June 2014
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TD Magazine

Diversity & Inclusion: All Talk, No Action?

Sunday, June 8, 2014

"What leaders ... publically project and desire is not consistent with the level of investment in D&I," says Stacia Sherman Garr, vice president of talent management research at Bersin by Deloitte.

Garr's comments are in response to a study on diversity and inclusion (D&I) in the workplace conducted by her company. The study found that a majority of organizations (71 percent) say they aspire, within three years, to have an "inclusive" culture that celebrates employee diversity and channels it for increased business value. Yet only 11 percent of the 245 organizations surveyed report that they currently have an inclusive culture (and 56 percent of the organizations surveyed are global or multinational).


Despite the advanced understanding of D&I—which has led to more elegant rhetoric around it—organizations are only slowly progressing beyond a compliance-driven approach. This is partly due to a reluctance to loosen purse strings: Organizations typically spend an average of just $50 per employee to support D&I efforts.

The report also found that recruiting processes are blamed for not supporting D&I: Only 10 percent of respondents "strongly agreed" that the recruitment process is designed to attract diverse employees. This could be because organizations rely primarily on internal references for new recruits, which likely causes them to attract the same demographic mix as their current employee base.

Finally, survey respondents displayed a lack of understanding of D&I metrics—and only 2 percent of respondents reported that they "strongly agree" that metrics are transparent and shared among all employees.


"To close the gap between the rhetoric and the reality of D&I, organizations have an opportunity to map D&I efforts to broader talent and business goals and objectives," says Garr. This involves an understanding of D&I metrics and how to use them.


About the Author

The Association for Talent Development (ATD) is a professional membership organization supporting those who develop the knowledge and skills of employees in organizations around the world. The ATD Staff, along with a worldwide network of volunteers work to empower professionals to develop talent in the workplace.

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