-the-employee benefits, and the inclusion of LGBTQ+ and common-law partners for our medical benefits, among others.
Leading inclusively means we have to make intentional and ongoing efforts to make sure everyone feels like they belong in our organization. We believe that this encourages our teams to fully participate and bring their uniqueness to the work that we do.
This is why we always revisit how we engage with and manage our people. We know that, by looking at what new tools, resources, and support we need each year, we can better improve our ability to build compassionate relationships, foster camaraderie, manage conflict, and bring out the best in our A-people.
Year by year, we look at how we create sustainable and meaningful value for our team members, who we have always considered the backbone of our continued success as an organization. And, we report our efforts transparently: click here to see what we’re currently doing!
When it comes to diversity, equity, and inclusivity in the Philippine workplace, we here at Aboitiz Group embody them. DEI, as you can see, is a priceless asset and enables our talent to thrive, contribute, progress, and achieve their best self within our organization.
Each year, we look for new ways to promote this concept in our companies, as we believe it ensures the well-being of our team members, and keeps us united as One Aboitiz — see more of our efforts for sustainability in the Philippines here.