What's Next for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Strategies?

Author: Laci Loew

Date: March 23, 2023

Creating a safe environment in which employees can be their authentic selves, not hiding their identity or their values, makes for happier employees. As reported by Boston Consulting Group, 81% of employees who said they work in an inclusive culture are happy at work.

But those same employees say that their organization lacks a mature and effective DEIB (diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging) strategy - one that builds sustainable parity and fairness in the workplace, in communities, and in society worldwide.

In our 2022 DEIB research, 61% of responding companies said that effective, mature DEIB practices are important or very important, yet a quarter indicated they do not have any DEIB strategy at all, much less a holistic approach.

Most companies start their journeys addressing diversity barriers for marginalized and under-represented groups by taking the following steps:

  • Sensitivity training for employees;
  • Psychological safety training for leaders; or
  • Convening employee resource groups (ERGs).

Those activities are good starts, but not enough. Today's business case for holistic equity is moving organizations far beyond events focused only on individual employees; it includes connection between and among employees as well as with their families, communities, and society at large.

Familial Support

The ROI on removing the tension between employees' performance targets and the inclusion of their family, is as much as 5:1 according to a Deloitte report. High-impact organizations achieving this rate of return are offering familial support in at least three ways:

3 Types of Familial Support Examples
Family-friendly benefits
  • paid leave for birth mothers
  • adoption reimbursement
  • childcare and elder care
Financial wellness services
  • student loan repayment subsidies
  • retirement savings services
  • trust and living will reimbursements
Flexible working arrangements
  • remote working
  • hybrid working
  • work from anywhere

Source: HR & Compliance Center 2023

In today's tight labor market and era of human-centrism, family-friendly benefits are one of the best employee retention strategies that a company can adopt to build a culture of holistic DEIB.

Community Outreach

In a recent diversity in the workplace study, three-quarters of employees surveyed said corporate DEIB engagement in the community is important to brand reputation and, thus, talent attraction and retention. Here are five ways to achieve community outreach:

  • Execute partnership agreements with diverse providers from the local community.
  • Host training events to heighten community awareness of company-commitment to DEIB.
  • Convene community members for healthy debates and discussions on equity and inclusion.
  • Invite local suppliers and customers to a dedicated social channel to exchange DEIB ideas.
  • Donate to external inclusion initiatives to show leadership is about action, not empty words.

Societal Action

Although Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) has existed for more than 50 years, a new, bolder, and more focused version of CSR called ESG has arrived. Research shows there are at least four key tenets to ESG that are integral to creating holistic DEIB:

It's not a matter of ensuring everyone shares the same viewpoint. It's more about taking a values-driven approach to doing the right thing for people.

Sabina Mehmood, HR & Compliance Center US Pay Equity Leader

Four ESG Tenets:
The business has re-shaped their values to align with the diversity of employees' values.
Local and global communities influence the way that companies elect to do business.
Product designs are shifted to better support changing and diverse local and global needs.
Senior leaders have a zero-tolerance policy for unfairness among all stakeholders.

Source: HR & Compliance Center 2023

XpertHR's Sabina Mehmood (US Pay Equity Leader) said, "It's not a matter of ensuring everyone shares the same viewpoint. It's more about taking a values-driven approach to doing the right thing for people."

When it comes to expanding DEIB into society, "doing the right thing" means leaders are taking three critical calls-to-action:

DEIB call to action illustration

Source: HR & Compliance Center 2023

Benefits of Holistic DEIB

Companies investing in holistic DEIB strategies that support employees and their families, extend to the employees' communities, and prioritize societal fairness and equity get better business results:

Company benefits
  • improved levels of productivity
  • more likely to be innovation leaders
  • improved company reputation rating
  • outperformance of peers
Employee benefits
  • increased job satisfaction
  • higher levels of trust
  • increased sense of belonging
  • higher employee net promoter scores

And Finally…

We live in a complex and dynamic world perpetually shaped by new forces. One of those is the workforce demands for new levels of holistic DEIB - at work, at home, in local communities, and global society.

Forward-leaning organizations are stepping up and moving from person-level, compliance-driven diversity to holistic equity stretching into employees' families, communities, and society at large. Apple, Hyatt, Procter & Gamble and Sun Life Financial are examples of forward-leaning organizations. In these organizations, the DEIB philosophy reads something like this:

"We believe in diversity. We value difference. We create an inclusive culture. We progress our employees' wants and needs first, their families and communities next, and finally society's wishes to feel respected, included, and a sense of belonging. These are prerequisites to equity and fairness for all regardless of who they are, what they represent, with whom they identify, where they reside, or from where they came."

"An individual has not started living until he can rise above the narrow confines of his individualistic concerns to the broader concerns of all humanity."

- Martin Luther King Jr.

In what ways are you meeting your employees' expectations and addressing modern demands of corporate DEIB models?