Building Block #1 – Guide

The Structure and Language of DEI

Camber Outdoors introduces the Building Blocks of DEI Series. Join us in a “Block-by-Block” journey toward a more high-performing, inclusive, equitable, and diverse workplace.

Research has shown a correlation between DEI best practices and improved problem-solving skills, creativity, effectiveness within teams, and above-average profitability. (Diversity Matters, MCKinsey, 2017). Effective workplace DEI results in enhanced productivity, morale, and financial performance.

However, despite the compelling business case, progress in achieving diversity at all levels has been woefully slow across the Outdoor Recreation Economy. In line with our mission of creating and sustaining workplace inclusion, equity, and diversity across companies that comprise this economy, we are providing our Corporate Partners with the Building Block Series, an integrated suite of step-by-step resources or “Building Blocks” to strengthen your DEI work.

This first Building Block will define a DEI programming framework, language, and vocabulary to help you successfully navigate the learning and implementation process. People who mean well can do harm. So it’s not enough to mean well in your DEI efforts. In order to mean well AND do well, you have to be educated and knowledgeable about your employees, their needs, and your DEI strengths and weaknesses. 

Camber Outdoors Inclusion, Equity & Diversity Framework

As you continue or deepen your commitment to your journey of implementing workplace diversity, equity, and inclusion (also known as “DEI”) it is important that you have a “guide or blueprint” that conceptualizes your chosen approach to diversity, equity, and inclusion. 

The graphic below depicts the Camber Outdoors’ DEI model that includes key components necessary to ensure success in building inclusive, equitable, and diverse workplaces in the Outdoor Recreation Economy. Use it as your model or modify to fit your organization’s unique needs.

This framework is a set of organizing principles, for how to transform the fundamental systems of a workplace to create inclusive, equitable, and diverse organizations. The model addresses three key categories: People, Workplace, and Marketplace.


Camber Outdoors’ framework places people and the systems that support them at the center of a successful DEI program. An inclusive culture creates a sense of safety, belonging, and opportunity for all employees, including members of underrepresented(1) groups. The supporting systems are depicted by the circle at the center of the framework representing the various stages of the Diverse Talent Pipeline from recruiting through retention and advancement.

In order to create and sustain an inclusive, equitable, and diverse culture, a company must put in place strong DEI programming across all aspects of the Diverse Talent Pipeline: Recruitment & Hiring, Mentoring & Sponsorship; Training & Development, Retention & Advancement, Equitable Systems, and Employee Engagement. 


The colored wedges represent the organization’s internal environment, or the set of key drivers that shape and reflect the organization’s culture and employee experience: Business Strategy, Leadership, and Board Governance, Organizational Culture, Data & Metrics, and Employee Engagement.


The environment external to the organization is depicted by the outermost ring: Customers & Marketing, Community & Government Relations, Future Talent, and Supplier Diversity. Any effective and comprehensive DEI program must holistically address the needs of all of these external stakeholders. 

Best Practices in Workplace DEI Implementation

Growing and learning, while necessary, can be uncomfortable. Organizational growth and learning require employees to challenge concepts long assumed to be truth. The success of DEI is not simply counting the number of members of underrepresented communities in your workforce. Your DEI programming should lead to tangible business results and advantages based on assessment and strategic plans to improve DEI. 

Furthermore, to ensure the success of your DEI framework of choice your essential elements should include:

  • Informed and committed leadership, including both management team and board members
  • Comprehensive scope of goals and activities
  • Alignment of DEI objectives with the business plans throughout the organization
  • Dedicated resources
  • Focused education and training opportunities
  • Policy review and development
  • Shared responsibility and individual accountability
  • Measurement and evaluation

The most effective workplace DEI programs do not focus on compliance but instead focus on DEI as part of an effective business strategy that impacts across all aspects of the company. In order to succeed, companies need to commit to investing in the human, financial, and training resources needed to pursue a robust DEI strategy. Additionally, establish clear metrics to track the progress and make sure to articulate those metrics to all employees to ensure alignment from year to year.

The Language of DEI

Intersectionality. Systemic Racism. Ethnicity. As you develop your organization’s framework, it is important that you understand the language and vocabulary that will help you inform, evaluate and develop policies, activities, and goals related to inclusive, equitable, and diverse workplaces. Having a clear understanding of DEI language and the model it represents allows you to communicate problems and solutions adequately and convey your organization’s messages and DEI platforms confidently and succinctly.

To help you build your fluency in both the language and structure of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, complete the companion Building Block #1 TOOL: “The Structure and Language of DEI Exercise,” which includes both a DEI Glossary of Key Terms and an exercise that you can complete individually or with your team.

(1) For the Camber Outdoors Building Block Series, “Underrepresented” is defined as “Blacks, Latinos, Asians, Indigenous, women, LGBTQ+ people, and people with disabilities and veterans.” Note that the broader definition of the term is “a subset of a population that holds a smaller percentage within a significant subgroup than the subset holds in the general population or broader group.” Hence, your company may have “underrepresented groups” in specific functions, e.g., specific minority groups may be particularly underrepresented in the engineering/STEM-based functions.

There is often a gap in moving from intent to action. By participating in this building block and moving onto the next building block you are in action! 

Camber Outdoors is dedicated to creating and sustaining inclusive, equitable, and diverse workplaces in the $887 Billion outdoor recreation economy.