How to Secure and Expand Your DEI Budget

June 1, 2022
7 min

Today’s hiring leaders recognize the value of prioritizing diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) in their organizations. Making a more concerted effort to expand your program can have a tremendous and positive influence on your company and a ripple effect throughout your industry.

Despite growing support from senior leadership teams, securing enough budget for DEI initiatives is still challenging. That’s because, while many companies are interested in increasing diversity in their workforce, there’s still a lot of uncertainty about which efforts yield the best results and how to measure performance.

As a dedicated hiring leader, it’s often up to you to convince senior decision-makers that an investment in DEI initiatives will be well-spent and result in real, measurable change.

Here are a few things you can do to earn more DEI budget and ensure your program remains well-funded.

Share How DEI Will Help Achieve Key Business Objectives

Focusing on improving your DEI efforts is critical from an ethical standpoint. Increasing all types of diversity in your workforce and ensuring everyone is adequately supported and fairly paid is an important way for businesses to help end marginalization in society. When discussing establishing or growing a DEI program, this is an important place to start.

But having the right budget for DEI efforts will also help strengthen the bottom line. And when it comes to earning buy-in from senior stakeholders, tying your efforts to revenue and key company initiatives will help keep their attention.

Here are three ways DEI helps organizations reach key business objectives:

  • Increases innovation
    Companies that increase diversity in their workforce also benefit from a boost in revenue from new products and services, also called “innovation revenue.” According to a study by Boston Consulting Group, companies with above-average diversity scores also enjoy 45% average innovation revenue, nearly 20% higher than those with below-average diversity scores. More diversity means more varied viewpoints and ideas rooted in different life experiences, which can help make your offerings richer and more powerful.

  • Employee engagement and retention
    Turnover is expensive, curbs productivity, and hurts company morale. But today, it’s harder than ever to retain top talent and keep employees engaged long-term. Fortunately, prioritizing diversity and inclusion can help you overcome these challenges. According to data shared by Deloitte, companies with more diversity have a 22% lower turnover rate than less diverse organizations. And diverse organizations also have an easier time recruiting new talent.

    Plus, ensuring all employees have access to the same opportunities for skill-building, networking, and career development will encourage them to stay and grow with your organization.

  • Increased profitability
    According to multiple studies, organizations with more diverse workforces earn higher revenue. This is especially true when companies have more diversity in their management teams. According to McKinsey, companies with more than 30% women executives outperform companies with less than 30%, and those with more ethnic and cultural diversity also boasted higher revenue.

Break Down Your Plan for Leveraging Your Budget

When asking for more budget for DEI, it’s also crucial you explain how you’ll be investing these additional funds.

Here are a few ways you can put your money to good use:

  • Education and process
    Success in DEI requires full support from the entire organization. That’s why one of the best ways to invest your budget is by providing diversity training and working to ensure diversity is a part of your company culture. By educating employees and adjusting team processes to fight bias, you can ensure your efforts to improve DEI make a greater impact.

  • Support employee resource groups
    Employee resource groups (ERGs) are voluntary, employee-led groups where people who share a characteristic or experience can discuss their shared challenges and help usher in lasting organizational change. You can use some of your budget to hire speakers, invest in resources to help employees grow their skill sets, and compensate employees for the time and emotional labor they dedicate to these initiatives.
  • Invest in a DEI Operating System
    It can be challenging to keep your DEI initiatives on track without support from the right technology. A DEI operating system, like Mathison, provides a full suite of tools to help build and activate a strategy, analyze your progress, and foster awareness across your organization. You can set goals, uncover and reduce bias in your hiring process, access training for your entire hiring team, and cast a wider net by reaching underrepresented candidates.

    A DEI operating system also makes it easy to report progress back to your senior leadership team to prove the value and impact of your efforts. (Book a call to learn more about how our platform can help you accelerate your DEI initiatives. We'd love to walk you through it!) 

Many organizations have begun prioritizing diversity in recent years, but progress has been slow, and it’s easy to become discouraged. In some cases, the guardians of the organization’s budget may be hesitant to pump more money into DEI initiatives until they know the efforts will drive measurable change. But by making a clear case, allocating your budget toward effective actions, and ensuring you can easily measure and report on your progress, you’ll be more likely to earn senior executives’ buy-in and the funds you need.

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