Report says more needed to promote diversity and inclusion

Diversity and inclusion programs (D&I) continue to gain strength. Many go well beyond concepts of race and sex. They include sexual orientation, national origin and religion.diversity

Efforts to create diverse corporate cultures of inclusion have two important implications. The first shows a company is willing to win the benefits from having a varied work force.

That is, one with a broad variety of language skills, cultural backgrounds, and a wide range of ages, physical abilities and disabilities.

Secondly, D&I initiatives show stakeholders and regulators there’s an evolving ethical leadership. However, despite the evidence of attempted change, many companies still struggle to bring these to life–beyond meeting the most basics of compliance norms.

A new study by HR consultancy firm Bersin by Deloitte throws fresh light on these sorts of initiatives. Diversity and BersinInclusion Benchmarking Report: An Analysis of the Current Landscape draws on fifty in- depth interviews plus on-line responses from over two hundred diversity and inclusion professionals. [1]


Most companies (71%) expect to create an inclusive environment within the next three years.  So far though, only about one in ten (11%) say they’ve already achieved this result.

Encouragingly, at  least half (51%) the organisations say their future diversity levels will go beyond the demands of basic compliance.

There was though a sharp divide between how organisations said they embraced diversity and the reality on therecruit ground. While respondents (70%) said their organisations promoted themselves as diverse only ten percent “strongly agreed” their recruitment process attracted a diverse set of employees.

And the ones that hit problems with initiatives were those without a well-crafted recruiting process.

Leaders taking responsibility

Most organisations (64%) said their leaders were involved in diversity and inclusion initiatives, but despite this funding remained inadequate.

Unfortunately, what leaders talk about, publicly project and desire is not consistent with the level of investment in D&I,”
Stacia Sherman Garr, vice president of talent management research, Bersin by Deloitte,

Over half of respondents (54 percent) said their organization either lacked a D&I function or had one solely staffed with volunteers.

Equally significant, few respondents (23%) said their organization held the CEO accountable for achieving diversity and inclusion goals. This is a failure at the highest level, since the CEO sets the tone and is an important driver of any corporate wide initiatives.

Another striking finding is that while about a third of business leaders discuss the value of diversity and inclusion, recruit2far fewer, a mere twelve percent, talk about the effectiveness of their organisation’s ability to actually reach diversity and inclusion targets.

What these findings confirm is making diversity and inclusion actually happen remains problematic.

It’s clear from this research there’s plenty of scope for more vigorous campaigns to generate diversity and inclusion within companies, led by the ethical leader.

[1] Reported by C. Freeman, Employers Struggle to Advance Diversity Initiatives Beyond Compliance Monday, Bloomberg BNA, April 7, 2014[spacer height=”20px”]

Here’s how I and my company Maynard Leigh Associates can help you make sense of ethical leadership 

  • Help you clarify what business ethics mean for your particular organisation
  • Coach you to understand what it means in practical ways to be an ethical leader
  • Run internal programmes to identify and develop core values affecting company culture
  • Assist leaders to establish and communicate leadership tone–inspiring people to act responsibly
  • Develop managers’ and leaders’ confidence to talk about and promote business ethics  
  • Advise on generating employee ethical engagement–where people go beyond the basic rules of compliance
  • Develop new, creative ways to encourage people to speak up about ethical issues 
  • Strengthen HR Team and their ethical role
  • Run forum theatre sessions to communicate about ethics in a highly interactive way 
  • Write an article or feature for you on ethical leadership for your publication
  • Be a keynote speaker about ethical leadership at your next company or public event


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