Companies looking to develop D&I programs with impact should considerÂ these best practices.
By Marta Chmielowicz
The social justice movements of 2020 and the disproportionateÂ impact of the pandemic on people of color moved the needleÂ on diversity and inclusion (D&I), framing it as a nationalÂ priority for businesses and employees alike. Research showsÂ that employees will do their best work when part of anÂ inclusive organization. According to Glint, employees with aÂ strong sense of belonging are more than six times as likely toÂ be engaged than those who donât.
Josh Bersinâs Elevating Equity report, a year-long study ofÂ diversity and inclusion programs in todayâs businesses, revealsÂ one practice was the best predictor of excellence in D&I:Â listening to employees and acting on results. This switches D&IÂ from a compliance program to one based on performance andÂ growth. In fact, organizations that listen to employees, hearÂ what they are saying, and act accordingly are:
- 3.6 times more likely to innovate effectively;
- 6.6 times more likely to adapt well to change;
- 8.4 times more likely to inspire a sense of belonging;
- 8.5 times more likely to satisfy and retain customers; and
- 12 times more likely to retain and engage employees.
Organizations with strong D&I programs consistentlyÂ experience a high return on investment along many lines ofÂ the business. Those with strong D&I consulting skills are 2.2Â times more likely to have strong financial performance. WhenÂ business partners work with HR on D&I topics, companiesÂ are 2.9 times more likely to innovate effectively. When D&I isÂ embedded into every HR program, companies are 8.2 timesÂ more likely to satisfy and retain customers.
D&I Must Permeate the Entire Talent Journey
Companies that want to improve their diversity performanceÂ tend to focus on one thing: hiring. But the research shows thatÂ a hiring-only approach does not solve diversity issues. MinorityÂ candidates quickly leave organizations if they feel excluded orÂ see no diverse role models in leadership and management.
To create a program with real impact, D&I must be built intoÂ performance evaluations, pay and rewards, opportunities toÂ grow and develop, and the promotion process. Some of theÂ top D&I practices implemented in high-performing companiesÂ include:
- using objective pre-hire assessments (74%);
- mandating diverse candidate slates (74%);
- evaluating promotion and pay decisions for diversity andÂ racial equity (68%);
- actively mitigating bias in performance evaluations (65%);
- mitigating bias in talent and succession (62%); and
- rewarding and recognizing senior leaders for D&I resultsÂ (44%).
Metrics Help Drive Strategy
Organizations can’t create a D&I strategy without definingÂ how success will be measured. The right measurements keepÂ organizations and program managers accountable.
The Elevating Equity report shows three best practices aroundÂ driving success through metrics.
- Leveraging external benchmarking and comparisons withinÂ specific industry segments allows organizations to identifyÂ metrics that drive results.
- Including inclusion and belonging goals in the metricsÂ dashboard can help ensure a holistic approach. This can beÂ done by embedding an inclusion index into employee surveys.
- Transparency to all audiences about D&I goals can helpÂ companies stay focused and honest in their approach. KeepingÂ employees, managers, and leaders informed about diversityÂ practices will encourage participation and innovation.
Companies that integrate D&I into all of their talent processesÂ can make structural changes that foster true inclusion.