How companies can be more diverse, equitable and inclusive

Credit: CBSNews
Credit: CBSNews

▶ Watch Video: Author Deanna Singh on how to create an inclusive workplace

Diversity, equity and inclusion consultant Deanna Singh says having a diverse workforce isn’t enough when it comes to a company’s professional development. The author, who has conducted diversity training for nonprofit organizations and Fortune 500 companies, says it is up to the business to also create environments where all employees also feel included as well. 

“If we could just get people to start thinking about their workplaces more inclusively, people could thrive,” Singh told “CBS Mornings” on Thursday. 

In her new book, “Actions Speak Louder: A Step-by-Step Guide to Becoming an Inclusive Workplace,” Singh lays the groundwork for how companies and institutions can foster diverse, equitable and inclusive environments. 

The guide, published by Portfolio, was inspired by her own personal experiences as a biracial woman of Black and Indian descent. She told “CBS Mornings” that her mother, who is African American, married her father, who is Indian, after knowing each other for three months and without speaking the same language at the time. The two have been married for more than 40 years, Singh said. 

“One of the things that I got to learn at a very early age is that when you’re able to create inclusive environments — these two people who on paper shouldn’t have been able to make it work did and did it really well — you can create so many amazing things,” she said. “So from a personal perspective I’ve got to watch that my entire life.”

Singh’s book was also inspired by her experiences in the professional sector as well, where she said she felt as though she “wasn’t seen” or that her “ideas weren’t valued” as a woman of color. 

“I couldn’t really get to where I knew I should be or where I was hoping to get to or as fast as I should have been able to,” Singh said. 

The author advocates for diversity, equity and inclusion being treated in workplaces as another strength that can be beneficial to both employers and employees. But according to the recent report Elevating Equity: The Real Story of Diversity and Inclusion, 76% of 800 surveyed companies from various industries were found to have no diversity or inclusion goals at all.

Singh says reluctance to approaching these concepts in a workplace often comes from “a lot of fear.”

“Unfortunately what we’ve done is we’ve kind of moralized the conversation around diversity, equity and inclusion. If you are a person who understands it, you’re a good person and if you’re somebody who doesn’t, you’re a bad person,” she said. “What’s unfortunate about that is that what it does is takes us away from being able to have a conversation about this just being another skill.”

In her book, Singh says she provides tangible actions on how to get rid of these fears and tools for facilitating real change when it comes to diversity, equity and inclusion within an organization. “Actions Speak Louder: A Step-by-Step Guide to Becoming an Inclusive Workplace” is available for purchase now.