Emory Experts: A New Model for the DE&I Business Case: Moving DE&I from the P&L to the Balance SheetNovember 15, 20212 min read
The following article is reprinted with permission by author Jamie Anne Harrell 16EMBA, Goizueta’s Business Intelligence & Analytics lead.
How would the value of your company be affected today if you had to put a dollar figure on previously unaccrued DE&I maintenance?
What would investors say if you had to take an impairment write down against goodwill based on lack of diversity in your most recent acquisition?
What decisions would your CEO and CFO make differently if you had to invest your way out of a DE&I deficit instead of simply measuring it plus or minus going forward?
I’ve been speaking about the business case for diversity and inclusion for years. It just intuitively made sense to me, that selling DE&I as creating a positive business outcome would help corporate leaders embrace it. And they have in record numbers, even if outside of work some of those leaders weren’t otherwise particularly interested in understanding the lives of marginalized people. There are dozens of studies that show diversity across multiple (real) dimensions of diversity creates better decisions and better business outcomes; that companies with ENDAs or high HRC rankings have better employee engagement; that companies that take diversity and inclusion seriously do better in the stock market. How can you argue with evidence like that, and why would a CEO or CFO NOT want to create a DE&I program?
But year after year, in company after company, we’re seeing a revolving door of Chief Diversity Officers. We’re seeing companies talk big, use marginalized people in their marketing, and rainbow capitalism everywhere. Yet minimal progress is actually being made that makes a difference for the marginalized people who work in the field for these companies. We see corporate HQ level efforts that don’t make it into the local branches. We see diversity “officers” reporting into the wrong level or even wrong part of an organization. We see DE&I efforts under funded, and even treated as a profit center. More importantly, I can’t tell you how many transgender people I know who face discrimination in companies that have the best written policies and procedures.
A few minutes of rowing against the tide simply can’t keep you from being swept out to sea, particularly when you’re on a cargo ship.
The entire article is attached and a must read for anyone interested in this topic.
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Jill Perry-Smith Professor of Organization & Management; Senior Associate Dean, Strategic Initiatives