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The Importance of DEI for Your Organization

The Importance of DEI for Your Organization

Over the past several years, diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) have transitioned from a thoughtful policy to a must-have. The Great Resignation has helped to shine a brighter light on DEI issues, and organizations are searching for policies that provide a more inclusive workspace. Continue reading to learn about the importance of DEI and how you can ingrain better practices into your organization. 


What is the Meaning of DEI?

DEI refers to organizational policies that encourage a diverse workforce. They are put in place to create a safe environment for all representations, including race, ethnicity, gender identification, age, culture, religion, and those with disabilities. 

Many cultural issues are coming to a head, and now more than ever, employees are looking for accommodating policies. One such example can be noted in the growing number of women with small children who are seeking greater flexibility from their employers.


What Impact Does Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Have on Your Organization?

The need for DEI policies within organizations is a process that takes time and strategic effort. Employers need to assess the currently unmet needs in their workplace and determine an approach that will prove effective. Michelle Wimes, senior vice president and chief equity and inclusion officer for Children's Mercy Hospital in Kansas City, MO., says that "True progress in DE&I takes conscious, deliberate action, a willingness to acknowledge and address the equity gaps head-on."

Research shows that by improving diversity within the workplace, organizations can boost employee morale, improves customer service, and may even increase sales. For example, a study by Catalyst found that companies, where women held at least 20% of management roles saw a 2.04% increase in cash flow returns. 

Similarly, a McKinsey & Company study found that organizations in the upper quartile of gender diversity were more likely to surpass profitability and that companies with gender-diverse executive teams were 25% more likely to exceed profitability. 

The same McKinsey & Company study also found that companies with 30% or more women executives were likely to be more successful than those with lower rates of gender diversity. Those companies with 10-30% gender diversity were likely to outperform organizations that employed even fewer females in executive roles. The organizations with the most gender-diverse executive boards saw a 48% increase in performance than those organizations with the lowest levels of gender diversity. 

Diversity not only strengthens the bottom line but also leads to more innovation. For example, the Center for Talent Innovation discovered that organizations with diversity amongst leadership were 60% more likely to develop ideas and 75% more likely to implement those ideas. 

DEI has become a crucial aspect of the modern business model, boosting innovation, employee satisfaction, recruitment rates, and retention. Employers would be prudent to create DEI policies that reflect the presently evolving marketplace.


How Can Your Organization Improve Your Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion? 

For organizations looking to improve their DEI, asking the right questions is a great place to start. Here are some examples to consider:

  • What is your overall culture? Is it collaborative? Does it allow for inclusion?

  • What is the basis of employee satisfaction?

  • Do you have a mentorship program?

  • Are employees involved in group dynamics and cross-team collaboration?

  • What is the process of moving up the ladder?

  • What is the hiring process?

Asking the right questions is the first step to formulating the foundation for effective DEI practices. Once you have answered the questions, you will need to build upon that foundation. 

Great DEI requires sustainable solutions that adapt when necessary. Here are some ways your organization can establish a long-term DEI plan:

  1. Focus on the future. Rather than waiting for an issue to arise, set up initiatives now with long-term goals in mind.

  2. Understand the impact DEI will have on your organization. All successful business strategies need to reflect positive financial outcomes for the business. Discern how DEI will affect the bottom line. 

  3. Create a practical plan for your vision. Once you establish your vision, find tangible ways to achieve it. Use the scientific method to make observations, create hypotheses, and test those hypotheses.

  4.  Set yourself up for success. Focus your efforts on boosting employee engagement. Make your office an environment that promotes employees' natural talents. Be frequent with feedback and ensure that employees feel seen and heard. 

  5. Establish a connection with your employees. Employees who claim to connect with their employers are seven times more likely to stay at that organization. Mentorship, group activities, and regular 1:1 meetings can all help to foster positive connections.

DEI requires that employers ask the right questions, establish the correct programs and initiatives, and remain adaptable in the ever-evolving market. Relying on the proper assessments will open the door to meaningful and practical strategies and boost your DEI for years to come. 


Additional Resources

You can also stay informed, educated, and up-to-date with DEI and other important topics by using BerniePortal’s comprehensive resources:

  • BerniePortal Blog—a one-stop-shop for HR industry news

  • HR Glossary—featuring the most common HR terms, acronyms, and compliance

  • HR Guides—essential pillars, covering an extensive list of comprehensive HR topics

  • BernieU—free online HR courses, approved for SHRM and HRCI recertification credit

  • HR Party of One—our popular YouTube series and podcast, covering emerging HR trends and enduring HR topics 

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