During an economic downturn, many companies may face financial challenges and tough budgetary choices. Some may consider cutting their DE&I budgets altogether or pulling back to reduce expenses.
Even in a down economic environment, it is important to recognize that DE&I initiatives can have significant long-term recruitment, retention, financial, and brand perception benefits for a company.
Here are a few suggestions you can employ to help keep your DE&I budget from getting cut during an economic downturn:
- Make the case: To convince executives and decision-makers to keep your DE&I budget intact, you need to show them how the work contributes to the bottom line. Gather data on the positive impact of your work, measure the return on investment (ROI), and present it to decision-makers on an ongoing basis in a language they understand.
- Communicate the importance of DE&I: Make sure everyone – employees, customers, and investors – consistently understands that DE&I is an essential part of your organization’s culture and long-term success.
- Look for cost-saving opportunities: While it’s important to maintain your DE&I budget, it’s also essential to look for cost-saving opportunities. Take a hard look at the initiatives and partners that may not be delivering at the level you need them to and make changes if necessary.
- Prioritize your initiatives: Identify your most critical DE&I initiatives and prioritize them based on their impact on the organization’s business goals. By focusing your resources on the initiatives that deliver the most significant value, you can ensure that your DE&I budget may be spared the deep cuts that can delay progress.
Remember that in many organizations this work is viewed as budget-consuming, not budget-neutral or revenue-producing. Budgets are finite- to keep your diversity, equity, and inclusion budget from getting slashed during an economic downturn, look for cost-saving opportunities, demonstrate ROI, and prioritize your initiatives based on their impact before it gets to the point of budget give backs.