Report: DEI initiatives that counteract a 2023 economic recession

Diversity, equity, inclusion, belonging, and accessibility are more than just buzzwords; they are value that must stay at the forefront of company initiatives, irrespective of market uncertainty. Current DEI and workplace culture initiatives often amount to little more than mandatory annual training. With a looming economic recession, businesses will soon discover the grave mistake of rudimentary DEI initiatives.

According to a new report from Accenture, companies are missing out on $1.05 trillion when they are not being more inclusive. This missed financial opportunity is because companies are not prioritizing DEI and workplace culture. If companies make DEI a priority, Accenture’s report found that it would result in more profits due to increased productivity and savings from lower turnover rates. These profits created by DEI initiatives and healthier workplace cultures can aid a company in market uncertainties. Accenture CEO Julie Sweet wrote in the report, "if leaders prioritize a culture of equality now, they will see that doing so helps generate the financial results they want and need”.

2022 Culture Amp Culture Report describes a shift in DEI interests and amount of DEI questions posed by employees

However, DEI topics and initiatives seem to fluctuate in response to social injustices. In Culture Amp’s 2022 DEI Report, DEI experts prompted survey questions about the global employee awareness of DEI. Employees posed DEI questions to leadership at a record rate after the murder of George Floyd. Since then, there has been a dip in questions. This fluctuation comes leadership addressing DEI questions by increasing the visibility of their brand and DEI initiatives. Companies publicly announced pledges, implemented DEI action plans, and created pillars of their companies culture.

DEI and workplace culture initiatives often amount to little more than mandatory annual training. With a looming economic recession, businesses will soon discover the costly mistake of  poorly developed DEI initiatives. According to a new report from Accenture, companies are missing out on $1.05 trillion when they are not being more inclusive. This missed financial opportunity is because companies are not prioritizing DEI and workplace culture. If companies make DEI a priority, Accenture’s report found that profits will increase due to increased productivity and savings from lower turnover rates. These profits created by DEI initiatives and healthier workplace cultures can aid a company during market uncertainties. Accenture CEO Julie Sweet wrote in the report, "if leaders prioritize a culture of equality now, they will see that doing so helps generate the financial results they want and need”.


Many initiatives failed show leaderships understanding of how holistic DEI initiatives can be. Conversations around DEI inspired many CEOs and C Levels to rethink their company culture.
with strong cultures are associated with increased productivity, better employee engagement, increased job satisfaction, and higher levels of trust. These conversations haven’t shed enough light on the financial gains DEI initiatives and healthier workplace cultures can have. A 2019 McKinsey & Co. study around DEI in the workplace found that top-quartile companies outperformed those in the fourth one by 36% in profitability, slightly up from 33% in 2017 and 35% in 2014. The numbers around DEI and healthy workplace cultures amplify the likelihood that businesses can outperform others even through economic recessions when their DEI initiatives are thorough and constant.

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Investing in DEI initiatives and healthy workplace cultures provide bottom-line value even when there is market uncertainty. In 2019, Great Place to Work discovered that publicly traded companies with highly inclusive workplaces thrived before, during, and after the Great Recession, and gained a 4x larger stock return than the S&P 500.

The maintenance of DEI initiatives creates a proactive solution for companies in an ever-changing market. In order to survive, thrive, and plan for the future, companies need to adjust their focus on employee productivity and optimizing business outcomes. Organizations that rely on reactive solutions struggle to navigate market uncertainties and changing environments. As mentioned in the McKinsey & Co. study earlier, the most diverse companies with a strong workplace culture are more likely to outperform financially. Using the power of diverse teams for innovation can create a powerful competitive advantage in all aspects of your company, which is critical when facing market uncertainties. Many businesses have seen the benefits of DEI and healthy workplace culture, including Bill Von Hoene Jr., senior executive vice president, and chief strategy officer of Exelon Corp., a Chicago-based energy company. Over the course of six years, Exelon has increased diversity and the representation of women and people of color (Todd, S., 2019). Exelon points to its bottom line as evidence of diversity’s strong financial impact. In a Forbes article, Von Hoene notes, that since 2013, its shareholder return has increased by 120% and the company's share price by 73%, beating out the UTY index, which measures performance in the utility industry, by 12%, and 9%. With more robust innovation comes a competitive advantage that can create great financial success, and that all starts internally with DEI initiatives. Building from the bottom-up and investing in your people can help companies survive market uncertainties.

