When you embed diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) into your organizational culture, you elevate sustainability and resilience and reduce risk. To craft a successful DEI program, bold action that skillfully balances cost, talent and stakeholder expectations is essential.
An impactful DEI strategy starts with recognizing the need to create a profound sense of belonging among employees. It also requires weaving it into every facet of your human capital strategy, extending across the entire talent lifecycle and employee experience. Doing so will empower your organization and its people to thrive, innovate and excel.
Whether you are beginning your DEI journey or refining your plan, we can help you. When you work with us, we will provide data-driven DEI solutions in the areas of people, risk and capital that make your organization more resilient and help your employees succeed and thrive.
82% of employers today have DEI as a part of their values and culture; estimated to increase to 91% by 2025
(WTW 2023 Best Practices in Health Care Survey)
75% of global employers are in the process of or are considering translating DEI ambitions into employee benefits
(WTW 2023 Global Priorities for Employee Benefits)
What is DEI?
DEI aims to create an environment that values and respects the unique characteristics, backgrounds and perspectives of all individuals within an organization. DEI is also referred to as I&D, D&I and other combinations that also include “B” for belonging.
It aims to create a culture and sense of belonging for all.
Diversity refers to the range of human differences present in the workplace. Ideally, it should reflect your surrounding community. Extending far beyond race and gender, it encompasses a wide range of dimensions, including:
- Age and life stage
- Sexual orientation
- Socioeconomic status
Each of these dimensions brings unique perspectives, experiences and contributions to the table. And when employees are given a voice and opportunities to freely express themselves, they foster richer and more vibrant thinking that can increase productivity, innovation and resilience.
Equity involves listening and understanding to give people what they need to enjoy full, healthy lives. Equity focuses on ensuring fair treatment and access to opportunities and resources for all employees. It recognizes that individuals have different starting points and barriers to success and seeks to address those disparities by providing support and accommodations and removing systemic barriers.
Inclusion aims to create a sense of belonging. An inclusive culture makes employees feel valued, respected and empowered to contribute their unique perspectives. It involves fostering a collaborative and supportive environment where diversity is celebrated and respected. It helps individuals thrive and succeed, creating a more productive, innovative and sustainable workplace.
Why does DEI matter to employers?
There are several reasons DEI should matter to your organization:
- Inequities exist in work, pay, career, health and wellbeing, financial outcomes and safety – particularly for under-represented employees.
- New and existing DEI disclosure requirements and regulations create a greater sense of urgency to address gaps.
- Employees, consumers and investors are focused on your DEI progress. They expect equity, social connection and a sense of belonging for all employees.
- An action-oriented commitment to DEI is a competitive differentiator, creating greater diversity and representation in the workforce at all levels, supporting employee hiring, retention and engagement and ensuring the wellbeing of all employees.
- A cohesive strategy of governance and engagement of leaders and managers is critical to bringing your DEI strategy to life. This includes people programs and policies assessed through a DEI lens to reflect the diverse needs of the workforce and all aspects of the employee experience.
To sum up all of those points, the simple answer is DEI leads to better outcomes for your employees, customers, investors and other stakeholders.
33% Employees who believe DEI is a high priority and rank their employer poor in this area are 33% more likely to leave for a 5% salary increase than an employee who ranked such efforts high.
WTW 2022 Global Benefits Attitude Survey.
DEI is the key to attracting, retaining and engaging top talent. By prioritizing DEI in the workplace, you also:
- Foster innovation
- Improve decision making
- Build stronger connections with customers and other stakeholders
- Increase productivity, sustainability and resilience
Research shows that diverse organizations outperform less diverse ones. According to the Global - Parity Alliance, ethnically diverse companies and gender diverse companies are 36% and 25% more likely to financially outperform (from a total return to shareholders perspective) those that are of average diversity in their industry.
How we can help you unlock the business value of DEI and a culture of belonging for all
DEI and a culture of belonging is an ongoing process that requires a continuous commitment, evaluation and adaptation to create a more inclusive and equitable workplace. Addressing DEI involves a comprehensive strategy and a robust governance process, enabling execution through the right tools and programs for leaders, managers and employees. The ultimate goal is that all employees feel they belong and have the ability to thrive.
We start by understanding your current approach and future vision for DEI and how that connects to your broader talent and business strategies. We’ll then set clear objectives, develop a strategy to achieve your vision and create a roadmap to achieve it. We provide support based on where you are, whether it’s starting in discovery mode or refining your plan and developing a measurement and accountability model.
21% of employers are reviewing or updating their total rewards strategies to address changing dynamics of work for DEI.
(WTW 2023 Dynamics of Work Survey)
We have identified strategic areas of focus to amplify your people and business performance:
- DEI strategy, governance and analytics
- Equal and fair pay
- Equitable career opportunities
- Inclusive benefits
- Work and leave policies
- Inclusive employee experience
- Leader and manager activation
- DEI is part of environmental, social and governance
To successfully incorporate DEI into your ESG commitments, you need to invest in and have governance around all aspects of DEI – whether it’s people and leaders or other areas like supplier diversity, training, or internal and external community connections.
We work with organizations to use human capital metrics to measure employee alignment with DEI and other ESG factors. For example, there are several potential ESG metrics related to human capital management, such as productivity per employee or pay gap as well as emerging ones such as high-performance employee experience or equitable access to reskilling and upskilling programs. We can help you find the right balance of metrics to meet specific objectives and align them with business and ESG strategies.
When you get DEI and ESG right, you not only enhance your organizational culture, but also improve employee engagement. People want to work for companies they feel do the right thing by treating people with equity, dignity and respect.
To thrive in today’s changing world, organizations need to adopt a healthy organizational culture, where DEI is incorporated in the employee experience and ESG strategy. When employees feel comfortable bringing their authentic or best selves to work, collaboration, creativity, innovation and productivity flourish, making your business more resilient and better positioned to meet today’s – and tomorrow’s – challenges.