DEIA: Why Great Business Strategy Comes from All Perspectives


Today’s work environment is becoming more diverse and inclusive than ever thanks to White House Executive Orders, Federal and state laws, changing organizational ideas of diversity and inclusion, and organizations’ Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Accessibility (DEIA) initiatives. Despite recent strides towards DEIA, there remains ample opportunity for organizations and teams to continue to improve through the strategic development and implementation of DEIA plans. The White House’s update to the President’s Management Agenda states four goals: creating more equitable employee engagement, revamping federal hiring process, attracting new federal workers in mission-critical jobs, and promoting diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility. DEIA is on the precipice of unprecedented momentum because of the commitment from the White House to use metrics to measure agencies’ performance. It will take strategy and leadership to usher in these priorities.  

What is DEIA and Why is it Important? 

There are four tenets to DEIA and are defined as follows per the recent Executive Order (see the Executive Order for expanded definitions): 

  • Diversity – The practice of including the many communities, identities, races, ethnicities, backgrounds, abilities, cultures, and beliefs of the American people, including underserved communities. 
  • Equity – The consistent and systematic fair, just, and impartial treatment of all individuals, including individuals who belong to underserved communities that have been denied such treatment.
  • Inclusion – The recognition, appreciation, and use of the talents and skills of employees of all backgrounds. 
  • Accessibility – The design, construction, development, and maintenance of facilities, information and communication technology, programs, and services so that all people, including people with disabilities, can fully and independently use them. 

DEIA is important because it spotlights underserved communities and helps bring more talent to the modern workplace. It drives innovation by bringing more minds to the discussion, drives retention by having valued employees feel welcomed and supported in the workplace, and creates opportunity for employees no matter their needs. 

Getting Started with DEIA Initiatives 

Studies have shown that diverse groups increase performance, increase quality, and foster team collaboration—understanding the value of a DEIA-centric work environment is a necessary prerequisite. Getting started with DEIA initiatives requires a planned and coordinated approach. The first step to creating a fair and inclusive workplace is to develop a DEIA Strategic Plan. These plans are customized to each organization and guide an organization—along with its vision and mission—holding leadership accountable, guiding recruitment, hiring, and retention, developing employees through training and activities, and guides marketing and branding efforts along with many other aspects that create an overall healthy and flourishing environment for employees.  

Examples of DEIA Initiatives 

Examples of DEIA initiatives in the public sector include:  

  • U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) – The GSA recently issued Requests for Information (RFIs) regarding DEIA Practices in the Design and Construction Industries. These RFIs support the set of recently released public buildings goals outlined in GSA’s Equity Action Plan for Executive Order 13985, Advancing Racial Equity and Support for Underserved Communities Through the Federal Government.
  • Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) – The CFPB is a government agency dedicated to making sure consumers are treated fairly by banks, lenders, and other financial institutions. CFPB’s DEIA initiatives include monitoring progress and best practices with regulated entities. CFPB reaches out to minority-owned and women-owned businesses to offer information and assistance. The CFPB requires all contractors who work with the Bureau to certify that they have made good faith efforts to ensure the equitable inclusion of women and minorities in their workforce.
  • National Institutes of Health (NIH) – The NIH have many DEIA initiatives. For example, they announced the launch of the UNITE initiative, which was established to identify and address structural racism and to establish an equitable and civil culture across all of NIH. Also, the NIH has a centralized interpreting program that enables employees who are Deaf and Hard of Hearing to request interpreters or Communication Access Real-time Translation (CART) services. And more recently, during COVID-19, NIH ensured that the Director’s town halls were fully accessible by providing closed captions and certified American Sign Language interpreters.

How Our Work Supports Federal DEIA Initiatives 

Management Strategies is proud to be supporting critical components of DEIA initiatives across several Federal organizations. This includes project management and communications support for DEIA-related efforts, and the design and administration of DEIA-focused leadership surveys and climate assessments. The latter delivers actionable data that helps our clients shape their DEIA strategies and plans, prioritize their activities and efforts, and allocate their resources for maximum impact. If you are interested in learning more about our DEIA-related capabilities, please contact us at