Although most organisations are broadly on board with the D&I agenda, there remains a gap of understanding how D&I will improve an organisation’s business. If you find yourself employed by a company that is already a great place to work but could be even better, I offer my advice on five things to include in preparing the business case for D&I in your organisation:
- List the ways the world is changing that requires more inclusive leadership and a more diverse employee body.
There is no denying it: the world of business has changed so much, it is beyond recognition even from as little as 10 years ago. Technology has disrupted entire industries. The pandemic changed how we all work, once and for all. Other changes like global migration flows, demographic changes and growth in affluency in remote corners of the world have greatly impacted on missions and visions of companies around the world.
While all these changes may not have a direct impact on your organisation, it is worth acknowledging that no-one lives in a bubble. We all need to understand the changing context of our work and life and how these changes might affect if not your business, then the business of your partners, suppliers and, yes, customers.
- List the specific changes from the list above that will have an impact on your company.
Of the global trends listed in item number 1, what are the ones that will have a direct impact on your business? What will that impact be and how does that make it more important for your company to prioritise D&I as a business imperative?
- Include examples/case studies of similar companies that have embraced D&I and how they benefited from it.
There are many examples of companies around the globe who have reshaped how they do business to take advantage of the changes. Not only did they rethink their strategies of growth, but they have also made good use of opportunities derived from greater diversity and inclusion. Examples could include how companies have increased their client segments and markets, how they introduced more effective and relevant processes – and indeed products – and how they changed their brand positioning to align with the priorities of today’s and tomorrow’s world.
- Show how colleagues feel about the existing level of D&I in your company.
While it is important to appeal to the business side of D&I, it is equally as important to let people feel the need for it. One very impactful way of doing this is to share actual quotes from colleagues about how experiencing microaggressions or biased actions in the workplace made them feel. Failing that, it is also possible to share the results of engagement surveys, particularly if there are questions about well-being, mood and levels of motivations.
- Outline next steps
Having made a strong rational and emotional business case for the need for a more impactful D&I agenda, it is important to offer suggestions of how this might be addressed. This might include having to get more information (quantitative and/or qualitative) or having a better sense for what the company wants to achieve with greater diversity and inclusion. Whatever the next steps might be, they should be specific to your own organisation, although it might be useful to solicit ideas from other companies or experts.
Making a strong business case that appeals to the head and the heart is crucial for impactful buy-in from leadership and effective implementation of the D&I strategy.
If you would like help with crafting your specific business case, please get in touch.
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