Why a Focus on DEI Is the Missing Piece of Your Employee Retention Strategy

Why a Focus on DEI Is the Missing Piece of Your Employee Retention Strategy

Including DEI initiatives in your organization's strategy for employee well-being doesn't just look great on paper. On average, organizations that prioritize diversity see 2.3 times higher cash flow per employee. Curious to learn more about how a focus on DEI can improve employee retention? Read on!

Why a Focus on DEI Is the Missing Piece of Your Employee Retention Strategy

Originally published in HR Tech Cube on September 1, 2022


People spend almost 80% of their lives at work. Because we spend so much time working, it’s important to feel comfortable in the workplace, and that includes feeling accepted for who we are. When an individual feels “othered” or as though any part of their identity (i.e sexual orientation, gender, religion, etc) is unwelcome or unappreciated in their work environment, they may experience “identity cover,” a sort of masking of who they are to get through their work day. This is one of the most common reasons diverse candidates may feel vulnerable to leaving a position.

Your ability to make your employees feel seen and valued has a direct effect on productivity and even employee retention. On average, organizations that prioritize diversity see 2.3 times higher cash flow per employee. Team performance can even go up by 30 percent in high-diversity environments where diversity initiatives are in place.

"If you’re having difficulty retaining talent and modernizing your workplace culture, consider the lasting impact and value of a robust, engaging DEI strategy."

Firstly, promoting a diverse environment and embracing cultural diversity is a cornerstone of healthy, creative workplaces.

Opting not to highlight the diversity of your workplace is a step backward in terms of promoting productivity. Encouraging sameness increases the risk that employees in your organization will resort to “group think,” responding to challenges and situations in a streamlined, homogenous way.

A study by Boston Consulting Group showed a significant correlation between diversity and overall innovation. Prioritizing diversity has incredible power to improve organizations’ overall performance by creating space for new ideas and options. The financial impact of this is significant—particularly for organizations relying on creativity and innovation.

A clear commitment to diversity and inclusion also benefits your recruitment strategy. Studies show that diversity is a make or break for many of today’s candidates when choosing a workplace. About 1 in 3 employees and job seekers (32%) would not apply for a job at a company where there is a lack of diversity among its workforce.

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Talented workers prioritize diversity when searching for careers because they know what an organization’s commitment to equity implies in the long run. Creating a culture of visibility by recognizing diversity in your organization is instrumental for bringing highly skilled, qualified candidates into your organization.

A key piece of DEI at the corporate level is recognition; the more you celebrate diversity, the more you’ll cultivate dedicated, passionate team members. There is an incredible opportunity to work with some of the most talented, innovative people in your industry if you foster space for a multitude of backgrounds. Explore your options and find a strategy that allows you to maintain a focus on DEI regardless of circumstances–incorporating the principles of diversity and sticking to your commitment will only continue to pay off in the long run.

In the long-term, a strong DEI strategy will make your workplace resilient to turnover and ultimately, improve employee satisfaction. The idea of starting from scratch may be intimidating, but it’s getting started that matters.

Julie Kratz, a corporate DEI expert and strategist, says that starting strong and planning for the future are what make the difference. “It’s not about being perfect at this! A lot of organizations haven’t started planning yet. This isn’t about keeping score–it’s about entering a brave place and bringing your full self.”

Ready to create your organization's long-term DEI strategy? Access the recording of our webinar with corporate DEI strategist, Julie Kratz!

According to Kratz, only about 10% of organizations have had communication with their employees about current events surrounding identity and equity. The issue, Kratz points out, often lies in a fear of starting from scratch and ending up with a poorly constructed plan. But poor planning can be easily avoided by leaning into the 3 essential components of a DEI strategy: the what, the why, and the how.

Senior leaders can start by taking an initial assessment of their own DEI initiatives and then return to these grounding principles to create action steps that are manageable and have long-term validity.

Gen Z and millennial workers are looking for careers in environments where their identities will be celebrated, and companies that prioritize diversity are now proven to have a higher likelihood of outperforming less diverse organizations when it comes to profitability.

DEI has a profound effect on corporate outcomes–prioritizing and maintaining inclusion at all levels is imperative to your organization’s success. If you want to maximize profits, attract talented team members, and create a resilient work environment, making DEI a key part of your overall company framework is essential.

Ready to learn more about how Cooleaf can help you create your DEI strategy? Talk to experts today!

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