Diversity & Inclusion (D&I) Defined:

Diversity – Any aspect that differentiates groups and/or people from one another—i.e., appreciation of and respect for differences in age, ethnicity, gender, cultural origin, sexual orientation, disability, education and religion.

Inclusion – The state of being supported, appreciated and respected; focusing on the needs of every individual and supporting them in actualizing their potential. Inclusion is reflected through company culture, mission and values, as well as daily practices and relationships forged between colleagues in support of a diverse workforce.

Why Diversity and Inclusion Matters:

People (talent) are a company’s most influential asset, and growth, innovation and sustainability in any industry, demographic or market hinges on organizations’ ability to make the most of their people. Diversity is the blend of peoples’ differences; Inclusion is bringing them together to work as one successful, integrated and engaged team that embraces all contrasts.

Without further ado, this week’s D&I-centric Talent Acquisition Fast Facts:

According to a 2014 study from Bersin by Deloitte, “Though most organizations in our study want to be ‘inclusive,’ most are not today.”

  • 71% of respondents indicate a desire to build an inclusive culture within the next three years, but only 11% of respondents indicate having a “truly inclusive” culture in 2014.
  • Although 70% of organizations report portraying a diverse and inclusive culture, respondents recognize their current state would not qualify as such.

The Bersin by Deloitte study garnered feedback from approximately 300 D&I leaders—58% of which are from organizations that are “global or international in nature.”

  • Of these leaders, just 23% believe their organization’s CEO is held accountable for achieving D&I goals.

The Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) recently conducted a study consisting of 228 executives “responsible for designing their organizations’ HR strategy”—53% of which are C- Level executives or board members. According to surveyed respondents, the top five benefits of a diverse workforce are:

1.) Improves ability to engage a diverse client base/succeed in wider number of markets (83% of executives agreed on this).

2.) Strategic approach to diversity can grow and enrich talent pools (82%).

3.) If effectively managed, can yield competitive advantage in labor markets (80%).

4.) Diverse teams produce better/more creative ideas as a result of “synergy among contrasting approaches” (79%).

5.) Fully integrated approaches to diversity can enable sustained growth (78%).

When asked which aspect of HR management will be most impacted by increased workforce diversity in the years to come, 49% of EIU’s respondents placed employee engagement at the top of their list.

According to these 228 surveyed leaders, 25% of which are from organization’s earning $5 billion in annual revenue, the top four inclusive strategies for supporting and engaging diverse talent are:

1.) Mentoring new- and high-potential employees (47% of executives agreed on this strategy)

2.) Exposing employees to diverse business situations (45%)

3.) Creating opportunities for international careers (43%)

When asked to name the biggest internal obstacles to creating and effectively managing a diverse workforce, EIU respondents listed their top five:

1.) Difficulty balancing the need for flexibility with the demand for centralized corporate control (39%)

2.) Senior manager reluctance to accept differences in employee behavior (32%)

3.) Insufficient training for operational managers (31%)

4.) Lack of analytics (tracking of data) to support workforce planning and performance monitoring (26%)

5.) Senior management does not understand HR challenges (25%)

The EIU study appears to have drawn two conclusions: 1) Diverse teams are more creative and adept at thinking “outside the box,” but also 2) diverse teams/workforces are more challenging to manage—e.g., the demand for cultural sensitivity and flexibility, inclusive strategies, etc. Are challenges such as these causing trepidation and/or holding organizations back from embracing D&I? Does any of the above research in particular stand out to you?

We’d love to hear your thoughts on all things D&I!