If your organization has a DEI strategy in place, how do you know it’s effective? As Thomas Edison said, “The value of an idea lies in the using of it,” so consider these questions:
• Does your organization treat DEI as a core value?
• Does leadership treat it as a key development tool?
• Is diversity embedded in your corporate culture and daily operations?
• Do you simply tick the box after rolling out annual training, an employee survey, and some Employee Resource Groups (ERGs)?
A DEI strategy is so much more than an annual to-do list. It is akin to a DEI framework. It reflects your organization’s values and its leadership. It helps enrich your corporate culture by fostering dignity and respect in the workplace. And, finally, it ensures your organization is respectful and free from harassment and discrimination.
DEI’s role in ESG
While the “E” in Environmental Social Governance (ESG) traditionally gets most of the attention, in the last decade, the importance of social responsibility has increased. Many companies are recognizing that their DEI efforts can play an important part in their overall ESG strategy.
For example, learning programs that address systematic racism with sensitivity and pragmatism can empower employees of any background. Not only can it lower tensions and opens eyes, effective DEI training can help employees become positive change agents for their organizations and communities.
The positive impact of DEI
We’ve all heard about the positive impacts DEI has on the bottom line; let’s take a look at the numbers. Research shows that diversifying your workforce can boost productivity by 35%. A McKinsey study found that ethnically diverse and gender-diverse companies were more profitable. In addition, racially diverse executive teams provided an advantage of 35% higher EBIT and 33% more long-term value creation.
Another statistic stands out that’s particularly relevant in today’s competitive hiring environment. According to Glassdoor’s Diversity and Inclusion Workplace Survey, more than 3 in 4 employees and job seekers (76%) report a diverse workforce is an important factor when evaluating companies and job offers.
Research also shows that morale, culture, and employee engagement thrive in more diverse and inclusive workplaces. It’s proven that diversity:
• Increases employee engagement and retention – your workforce feels more empowered and valued when they know the organization cares about them as individuals
• Stimulates innovation – organizations committed to DEI are less risk-averse and generate more new ideas
• Generates more creative thinking – when your workforce feels seen and heard, innovation and creative problem-solving flourish
How to nurture more meaningful DEI efforts
“Increasing diversity does not, by itself, increase effectiveness; what matters is how an organization harnesses diversity, and whether it’s willing to reshape its power structure.”
Getting Serious About Diversity: Enough Already with the Business Case,
Harvard Business Review
Leaders who internalize DEI as a core value and are able to demonstrate that commitment will be well-positioned as Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) performance indicators continue to ramp up. Here are some recommended actions to make DEI a fully integrated part of corporate strategy:
- Embed diversity in everything, from hiring to staffing to leadership training
- Cultivate a speak-up environment that embraces a wide range of styles and voices to help instill workforce confidence that they’re both seen and heard
- Turn cultural differences into learning opportunities
- Acknowledge that once-and-done training isn’t enough. Build training that highlights real-world experiences and represents marginalized groups.
- Use hard data to measure progress toward diversity goals and ensure transparent reporting
Take action now on your DEI strategy
February is Black History Month—what better time to pay tribute to the importance of African- American history, celebrate the achievements of Black Americans, and reflect on the real impact of your organization’s DEI efforts?
From creating an effective Code of Conduct, to building a robust training program for your global workforce, SAI360 can help you change and strengthen your corporate culture to ensure maximum DEI.