Growing social and political pressure, expanding pay data laws, and a global pandemic that is inflicting disproportionate economic damage on women and people of color are compelling organizations to confront workplace disparity; though new research indicates progress around this complex issue is largely inconsistent and insufficient. A new study from Harvard Business Review Analytic Services and SHRM, in association with Trusaic, a regulatory compliance software company, examines the actions businesses are taking to improve diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI); how successful they are; and where critical gaps stand in the way of meaningful change. The research suggests two key factors are driving forward progress: commitment from the executive ranks and a commitment to better data.
The survey identifies respondents as "leaders," "followers," or "laggards" based on how they rated their organizations on DEI progress.
The findings reveal that momentum for change must begin in the C-suite:
Measuring and tracking DEI metrics are essential to accelerating DEI progress. Leader organizations regularly monitor DEI metrics, communicate progress to key stakeholders, and use data to identify interventions and course-correct:
"Organizations that commit to correcting imbalances in the workplace are often met with significant challenges. What's missing is the critical connection point between monitoring DEI metrics and using that data to improve the effectiveness of DEI programs to create lasting, meaningful change," says Robert Sheen, CEO of Trusaic. "Data supports firms in holding themselves to account. Access to timely and reliable data is key to DEI success."
As a direct result of their DEI efforts, surveyed leaders reported greater improvements in team diversity, employee engagement, collaboration, pay equity, and the ability to recruit top talent.
A total of 1,115 respondents drawn from SHRM membership and the Harvard Business Review audience completed the survey. You can download the full report here.
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