What the acronym? 

DEI, EDI, I&D, or IDEA…which is it? 

As a nascent company, it’s important for Chosen Industries to do things right. And before it even started coming out as a viable option for construction management companies and real estate investment firms, Chosen had to choose how it would be viewed. As a company of mostly women–minority women–it was important to determine how to continue this idea of diversity and inclusivity at the senior management level and set systems and processes in place so that it becomes Chosen’s legacy versus just points of interest. With that said, Chosen has blazed a path of certifications to showcase what is important and to ensure it continues to be diverse and inclusive. 

Throughout this process, the team has realized that there’s no one defining acronym that explains what Chosen does and plans to do, but instead of focusing on one (DEI, EDI, I&D, or IDEA), Chosen Industries will continue to be a leader in all forms of inclusivity to continue to drive this need in other companies. 

For years it has been the same three words: inclusion, diversity, and equity. Recently, another word has been added; accessibility. In the past, I&D was the most famous acronym for the department of inclusion and diversity. This was to ensure that companies were adhering to the proper percentages to get government stipends. The issue with this, was that it didn’t impact the company on the senior management level, and therefore was still incredibly unbalanced in their inclusion and diversity efforts. This then merged into DEI, thus putting the focus on diversity, equity, and then inclusion. But this seemed to have the same drawbacks. Most recently, there was a push for EDI instead, in which the argument is that if equity is first, it implies equity at all levels of the company and then diversity and inclusion follow. This acronym was starting to get some traction, at least companies were using it in conjunction with DEI to shift to EDI permanently (Chosen Industries has been guilty of this). The most recent acronym is IDEA: Inclusion, diversity, equity, and accessibility. With the celebration of the 32nd anniversary of the American with Disabilities Act, the Biden-Harris Administration has continued to make efforts to provide equity for Americans with disabilities. Because of this, IDEA seems to be gaining significant traction in company structure to ensure that the diversity officers are not just focusing on ethnic minorities but focusing on underrepresented people as a whole. 

The issue with all these acronyms is that not one group seems to agree on which one should be the one that encompasses all forms of inclusion (for the sake of this blog, inclusion will be the umbrella term for all four acronyms). Academics argue that word placement within the acronym dictates the way inclusion is incorporated in the workforce. Others disagree and argue that there shouldn’t be any new acronym because it creates confusion. When thinking about the individual words, “inclusion” seems to encompass all the other words, which makes it viable to be the first word in the acronym, which is why IDEA is being pushed. Also, because acronyms that spell out words tend to be more favorable and easier to put into practice. And this idea is OK, especially since inclusion can be used as an umbrella term to encompass all underrepresented groups. Prioristizing inclusion over diversity, equity, and accessibility, holds not just the inclusion officers, but other stakeholders accountable for doing their part in not just providing a more diverse workforce, but also a diverse senior management team. 

In the end, what really matters is that everyone is represented and with organizations like USPAACC, this helps ensure inclusion, diversity, equity, and accessibility within the workforce.