Why Diversity, Equity and Inclusion are Essential for Organizational Success

Being intentional about developing and maintaining robust diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) efforts continues to reap rewards for organizations. From creating a more positive workplace to inspiring innovation to driving growth in new markets, investing in DEI makes sense on many different levels. If you’re doing DEI right, you should see quantifiable and qualitative results proving the impact of your efforts.

The following list underlines the continued relevancy of DEI initiatives, culled from across a wide spectrum of organizations:

1. Better profitability. When DEI initiatives are embraced and organizations truly become inclusive, every facet of the business can be positively impacted, including the bottom-line. Companies in the top quartile for gender diversity on executive teams were 25% more likely to have above-average profitability than companies in the fourth quartile in 2019 (McKinsey, 2020). Globally, companies that have taken a holistic approach toward equal representation have outperformed their less diverse peers by 3.1% per year (Morgan Stanley, 2021). 

2.  Better work environment. Diversity is about representation. It is how we see and honor our similarities and differences. Equity is about understanding that fairness is different from equality. Treating everyone the same can often perpetuate inequities and unfairness. It is about acknowledging current gaps and discrepancies and allocating resources and access in a fair manner. Inclusion is about our behaviors toward each other – about how well we can embrace and leverage each other’s perspectives and backgrounds. At the end of the day, human beings are wired to seek a sense of belonging. 

Employee acceptance and promotion of DEI aids people in working together, especially when they are under pressure or stress. Done well, DEI leads to better work environments and highly engaged staff. And employee engagement has strong correlations with increased profitability.

3.  Better attraction and retention of employees. From an organizational perspective, by investing in DEI, you set the stage for employees to not only be attracted to your organization, but to stay. When employees feel included and valued, they want to invest more in the company and its mission. They take pride in their work and are empowered to succeed. Your business will attract potential candidates and customers when they see themselves represented among every level of your organization. A sense of shared power and opportunity translates to better products and services, and happier, more committed staff and colleagues.

4.  Greater sharing of insights. DEI sets the stage for all employees to participate in the organization, to feel empowered to speak up – offering more and better ideas and solutions to today’s most pressing problems, which can only spell success for the organization. Among all the reasons for DEI, creativity and innovation rise to the top.

5. Advanced decision-making. It’s well known that gender diverse teams make better decisions than those without such diversity. And gender diversity throughout an organization, from the board to staff, correlate positively with innovation and new market opportunities. 

6.  Improved understanding of customers. The more you understand your customer, the better your organization’s ability to grow long term. “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” (Center for Talent Innovation).

7.  Enhanced customer relations. Fully embracing DEI shows both consumers, constituents, and employees that your company is supportive of all people and helps your organization mirror the diversity of your customer base. When customers see themselves reflected in a company’s workforce, they feel represented and understood. This engenders authenticity and integrity, leading to better customer relations. 

8. Greater global appeal. By bringing together people with different skill sets, cultural backgrounds and outlooks, DEI initiatives help make organizations, of any size, more globally relatable and appealing – to employees, customers and investors.