Diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) programs do more than just give employees a sense of belonging, although that’s one of the benefits. A robust DEI program—backed by a strong, ongoing commitment by the organization—has many social and financial benefits for an organization.

DEI programs and the employee training associated with them don’t just happen. Smart organizations not only understand the importance of DEI, but they also commit to specific best practices in building and maintaining a DEI program.

DEI Is Profitable

Numerous studies and surveys have shown that more diverse organizations tend to outperform less diverse competitors. The data also shows that employees who feel valued by an organization are more engaged, and a more engaged workforce boosts profits.

  • Engaged employees are 22% more profitable (Gallup)
  • Companies with high gender diversity outperform peers by an average of 15% (McKinsey)
  • Companies with high ethnic diversity outperform peers by an average of 35% (McKinsey)
  • More diverse management leads to an average of 38% more revenue (Boston Consulting Group)
  • Organizations with an inclusive culture are twice as likely to meet performance targets (Deloitte)

Put simple, diversity, equity, and inclusion are good for employees and good for business.

Successful DEI Training

DEI training can take many forms: online courses, virtual/in-person seminars, employee-led discussions, online or in-person training. The list goes on.

What’s most important is that the organization communicate the point that DEI is a top priority, one that plays a key role in the company culture. This is a process, not something that can be achieved in a single meeting.

To succeed, an organization should ensure that all DEI meetings and activities are safe spaces where people can have difficult conversations. If the group is large, provide multiple opportunities for smaller groups to meet and to understand what their peers are feeling and thinking.

Back up any program with periodic, anonymous employee surveys that solicit and assess employee opinions, their feelings, their perceptions, and their expectations. To gain additional insights, host regular focus groups where employees can explore sensitive topics in-depth.

That doesn’t mean that an organization should manage every aspect of the DEI program. Encourage employee resource groups (ERGs)/affinity groups, such as those to support women, people of color, and LGBTQ+ employees. Encourage meetings and online discussions through Slack or Microsoft Teams channels. The more DEI-related discussions employees are having, the better.

Start from the Top

For a DEI program to succeed, the company needs to make DEI a priority. Leadership must take an active part in learning about, and promoting, diversity, equity, and inclusion. Surveys and questionnaires can establish a baseline and help management understand the current needs and opportunities.

This information can inform specific DEI goals, which should be incorporated into the larger organizational strategy and communicated through multiple channels, including social media, emails, newsletters, and affinity groups. In addition, communications should regularly highlight key metrics, such as diversity in upper management and among the entire staff, both to measure progress and to emphasize the importance of DEI.

Finally, involve employees in program decisions, and empower employees to organize meetings and other activities. True inclusion means involving everyone.

The Lindenberger Group has extensive expertise in helping organizations build and manage DEI programs, as well as other programs that help employees feel welcome and valued and keep them engaged. For more information or to discuss your HR needs, please contact us at 609-730-1049 or send us an email.