Companies with dedicated diversity teams also had leaders committed to those efforts.
Although a 2021 Association for Talent Development research report found that more than three-quarters of organizations provide some diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging (DEI&B) education for employees, many have a long way to go in achieving diversity performance metrics.
The DEI&B Education for Employees study asked participants how well their organizations were doing on three specific DEI&B metrics adapted from the Gender & Diversity KPI Alliance’s standards:
- Representation of underrepresented groups on boards of directors and senior leadership teams
- Representation of nondominant groups across the entire workforce
- Pay equity—equal pay for equal work
Of those who reported their company doing well, they particularly felt they had representation across the entire workforce and with pay equity; they rated themselves lower for C-suite diversity. Those who reported their organization performed poorly identified pay equity and representation in senior leadership as the weakest areas.
The report states that “Respondents were only about half as likely to indicate that their organization was doing poorly when it came to representation across the entire workforce.” Companies that responded that they performed neither poor nor well rated themselves similarly across all three areas.
The research data shows little consensus among organizations on ownership and accountability for DEI&B education. While one-third of companies have a dedicated DEI&B function, HR is responsible for DEI&B education in one-quarter of those organizations; a committee, panel, or employee resource group oversees DEI&B in 20 percent; and only 10 percent assigned the responsibility to the talent development function.
The report found a correlation between the responsible function and leaders’ behaviors around diversity issues. “While 39 percent of respondents overall indicated that the actions of their organizations’ leaders supported DEI&B education to a high or very high extent, that proportion rose to 48 percent for organizations with dedicated DEI&B functions.” That number decreased for employers without a dedicated DEI&B team.
Other key findings in the report include:
- Slightly more than half of organizations have formal budgets for DEI&B education. Nearly all that do plan to maintain or increase that spending over the next 12 months.
- About one-third of companies that offered DEI&B education provided tailored versions of it for different employee audiences, such as new employees and people managers. Those that did reported performing significantly better, on average, on key diversity outcomes than those that did not.
- The activities employers use most frequently to make DEI&B education more engaging for learners are reflections on employees’ individual experiences, guest speakers and leaders as teachers, and scenario-based learning.
Read more from CTDO magazine: Essential talent development content for C-suite leaders.