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New research suggests better data practices key to increasing diversity, equity and inclusion

New research suggests better data practices key to increasing diversity, equity and inclusion

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A new study from Harvard Business Review Analytic Services and SHRM – the Society for Human Resource Management – in association with Trusaic examines the actions businesses are taking to improve diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI). The research suggests two key factors are driving forward progress: commitment from the executive ranks and a commitment to better data.

While a majority of survey respondents (65%) say DEI is a high strategic priority, two thirds (67%) admit their organisation is, at best, only somewhat successful in creating a diverse, equitable and inclusive workplace. Even among leader organisations, almost half acknowledge they are behind where they should be in improving DEI. Most laggard organisations report DEI initiatives are more ‘style over substance’.

The findings reveal that momentum for change must begin in the C-suite:

  • Half of laggard organisations say they are frustrated by a lack of commitment from leadership, and 72% say they are held back by a lack of diversity at senior levels of the organisation.
  • Just 77% of leader organisations have visible executive support compared to 34% of laggards.
  • When the CEO sets the strategy and frequently communicates progress, the company is 6.3 times more likely to have a diverse leadership team and to be a leader in its industry segment.
  • DEI leaders are significantly more likely than followers or laggards to set goals for levels of diversity among senior executives and board members.

Measuring and tracking DEI metrics are essential to accelerating DEI progress. Leader organisations regularly monitor DEI metrics, communicate progress to key stakeholders and use data to identify interventions and course-correct:

  • Leaders (70%) are more than twice as likely as laggards (30%) to track all three aspects of diversity, equity and inclusion. Leaders also measure progress across a wider range of metrics.
  • A third of laggard companies that track diversity do not track equity.
  • A total of 95% of DEI leaders measure inclusion goal progress at least annually; 51% track inclusion goal progress at least quarterly – more than twice as often as laggards.

“Organisations 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.  

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.

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