Diversity & Inclusion in the Workplace

How DEI Can Work for Your Team and Your Bottom Line

Over the last few years, businesses have increased their investments in and commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) in extraordinary new ways. Despite this widespread corporate momentum and many bold actions around DEI, skeptics remain. Does DEI really impact business performance?

Yes, DEI Programs WorkDeloitteInsights Women in Tech 2022

An early sign of success in DEI efforts has been the elevation of women in tech. This spring, Deloitte Global published projections anticipating that global tech firms, on average, “will reach nearly 33% overall representation of women across their workforces in 2022,” an increase of 6.9% from 2019. Deloitte’s research found that the biggest improvement for women in tech was in the leadership category, where the number of women grew by almost 20%.

These gains are important for job seekers and employees looking for greater equity and opportunity. And, they are a boon to businesses, which see positive revenue, innovation and talent outcomes as diversity expands.

  • Higher Profits. McKinsey’s Diversity Wins: How Inclusion Matters study found that diversity on executive teams continues to increase the likelihood of “financial outperformance” for a business.  When comparing profitability, the study revealed that companies in the top quartile for executive-level ethnic diversity outperformed those in the bottom quartile by 36%.
  • Non-conformist Thinking – Innovation. Diverse workplaces are also less likely to encourage groupthink and conformity, making diversity a true asset in a marketplace that values innovation. A Boston Consulting Group study found that companies with higher-than-average diversity scores also had, on average, “both 19% higher innovation revenues and 9% higher EBIT margins.”
  • Greater Recruitment Reach. Diverse businesses benefit from a larger talent pool. A 2021 Glassdoor survey found that most job seekers, 76%, say that “a diverse workforce is an important factor when evaluating companies and job offers.” Almost one-third—32% of job seekers— report that they will not apply for jobs at companies “where there is a lack of diversity among its workforce.” 

More Work Ahead

Despite these gains and the benefits they deliver, DEI work still has a long way to go. Women in the U.S., where many global tech leaders are based, make up nearly half of the American workforce (46.3% in 2021 according to World Bank data). That gap from 33% in tech to 46% in the workforce is sizable. And, the diversity challenges are not only in tech. McKinsey’s 2022 report, The State Of Diversity In US Private Equity (PE), found that while PE firms have increased their percentages of ethnically diverse employees and women at the junior levels, C-suites are far less diverse. And the number of women in the C-suite at PE firms was categorized as “minute.”

Best Practices for Boosting DEI Success

Despite the burgeoning success of DEI in recent years, there is still plenty of work to do to address equity gaps. It’s critical to leverage best practices in order to make the most impact. At Mojo Trek, for example, our placement of women and diverse candidates is typically between 35-40%. Our goal is to steadily increase our placement rate to over 40% within the next two years. Concrete goal-setting is one DEI practice that shows results. Here are several more to incorporate into your DEI efforts in order to get results that matter.  

Start with Inclusion.

To realize the benefits of diversity, businesses must start with inclusion. It begins with surveying diverse team members for insight. Do racially diverse employees, women, and LGBTQ staff members feel included in the company, its mission, its opportunities, and its stories? Is turnover among diverse talent higher than for non-diverse staff? Dig into where your business is succeeding and where it is struggling to include its diverse talent. Fixing those gaps is only possible if you first know where they are.  

Communicate Diversity Goals.

Employees and job seekers want to see diversity statements and promises transformed into action and results. Businesses that publicly set diversity targets (like the one we are making above), are welcoming accountability and providing the kind of transparency people inside and outside the business want to see.

Measure DEI Program Efforts & Outcomes.

Setting DEI goals is critical, and so is tracking and measuring company progress to achieve them. From tracking candidate pools, hiring results, and internal career advancement data to conducting employee surveys, monitoring and analyzing DEI programs is essential to identifying effective DEI investments and those that still need work. 

Debiasing Training and Access to Promotions.

Take a hard look at training, mentoring, coaching, and promotion programs across the business to remove biases and barriers. These leadership feeder programs may have roadblocks to entry for diverse candidates that may not seem obvious. For example, acceptance into these programs may depend on a manager’s subjective referral, versus an objective measure such as performance targets or company milestones. Timing may also be an issue. Evening training or coaching sessions could weed out caretakers. Women, especially women of color, are more likely to be the primary caretakers of children, elderly family members, or a disabled loved one. Move these events to daytime work hours and a barrier is removed, access increases, and diversity wins.  

Promotion programs may also be at issue. They may focus narrowly on traditional leadership qualities, such as charisma and collaboration, and miss opportunities to include individuals with unique ways of working and thinking. For example, the organization might employ neurodiverse employees whose leadership potential exists outside of that conventional mold. From visual thinking and rigorous attention to detail to visual memory and creativity, valuable capabilities exist outside of traditionally accepted leadership skill sets. Recognizing the value of those contributions is key to building a company that welcomes and retains diverse talent.  

Make DEI Everyone’s Job.

HR and diversity committees should not own diversity. Everyone in the business should be an active part of the diversity effort, from the C-suite to hiring managers to team leaders and individual contributors. Succeeding in building diversity means enlisting everyone to help build a more inclusive, welcoming environment. With everyone engaged in the work of diversity in big and small ways, it’s easier for a business to learn about issues that could be impeding diversity, such as childcare costs or access, which have historically limited women and their growth and opportunities in the workplace.    

To discuss your DEI goals and challenges, or to learn how Mojo Trek is helping businesses attract and hire more diverse talent, contact us anytime.  

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