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The business value of inclusion

April 15, 2024

Every year, billions of dollars are poured into diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) initiatives, yet business leaders have minimal insight into what works—and whether the investments lead to results. Therefore, the Boston Consulting Group released a survey quantifying the responses of more than 27,000 employees to prove the business value of inclusion.

According to the results, when senior leaders are strongly committed to DEI, companies are likely to have:

  • 7x as many direct managers who are committed to DEI;
  • 5x as much diversity in senior leadership;
  • 3x as many direct managers who create safe working environments.

The study found that companies with a diverse senior leadership team provide 

better inclusion experiences for all employees. When companies have diversity in senior leadership, 85% of employees report feelings of belonging at work, whereas only 53% of employees who work at companies without diversity in senior leadership feel as though they belong. Importantly, employees of all identities—including but not limited to traditionally defined diverse employees—experience an improved workplace because of leadership diversity.

“While it is imperative to increase the representation of the most obvious diversity groups (women, people of color, people with disabilities, and LGBTQ employees), diversity comes in many different forms. Age, socioeconomic background, level of education, level of ambition, and caregiving outside of work, to name a few, are all forms of diversity that influence who employees are and what they bring to the workplace,” the report highlights.

The authors concluded giving some tips to understand and assimilate once and for all that inclusion is also a key lever for attracting and retaining talent:

  • Build diversity at the senior leadership level.
  • Equip direct managers to create safe teams and environments (and make them accountable).  
  • Build stringent safeguards against discriminatory and biased behaviors. 
  • Measure outcomes focused on DEI.

Source: BCG