DEI initiatives are critical for HR leaders to implement inclusive workplaces. But even after reprioritizing it, new research finds HR leaders and employees have yet to reap the benefits.
By Alexis Whyte
To measure the impact of DEI initiates, Culture Amp surveyed both HR leaders and full-time employees in the U.S. and Canada. DEI initiatives are vital to creating a diverse workforce while ensuring the employee experience is fair and unbiased. Culture Amp’s latest report, DEI in the Workplace, finds there is still work to be done.
“Collectively, HR decision-makers and employees across the U.S. and Canada seem to agree it’s time for businesses to roll up their sleeves and push for better DEI in the workplace,” says Aubrey Blanche, senior director of people operations and strategic programs for Culture Amp. “Demonstrating commitment to the cause can reap the rewards of a better reputation, improved staff morale, and as a result, better business success.”
Key findings show how HR decision-makers and employees feel about their company’s DEI initiatives and their impact amid calls for more inclusivity and diversity in the workplace.
- Half of HR leaders believe their company could better integrate DEI practices. They also believe that their company could be more inclusive.
- Employees and HR leaders align on how they prioritize the pillars of DEI. Equity ranks as the most important, followed by diversity, then inclusion. Based on this feedback, successful DEI initiatives should include a spotlight on equity.
- Race and gender discrimination complaints still plague HR leaders. The survey finds that 22% (race) and 23% (gender) received these types of complaints. And leaders surveyed have witnessed what they believe to be candidate discrimination.
- Recruitment will have a new DEI focus. In the U.S., 34% of HR leaders are reprioritizing DEI in recruitment, compared to 42% in Canada.
- Forms of discrimination in the workplace still exist. The survey shows that 34% of employees have received unwelcome comments or experienced microaggressions at work.
The U.S. and Canada have agencies and regulations, the EEOC and Employment Equity Act respectively, in place to protect employees from discrimination. But 29% of employees said they experienced discrimination in the workplace in the U.S., compared to 20% in Canada. Plus, 47% of employees and leaders from marginalized groups don’t feel comfortable speaking out regarding discrimination in the workplace. Clearly, there is still work to be done.
“DEI isn’t the responsibility of one person or team; it’s crucial to the success of the overall project for each employee to play a part in building an equitable and inclusive culture, and having data about the organization’s experience is crucial to that,” Blanche points out. “Setting clear expectations with your employees on why and how the company will use the data will ensure that [what] you are building is sufficient to take meaningful DEI action.”
Blanche suggests integrating employee feedback acquired throughout the employee lifecycle into DEI strategies can help build trust and emphasize collective responsibility. This includes collecting DEI-focused feedback from candidates during the recruiting process, throughout onboarding, during exit surveys, and, eventually, from candid conversations.
Committing to DEI positively impacts companies as diverse and inclusive teams are 35% more productive and make better business decisions 87% of the time. So, it’s important to create specific DEI initiatives tailored to organizational values and the workforce’s demographics. While there is no one-size-fits-all approach to creating impactful DEI strategies, organizations must, at the very least, try.
“The right balance of people and platforms will be key to delivering on the promise of better DEI at organizations, making work a fairer, more diverse, and inclusive place for all,” Blanche says.