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Gain a competitive edge through a DEI focus

By Jack Campbell | |4 minute read

Diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) is an important consideration for businesses that want to ensure their workforce feels safe and represented. Furthermore, an effective focus on DEI can improve overall business efficiency, making it an extremely worthwhile investment.


Melissa Bowden, senior HR director at Workday APJ, said that the benefits are massive: “A diverse and inclusive workplace is clearly linked to improved profit and performance, innovation, creativity, talent management, engagement and wellbeing, to name a few.”

According to Diversity Council Australia’s Inclusion@Work Index, referenced by Ms Bowden, workers who are a part of inclusive organisational culture are:

  • Three times more likely to report that their team is highly effective (60 per cent of workers in inclusive organisations strongly agreed that their team always worked together effectively compared to just 17 per cent for non-inclusive organisations).
  • Five times more likely to indicate their team is innovative (47 per cent of workers in inclusive organisations indicated that their team always looked for innovations versus 10 per cent for non-inclusive organisations).
  • Three times more likely to indicate their team provides excellent customer/client service (61 per cent versus 21 per cent).

Not only are attitudes and effectiveness improved, but Ms Bowden noted that decision-making skills are also enhanced.

“There is also ample evidence that diverse and inclusive companies are likely to make better and bolder decisions,” she explained.

“For example, diverse teams have been shown to be more likely to radically innovate and anticipate shifts in consumer needs and consumption patterns – helping their companies to gain a competitive edge.”

While the business case for implementing this type of policy is clear, Ms Bowden noted that it’s also about making sure people feel safe: “Not only does it make good business, it’s also the right thing to do.”

So, what can employers do to promote healthy DEI in the workplace? To do so, Ms Bowden said leaders need to take a step back and analyse the business as a whole. If people are excluded when discussing policy, it could fall short when implemented.

“DEI works best when it’s the priority of the whole business rather than just a select few. Leaders that do champion DEI will bolster their organisation’s health and, most importantly, support their people more effectively,” Ms Bowden said.

“By prioritising DEI, leaders can actively improve employee engagement and overall organisational health and help to set their businesses apart.”

Jack Campbell

Jack Campbell

Jack is the editor at HR Leader.