The Business Case for DEI Makes Cents, But Are You All In?

July 14, 2021 Author: Mario X. Carrasco

At this point, the business case for diversity, equity, and inclusion is a no-brainer. Not only is it a moral obligation, but research suggests maintaining a diverse and inclusive workforce improves business outcomes and financial performance. So, essentially, implementing DEI initiatives within your organization is common sense and just makes cents, right?

Yet, many firms fail to look at how DEI supports the overall business strategy. Most are pushing and shoving for market share in an increasingly competitive marketplace. Cultural relevance is pulling ahead as the competitive advantage, yet companies are leaving money on the table by ignoring marginalized communities. The most effective and authentic way to remain relevant to an increasingly diverse marketplace is to have an increasingly diverse workforce. Many organizations, however, still struggle to incorporate DEI meaningfully from the top-down, resulting in missed opportunities, advertising faux pas, and internal struggles.

Many tensions are a product of underinvestment. Companies routinely invest time, money, and resources into consumer research but overlook the consumer closest to them – employees. Employee experience is social currency that can be reinvested to drive performance, retention, and overall corporate well-being. Failing to invest in employees and programs that create a culture of belonging hurts the company’s marketability, both internal and external.

But DEI can’t just sit in Human Resources. It is just as important to strategy teams as it is to talent and workplace culture. Maintaining diverse teams mitigates the risk of missteps resulting from missing insights. To get that insight, you have to have it on the team. Even then, DEI falters if not supported by executive leadership.

In this episode of The New Mainstream Podcast, Camille Leak, Inclusion, Diversity & Equity Program Manager at Amazon Web Services (AWS), discusses the business case for DEI, the cornerstones of successful programs, and how companies can implement and measure change.