The Power of DEI: How CEOs Can Champion a Better Work Environment

by: Taryn Siegele

As more and more data confirms that an inclusive workplace improves productivity and innovation, organizations are beginning to comprehend the importance of not only talking about DEI practices, but actually implementing those initiatives as well.

According to Harvard Business Review, “The business case for diversity is clear. Diversity can boost innovation and employee engagement, and companies with greater gender and racial diversity financially outperform their peers.” But DEI improvement starts at the top. Executives are leaders of the company and it’s their responsibility to ensure that DEI programs are being implemented and prioritized by the rest of the organization.

Take the Lead

Creating a diverse and inclusive workplace is significant because it leads to greater diversity of thought, a better understanding of both peers and customers, and an increased ability to attract and retain top talent. It’s important for CEO’s to take the lead in creating a safe and welcoming work environment. In a report produced by the Harvard Business Review, Kevin Johnson, CEO of Starbucks, stated, “In order to make great progress the CEO needs to take this on as one of those personal initiatives that they’re going to be involved with and personally drive.”

The article also stated that Mark Benioff, CEO of Salesforce, embodied taking the lead on DEI initiatives. He publicly stated that he opposed discriminatory legislation in Georgia and and Indiana. He also marched beside some of his employees in the Women’s March. These CEO’s are great examples of how to take a the lead on creating a better workplace.

Following Through

It’s important to actually implement DEI initiatives and not just verbally express them. Analyzing data, setting goals, and creating deadlines is crucial if real change is expected. A never-ending timeline and lack of progress can cause employees to lose patience and search for new opportunities. Creating a more inclusive environment means prioritizing your DEI goals, allocating the right resources, and setting attainable timelines and targets.

In an article written by Forbes, Tim Wentworth, CEO of Evernorth stated, “A critical step in creating a diverse workforce is ensuring that there is great depth in the data and analytics capabilities of your HR function. Our HR partners need to be more than just cheerleaders for inclusion – their strategies need to be grounded in facts and data. Anything less than that, even with the best intentions, doesn’t embed the kind of accountability needed to make real progress.”

Never Stop

The importance of DEI in the workplace is evident, and it has to start from the top to be effectively implemented. Team members look to company leaders for guidance and to serve as an example of the culture accepted at that organization. But an inclusive workplace isn’t a final destination; it’s an evolving, never-ending journey. By starting with a foundation built on data and measurable goals, you’ve created an opportunity for long-lasting change by consistently monitoring results, tracking progress, and updating goals based on your metrics.

Diversio helps companies of all sizes measure, track, and improve DEI to drive meaningful change. You can request a demo to learn more.

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The Power of DEI: How CEOs Can Champion a Better Work Environment