When creating any workplace initiative, getting everyone involved and on the same page is crucial. Employees are more likely to support DEI efforts if they understand the many potential benefits (Forbes Expert Panel, 2022). It is up to leaders within the company to share these insights with their teams and find ways everyone can play a part. MindStand has built software that streamlines DEI initiative education and transparency. MindStand AI software integrates with Slack, Microsoft Teams, and more to keep business leaders in tune with their culture and inclusivity. With validated use cases throughout 2022, MindStand is a great tool for any company to start or maintain its workplace culture initiatives. With tools such as the MindStand dashboard and MindStand Bot, the software provides clear objectives, easy-to-use integrative support, and a mentor-like relationship for DEI initiatives paving the path through market uncertainty. Engage, a software tool that makes the hiring process more personal, partnered with the MindStand Culture Report creates a seamless process that company leaders can use to understand their DEI efforts and provides them with an easy-to-understand report.

Diversity, equity, and inclusion are no longer buzzwords following societal fluctuations. DEI and workplace culture are and have been integral parts of any successful business. It is no longer acceptable to have a programmatic perspective of DEI, even if initiatives like these are common practice, they fail to address embedded disparities. To truly embody diversity, equity, and inclusion among all employees and support organizational well-being while reaping the financial benefits of DEI; organizations need to view DEI not as a checkbox, but as a continuous process of examination and change to organizational culture (Winters, M.-F., 2020). Mindstand will help you truly embody diversity, equity, and inclusion by seeing and measuring the progress of your DEI initiatives and your workplace culture through user-friendly software. With economic recessions in the future, MindStand is a great place to start the DEI initiative that will help your company create a financial competitive advantage.

Works Cited:

Culture Amp. (2022). 2022 workplace DEI report. The market-leading employee experience platform. Retrieved July 17, 2022, from
https://www.cultureamp.com/resources/diversity-inclusion/2022-workplace-dei-report?submissionGuid=a7715f5d-36a1-444d-97e7-874e266e2d82

Dixon-Fyle, S., Dolan, K., Hunt, V., & Prince, S. (2022, April 6). Diversity wins: How inclusion matters. McKinsey & Company. Retrieved July 14, 2022, from
https://www.mckinsey.com/featured-insights/diversity-and-inclusion/diversity-wins-how-inclusion-matters

Forbes Expert Panel. (2022, April 14). Council post: 15 key benefits of DEI to communicate with Team members. Forbes. Retrieved July 14, 2022, from https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbeshumanresourcescouncil/2021/05/19/15-key-benefits-of-dei-to-communicate-with-team-members/?sh=3af4463d195c

Sweet, J., & Shook, E. (2020). Accenture | the hidden value of culture makers. The Culture of Equality in The Workplace. Retrieved July 17, 2022, from
https://www.accenture.com/_acnmedia/Thought-Leadership-Assets/PDF-2/Accenture-Getting-To-Equal-2020-Research-Report.pdf   

Todd, S. (2019, May 23). Why diversity gives businesses a competitive advantage. Forbes. Retrieved July 14, 2022, from
https://www.forbes.com/sites/samanthatodd/2019/05/05/the-business-case-for-diversity-a-competitive-advantage/?sh=246b05f5a1b5

Winters, M.-F. (2020, October 14). Equity and inclusion: The roots of organizational well-being (SSIR). Stanford Social Innovation Review: Informing and Inspiring Leaders of Social Change. Retrieved July 14, 2022, from https://ssir.org/articles/entry/equity_and_inclusion_the_roots_of_organizational_well_being#

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