3 Tactics to Get Budget for Your DEI Programs

It’s been a year since the murder of George Floyd, which galvanized people of all races, genders, ages, etc., to speak out for BLM and push for racial equality. A year later, a 2021 Emtrain Workplace Culture Report shows that only 50% of employees believe their employers are committed to diversity, equity, and inclusion. In comparison, only 33% of employees believe their leaders value differences in employees. Those percentages don’t show progress in breaking down systemic barriers to equity and inclusion. At the same time, diversity leaders across the globe have struggled to gain budget and stakeholder alignment for the eight months after Black Lives Matter gained momentum. The protests of last summer and fall are over. CEOs have already made their public statements, and now the C-Suite is moving on in terms of corporate priorities.

How can a D&I leader get a budget to support their DEI programs?

Here are three ideas: 

Talent Acquisition

Everyone agrees we’re fast approaching a situation where we don’t have enough candidates to fill available roles. We need more candidates in the pipeline, and we need to think outside the box in recruitment tactics and the required skills and experience of the candidates. To effectively recruit talent from all walks of life, hiring managers need to develop and practice their skills to recruit equitably and inclusively. Rolling out a DEI program to support inclusive talent acquisition is a no-brainer in a market where businesses are in a war for talent.

Employee Relations and HR Business Partners

Diversity and inclusion are interconnected with employee relations. When there’s weak diversity and inclusion, employees have more blindspots about their co-workers’ perspectives and life experiences. More friction points lead to conflict and claims. Investing time and resources in developing inclusion skills where people learn to lead with curiosity, value differences, and be an ally is necessary for our evolving workplaces. It is directly relevant to the number of employee relations issues that occur within a workforce. Organizations spend millions each year on HR business partners, employee relations professionals, investigators, and the direct cost of resolving employee claims. Investing in diversity and inclusion programs that build inclusion skills can eliminate one or more employee claims where the average litigation claim costs $250,000.00 to resolve.

Leadership and Organizational Effectiveness

Our workforce demographics are changing, and GenZ workers are leading the way and influencing all employees to be their authentic selves at work, to be seen and valued for who they are. The ability to manage teams of people who reflect different life experiences and expectations takes great leadership skills and the skill of practicing inclusion. There are specific criteria to managing teams inclusively. It takes a learning program, practice, and measurement to determine the strength of someone’s inclusion leadership skill to motivate best, support, and manage an increasingly diverse workforce.

Do you need help finding a budget for DEI programs? If so, collaborate with your Talent Acquisition, Employee Relations and/or Leadership Effectiveness leaders to share the cost of inclusion programs and improve a fundamental skill required in today’s workplace.


What are some specific examples of successful DEI programs that have secured funding and yielded positive results?

Successful DEI programs that have secured funding and yielded positive results include initiatives like Google’s “Project Aristotle,” which focused on team effectiveness through psychological safety, and Microsoft’s “Employee Resource Groups,” which fostered inclusive environments leading to increased employee satisfaction and retention.

How can smaller organizations with limited budgets effectively implement DEI programs?

Smaller organizations can effectively implement DEI programs by leveraging community resources, forming partnerships with DEI experts, and utilizing low-cost training materials available online. Engaging in grassroots efforts and prioritizing key DEI initiatives that align with their core values can also make a significant impact.

What metrics or KPIs should be used to evaluate the success of DEI initiatives?

To evaluate the success of DEI initiatives, organizations should use metrics such as employee engagement scores, diversity hiring and retention rates, inclusion survey results, and the impact on overall business performance. Qualitative feedback from employees and tracking participation in DEI activities can also provide valuable insights into the effectiveness of these programs.

Black Lives Matterdiversity and inclusion
Janine Yancey
Business Compliance & Workplace Culture Expert
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