Diversity, equity and inclusion in the workplace isn’t a new concept. However, recently it has become part of a bigger conversation as businesses recognize the vital role it plays in creating a more sustainable workplace culture. If you’re an insurance agent with employer clients, it is important for them to understand why they shouldn’t wait to act on DEI initiatives.
Why DEI and why now?
According to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, establishing diverse, equitable and inclusive practices is imperative for businesses today. It goes on to note that this is more than simply the right thing to do and a benefit to employees. Diverse and inclusive businesses outperform their competitors in innovation, employee retention, talent recruitment, profit and many other business metrics that lead to long-term growth.
“In the coming months and years, the strongest businesses will be those that continue to prioritize an equitable recovery from the impacts of Covid-19.”
Source: The HR Digest.
A good example would be the impact of COVID-19. As businesses continue to recover, they now face a fiercely competitive labor market. According to The HR Digest, “People returning to work are expecting more from their employers, and much more readily leaving [their] jobs if they are not receiving adequate wages and benefits, flexible work arrangements, or clear growth opportunities.” It notes that businesses today must consider the full range of in-demand job characteristics to ensure equity within their companies in order to remain competitive in the labor market and maintain trust with customers.
The following is a list by Forbes and other business leaders of just some of the key benefits to employers who are choosing to prioritize DEI initiatives.
- An effective way to improve risk management. DEI initiatives help employees feel safe at work. As a result, they are more likely to feel comfortable enough to immediately report ongoing or potential discrimination issues before they develop into claims or litigation issues.
- A better representation of the business. Embracing diversity of gender, race, nationality, creed, sexuality, etc., demonstrates to customers and employees what the business stands for and what it believes is important.
- An improved bottom line. Research shows that highly inclusive companies are more likely to hit their financial target goals by up to 120%.
- A happier and more connected work environment. Promoting DEI efforts helps employees feel safe and respected. This imparts a strong sense of community and feeling of belonging that can lead to more productive employees.
- A greater opportunity for innovation. Studies show that diversity of thought in a company’s management fuels new product development and generates more opportunities for the business and its employees.
- A stronger commitment to the company. Employees who feel more connected at work are likely to work harder and have a strong commitment to their employer. As a result, they are more likely to stay with the business. This is especially vital in positions where workers must have special training.
- A wider perspective. Businesses with a diverse workplace culture invite and accept more viewpoints. Input from a diverse group of employees can help a business gain new perspectives on products and services to reach a wider audience, giving it an advantage over competitors.
- A stronger sense of engagement. With so many employees working remotely, employees are experiencing a “work from home burnout.” Inclusion can be an effective way to improve engagement with employees who are working from home, helping them feel a sense of belonging.
So many businesses have already implemented DEI initiatives throughout their companies or are in the process of doing so. However, for many, there remain challenges such as where and how to start. Later this month, part two of this article will focus on steps and strategies that your business clients can use to become successful with their DEI initiatives.
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