What is DEI—Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion? Webster’s Dictionary defines each of these words individually as follows:

  • Diversity - the condition of having or being composed of differing elements: variety

  • Equity - fairness or justice in the way people are treated

  • Inclusion - the act of including: the state of being included

If you look at each of these words separately, the definitions seem relatively simple to understand, but when you string them together, they take on greater significance and new meaning.

In June, A.I.M. Mutual’s senior leadership team was tasked with creating a DEI Committee to better understand what DEI means in the workplace. As an organization, A.I.M. Mutual has always supported the values of DEI in all its business practices. Reaching out to employees was an important next step to encourage the exchange of ideas and underscore the company’s level of commitment.

A request for volunteers at A.I.M. Mutual for the DEI Committee was met by a compelling response with 11% of employees coming forward. During the first meeting, Committee members had the opportunity to share their “why” for volunteering to be a part of this initiative. Here are some of their responses:

  • I wanted to learn more about what DEI is all about.

  • I wanted to connect with other employees within the organization that I normally don’t have a chance to work with directly.

  • I worked on a DEI initiative in college. It was a great experience, and I feel I have something to offer.

  • I wanted to be a part of something bigger.

Several meetings have since taken place. One of the main topics of discussion during the meetings to date has been education, both for the Committee and for all employees. There is no shortage of organizations that can provide training and education on this topic, and the Committee plans to interview a few to find the best fit. Education and awareness are key before taking the next step. The Committee intends to establish goals and objectives to create a DEI statement in the coming months.

 

ABOUT

TERI BOWMAN, SHRM-SCP, is Director of Human Resources at A.I.M. Mutual. Teri has 15 years of human resources experience, including recruitment, employee relations, performance management, training, compensation, 401(k) and benefits administration, workers’ compensation, and areas of compliance. As Director, she is also responsible for the payroll function. Prior to assuming an HR and management role, she was a workers’ compensation adjuster for A.I.M. Mutual for four years. She has an AOS in Accounting and holds two human resources certifications in addition to her Senior Certified Professional (SCP) designation from the Society of Human Resources Management (SHRM).