Merely prioritising the D&I agenda is not enough: Study

Although CEOs are committed to D&I, the measures being taken are not enough.

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According to a study by Gartner, CEOs in organisations are committed to diversity and inclusion (D&I) and many have also placed it on top of their list of priorities. But when it comes to taking effective steps, they are not doing enough.

The research reveals that only about 36 per cent of D&I leaders feel their organisation has effectively built a diverse workforce. About 80 per cent organisations themselves feel they have not developed diverse and inclusive leadership.

While it is true that companies can actually achieve a 20 per cent increase in inclusion levels if they put into place sustainable D&I practices or strategies, the measures currently being adopted are clearly not effective enough.

If they had been effective, there would have been a significant increase in on-the-job effort, as well as the employees’ intent to stay loyal to the organisation. In addition, there would be a rise in individual employee performance too.

But the survey reveals that merely a third of employees feel they are able to influence inclusion in their organisations or in their daily work. Only about 27 per cent respondents admitted to being informed by their employers of opportunities to promote inclusion in their daily work.

Clearly, enough is not being done to ensure D&I even though CEOs seem to be prioritising the agenda and are also committed to it. This is probably because the measures they are adopting are based on some training they received or a particular experiment or case or even on the work of individual activists. Also, the model or approach adopted is often known only to the senior managers.

Success in terms of D&I programmes can be ensured only if there is focus on sustainability. The approach or strategy adopted should be conveyed to the entire organisation. Also, its effectiveness over time should be measurable. All this can only happen if the D&I strategy is made an integral part of the existing systems and processes.

The Gartner research suggests aligning D&I strategies with the organisation’s goals. Everyone in the workforce should be involved in the same and be on the same page. Organisations need to come up with a metric to track the overall progress of the strategy over a period of time. It is essential for D&I to be consistenty applied, which can happen only if it is deeply ingrained in the existing systems of the business and the talent process too.

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