What Is Your Diversity and Inclusion Strategy Actually Costing Your Organisation?

Do you know what your diversity and inclusion strategy is actually costing your organisation? Can you track spend and ROI effectively?

According to a Forbes article: Organisations spend about $8 billion per year on diversity and inculsion training with little to show for their efforts. The swamp seems muddier than ever. 

The hidden costs of diversity and inclusion strategy

Think about the hidden costs: 

  • The cost of diversity and inclusion dedicated employees or with partial roles.  
  • Different organisation divisions ‘reinventing the wheel’ with significant duplication. Designed by well-meaning people, guided by passion and experience, rather than behavioural change.  
  • Senior leader time in attending diversity council, training, events and other senior level discussions around diversity. What is the hourly cost to the business – based on total cost of employee plus the opportunity cost of time spent? 
  • Employee time in participating and arranging events and training. What is the hourly cost to the business – based on total cost of employee plus the opportunity cost of time spent? 
  • Event costs plus branding and design costs.  
  • Employees are disengaged. They lack an understanding of the why and the how. They only see the ‘PR’ designed events.  
  • Random water cooler discussion and debate – again, dominated by lack of knowledge and information.  

It’s time to get real and assess the true ROI of your D&I strategy

Are you getting a return?

Can you start to quantify the return?

Is it impacting your bottom line, and can you prove it?  

Is this what you are hearing?:

  • We have put xx number of people through training! So, what – what’s the impact? The learn and forget curve of one-off training events is steep. To embed new habits, you require a staged learning approach based on action and accountability.
  • We sponsored this event and 20 of our staff participated (when we have 10,000) – This is a PR exercise and has limited ROI.  
  • We have had multiple sessions and events to create awareness! Creating awareness is nice but doesn’t change behaviour – awareness doesn’t make a dint in changing the culture.  
  • We have put 5 women on a senior level, super expensive program. Does this change anything when the research clearly shows that the pipeline into middle management is where the broken rung sits.  

Globally this is the approach that most organisations take. It’s deeply embedded. It is massive group think.  

Nobody stops to question whether it’s working – they just continue to follow what others are doing.  

No other business strategy would be allowed to continue with such a limited ROI and business rational

When we ask most what does diversity and inclusion success look like – the answer is wishy washy and at best, some reference to gender numbers or pay gap.  

People who are passionate about their diversity and inclusion training programs are leading the charge, and they are not behavioural change or cultural change experts.

Their passion is admirable – but it leads us to repeating the same things over and over (the laundry list of D&I activity in most organisations is the same).

Would you hire a CFO on the basis that the individual is passionate about money?  

This approach leads us to the ‘samosa party’ approach to diversity and inclusion– which creates a feel good moment for those involved and perhaps a PR story. But it changes nothing.  

With almost 15 years’ experience in the D&I trenches we feel our client’s frustration.

We know that in order for diversity and inclusion strategy to be a real priority we must demonstrate a bottom-line impact – and it must be simplified to support leaders to achieve a number of the expectations upon them. 

Our current approach aligns to our quest to get to a REAL ROI. 5,000 leaders worldwide have participated in our programs with significant results. Based on at least 10,000 conversations with leaders seeking to know what they really need to make this the way they operate.  

You can find out more about our inclusive leadership program here. We call it the Inclusion Habits for Leaders program and we’re implementing it with global organisations as we speak. And we’re seeing results.

Ready to make the change and elevate your diversity and inclusion solutions?

Is it time? Find out if our programs are a right fit for your organisation.

Leave a Comment