We’re in the second week of Black History Month in the United States. While it can be valuable to shine a spotlight on the amazing accomplishments of Black historical figures, activists, entrepreneurs, and other changemakers, it can also feel like checking a box. “Great, we celebrated Black history! Now let’s move on…”
As an organization, it’s certainly fine to acknowledge Black History Month, but don’t let a single month offset the rest of the year! It’s not enough to send out a few inspirational quotes from famous Black leaders or mention Black history in a company newsletter. Instead, organizations should strive to create lasting, meaningful change all year long.
One of the best ways to do this is by investing in diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives (which we’ve discussed often on my blog). DEI initiatives not only help diversify the workplace, but also create a more inclusive environment for all employees, regardless of race, gender, and other factors.
Keep in mind, this isn’t about ticking items off a list. True DEI-centered actions are company-wide, leadership-driven, and long-lasting. If your organization is truly committed to DEI work, incredible transformations can take place.
Here are 6 ways DEI initiatives make an impact...
1. Improving Retention
Surprise! Satisfied workers are more likely to stay at an organization than unsatisfied ones. If a person feels a sense of belonging at work (i.e., included), they will be happier and more motivated to stay in their current position. Inclusion is directly linked to better employee retention, which can, in turn save the company many thousands of dollars (given the cost of recruiting, hiring, and onboarding new employees).
2. Propelling Innovation
Diverse teams are more innovative and creative than homogenous ones. This is because different backgrounds, experiences, and perspectives can spark new ideas and actions that wouldn’t have been possible before. In other words, it’s much easier to come up with innovative solutions when the people around you have different ways of looking at life and problem-solving. Not to mention, many businesses today need to appeal to a diverse audience, which is easier to do when your team mirrors the market.
3. Strengthening Team Performance
Diverse teams are simply better at solving problems, which increases team performance and the potential for success. Research from the McKinsey Institute shows that “organizations with a high degree of ethnic and racial diversity are 35% more likely to outperform their competitors.” When team members come from different places, it allows for a wider variety of opinions to be shared and discussed, inspiring better, more inclusive decisions.
4. Fostering Growth
DEI initiatives not only help existing employees, they also open the door for fresh talent. A commitment to diversity in the workplace will show potential job candidates that your organization is serious about inclusivity and will open the door to applicants from different backgrounds and identities. Achieving DEI goals can fine-tune a company’s recruitment process and help it find people who might not have applied for the job otherwise.
5. Broadening Perspectives
Diversity and inclusion are about more than just race and gender. People come from all sorts of backgrounds and experiences, and each one can bring a unique perspective to a team. By creating an inclusive space for employees of all identities, an organization can benefit from these perspectives and use them to help inform decisions and increase understanding.
6. Improving Retention
Creating a workplace where people from all walks of life feel included and respected is vital for establishing trust. It’s essential that employees feel safe and secure when they’re at work and that they know their identity won’t be questioned or judged. By fostering an environment of trust and respect through DEI initiatives, it can help build relationships and create a more cohesive team.
DEI initiatives have the potential to make a huge impact on the day-to-day operations of an organization. By creating an inclusive working environment and investing in initiatives that support diversity and equity in the workplace, organizations can foster an atmosphere of trust and understanding that can lead to greater success.