How Implementing Diversity, Equity And Inclusion Into Your Overall Business Strategy Can Increase Your Bottom Line With Shelley Willingham, Serial Entrepreneur And Business Strategist

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In recent years, implementing diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) has been the corporate world’s buzzword. Social movements like #BlackLivesMatter and #MeToo has awakened people’s consciousness on diversity, equity, and inclusion as a business issue that organizational leaders need to address. There has been a progression in integrating DEI in organizations, but many challenges still remain in implementing DEI initiatives. 

But organizations that successfully integrate DEI in their business are reaping the benefits of it. They saw that DEI plays a significant role in boosting innovation and growth in many organizations. A recent study revealed that diversity helped companies capture a new market. Also, DEI has been crucial in promoting employee engagement in organizations because workers feel that their organizations are cultivating inclusive culture.

On the other hand, most organizations are unaware that DEI initiatives can also bolster an organization’s financial performance. Business strategist and serial entrepreneur Shelley Willingham remarked that incorporating DEI in an organization’s business strategy can increase its bottom line. “Fostering a positive employee experience in the workplace has many favorable results for the organization. Its impact on your bottom line is probably among the most important organizational benefits of DEI,” Willingham said.

Other than a serial entrepreneur, Willingham is also the current Vice President for Business Strategy of The Diversity Movement. She belongs to an organization that is pushing to integrate diversity, equity, and inclusion in business.

Pushing For DEI In Business  

Willingham has been a staunch advocate of DEI in business organizations. For years, she has been pushing for the fusion of DEI into the core of every organization. Then and now, she is involved in activities that support and helps entrepreneurs in their business goals.

In August this year, Willingham accepted the offer to be part of The Diversity Movement. She shared that initially, the discussion with the group’s founder Donald Thompson revolved around projects where the group and her can work together. “We talked about issues concerning DEI today. Then, the conversation shifted from a partnership to joining the group’s leadership. Don asked me to be part of the organization,” Willingham said.

She did not hesitate to accept the invitation and said that it is an offer she could not turn down. At The Diversity Movement, Willingham handles integrating diversity, equity, and inclusion into organizations’ business strategies.

“It is remarkable to be part of The Diversity Movement. Their goal is perfectly aligned with my passion. The group allowed me to utilize my expertise on something that I have been passionate about all my life,” Willingham remarked.

Importance Of Bottom Line

Profitability remains the primary goal of business organizations. Undoubtedly, entrepreneurs established a business to earn and make a profit from its efforts. Generating financial gain will always be an essential part of any business organization.

The bottom line is defined as the business organization’s net income, usually found at the bottom of the income statement. That is the reason why it is called the bottom line. It is a good indicator of an organization’s business performance. Bottom line numbers can show if business profitability is growing or declining. Hence, business organizations can track and assess if they are moving in the right direction.

How Can DEI Increase The Bottom Line?

Willingham said that DEI had transformed the workplace into cultivating a positive employee experience. However, the benefits of DEI initiatives do not only revolve only on employees’ experience. Its benefits can also trickle into the organization’s financial performance.

How does DEI increase an organization’s bottom line? Willingham explained it in these three points: 

DEI fosters innovation in the organization.

Willingham said that DEI plays a vital role in fostering innovation and creativity. She explained that a diverse and inclusive workplace benefits from the wisdom of the crowd. A group consists of people from various educational backgrounds with different experience levels, and skill sets can generate multiple perspectives in solving a problem. It also raises the team’s intelligence because of the collective intelligence of the team members.

Researchers found out that diversity can help business organizations capture a new market and increase their year-over-year market share. Expanding to a new market or expanding the market share can translate into growth of leads and conversions. In other words, new market expansion and market share increase can bolster the company’s earnings and profits.

DEI increases productivity.

Willingham said that an organization with successful DEI initiatives has happier employees. If employees feel that the organization is cultivating a DEI culture, it can boost their morale and increase their enthusiasm to be more productive in their work. 

Inclusion can make the organizational goals become a shared goal between the company and employees. An inclusive culture increased the motivation and overall productivity of employees. Meanwhile, a study revealed that ethnically diverse and gender diverse organizations tend to have a higher financial return than the national average in their respective industries.

“As we all know, productivity correlates with financial performance. The higher the productivity, the more profit a company can generate. DEI has a positive impact on employees’ productivity. If you bolster productivity, it will boost the organization’s bottom line,” Willingham explained.

Final Thoughts

Willingham said that implementing diversity, equity, and inclusion in its business strategy is an excellent way of increasing the bottom line. “The good about DEI is, the more you nurture it in your organization, the more likely you will improve your bottom line. Most entrepreneurs only see DEI in terms of its impact on employees and overlook the indirect effect of DEI on the company’s bottom line,” she added. 
Willingham hopes that this will become a compelling reason for entrepreneurs to integrate DEI into their business. To those interested to learn more about DEI, please visit her website at

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