Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) is more than just a corporate buzzword or a band-aid in a crisis. When done right, it’s a critical part of an organization’s ecosystem. It’s not the name of a “nice-to-hate” initiative, it’s the name of the game for anyone who’s been leading this work for years. We know it can be tough to keep making the business case, so we’ve done some of the lifting for you.
Retain Your Biggest Asset, Attract the Best Talent
Apart from good compensation, data shows that employee satisfaction and retention increases when workers feel seen, heard, and valued. A report from Glassdoor states that 76% of job-seekers favor companies who value and demonstrate diversity within their workforce. The same study also states that “66% of employees and job seekers trust employees the most when it comes to understanding what diversity & inclusion really looks like at a company, significantly higher than the percentage most trusting senior leaders (19%), the company’s website (9%), or recruiters (6%). And, nearly 37% of employees would not apply to a job at a company where there are disparities in employee satisfaction ratings among different ethnic/racial groups.” An organization on an authentic DEI journey has a real ROI for the workforce.
No Investment, No Gains
Organizations who invest in DEI not only stand to gain a loyal workforce, they also have the opportunity to increase its bottom line and attract more customers. According to a study by McKinsey, companies that have gender diversity are 15% more likely to outperform competitors that don’t. Similarly, organizations with more ethnic and racial diversity are 35% more likely to perform better than those less diverse. This is partly due to DEI leading to more innovative ideas, which are discussed in the next point.
DEI Action = Innovation
Based on a survey by the Harvard Business Review, diversity and innovation are linked. This survey spans eight countries and 1,700 companies. Simply put, the more diverse an organization is, the more opportunities it has to come up with fresh ideas that can cater to a broader customer base.
Putting DEI into action means cultivating a safe and brave space where all voices are heard, and challenges can be met with more creative solutions. With access to more diverse ideas and perspectives, organizations can address a wider scope of pain points for their customer base, leading to increased revenue.
Cultivates a Sense of Belonging
It is in our nature to want to feel that we belong. A study by Harvard Business Review found that “If workers feel like they belong, companies reap substantial bottom-line benefits. High belonging was linked to a whopping 56% increase in job performance, a 50% drop in turnover risk, and a 75% reduction in sick days. For a 10,000-person company, this would result in annual savings of more than $52M.”.
DEI is Essential
We’ve seen resistance to finding the time, energy, and resources for this work, especially in leaner times. It shows up most often when DEI is positioned as “extra” instead of essential to business success. But the data supports the reframe: DEI is good business, and when the average person spends 90,000 hours of their life at work, making them feel valued and dismantling systems of oppression is the smart thing to do and the right thing to do.