DE&I Employer Toolkit

Five Essential Leadership Competencies of Effective Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Leaders


Business has been a field of study for centuries. The first MBA was issued by the Harvard Graduate School of Business Administration in 1908. Within the field of business, however, diversity, equity, and inclusion (DE&I) are relatively modern concepts that only recently have received much-needed attention. The growing emphasis on DE&I has been driven in part by a heightened awareness – by customers, employees, shareholders, and the public – of historic inequities in social systems, including employment.

At the same time, employers themselves increasingly recognize that diversity, equity, and inclusion are essential objectives, not only from a moral standpoint, but also for organizational success. DE&I is simply good for business, and the return on investment is significant. This awakening has been evident in West Michigan, where employers have demonstrated their willingness to affirm their commitment to advancing DE&I. This is progress, but it leaves the business community facing a question: How can DE&I commitments be transformed into effective strategies and sustainable efforts? By building on the foundation established by experienced DE&I leadership, this guide seeks to support the progress of diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts in West Michigan and beyond.

This guide documents what a DE&I leader needs to know and be able to do to be effective in their role.The second edition builds on the foundational content of the 2020 release. The equity section is expanded to provide examples of how to create more equitable workplaces. A new section was also added offering examples of how to gauge inclusion beyond tracking workforce demographics by measuring attitudes, the human experience, and community involvement.


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