This content was written by our sponsor, The Diversity Movement

Interest rates are climbing, the housing market is declining and headlines question whether we are en route to another recession. In these times, some CEOs and C-suite leaders, in an effort to cut business expenses, might be tempted to scale back on diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) initiatives. A handful of years ago, that might have been a natural cost-cutter. However, research compiled by The Diversity Movement from multiple expert resources makes it imperative that you rethink that view.

According to an April 23 article in Forbes, “There are very few factors that contribute more to business success than culture.” Culture affects everything from talent acquisition and retention to innovation, efficiency and collaboration and DEI efforts, done right, can be the bedrock upon which a strong culture is formed. As we now realize: Workplace culture is at the heart of profits.

Moreso, shareholders and employees look to leadership as a cultural compass on political and socio-economic issues. According to the Center for Creative Leadership, courage is considered one of the most important and sought after executive traits.

Investing in DEI programs as a necessity 

In order to respond to the growing demand for an inclusive culture, investing in DEI isn’t a luxury. In fact, it has become a necessity for outstanding companies that want to strengthen their brand, retain high-performing talent, protect themselves from costly legal actions and weather economic downturns.

After the Great Recession in the early 2000s, extensive economic research was done to discern trends that could distinguish why some industries and companies were hit harder than others.

DEI efforts actually strengthened organizations and protected them in tough times. The worldwide employee experience platform, Great Place to Work®, found that publicly traded companies with diverse and inclusive workplaces thrived before, during and after the Great Recession. The report states that organizations with inclusive cultures earned four times annualized return compared to the S&P 500 between 2007-2009.

Consumers back brands with strong DEI values

In addition to the culture within the business, when consumers are being selective about spending, a company’s brand perception matters most, says Suzanne Miglucci, a business transformation consultant and former CEO. Values-based consumers, and younger people in particular, seek brands that share their ideals.

A 2020 survey reports that 34% of consumers consider a brand’s commitment to diversity when they’re making a purchasing decision and 64% consider making an immediate purchase after seeing diverse advertisements. 

“Gen Z consumers and millennials now have the majority of the spending power in the United States,” Miglucci explains. “They’re looking for businesses that operate ethically, and [they] are going to spend their money on brands that align with their values and principles.”

To capitalize on an increasingly aware consumer-base, companies need authentic diversity programming. Then, they need to show consumers they live their values on websites, social media, advertising – everywhere people receive brand information.

Talent retention and recruiting must be authentic

Surviving and thriving in a recession means attracting and nurturing talent. Many younger people won’t work for companies where DEI is performative versus authentic.

Miglucci said, “For millennials and Gen Z, the things that are important are an equitable and diverse workplace, living wages, transparency and ethical business practices. These values rise to the top of reasons that they’re joining companies.”

Danielle David, Chief People Officer at CRB, explains how her company’s diversity strategy led to better talent recruitment and retention. She said, “Our efforts really allow candidates and employees to see themselves here. We’ve attracted people because they see that this is a place where DEI is top of mind. They see that we’re working on DEI, and that’s important…we’ve attracted some really incredible people…and we’ve retained some amazing people as well.”

DEI protects companies from legal risk

Executives should also consider how diversity initiatives mitigate risk, says Brian “Woody” White, Chief Diversity & Inclusion Officer at Homebridge Financial Services. Risks include loss of revenue, diminished brand value and exposure to litigation.

White noted that the top level of management in the financial services industry isn’t typically diverse, and that lack of diversity has resulted in some high-profile fines and legal action. For example, in July, Trident Mortgage Company was ordered to pay over $22 million for discriminatory lending practices (redlining) in Philadelphia.

“When there’s limited diversity, there’s nobody really interested in the checks and balances of working properly with the community,” said White. “So those fines, that’s what happens when there’s no diversity in companies that really need it.”

The right strategy for every company and every budget

Particularly when budgets are tight, DEI should be integrated into an organization’s existing priorities. Culture sits at the heart of growing revenue, increasing talent acquisition and reducing legal risk. The Diversity Movement has a solution to fit every budget.

For companies searching for ways to scale knowledge and adoption faster, DEI Navigator is the most cost-effective program to ensure long-term success. The subscription platform offers a budget-friendly monthly cost with an enormous return-on-investment via direct help and support.

For the diversity leader struggling with a lack of resources, DEI Navigator provides immediate access to an award-winning team of experts, digital learning courses, a Best Practices Library (more than 300 curated how-to guides, articles, whitepapers and FAQs), more than 600 short informative videos and a monthly newsletter that will keep you current on DEI news and trends.


This content was written by our sponsor, The Diversity Movement