EEO, DE&I, and Affirmative Action: Going Beyond Buzzwords

Your business is better when it benefits from a wide variety of perspectives and experience. Diversity is often touted as the answer, but a diverse workforce isn’t, by definition, better; it’s only more diverse. Diversity isn’t a qualitative measure, and it’s easy to get it wrong. For example, you might have a workforce that looks visually diverse but that actually shares similar opinions and work experience. Or conversely, you might find yourself with members of a team that look similar on paper but demonstrate vastly varied approaches to work and problem-solving. 

As a business owner, you want to build the best team possible. You want different ideas, different viewpoints, and different methods to sit down together at your table to help you innovate, create, and grow. EEO, DE&I, and Affirmative Action are concepts geared toward helping you create a workplace that’s rich in varied talent, knowledge, and perspective. Each plays a different role, but here are some thoughts on how you can use these tools to enrich your workplace. 


Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) laws are focused on discrimination. Their intent is to prohibit employers from making discriminatory hiring decisions based on protected characteristics such as race, religion, sex, or age. Honestly, these characteristics have no place in your hiring decisions. You want to onboard people with talent, vision, and experience – that’s it. Knowing their age or race tells you next to nothing about what they can contribute to your company. 

As you design and refine your hiring process, it’s worth taking a moment to consider how your process considers these factors. Do you need to ask for sex on an application, for example? Is that relevant? How can you use the EEO principles to improve the quality of your hires?

Affirmative Action

Affirmative Action laws take anti-discrimination practices up a notch by endeavoring to remedy past wrongs by swinging the pendulum in the opposite direction, metaphorically speaking. If your business receives any kind of federal funding, you’ll need to comply with affirmative action laws. You’ll be required to do things such as identify gaps in your employee pool, such as a lack of women or minority groups, and take action to create more equity. Even if affirmative action laws don’t apply to your business, your organization will benefit from awareness of affirmative action principles. You can also ask if there’s anything about your hiring process, maybe about where you recruit, for example, that might contribute to a lack of diversity in your team. 


Diversity, equity, and inclusion (DE&I) builds a stronger workforce by focusing on three ideas: 

  1. Diversity. This means your organization actively recruits across a broad spectrum of backgrounds and experiences. 
  2. Equity. All employees in your business are treated equally. Equity can be demonstrated in a variety of ways, including equal pay for equal work, flexible hours for parents, and accommodations for differing abilities. 
  3. Inclusive. When your organization is inclusive, all employees feel valued and heard. 

There are many DE&I programs you can implement to accomplish these goals. 

The Value of a CRA

A healthy, productive workplace is the ultimate goal. CRA background screening can help build a strong workforce. CRA background checks help you implement best-practice hiring procedures and fair screens so everyone in your organization can thrive. 


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