Diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) are pillars for building a more productive and inclusive workplace environment. When organizations look to recruit and retain employees, they should find ways to create a sense of belonging and to encourage a trajectory for employee growth. When employees are satisfied with how they fit into their organizations, they are more likely to spark new ideas which leads to revenue generation and new products. As organizations reflect this diversity in their teams and products, customers establish brand loyalty as they see their social values reflected in the organization. DEI should be prioritized for a symbiotic relationship with organizations, their employees and customers to create loyalty, trust and increase innovation. 

Organizations committed to increasing their retention and recruitment efforts while boosting employee morale must commit to creating a psychologically safe workplace culture and inclusive environment. According to a study conducted by Pew Research Center,  61 percent of employees  say “their company or organization has policies ensuring fairness in hiring, pay or promotions,” while 56 percent of employees say focusing on “DEI at work is a good thing.” Employees want an inclusive workplace where they feel they are compensated fairly, valued for their contributions and have opportunities for growth. On the flipside, when organizations do not focus on creating an inclusive workplace, employee morale lowers, silos are created and attrition rates increase. In addition, a study predicted that “it costs six to nine months’ salary on average” in recruiting and training expenses for a business to replace a salaried employee. In order to avoid this, organizations should focus on strategies to retain their employees through employee resource groups, active listening and creating an open culture where diversity of thought is valued. Organizations that enact policies prioritizing DEI showcase to their employees their commitment to their overall well-being and workplace satisfaction and in turn increase productivity, innovation and creativity. 

Organizations that prioritize DEI cultivate an inclusive environment where diverse ideas are valued, encourage innovation and a greater return-on-investment. According to a report by joshbersin, organizations that listen to employees and hear what they are saying and act accordingly are 3.6x more likely to innovate effectively; 8.4x more likely to inspire a sense of belonging; 12x more likely to engage and retain employees; and 8.5x more likely to satisfy and retain customers. By creating a collaborative environment where employees are heard and valued for their feedback, organizations create a culture of trust and allow employees to feel that they can voice their opinions and ideas. Further, according to a study by the Boston Consulting Group, “organizations that reported above-average diversity on their management teams also reported innovation revenue that was 19 percentage points higher than that of organizations with below-average leadership diversity—45 percent of total revenue versus just 26 percent.” This highlights how diverse teams lead to new products and ideas that can create a virtuous cycle of innovation, revenue growth and increased company market share. This in turn leads to greater opportunities to generate innovative products and services that can enhance the marketplace, provide a competitive advantage and enhance customer satisfaction. 

Organizations that emphasize diversity of thought allow for innovative products and services that enhance customer engagement and loyalty. Customers choose to support organizations that hold similar value systems to their own, have diverse leadership teams and showcase measurable action when it comes to social causes. It was revealed that 70 percent of 18-34 year old respondents stated that “a brand’s public support of a key social issue has directly influenced them to shop with that brand for the first time within the past year, with 40 percent of respondents [saying] a brand’s lack of public support of a key social issue directly influenced them to stop doing business with that brand.” As organizations prioritize customer satisfaction, they should take into consideration how current issues may impact brand loyalty and focus on ways to actively listen, support and engage with their customer base. Further, in a study by McKinsey and Company, “organizations on average had the highest likelihood of outperformance on profitability, at almost 62 percent, likely reflecting their historically high levels of diversity on executive teams.” When competing in the marketplace, it is imperative to have leadership that is diverse because it encourages innovation, profitability and new ideas. The demographics of the United States is non-homogenous and customers want to see themselves reflected in the brands that they support. Organizations that would like to retain and increase customer loyalty should focus on starting with their internal teams to encourage DEI, while also focusing on social issues they can support to encourage greater customer support. 

Implementing DEI encourages employee retention, product innovation and customer loyalty and satisfaction. Employees are more likely to stay at organizations that prioritize psychological safety and practice active listening through employee resource groups and other retention strategies. Diversity of thought leads to greater revenue generation and creativity in the global  marketplace. Customers look to organizations to reflect their current values and prioritize diversity in their internal teams. As we grow towards a more inclusive society, organizations should look to adapt in the marketplace to encourage DEI as an imperative for growth. 

About the Author:

Kamaria Monmouth is a passionate brand strategist with a proven record of crafting award winning content. She has had her journalism featured in Forbes, PBS, the Houston Chronicle and Blavity. Kamaria graduated from Loyola University New Orleans with a degree in mass communication: public relations and a minor in marketing. She also holds a Master of Business Administration in Project Management and Process Improvement from the University of Houston-Downtown.