Organizations across industries are making diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) a priority — with 79% planning to allocate more budget and resources in 2022. While devoting more dollars and resources is a positive step, that’s just one factor in creating an enduring culture of DEI.
In a new report, “How to Build an Effective DEI Program,” workplace training solutions provider Traliant and World Business Research set out to understand the current challenges facing DEI executives and their expectations for 2022 and beyond.
Among the findings: 58% of DEI leaders said their CEO and/or executive management team are involved in decisions to endorse and advance DEI, yet only 13% of those senior leaders are proactive and visible in demonstrating their support.
“The social justice movement, global pandemic, and other events of the last several years have put DEI at the forefront, and organizations are trying to figure out how best to turn words into actions,” said John Arendes, Traliant CEO. “What our survey makes clear is that changing workplace behavior and culture is a long-term process that starts at the top.”
Other findings highlight the need for companies to ramp up communication to keep employees up to date on DEI goals and progress. Most respondents claim they communicate DEI goals and/or progress on a biannual basis (33%) or annual basis (30%), which is not the level of transparency leaders need to keep employees current on progress made and steps taken to drive DEI efforts forward. Training is also a key factor in addressing barriers to diversity and inclusion — such as unconscious bias and microaggressions — and helping to foster a sense of belonging in the workplace.
The survey found that the majority (61%) of DEI leaders are “somewhat confident” that employees feel a sense of belonging, inclusion, and psychological safety, with nearly a fourth (24%) “somewhat unconfident.” That can impact business success. Employees who aren’t comfortable bringing their whole selves to work often experience burnout and other negative effects, causing them to leave and take their talents with them. If left unchecked, unconscious bias and microaggressions can lead to discrimination and harassment claims.
Overall, the survey shows a realistic optimism for the future, with 89% of companies having a formal DEI strategy in place and 79% allocating more budget and/or resources to DEI in 2022. To paraphrase a DEI director of a tech company, with the benefit of policies and other actions that support inclusion, 2022 is a year where organizations can begin to recognize and maximize the impact of DEI.
The phone survey of DEI executives represented 300 US organizations across industries, ranging in size from 100 to 5,000+ employees.
Read the full report by Traliant.
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