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How to Build DEI Into Your Budget - And Use It

Updated: Oct 11, 2023

Oftentimes, business leaders don't know where to start when budgeting their DEI initiatives, partly because it can be commonly seen as vague and not quantifiable. However, this is not the case! Once your company has committed to its DEI journey, it will be better accepted by higher ups if there’s succinct goals and a budget to go along with it, like any other business ops unit.

With the end of Q4 in sight, whether you're looking to spend what's left of your budget, or looking ahead for next year, here’s some guideposts for how to ensure you're making the most of your funds:

1. First thing’s first - make sure your DEI goals are aligned with your overall business goal's mission, vision, and values. If they’re not, start there and work towards the goal of applying the same rigor you would to other business priorities.

Areas of focus could be how the business wants to attract, maintain, and grow their employees and/or how they want their products and services to be viewed, used, and grown in the community.

2. Explore ongoing, behavior-based training options. One off trainings don't work well because there’s no way to measure sustained DEI impact over time. What is better received and trackable are regularly occurring bite size portions, where participation is key. Consider our Brave ‘Lil Convos series! They’re approachable, led by qualified, engaging facilitators, and not run of the mill DEI topics.

3. If your recruiting team is stretched too thin to do all of the work needed to meet your talent related DEI objectives, it may be a good idea to hire more recruiters or outsource for additional help —particularly those that have experience in specific areas, such as early career or executive recruitment.

4. With performance upcoming for many, look at the data of the raises and promotions in your company to uncover any inequities -if the employees from untapped groups are being passed over for opportunities for advancement, it’s time to invest money in closing these gaps by giving promotions and raises in a more equitable way so all employees don't just feel valued, but see the ROI for their hard work.  

5. That said, we are entering a recession and understand hiring a recruiter can be expensive. So, look for ways to augment your team’s efforts.For example, Colorful Connections offers strategy support for hiring managers, and our expert diversity recruiters review and provide hands-on “quarterbacking” support to elevate search strategies to be inclusive of diverse audiences.

Spending money on recruiting strategies that get new hires from underrepresented groups is fantastic, but you have to be able to retain these employees in order for your strategy to show long-term gains. Did you know, according to Harvard Business Review, an organization with 100 employees can save $520,000 annually, when employees have a sense of belonging in the workplace?

Not sure where to start? Consider taking our quick, free DEI Assessment to see how your company is doing on its DEI journey, and the CC team can guide you from there!

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