The role of Equality, Diversity & Inclusion in recession-proofing your organisation

Suzanne Rouart

Written By Suzanne Rouart

28th September 2022

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Why your EDI strategy is even more critical in a recession

Studies in previous recessions and significant periods of change, such as the Covid-19 pandemic, have shown that businesses recognised as prioritising equality, diversity and inclusion have been better placed to manage the impact of crises.  One of the reasons for this is because of the diversity of idea generation and problem solving diverse workforces bring to the table. Just as recessions don’t impact all businesses equally, they don’t impact all employees equally either, so having input into recession-proofing strategies from a diverse workforce is likely to lead to better outcomes, mitigate risks, and help improve employee experiences.

A McKinsey research report, “Diversity wins: How inclusion Matters”, demonstrates the importance of creating an inclusive culture that celebrates diversity, citing, “The most diverse companies are now more likely than ever to outperform less diverse peers on profitability.”

Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) strategies aren’t just nice-to-haves; they are essential to organisational health and success, driving bottom-line growth and improving talent recruitment and retention, which become even more imperative during periods of change.

Attracting and retaining talent is as important as ever

Gen-Zs entering the workforce during this unprecedented period of uncertainty are the most racially and ethnically diverse generation, and have grown up in more diverse communities than previous generations. Research shows that they are also unlike any other generation in terms of their acceptance of individuality and how influenced their decisions are by their demands for equality and social justice. Gen Zs are more likely to measure progress through collective achievement, not just individual rewards, and they are more likely to only buy from or work for organisations that reflect their moral values.

So, although recruitment may stall for many organisations during a recession, it doesn’t stop, and retention is more important than ever. In order to compete to attract and retain this generation of future leaders and innovators, you need to demonstrate a genuine, provable commitment to equality, diversity and inclusion.

Many organisation may consider themselves to be inclusive because they don’t discriminate, but being TRULY inclusive goes much deeper than this. An effective EDI strategy needs to:

  • Ensure ALL your people policies are genuinely inclusive
  • Empower leaders and line managers within your business to deliver against your EDI objectives, with clear guidance on how to manage EDI matters directly with their employees
  • Provide adequate training for all to ensure everyone understands their role in building an inclusive culture
  • Capture data that enables you to monitor all aspects of EDI, from diversity within your teams to performance and incidents of EDI related grievances
  • Outwardly promote your commitment to EDI, such as in marketing initiatives and in your recruitment processes

As belts tighten, business and HR leaders may be tempted to stall EDI initiatives, but the data points towards a focus on EDI being a contributing factor in successfully navigating the impact of recession.

Getting your EDI strategy right is just one step in recession-proofing employee experiences, but it’s one that can no longer be deprioritised. Continuing to drive an EDI agenda during recession will help position your company to move forward, while your competitors retreat.

Is your organisation TRULY inclusive?

Many organisations may consider themselves to be inclusive because they don’t discriminate, but being 𝘁𝗿𝘂𝗹𝘆 inclusive goes much deeper than this. How do you think your organisation stands up from an equality, diversity and inclusion perspective?

Find out how inclusive your organisation really is with our EDI Health Calculator and get a 𝗙𝗥𝗘𝗘 Religious Observance Policy template to add to your people policies.

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