At Kantola, we already know DEI is central to employee well-being, essential to creating a thriving organization and increasingly used as part of demonstrating the “social” aspect of your ESG (Environmental, Social, and Governance) goals—which investors consider in identifying a company’s risks and growth opportunities.
Culture Amp has long used its research and data to highlight important trends in DEI in the workplace. Their 2018 and 2019 Diversity, Inclusion, & Intersectionality Reports called “attention to trends that remain strong across industries” (i.e., a lack of actionable data and resources, a heavy reliance on employee resource group leaders, and a focus on integrating DEI across the employee experience).
In their 2022 Workplace DEI Report, they go a step further in uniting survey data on current DEI practices along with the outcomes they’ve driven. On top of identifying key trends, their data reveals which strategies are most likely to help organizations progress in the DEI space.
- believe their organizations are building a diverse and inclusive culture85%
- view DEI initiatives as beneficial to their organizations81%
- responded that their organizations are focusing on doing more than what is required for compliance purposes71%
Their findings suggest that employees perceive the surge in their organization’s commitment to DEI as genuine and only expect them to grow from here. As Kantola’s Director of Content, Natasha Nicholson puts it, “DEI and the needs that surround it are not static and continue to evolve with the organization and its employees. The plan you start with may not be the same one you need down the line. That’s why it needs to be flexible and resilient. The evolution of your DEI program must be part of the plan.”
The report also found that while employees supported by large-scale movements have seen improvements in the workplace, not every group has this type of assistance. In such situations, the organization itself is responsible for stepping in. This may require “dedicating time and resources to gaining leadership buy-in.”
At Kantola, we already know that a focus on inclusive leadership combined with changes to structures and processes can be an especially effective way to cultivate and engage leaders. Most importantly, it can sow the seeds that make DEI an integral part of the leadership ethos, enabling this group to become an especially powerful force.
Ultimately, while the report found positive perceptions of DEI in the workplace, they also unveiled areas needing improvement. For example, their data showed current approaches to DEI-related training are insufficient among almost 40% of the companies surveyed.
In addition, only 54% of respondents had training surrounding unconscious bias with some experts even suggesting that “poorly-designed unconscious bias training can increase the likelihood of backlash from majority group employees.”
So, why does DEI keep changing and how can you stay current? We know DEI is driven by larger societal priorities, and we are working in an environment that is shifting rapidly. A couple of years ago, it was enough for an organization simply to say that DEI is important. Today, the expectation is to apply concrete efforts that achieve demonstrable results.