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Last summer, many organizations made renewed commitments to diversity, equity, and inclusion. You may have taken steps to eliminate bias in your hiring process, including a commitment to hiring and onboarding more diverse job candidates. You might be looking at how to align your company culture with these new imperatives.

You may also be looking at pay inequities and making revisions in compensation packages.

In short, you’re taking on a lot of initiatives in this area, all aimed at improving your company. That’s why you need a DEI budget for 2021.

What’s a DEI Budget?

“DEI” stands for diversity, equity, and inclusion. A DEI budget is specific funds allocated to supporting your efforts in these areas.

Without a budget, you might be left trying to borrow from other budgets. That can mean DEI initiatives are put on hold or even scrapped entirely.

Why Have a DEI Budget?

Only one-third of companies have created a program dedicated to diversity and inclusion training. As noted, not having a DEI budget could leave any initiatives in this area short-changed. You might think that there will be funding for eliminating bias in hiring within the hiring budget, but you may quickly find there aren’t enough funds available.

Similarly, you might assume that staff training on eliminating bias or cultural competence is available in the training budget. Unfortunately, without funds being set aside specifically for these initiatives, it’s likely there won’t be anything left over.

This creates some serious issues as you try to push towards a more diverse and inclusive organization. You may have to put some initiatives on hold or cut them entirely. In some cases, you might be able to gather some funds to start working on an initiative, only to have to stop. In other cases, you might have to implement a very limited vision of the training you want.

This can lead to problems with actually supporting and creating diversity, equity, and inclusion in your business. You may only be able to go “surface deep.” That often leads to bandages to underlying issues, which can upset employees even more. The diverse hires you onboard may not feel properly supported and decide to leave, among other issues.

Why It Matters in 2021 & Beyond

If your organization made commitments last summer or renewed commitments to diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives, then you need a DEI budget this year.

First and foremost, this shows that your commitments weren’t just for show or PR purposes. The DEI budget gives you the real resources you need to follow through on those promises.

Diversity, equity, and inclusion have been on the radar of many organizations in the last few years. Committing real funds to a specific budget can help you take those goals or policies and put them into practice.

Finally, the DEI budget matters in 2021 and beyond because diversity, equity, and inclusion have so many benefits for your organization. The successful organizations of the future are going to be more inclusive and diverse. Adopting diversity now can give your business a competitive edge.

It also helps future-proof the business. Instead of being “behind the times” and trying to catch up with your peers, you could be leading the charge.

Making real change only happens when you give yourself the resources to make it happen. If you won’t commit funds to DEI initiatives, then it’s unlikely that your organization will experience any real, transformative change.

Pushing Change Forward

Committing the funds to support more diversity and inclusion in your business is a smart move. With the right resources, you can make good on your promises and build a more diverse and resilient organization.

Wondering how you can support DEI in your hiring practices? We have plenty of tips, from thinking about your policies to how technology can help you meet your diversity goals.

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Kaneez Jaffer

Kaneez is a Certified Human Resources Leader (CHRL) with an advanced knowledge of human resources and organizational structure and design. She has extensive experience with HRIS systems and understands the need to move HR from a transactional model to a transformational one. She has worked in the investment banking, insurance, and legal industries, as well as with large not-for-profit centres helping to simplify and streamline their internal systems. Kaneez is an expert in building relationships and affecting change in a positive and productive way. She acts as the key HR business partner at Apri Insurance Services Inc, managing the implementation of JungoHR, while providing expert advice and counsel on a range of HR matters. Kaneez holds a Graduate Certificate in Human Resources Management as well as a Certificate in HR Law for HR Professionals from Osgoode Hall Law School in Toronto, Canada.

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