Diversity, equity and inclusion have come to the forefront of executive conversations, but is DE&I more than just an expectation of companies, or is it a sustainable business strategy? First let’s begin with what it means, diversity is having a diverse workforce. Equity is being treated fairly and hiring fairly, and inclusion is the result of how those diverse groups are being treated. There’s no doubt DE&I is an essential part of business but why? Having a robust and data driven DE&I strategy helps retain talent with better talent outcomes; reduces risk; and the increased creativity leads to better business outcomes.
Companies that invest in DE&I see better retention numbers. As companies invest in their culture, employees are happier and feel more supported. As a result, they stay longer, which is a huge cost savings considering that hiring a new employee costs several times more in time, energy and money. Retention is a critical competitive edge with almost half of employers reporting difficulty in filling roles in operations & logistics and nearly a quarter (23%) reported the same for manufacturing and production roles according to ManpowerGroup’s Talent Shortage Survey. While helping retain top talent, DE&I also helps attract higher quality talent who cares about a company’s culture and are looking to invest themselves, resulting in a stronger workforce and better business outcomes. This is critical as competition for top talent becomes more global and more jobs offer hybrid/remote opportunities.
Companies investing in DE&I will experience a reduction in risk. By taking steps to evaluate and act on polices around risk and DE&I, companies protect themselves and reduce the risk of litigation. By taking a data driven approach to DE&I, companies are able to review their own challenges and vulnerabilities in the DE&I space and move forward to create protections against biases and discriminations. Ashish Kaushal, CEO at HireTalent and Co-Founder of Consciously Unbiased, said that despite the new pressure to develop a DE&I strategy, companies have to be thoughtful moving forward, “you have to be very mindful of how we’re rolling this out and I think that’s the real value. The partnership we’ve brought is that we’re [going to] do this thoughtfully in a way that helps society but also helps manage risk on the corporate side. It’s important to set policies that make sense; that are risk management policies.”
Diversity and Creativity
A critical contribution of diversity is creativity. By having employees with different backgrounds and experiences, companies benefit from the creativity of its workforce. This results in creative problem solving and according to Jennifer Torney, North American VP for Client Engagement at TAPFIN, it can’t just be diverse, “employees must feel enabled to speak their mind and be creative together…[resulting in] better outcomes, period.”
Just a few years ago there was a common misconception that diversity is a ‘nice to have’ and not a business performance issue. Business leaders now know diversity needs to be addressed as a leadership and Board priority, progressed and reported as such. DE&I is much more than a trend or an HR issue, it is a business issue that is essential to the future of any organization.
Take a look at these 7 common myths (DE&I Mythbusters) about diversity, equity, and inclusion in the workplace and be sure to listen to the entire podcast episode The ROI of DE&I for additional insights.