In today's rapidly evolving business landscape, innovation has become a critical component of an organisation's success. However, what if we told you that boosting diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) could unlock even greater innovation potential? According to a World Economic Forum study, companies that score well on DEI metrics generate over 45% of their revenue from innovation.
Despite this, few organisations have been able to effectively align their DEI efforts with their overall strategic HRM agenda. In this article, we explore five essential steps that can help organisations transform their DEI objectives into a competitive edge for their business.
Developing a growth mindset
Setting clear targets and measuring progress at regular intervals becomes essential to focus on growth. DEI is not an image bolstering exercise – rather it is an exercise that recognises the potential of human capital and uses this to further business interests. Employees are assigned measurable goals with their performance and capabilities reviewed at periodic intervals. DEI training and sensitization is essential to ensure the success of its efforts.
Demonstrating inclusive leadership
Leadership must strive to develop clear and unambiguous communication protocols. Sincere efforts must be made to boost the happiness quotient of employees. Inclusiveness is best demonstrated through actions rather than rhetoric. This will increase levels of employee engagement across the organisation. With employees valuing softer aspects of the job rather than compensation or locational factors, inclusive leadership can have a greater impact on the performance of the workforce.
Developing a diverse talent base
To drive a successful innovation agenda, DEI has to be embedded in the organisational culture. There must be clear targets for geographic and gender diversity. People from diverse backgrounds and different skillsets can brim with novel ideas that can find gainful deployment while introducing new products and services. Employees must be hired for culture-add rather than culture fit. This assumes greater significance in an era when businesses operating across the globe stand exposed to a multi-cultural and multi-lingual business environment.
Providing equal opportunities
Unconscious biases towards gender, caste, disability, economic background etc are best avoided. A culture of openness can lead to better chances of success in DEI efforts. Equal opportunities to employees will ensure success of business strategies through their active involvement and informed decision making.
Fair treatment of employees
The culture must ensure that employees are nurtured and their efforts valued. Empathy towards employees can make a huge difference to their performance. The philosophy of ‘Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam” (World is Our Family) can enable greater alignment of employee interests with those of the business.
DEI efforts can lead to several benefits for organisations. Diversity and inclusion leverage the differences between people by treating them as sources for boosting creative efforts within the organisation. Inclusiveness allows permeation of a sense of belongingness among employees. This can help enhance employee productivity levels. Equity ensures fair opportunities to all employees treating them as crucial stakeholders to carry forward the business agenda. Investments in DEI have to be considered as strategic investments. This will need conversations around DEI to focus on listening to VoE (Voice of Employees).
In conclusion, Diversity, equity and inclusiveness (DEI) is an ongoing effort that needs to be prioritised through policy level changes. It is a company-wide initiative that needs a greater level of organisational commitment. The pillars of diversity, equity and inclusion are now evolving into a cultural mainstay that defines innovation and growth of an organization. DEI is a human centric approach to doing business and a business imperative that can increase employee engagement and retention. DEI can be used as a basis for developing a talent pipeline that can support the business to deal with tectonic shifts in the economy.