Diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI). You’ve probably seen this acronym many times in the past few years. After all, DEI is critical for every organization regardless of industry, niche, location or size.
But what is diversity? It can be defined as the unique differences between people, including race, ethnicity, gender, age, social class and so on. However, in an organizational setting, diversity goes even further, beyond demographics. Diversity also relates to unique skill sets, such as life experiences and education.
Building a diverse workforce requires equity and inclusion. Equity refers to ensuring employees of all backgrounds have access to the same opportunities. And inclusion refers to a work environment where everyone feels welcome, supported and celebrated regardless of differences.
Although DEI is important for all organizations, research suggests that many companies are not making moves to create meaningful change. According to a recent study by Culture Amp, 81% of HR and DEI practitioners reported they believed DEI initiatives are beneficial to their organizations. However, only 34% of respondents reported having enough resources to support DEI initiatives, and only 49% said they have a strategic diversity plan in place.
These stats point to an unfortunate fact: Although DEI has increased in importance, it’s not yet prioritized. And this means many organizations are missing out on the benefits of having a diverse workforce.
Three key benefits of a diverse workforce
Diversity in and of itself is tremendously valuable. It breaks down barriers, improves our view of the world and opens the doors of opportunity for so many who would otherwise be overlooked. And this is just the start. The benefits of embracing diversity within your workforce are plentiful.
1. Fresh ideas
Innovative ideas are priceless for any organization. And when individuals with different worldviews, experiences, backgrounds and perspectives come together, new ideas are born. How? Different people think, well, differently.
For example, when a problem arises, each individual will have a different approach to solving it based on their unique experiences. Often, this leads to better solutions than you would have without a diverse team. The same goes for generating everything from new product ideas to innovative marketing methods.
2. Increased morale
What do employees want in an employer? Money or remote work may come to mind. However, a study completed by Citrix found that employees want to work with a diverse team. Around 86% of employees in the study asserted that a diverse workforce will become even more important as roles, skills and company requirements change.
Creating an environment that your present and future employees are proud to work in is critical for morale and motivation. And high morale is needed to increase productivity, protect your culture and best serve your customers.
3. Higher retention levels
You know that it costs more to source and hire new talent than it does to retain the incredible talent you already have. You may also know the pain of losing some of your coveted team members during what’s now referred to as the Great Resignation. One of the factors driving employees to look elsewhere is a lack of diversity.
In a study completed by Deloitte, 39% of respondents said they would leave their current organization for a more inclusive one. And 80% of respondents said that inclusion is important when selecting an employer.
Organizations must begin to prioritize DEI to ensure happy, healthy and thriving employees who stick around. DEI is no longer (and should have never been) an option. Luckily, you can start taking the initiative with the help of these two TechRepublic Premium resources.
To promote diversity within your organization, someone needs to be responsible for developing, implementing and monitoring DEI-based initiatives, such as diversity training and multicultural events. You also need someone to oversee the hiring process to ensure diversity is kept top of mind.
Most organizations will benefit from hiring a chief diversity officer to fulfill these critical responsibilities. In this hiring kit, you’ll find a job description, sample interview questions and a basic job posting you can use to help improve your search for the right individual to fill this role.
Download the Hiring Kit: Chief Diversity Officer on TechRepublic Premium
Prioritizing diversity within your organization takes planning. Having a policy in place enables you to set and communicate guidelines for DEI to help you reach your goals. A DEI policy sets forth the appropriate recommendations and expectations for all members of your team, regardless of employment status.
This sample policy will help you establish a strategy for promoting DEI within your business. Simply download, edit and print.