Are Your DEIB Efforts Real and Relevant?


On May 25, 2020, as the pandemic was taking hold, the country was shocked by the brutal and senseless death of George Floyd and the sudden and violent outrage that resulted in additional tragedy and destruction around the country—in fact, around the world.


Since then, as social injustice concerns continue, companies stepped up their diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging (DEIB) efforts in visible ways. Some that had already been making significant progress continued in their efforts. Others, new to the movement, gained media attention for their newfound commitment.


Employees and consumers responded. After all, there is certainly growing sentiment and understanding that we all benefit from a true commitment to DEIB—as a society and, as we’ve long emphasized, as businesses hoping to strengthen their bottom lines by gathering input and meeting the needs of the broad diversity of audiences they serve (both employees and customers).


These efforts matter.


Sincere Commitment and Concerted Action Resonate


When DEIB efforts are real, employees know it—and, to a large degree, these efforts cement their commitment and engagement to the companies they work for.


But only if they trust that these efforts are real and well-intended.


Deloitte recently surveyed 1543 employees, most identifying as Black, Hispanic/Latinx, Asian, female, and LGBTQIA+, to understand how organizations’ commitments to DEI are improving employee trust in the organizations they work for.


The diversity of respondents was significant:

  • 77% (1184 respondents) identified as ethnically or racially diverse.

  • 52% (797 respondents) identified as agender, female, gender-nonconforming, or nonbinary.

  • 13% (207) identified as LGBTQIA+.

Their responses revealed both good and cautionary news.


DEIB Efforts Really Resonate With Employees


The good news:

  • 80% of respondents trust their organizations to reach their stated goals.

  • 84% believe their leaders are putting their words into action.

  • 80% believe their leaders’ commitments are coming from the right place.

But there’s cause for pause as well—primarily the concern over “commitment drift.” Both leaders and employees express a concern that “their organizations‘ commitment to DEI will likely subside as different competitive threats emerge—60% of the upper management group, 41% of ethnically or racially diverse respondents, and 50% of LGBTQIA+ respondents.


Addressing Commitment Drift


Today, as media reports continue to tell of layoffs among tech and other companies, business experts and top media outlets like Harvard Business Review (HBR) are reminding companies to not lose sight of their focus on DEIB.


As an HBR article recently noted: “Layoffs are where the rubber meets the road for organizations claiming a commitment to creating inclusive cultures. How leaders and their companies navigate the economic downturn in the coming year will speak volumes.”


Drift occurs when companies don’t make the connection between a culture of inclusion, having a diverse team and the potential positive impact on innovation and business results. That positive impact will only occur, though, when you link inclusion, to diversity, to equity and belonging—and ultimately—to business success. That’s what will drive staying power for your DEIB efforts.


One area where this focus becomes apparent: the commitment of budgets to DEIB efforts, including the retention of the Chief Diversity Officer positions that many companies have added over the past two years. As concerns about inflation and recession swirl and companies are already announcing massive layoffs mount, will this commitment continue? History suggests it may not. Historically, in tough economic times, budgets allocated to things like DEI, and training and development have tended to be at risk.


Your actions though will speak volumes.


Are Your DEIB Efforts Real?


DEIB matters to employees. In fact, a CNBC/SurveyMonkey Workforce Survey revealed that almost 80% of respondents said “they want to work for a company that values diversity, equity and inclusion.” They report that, according to Laura Wronski, a research science managers with SurveyMonkey: “Workers who are satisfied with their company’s efforts on {DEI] issues are actually happier with their jobs. They are more likely than others to say that they have good opportunities to advance their careers, and they are more likely to feel like they are paid well for the work they do.”


Your DEIB efforts matter. But they must be real. And they must be retained—even as economic pressures threaten corporate budgets. Retaining employees, and customers—especially the best employees and customers—is always important, during a booming economy and during economic busts.


Be inclusive!


Recommended Reading

Becoming an Inclusive Leader

Inclusion: The New Competitive Business Advantage

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Are you tired of workplace diversity training that does not link to business? Are you tired of tactics that don’t drive business results? InclusionINC has inclusion and strategic consulting that link inclusion to employee engagement, productivity, innovation and retention, moving inclusion beyond tactics to a critical business strategy.


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