Get real about what DIVERSITY AND INCLUSION is actually costing you!

Organisations spend about $8 billion per year on DIVERSITY AND INCLUSION training with little to show for their efforts. The swamp seems muddier than ever.


Think about the hidden costs:

• The cost of diversity and inclusion dedicated employees or with partial roles.

• Different divisions of organisations ‘reinventing the wheel’ with significant duplication, generally designed by well-meaning people who are 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 + 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 + opportunity cost of time spent?

• Event costs + branding and design costs.

• Employees disengaged because of lack of understanding of the why and the how – because all they have visibility to is the ‘PR’ designed events.

• Random water cooler discussion and debate – again, dominated by lack of knowledge and information.

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 a staged learning approach requiring action and accountability is required.

• 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’s massive GROUP THINK. No body 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 diversity and inclusion 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 DIVERSITY AND INCLUSION 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 DIVERSITY AND INCLUSION trenches we feel our client’s frustration. We know that in order for DIVERSITY AND INCLUSION 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. This has been developed though 5,000 leaders worldwide participating in our programs with significant results – and based on at least 10,000 conversations with leaders seeking to know what they really need to make this the way they operate.

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