It is now becoming more apparent that many organisations still need to do more if they want a diverse, inclusive and equitable business. So, how can leaders build a business case to move their DEI improvement projects forward?
Addressing The Challenges
The first case for many organisations is to change the current situation. Studies have shown clear issues in diversity for many organisations. However, another factor that is impacting the progress of DEI is the challenges of the global pandemic.
The Covid Impact
McKinsey’s recent Women In The Workplace study has found that women are more likely to have been furloughed or made redundant due to the pandemic. Furthermore, this is especially true for BIPOC women. Another area of disparity is the disproportional impact of Covid on Black people. As well as the health risks, there is a greater emotional toll they may be facing, creating further challenges which a workplace may not fully consider.
The emotional toll is something that organisations are beginning to listen to. This is especially true now that the World Health Organization includes burnout in their classification of diseases. Research by Gallup found that two-thirds of employees report burnout at work. The implications of this mean that 50% of employees have missed at least one day of work due to burnout, with employees being three times more likely to look for another position.
This burnout can come from a range of reasons; however, too often, the focus for companies is on the burnout itself rather than looking into the causing factors. This means the diverse reasons and the difference that employees experience are not being considered or credited.
Research suggests that while progress was being made in building more diverse and inclusive organisations, the COVID crisis may have undone up to six years of progress. This means there are now far fewer diverse individuals that are in line to be future leaders.
Time For Change
Some of the key statistics to consider when building a business case for change include:
- 85% executive-level staff in US organisations are white
- 64% of US entry-level workers are white
- Women hold only 28% of senior vice-president positions
- Women hold just 21% of C-Suite positions
- For every 100 men promoted to management
- only 85 women were promoted
- only 71 Latinas were promoted
- 58 Black women were promoted.
- 38% of entry-level manager positions are held by women, 62% are held by men.
- 57% of employees want their companies to do more to increase diversity
- 41% of leaders say they are ‘too busy’ to implement diversity strategies.
Presenting The Business Case For DEI Strategies
What benefits could your organisation realise through DEI strategy implementation?
The New Generation Of Talent
- 67% of workers believe that diversity is an important factor when considering job opportunities
- Two in five workers believe their company had a diverse executive team
- Two-thirds of workers are not aware of any diversity initiatives at work.
Your policies and initiatives not only help your current workforce but are a big advertisement for potential future recruits. What’s more, it is clear that diversity is a significant consideration for many candidates. By neglecting your diversity strategies, you may be missing out on top talent that could help move your business forward. It is clear that diversity strategies not only benefit the business in the present but help to create long-term future benefits too. This is by ensuring that you’re always attracting the top talent that your business needs.
- Gender-diverse executive teams are 21% more likely to outperform with profitability
- 85% of diverse and inclusive organisation cultures achieve increased profits
- Companies with equal gender representation increase their revenue by 41%
There is mounting research that diverse organisations achieve greater financial success compared to monolithic companies. What’s more, they are far more likely to achieve long-term growth too. There is a strong argument that diverse and inclusive organisations make better, bolder decisions than their counterparts which could be a factor in building revenue.
There is also a focus on ‘social listening’, which means a broader range of views and ideas to consider, helping the company progress and make strategic revenue-generating decisions.
- Inclusive companies 1.8 times more likely to be change-ready
- DEI focused organisations create 1.7 times more innovation leaders
- Ethically diverse organisations are 35% more likely to outperform other organisations
Diverse and inclusive organisations prioritise employee voice and communication strategies. As a result, there are far more pathways to share and execute ideas. Typically inclusive organisations support their teams with a wealth of resources that can help build optimal collaboration. As a result, diverse teams are far more likely to make collaborative, considered decisions and then executive them quickly, thanks to a strong, inclusive culture where everyone works towards the same goals and with the same values in mind.
One of the driving factors of innovation in inclusive organisations is that companies have created a space where employees feel psychologically safe, valued and comfortable. When these needs are being met, they can bring their best selves to the project with a wealth of ideas, abundant creativity and unique perspectives that offer insights that many other companies will struggle to achieve.
Building Your Business Case
If you are building a business case for diversity, equity and inclusivity, consider your organisational objectives. Suppose change-readiness is a critical component, then consider the innovation benefits that a diverse organisation can bring. If decision-makers are more focused on the bottom line, the revenue-generating advantages may be a stronger argument.
Alternatively, if the company focuses on talent attraction, nurturing and retention, then considering the employee well-being benefits of diversity can help make a robust business case that can bring in the benefits and opportunities you’re looking to achieve.