Exiting The Pandemic, companies are launching many initiatives to position themselves more competitively for the future. Diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) is just one of many efforts including digital expansion, supply chain reengineering, cybersecurity and more.
But why do DEI initiatives matter and how can their successful implementation help your company to win?
DEI fits squarely within the current conversation among Fortune 500 CEOs and their boards, industry experts and the media, and public and private companies alike, on Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) risks and opportunities. Business leaders agree: ESG is the area on which company executives must focus if they are striving for more stable returns in the face of economic disruptions and shifting financial markets. A company’s future financial sustainability and long-term value is increasingly being determined by its values and its performance around non-traditional and non-financial factors.
In December 2020, Larry Fink, the CEO of BlackRock — the world’s largest investment management company with over $8 trillion under management — wrote of BlackRock’s “firm-wide commitment to integrate ESG information into our investment processes.” Consistent with their mission of improving the long-term financial outcomes of their clients’ portfolios, BlackRock is creating indices, tools, and rankings for both public and private market companies to measure and incorporate material ESG information into their investment decisions.
What the world is recognizing now is that ESG is an important lens through which investors, consumers, employees, and other stakeholders are making decisions about their time and money. Where do investors want to invest their money? Where do employees want to work? These questions are a way of determining if companies are committed to a greater purpose such as climate change or waste management, DEI, product liability, and board quality.
DEI initiatives matter, not just because there is a moral imperative to respect and value one another in spite of our ethnicities, genders, sexual orientation, age, etc. When companies embrace DEI and implement systems that reinforce it, they can expect:
- Measurable increases in employee engagement and participation,
- Measurable increases in creative problem-solving and innovation,
- Increased growth, competitive advantage, and a healthier bottom line.
DEI is the one initiative you don’t want to de-prioritize. Investing in DEI now, in fact, is the way to win!