Many of you are probably taking the time to read my blog because you care about growing diversity and inclusion in your company or organization. While caring about diversity and inclusion is a start, executives demand that you demonstrate the continued impact of these initiatives on the bottom line.
The truth is that growing diversity and inclusion in your organization is a strategic lever for driving productivity. So how can you practically support and encourage the growth of diversity in your organization? First, I suggest connecting diversity and inclusion initiatives to employee engagement. Management research finds that organizations with more favorable climates for diversity also have higher employee engagement levels. Greater employee engagement is consistently associated with higher profitability, customer satisfaction and other financial outcomes.
Through the use of focus groups, interviews or surveys, you can demonstrate the value of a diversity and inclusion investment by linking it to employee engagement. By collecting this data, you will be able to provide your organization’s key decision-makers with concrete evidence about the impact of diversity initiatives on outcomes — engagement, turnover and even profitability — that they really care about.
Why should diversity and inclusion initiatives impact engagement? These initiatives — communication relationship improvement, mentoring, developmental opportunities — impact engagement because their goal is to make employees feel that they are respected, supported and capable of doing work that matters. If employees are made to feel this way, they are more likely to come to work and dedicate themselves to the organization, because they have the necessary support and resources needed to fully engage in what they do.
The business case for investing in diversity and inclusion is made because these initiatives allow every employee to bring benefits to the organization. All employees want to have good relationships with their supervisor, all employees want supportive mentors and all employees want to be challenged. So give them what they want.