A quick look around the workplace can provide a snapshot of a business’ investment in diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI).
Some businesses have been actively and strategically investing in DEI for decades while others have come on board more recently.
While there’s no question creating workplaces that welcome and support people of various backgrounds and identities is inherently a good thing — it’s also good for business.
A study by McKinsey & Company found that companies with higher racial and ethnic diversity are 35 percent more likely to have financial returns above their respective national industry medians. Additionally, gender-diverse companies are 15% more likely to outperform their peers.
Workplaces that foster an environment where people with different life experiences, different cultures, different abilities, and different identities all are empowered to contribute meaningfully will create stronger, more resilient businesses.
An article in the Harvard Business Review titled How Investing in DEI Helps Companies Become More Adaptable highlights companies that invest in DEI are more adaptable to change. Companies with the highest DEI scores were considered to be 80% more able to change. In an era of constant change and volatility on a global scale, the ability to change and adapt is crucial.
Additionally, investing in DEI helps a business attract and retain talent. According to the Canadian Chamber of Commerce Canadian Survey on Business Conditions Report, Q3 2022, 39% of respondents identified recruiting skilled employees as an obstacle to business over the next three months, 37% listed a shortage of labour force, and 31% identified retaining skilled employees.
If a prospective employee looks around your workplace or hops on your website to see staff and board profiles and doesn’t see people they can relate to, it’s going to take more effort to convince them that your workplace is a good fit. Employers are having to recruit differently to find talent, including targeting different demographics than they might have in the past.
The Peterborough and the Kawarthas Chamber of Commerce recently held our annual Business Summit, which featured a well-attended workshop on DEI and a workforce panel discussion where DEI was one of the most popular topics of discussion for the business community.
An article from Insight Global highlights nine benefits of strong DEI in the workplace:
• Reach a more extensive and inclusive talent pool
• Diverse workplace teams are more likely to perform better financially
• Inclusivity fosters a sense of belonging for employees
• Higher employee retention and lower turnover
• Diverse workplaces breed innovation
• Inclusion can improve business decision-making
• Equity and inclusion can tackle workplace burnout
• Creates competitive business advantage
• DE&I protects company culture
The Canadian Chamber of Commerce SME Institute has a brief titled DEI: What it is and why you should have a strategy which gives an overview of how to move forward with DEI goals.
A diverse, equitable, and inclusive workplace won’t happen by accident. Businesses looking to take this seriously need to be intentional and create a strategy to get where they want to be. For those looking for a bit of help getting started or getting connected, the Chamber network has resources and there are many local organizations with the knowledge and tools to help.
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