Diversity & Inclusion

How to inspire belonging through social impact

Inclusive and diverse workplaces increase employee satisfaction and engagement

The business case for diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) within the workplace has never been more clear. Companies around the world are reaping the benefits of their multicultural workforces and inclusive policies. They have better reputations, are a magnet for top talent, and exceed their financial goals. A McKinsey study showed companies with diverse boards saw 43% higher profits — a Boston Consulting Group study showed that diverse management teams boost revenue by 19%.

The emotional case for DEI within the workplace is strong, too. Employees of diverse and inclusive companies are more connected, engaged and creative, and happier at work. DEI programs have developed a deeper sense of belonging within every member of their team.

So, what can your company do to embrace the DEI movement? We’ve compiled a list of initiatives that environmental, social, and governance (ESG) leaders are taking on as a part of their commitment to diversity and inclusion. Any one of these ideas will help you leap off the starting blocks.

Start a D&I book club

Books help us understand and relate to cultural backgrounds that are different than our own. Start a diversity and inclusion book club that explores literary works with a unique cultural narrative on a monthly or quarterly basis. Gather members together to discuss thoughts, questions, and takeaways. Remember to have an experienced facilitator on hand to keep the conversation productive. Reward employees who participate in the book club by donating to a human rights organization in their honor.

Participate in a social justice event

Invite your employees to an event like the Women's March — rallying around a cause will help team members strengthen existing bonds and build new relationships. Your company can go the extra mile by fiscally sponsoring the event (sponsorship is one of the easiest ways to demonstrate CSR). Participating in a social justice event will make a difference inside and outside the workplace.

Support a human rights organization

Support nonprofit organizations that are focused on DEI, like Accion, Amnesty International,or GLAAD. Even a small donation will show your employees and customers that you are serious about your effort to be diverse and inclusive. Announce your gift in company newsletters, meetings, or on social media to inspire team members and your online community.

Check your pulse

Conduct a survey to discover which nonprofit causes your employees care about most. Evaluate the results, then let them influence your company's philanthropic engagements. Listening to and reflecting the interests of all team members is key to making each and every one of them feel valued, which will deepen their sense of belonging within your company.

Launch a peer-to-peer campaign

Inspire generosity amongst employees through peer-to-peer fundraising campaigns. Launch your impact initiative around an awareness month to show your company's support for equity, inclusion or diversity. Team members will feel empowered when given the choice to fundraise for a cause they believe in. Peer-to-peer campaigns should mobilize staff members in every department — you can even encourage board members, stakeholders, and your local community to get involved. Make it a friendly competition and reward the employee that raises the most. Collaboration will bring your team together in their effort to make a difference.

Host a cultural or awareness event

Celebrate diversity within your company by hosting a special event in honor of Black History Month, Women’s History Month, Gay and Lesbian Pride Month, or another significant cultural or awareness holiday. Make sure your event planning team is diverse, and encourage them to develop a theme that relates to the holiday in a meaningful way. Provide unique experiences throughout the year that encourage learning, like a company-wide visit to a museum. Your ticket sales will support nonprofit institutions that are vital to the preservation of cultural history.

Be inclusive

Include all staff members in your social impact programs. Ensure everyone on your team has the chance to make a difference at work by reducing barriers to participation. For example, eliminate minimum donations for matching programs, or encourage virtual volunteering (not everyone's budget allows for monetary gifts).

Report on initiatives

Dedicate a section of your annual or CSR report to diversity, inclusion, and social impact initiatives to highlight their importance. Demonstrate your company’s commitment in a clear way by using evidence-based metrics to quantify and qualify your results.