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ROI on DEI: Why It Is Important to Focus on Results

on February 21, 2022

When I started my career in HR over 20 years ago, Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) was something that progressive companies talked about, but very few companies had any strategies or measurable metrics to achieve DEI goals in recruiting, onboarding, and retaining talent. 

Fast forward to 2022, with social causes for Black Lives Matter and the Me Too movement, companies have propelled forward from mere talk to creating action plans for DEI initiatives that are able to prove the return on investment (ROI). 

Why is ROI on DEI so Critical?  

Companies that require an ROI on DEI initiatives are not making excuses for embracing DEI as part of their core business. Yet all allocations of budgetary dollars require demonstrable results. However, if your DEI strategy is well planned, communicated, and adopted, ROI results are easily attainable. 

Pioneers in DEI initiatives vary across industries (from Microsoft, The Gap, Target, Verizon, and Visa), who were early adopters, continue to reap the benefits generated by DEI efforts.  

A study conducted by McKinsey & Company found that ethnically diverse companies are 35% more likely to have financial returns above their respective national industry medians. Gender diverse companies are 15% more likely to outperform their respective national industry medians. 

Additionally, in a highly competitive talent market, it is important to note that a recent Glassdoor survey indicates that 67% of job seekers view a diverse workforce as a crucial factor when evaluating companies and considering job offers. 

What do companies with successful DEI programs have in common? They set out strategies, developed supporting programs, and launched and adjusted these programs to achieve results. 

However, some of the biggest mistakes companies make in achieving ROI on DEI are in driving adoption, communicating these programs, and developing meaningful metrics. 

Diversity, Equity and Inclusions

Six Ways to Gain Adoption 

For DEI strategies and programs to be successful, employees need to know they exist. Here are effective ways to gain adoption and usage of your DEI programs to drive results: 

  1. Submit your nomination for the “Best of” companies’ lists, such as Glassdoor, Forbes, Inc. Magazine, and Built In, to promote your successful programs talent acquisition and onboarding process. Candidates love to work for companies that are tied to their social philosophies. 
  1. Use social media to share the various events, sponsorships, and employees, that demonstrate your successful programs, across various media platforms. 
  1. Describe your DEI programs on your careers and investor pages. There’s no better way to make a solid first impression for candidates and financial investors than describing your core business values and how they tie to your DEI action plans (and overall fiscal results).  
  1. Promote these programs internally, with communications that start at the leadership level and flow through the management layers to the individual contributors. Use company meetings, newsletters, employee recognition events, and your collaboration tools to share how employees can get involved. 
  1. Create DEI Action Plans and Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) so that employees realize the strategies in place and provide them opportunities to participate in groups with their peers. 
  1. Measure the ROI results. Yes, without this step, it is challenging to secure the budgets and resources to execute these programs. By setting metrics that can be tracked, collecting real-time data, and reporting back to your business (both to leadership and employees), the business case and results will be easily achieved. 

Real World Success  

One of our customers, Ziff Davis (including RetailMeNot, IGN, Spiceworks, Oookla, Humble Bundle and Ekahau) has received a perfect score on the Human Rights Campaign Foundation’s 2022 Coorporate Equity Index (CEI), satisfying all the CEI’s key criteria, related to LGBTQ + workplace equality. One way Ziff Davis demonstrates their inclusion of all employees is by organizing Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) to gather and exchange ideas and insights, so employees can learn from one another and grow together. 

A division of Ziff Davis, Humble Bundle, has a Black Game Developer Fund, has made 5 investments into Black studios and teams, that are creating games to elevate their diverse voices in the industry. 

MeBeBot’s Intelligent Assistant helps our customers, like Ziff Davis, to not only promote their DEI initiative, events, and various resources for employees, but our usage dashboard displays results and metrics of questions asked by employees, to support the metrics you need to prove out your ROI on DEI. 

Using MeBeBot’s knowledge base of common employee DEI FAQs, employees can get answers to questions like, “Are there any events for Black History month?” or “what’s our recruiting strategy to attract diversity in hiring,” or “how can I join an employee resource group.” 

And, by using Push Messaging, promoting different events, such as “In February, each employee will receive a $50 gift card to support a Black owned small business. Click this link to sign up to receive your gift card today,” support for specific diverse employees’ interests and communities can be gained.

With Pulse Surveys, you can quickly gain feedback to help plan events and initiatives, to measure the impact of the activity before investing time and resources. An example can be, “If our company sponsored a float in the LGTBQ parade on June 26th, would you attend the parade or even volunteer to help?” and results can be measured so that your investments are well spent. 

Measuring ROI for DEI is critical, as companies that have tracked their results are able to continue to grow their programs, by receiving the necessary budgets, and all employees win! By embracing DEI, company culture will flourish and so will the bottom-line financial results.  


Here’s a helpful calendar from our friends at KazooHR, for key DEI events this year.

About the Author

Beth White is Founder and Chief Bot at MeBeBot and has over 15 years of experience as a Human Resources professional and 10+ years of experience in developing software technology, with an emphasis on disrupting business processes. Beth saw an opportunity to help HR and IT initiate AI and machine learning processes by leveraging chatbots to act as Virtual Assistants for the workplace. Through chatbot interactions, HR, IT and Ops team members are able to obtain valuable real-time data that can be used to drive employee experience strategies.

About MeBeBot  

MeBeBot’s Intelligent Assistant seamlessly installs as an app in Teams, Slack, or web portals to provide employees with instant automated answers to global HR, IT, and Ops FAQS, real-time usage Dashboards, Push Messaging, and custom Pulse Surveys, generating instant employee feedback on of-the-moment questions. MeBeBot’s “one-stop bot” is trusted by leading organizations to elevate the employee experience so work can be more meaningful and valuable.  

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