Widnet Solutions

INTERVIEW WITH AN EXPERT: A conversation on Diversity, Equity and Inclusion with Laura Smith, consultant and founder of VALIDEI

What is DEI?

Diversity, Equity, and inclusion (DEI) are policies and strategies promoting the representation and participation of different groups of people: of different genders, ethnicities, abilities, religions, cultures, and sexual orientations.

While diversity stands for a different group of persons, Equity is about fairness. Having Equity in place means that everyone is accommodated and supported within a company so that they can thrive!

Inclusion is about the experiences and feelings people have in the company.


What do DEI consultants do?

To understand how to help companies and organizations achieve DEI goals, they must first understand the current gaps, what is lacking, and the challenges to solve.


What do you need to analyze?

Analyzing diversity is a quantitative exercise based on analyzing Human Resources data.

In terms of Equity, we ask ourselves whether the existing policies are working – so it’s a research exercise. Last, we measure inclusion with perception and self-reporting.


What are the reasons to focus on differences?

Our companies and organizations exist because of the people working there, and differences impact that. In times of competition for employees, especially in the tech sector, companies might need to look at candidates from unusual and underrepresented backgrounds.

Second, Today’s employees have options – they value the workplace taking care of them and will prioritize a good experience over another. Guess what? Differences impact those experiences! Third, to make the work of HR more effective and meaningful. Understanding the people who make our business successful means we can cater better to them.


Besides employees, what are the companies’ stakeholders?

Ever thought about differences and consumers? Companies should ask themselves questions like:

  • which differences affect how your product or service will be used?
  • Which differences affect how your company’s culture&communication will be received?


How do you kick off a DEI strategy?

Contrary to what one could believe, it is not by recruiting more people from underrepresented groups! First, one should turn to research equity – are the policies a company already has working?


What are the common mistakes companies make?

First of all, we need to keep in mind that diversity without inclusion is just decoration. We don’t only need to check the diversity boxes, but act on many levels, with the ultimate goal of empowering people.

Some companies tend to announce a DEI Strategy before they start implementing it – change doesn’t happen overnight; one needs to plan long term and measure results over time, to track progress and evaluate whether the strategy has worked.

interview with:

Laura Smith

Laura Smith

Consultant and founder of VALIDEI

About Laura