Employee Experience / 4 minute read

How diversity and inclusion impact the employee experience

Written by Lydia Chenhall

7 May 2021

Diversity and inclusion is a huge topic in business and we know that approaches to it can have an equally huge impact on business outcomes. Diverse teams outperform less diverse competitors by 35%; they are generally more productive and are consistently more engaged than in workplaces where inclusion is not prioritised. All of this affects the bottom line, but it has an incredible impact on workers and workplace culture too. It would be foolish, then, to think that diversity and inclusion doesn’t influence employee experience.

At its very core, a positive employee experience is about feeling comfortable, safe and valued at work. Having your differences respected and celebrated, knowing that your employer is doing everything possible to make everyone feel welcome and able to contribute effectively, is a vital step in achieving that.

However, we’re not there just yet. According to WhatToBecome, 57% of employees want to see their company increase diversity and, with the outbreak of the global pandemic, diversity and inclusion job role postings fell by 60%. Though they rebounded by 55% by the end of 2020, there is still work to be done.

How can we use D&I to improve employee experience?

Business leaders are in a unique position to improve employee experience and, more than ever, employee experience is tied to social responsibilities, including progress for diversity and inclusion. Improving D&I at your organisation, therefore, could be enough to improve employee experience. Diverse hiring, business-wide learning and new approaches to working patterns all play their part, but improving D&I is not a simple process.

Lars Schmidt, founder of Amplify and co-founder of HR Open Source, acknowledges that a mindset shift needs to take place. “HR has been good at constructing the rules of employment, but things are upside down now”, he explains. Empathy is now a core business value and HR practices must shift to accommodate diverse needs in order to be successful.

The impact on employee experience is almost immediate. According to Hays’ latest salary survey, 90% believe improved D&I makes their organisation a more open and trusting place to work, helping to improve staff retention. A total 92% believe it makes their organisation a more attractive place to work too. That all adds up to a dramatically improved employee experience.

Diversity is central to employee experience

Implementing diversity and inclusion programmes, and keeping the topic in mind throughout an employee’s life cycle with your company, is a must for any leader hoping to improve employee experience. But for many, it hasn’t been a focus in recent years. In our own research, which you can read in our latest whitepaper ‘Workplace experience’, we’ve found that businesses have put their necessary digital transformations first. Mental health support has been gaining traction too, but D&I is being a little neglected by most. Yet from an employee perspective, it’s just as important especially from a recruitment perspective with a whopping 75% of people asked as part of our D&I Report stating that D&I plays a big role in their organisation's recruitment process. Right now is the perfect time to get back on track.


Refresh your diversity and inclusion knowledge with our handy blog, What is diversity and inclusion?, dig deeper with our D&I Report or dive straight into our latest research on employee experience here. We know your employees are your most important people, so if you’re eager to reward them for all their hard work, our team can help with that too!