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Embracing diversity: the increasing importance of DEIB in today's workplaces

Everybody seems to be talking about DEIB lately! In recent years, the concepts of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging, have gained significant traction in workplaces around the world. But is DEIB just the latest buzzword, or is there more to this increasingly popular acronym?

As global dynamics shift and societies become increasingly diverse, the need for more inclusive environments that leverage the power of diversity has become undeniable. At Progression, we recently launched an introductory webinar exploring the essential principles of DEIB and the response was overwhelming, confirming the growing appetite for knowledge and guidance in this area.

Embracing diversity: the increasing importance of DEIB in today's workplaces

Why DEIB matters

DEIB extends beyond the traditional notions of diversity—which often focus merely on visible differences such as race, gender, and age—to encompass a broader spectrum of attributes including cultural background, sexual orientation, disability status and even diversity of thought. This comprehensive approach ensures that all individuals feel valued, respected and an integral part of their organisation.

Research shows that diverse organisations perform better. According to a McKinsey report, companies in the top quartile for gender diversity on their executive teams were 25% more likely to experience above-average profitability compared to companies in the fourth quartile.

DEIB-focused employers attract talent from a wider pool, appealing to candidates from various backgrounds and with different life experiences. In addition, a culture that emphasises inclusion and belonging reduces turnover rates, as employees feel more engaged and connected to their workplace. Diversity within an organisation can also lead to better understanding of customer needs across different demographics, enhancing customer satisfaction and expanding market reach.

Companies that ignore DEIB may face not only cultural but also legal consequences. For instance, workplace discrimination and harassment lawsuits can damage an organisation’s reputation and financial standing. Proactively addressing DEIB can help mitigate these risks and protect the company's reputation.

Companies today are required not only to pursue profitability, but also to operate responsibly. South African businesses are increasingly expected to report on Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) factors. While there is currently no legal requirement for ESG reporting in South Africa, there is a global trend towards greater voluntary ESG disclosure due to a number of factors such as investor pressure, stakeholder expectations as well as the competitive advantage earned. Embracing DEIB demonstrates a commitment to social values, which can enhance an organisation’s image and brand in the eyes of consumers, investors and other stakeholders who prioritise corporate responsibility.

Moving forward

Incorporating DEIB isn't just about recruitment practices or having a diverse workforce. It involves developing policies that ensure equity, creating an environment where all employees feel included, and continuously nurturing a sense of belonging. Training programmes, mentorship, open communication and transparent policies are just a few of the initiatives that can support DEIB efforts.

In addition, leadership plays a crucial role - leaders must be committed to the principles of DEIB and actively model inclusive behaviours. This commitment should filter down to all levels of the organisation to truly build a culture where diversity is viewed as a strength.

As the business landscape continues to evolve, the importance of DEIB will only grow. Companies that recognise and act on the importance of DEIB will not only thrive in terms of innovation and profitability but will also lead the way in creating a more just and inclusive society. Embracing DEIB is not just the right thing to do—it is a strategic priority for modern businesses.

30 Apr 2024 14:12


About the author

MD at Progression