Employment Diversity - Future Workforce Strategy - Talent

6 Reasons Why Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in the Workplace Exists

“A diverse mix of voices leads to better discussions, decisions, and outcomes for everyone.” 

Sundar Pichai, CEO, Google

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) in the workplace has been treated as the latest buzzword, however, in the summer of 2020, more than 20+ million protesters around the world demanded systemic racism changes during a global pandemic.

While there isn’t a set playbook with all the answers, well thought out DEI initiatives help businesses with their efforts to nurture a more positive workplace, generate fresh insights, and can even increase their bottom line.  Read on for six benefits that DEI can bring to your organization.

Why Are Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Important for Your Workplace?

After the summer of 2020, businesses rushed to raise awareness about systemic racism and create new training programs and hiring practices around diversity, equity, and inclusion in the workplace.

Employees shared difficult conversations about the inequalities and oppressive systems that advance certain groups of people while others remain disadvantaged.

Despite businesses gaining more awareness, building more diverse teams, sharing perspectives, and granting access to opportunities, diverse employees including women, LGBTQ+ employees, and people of color still struggle the most.

What Is the Difference Between Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion? 

To understand DEI in the workplace, one must first understand the meaning and significance of each component to drive real change. 

  • Diversity is the representation of all differences and experiences including race, ethnicity, identity, religion, sexual orientation, and more. 
  • Equity refers to the accessibility of, and opportunities for, advancement – for everyone. 
  • Inclusion establishes an infrastructure and environment where employees of all backgrounds can thrive. 

Dr. Robert Sellers, former Chief Diversity Officer at the University of Michigan summed up the three pillars as “Diversity is where everyone is invited to the party, Equity means that everyone gets to contribute to the playlist, Inclusion means that everyone has the opportunity to dance.”  

1. DEI in the Workplace Attracts Talent

  • Diversity in the workplace boosts a company’s brand and makes  a company a more desirable place to work. 
  • Workplace diversity is an especially beneficial asset for attracting top talent from diverse talent pools.
  • According to a survey conducted by Glassdoor, 67% of job seekers said a diverse workforce is important when considering job offers.

2. DEI in the Workplace Retains Talent 

  • The link between workplace diversity and employee engagement is pretty straightforward, employees that feel included are more engaged.
  • U.S. Department of Labor revealed in April 2022 that more than 4.4 million Americans left their jobs, many due to exclusion, discrimination and unfair working conditions.
  • Businesses attract new employees (and clients) when there is a sense of shared alignment and empowerment with a staff that is happy and committed to going the extra mile. In the age of the “Great Resignation,” a company can successfully attract diverse talent, the company culture needs to be driven by a “people-first” approach. 

3. DEI in the Workplace Reduces Absenteeism

  • Not investing in DEI efforts cost US companies $1.05 trillion dollars according to a 2020 Accenture study.  Yes, trillions of dollars – let that settle in a moment.
  • Replacing employees can affect your workplace’s productivity, morale and bottom line. According to Gallup, replacing an employee costs 150-200% of the employee’s annual salary.
  • Turnover is costly to businesses, as they must go through the recruitment and training process again. 

4. DEI in the Workplace Reduces Employee Turnover

  • It is challenging to work in a space where employees are unhappy or stressed. Even if you are not suffering from depression or anxiety, it can bring you down. 
  • Presenteeism is the lost productivity when present employees are not fully functioning because of stressful life events, illness, or injury, which can cost up to $50 billion in lost productivity for employers.
  • When employees feel accepted and valued, they are also happier in their workplace and stay longer with a company. As a result, companies with a commitment to diversity and employees create a sense of belonging to the company and are less likely to leave.

5.  DEI in the Workplace Broadens Perspectives

  • Every employee deserves an opportunity to show their work skills, and having DEI initiatives in a business gives everyone a sense of authenticity, belonging and that their contributions matter. 
  • Harvard Business Review found diverse teams are able to solve problems faster than cognitively similar people.
  • Globally, organizations are reevaluating their strategic goals to create an equitable and inclusive workplace.

6. DEI in the Workplace Encourages Innovation and Creativity

  • Consequently, employees in a company with higher workplace diversity will have access to a variety of different perspectives, which is highly beneficial when it comes to planning and executing a business strategy.
  • When you put together people who see the same thing in different ways, you are more likely to get a melting pot of fresh, new ideas, thus improving the creativity of your workforce.
  • In a diverse workplace, employees are exposed to multiple perspectives and worldviews. 

What’s the Future of DEI in the Workplace?

So what does diversity, equity, and inclusion look like when done right?  Doing diversity right means acknowledging that the presence of diversity isn’t enough.  

This creates a workspace that values safety and belongingness for marginalized groups of people who have traditionally been unable to easily find a seat at the table.

Education and awareness is not enough — businesses must actively continue to make diversity, equity, and inclusion in the workplace a priority and measure their success plans often. Check out these companies that are doing DEI initiatives right for ideas.

Start Learning

Monique Roberts
Monique Roberts
Monique enjoys traveling, photography, and connecting with Udacity students around the world in addition to writing about digital transformation, career upskilling, and innovative technologies.