Why should diversity, equity and inclusion be a top priority for businesses?

6 mins

As we enter 2024, many organisations across the UK will be looking at their recruitment strategy for the year ahead, to see how they can improve in areas such as diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI). 

Most companies are prioritising DEI not only because it’s the right thing to do, but because having a wide variety of opinions, experiences, and beliefs on your teams is great for business performance, with improved employee morale, higher financial revenues and better decision-making.  

However, interestingly, most companies that are focusing on their DEI efforts don’t actually know how to achieve this, and can sometimes get it wrong. DEI should be high on the agenda in order to create a safe working environment for your staff and a strong company culture for your existing employees, as well as to attract new talent to your organisation.

Glassdoor highlighted that 76% of job seekers and employees say a diverse workforce is an important factor when evaluating companies and job offers. 

This is mainly because it can provide insight into the company’s culture, the representation of the current workforce, and the jobseeker is able to see whether their values align with their prospective employer’s. In fact, some candidates view DEI and company culture as being more important than other aspects of the job package, such as salary, progression, and training.

It is important for businesses, when looking at their DEI strategies, to look internally at what they are doing already and how they can improve on this. This is to ensure that when businesses are implementing their inclusive recruitment processes to hire diverse talent, they have a good company structure and culture, so that those coming into the business are given the opportunity to thrive.

With a team of Diversity Champions, and a strong commitment to DEI, Sellick Partnership can help clients and candidates alike, whether you need assistance with reasonable adjustments, advice on the hiring process, or anything in between.

Here, we will outline the importance of DEI, as well as what businesses should be thinking about to make their strategies more effective for years to come.

The impact of DEI for a business

When businesses are looking to improve talent retention and productivity, there really aren’t many methods more impactful than recruiting high-quality professionals from diverse backgrounds. Not only does this demonstrate a commitment to positive social change, but it is also an opportunity for improved financial performance, employee satisfaction and offers a competitive advantage.

Financial performance

Research has proven that companies with diverse workforces are more profitable. This is because there are more ideas – coming from people with different lived experiences, greater innovation and improved skill sharing which leads to higher productivity and higher revenues.

Employee satisfaction 

Embracing diversity and inclusion values in the workplace leads to employees feeling empowered, knowing that they can be their authentic selves at work. This leads employees generally feeling happier in the workplace as they can share their ideas freely, in a comfortable and respectful environment.

Employee retention

This works in tandem with the previous point: when staff feel valued at work, they are more likely to remain loyal to their employer. Having a strong and successful DEI strategy will ultimately lead to higher retention rates of employees.

Competitive advantage 

A diverse workforce also supports better business practices and allows organisations to have creative solutions and access to different skills and innovative ideas across the business. This allows the business to connect with their customers/clients, as well as attract and retain more talent.

Genuine commitment or performative action: get it right 

Now that we have covered why DEI should be a top consideration for employers, we need to ensure that people are getting it right, as some companies can be seen to be utilising something called performative action.

Performative action is when companies use DEI to make themselves look good but don’t necessarily delve into their culture, organisation, and even the deeper routed issues. Companies sometimes get it wrong and run the risk of promoting or celebrating underrepresented groups, without addressing systematic inequalities, which can lead to tokenistic action.

Whilst we don’t want people to shy away from celebrating diversity and inclusion in the workplace, it is also important to look at internal processes. Companies should focus on their hiring approach, but they must also look at policies, training and mentoring programmes, to provide equity to underrepresented groups.

For example, it’s quite common for companies to change their logo in June to represent Pride Month, but do nothing internally to ensure that LGBTQ+ employees feels valued, respected and safe at work. Others will celebrate International Women’s Day as they ignore requests for flexibility from working mums.  

What to consider when implementing diversity, equity and inclusion strategies to your business?

  • Focusing on the data: Many organisations believe that recording data on diversity characteristics is enough for diversity. But this isn’t a tick boxing exercise; you need to look internally as an organisation, breaking down diversity statistics by job roles at all levels and ensure you are assessing the data correctly. If there’s a lack of underrepresentation at the managerial level, what are you doing to tackle this?
  • Embracing diversity as a whole: Some companies that are working on DEI initiatives only focus on one aspect of diversity and this may lead to certain groups feeling left out or uncomfortable talking about the other aspects. This can also lead to performative and tokenistic action towards the group being focussed on.
  • Asking underrepresented employees to take the lead on D&I: Targeting certain employees because they belong to an underrepresented group does not benefit your DEI strategy. This should be a companywide effort with each member of staff feeling represented. Everyone should have a voice and be in a working environment where they can share and talk about their ideas for a better workplace.
  • Diversity, equity and inclusion in the recruitment process: Be careful of unconscious bias and ensure you have considered how DEI can be impacted at each stage of the recruitment process. Do not ask for specific underrepresented groups when speaking to a responsible recruiter, as this leads to positive discrimination. You should always use a skills-based hiring process.
  • DEI training: This gives everyone the awareness they need, and helps team members to cooperate and collaborate which leads to better productivity and communication.


When building your DEI strategy, it is important to consider both internal and external factors.

It is vital to ensure you are attracting and recruiting a diverse workforce. However, you must look internally at how the company is perceived by your employees, and those from the outside looking in.

Having a good DEI strategy won’t result in overnight change, but by ensuring you have clear objectives, as well as commitment from the senior leadership team, you will be closer to having a successful and motivated workforce.

Get in touch with SP 

At Sellick Partnership, we value the unique differences of our colleagues, candidates and clients and work hard to create and maintain a culture that is respectful, accessible and forward-thinking.

As a responsible recruitment partner, we believe that all businesses, regardless of their size or the sector, should be able to demonstrate their commitment to Diversity & Inclusion and talk openly and honestly about what they are doing to support their employees.

Find out more about out Diversity & Inclusion commitments here, or get in touch with us today for a confidential discussion.