Why are diversity, equity, and inclusion important for your business?
To help business leaders with their efforts to be a more diverse and inclusive workplace, we asked business professionals and executives why they are making changes to be inclusive at work. From nurturing a more positive workplace to generating fresh insights, there are several reasons why investing in intentional Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) practices is an imperative move for every business.
Here are 12 benefits that DEI can bring to businesses:
- Promote a Shared Experience
- Provide Broader Perspectives
- Nurture a More Positive Workplace
- Understand Customers Better
- Add Integrity to the Team
- Put Actions Behind Words
- Give Opportunities to All
- Mirror the Market
- Generate Fresh Insights
- Gain Global Appeal
- Encourage Innovation
- Experience Better Retention
- Promote a Shared Experience
When we make the case for the importance of DEI, we can do so in two crucial ways: the moral case and the business case. The human or moral case refers to our shared humanity and how when one group suffers we all suffer, and when we invest in the equity of every group, we all benefit. Heather McGhee’s latest book, The Sum of Us, makes a strong case for this.
From a business case, if you want a workplace where you attract people who stay, you have to pay attention to diversity and inclusion. PolicyLink has a great resource for illustrating the ROI, dollars saved (and made), with a focus on equity. By investing in diverse people with situational fairness in mind, you can save money by reducing costs on things like mental health and physical health. Investing in education also helps reduce these costs as you can also free all the innovative talent and contribution of people who think and create and consume differently. This creates better aligned choices for people with diverse interests and needs. Your business will attract potential candidates and customers when they see themselves represented among every level of your organization and workforce. A sense of shared power and opportunity translates to better products and services, and happier, more committed staff and colleagues!
Audrey D. Jordan, Ph.D., Claremont Lincoln University, Jerry D. Campbell Professor and DEI Specialist
Provide Broader Perspectives
Diversity, equity, and inclusion provide a much broader perspective for problem-solving and developing creative solutions for a competitive advantage and greater success. DEI creates and fosters an open, learning environment for the betterment of your employees, which ultimately produces quality products and services for your customers.
Brian Greenberg, Insurist
Encourage a More Positive Environment
Dr. Robert Sellers, chief diversity officer at the University of Michigan, breaks down the distinction between diversity, equity, and inclusion in this way: Diversity is where everyone is invited to the party, Equity means that everyone gets to contribute to the playlist, Inclusion means that everyone has the opportunity to dance. When businesses prioritize DEI, it encourages a more innovative, positive environment, which, in turn, creates a more profitable company. And most importantly, it means we all get to dance!
Stephanie Schull, Kegelbell
Understand Customers Better
When diversity, equity, and inclusion are made a priority at your business, every facet of your organization can benefit, including your bottom line. We work with a wide range of people, providing insurance to renters, truckers, business owners, and homeowners. We want our company to reflect the kind of diversity that we see in our customers, so they know they are being represented and understood. Teams are 158% more likely to understand target customers when they have at least one member who represents their target’s gender, race, age, sexual orientation, or culture.
Vicky Franko, Insura
Add Integrity to the Team
At Lyon Shield Security, our employees are our most valuable asset. We value strength, reliance, and integrity in all that we do. Effective verbal and written communication, the ability to make good decisions under pressure, and the capability to implement specific instructions are valued qualities. Looking for guards and dispatchers that value diversity, equity in inclusion is also a top priority when looking for a candidate. We need employees that are accepting of each other and others. We strive to look for diverse individuals that are willing to do their job and do it well!
Michael Staton, Lyon Shield Security
Put Actions Behind Words
DEI is the actual walk behind the talk. When it comes to creating change, it is not enough just to talk about it. There must be action behind the words and when businesses focus on DEI they are putting in the work behind their words in the mission, or values of the company. A 2017 study found that businesses that invested in DEI also saw increases in their returns on sales and invested capital, and employees saw that their ideas were put into development. There are tangible results to adding equity and diversity into your business. Don’t just speak about it, be about it.
Hunter Blackwell, Markitors
Give Opportunities to All
Businesses need to include diversity, equity, and inclusion because it shows consumers and employees that you are not afraid to give opportunities to all people. Everyone deserves an opportunity to show their work skills, and having DEI in a business gives everyone a chance. Employees want to work for a company that gives opportunities and is inclusive of all people. That is why it is important.
Derin Oyekan, Reel Paper
Mirror the Market
Diversity and inclusion are essential to creating an infrastructure that mirrors the market we reside in. Our demographic stems from people of all backgrounds within our great country, and therefore, meeting the image our flags convey with the same inclusive atmosphere at our company provides us a sense of integrity and authenticity, which helps us maintain even better customer relationships. Our employees are veterans and men and women of all backgrounds, and we strive to give voice to their concerns and involve them in decisions when applicable. A solid team dynamic thrives off diversity and the different viewpoints those from various nationalities and genders provide.
Katie Lyon, Allegiance Flag Supply
Generate Fresh Insights
Just like in modern history, it was in countries like the Netherlands that, through inclusive policies and diversity, managed to get economically and socially ahead of countries that were expelling those who belonged to different religions. So it is in the modern enterprise. Diversity and inclusiveness are more than just about reaching quotas. The upsides are actually scandalously underrated. To have these in your company translates immediately into fresh insights, perspectives, ideas, languages, contacts, and professional cultures. There is really much to gain from diversity, and organizations can be a melting pot for those benefits.
Daniel Torres, Zety
Gain Global Appeal
In the world we all live in today, being a globally appealing company is king. Global appeal means including different groups of people, ways of thinking, and treating all people with respect. A company of any size needs to have this global appeal.
John Levisay, The Pro’s Closet
The reasons are endless as to why companies should promote diversity, inclusion, and equity. For one, there are higher prospects for creativity and innovation. When you allow different people with different skills, backgrounds, and outlooks on life to work together, there’s no limit to what they will create. And as a leader, you want to encourage those differences to be celebrated and explored. It’s what makes companies relatable and global.
Alex Czarnecki, Cottage
Experience Better Retention
Cultivating an inclusive work environment can actually reduce employee turnover. It’s a logical conclusion when you realize that staff who feel valued and that their voice is heard will stay with a company longer than those who don’t. Inclusion, diversity, and equity empower your employees to take pride in their work and the company.
Ajay Mehta, Birthdate Co.