May 22, 2008

Half of Employers Lack Leadership and Education on Workplace-Diversity

Erik Samdhal of i4cp sent me a heads-up to their survey:

A recent study by the Institute for Corporate Productivity (i4cp) found that 53% of companies do not sponsor diversity training in their organizations, 66% do not have specific diversity councils to serve as a watchdog on issues including race, gender, and sexual orientation and 77% do not have affinity groups in place to support minorities.
The study also found that 68% lack a high-level executive who oversees diversity initiatives. And 65% of respondents admit their organizations do not have a global diversity strategy.
“Many employers seem to think of diversity and inclusion as simply an EEOC compliance issue,” said Eric Davis, i4cp’s Associate Editor. “Employers need to view diversity and inclusion as an important strategy for developing talent. Organizations embracing that concept are more likely to have top-down diversity policies, which include accountability.”
According to the survey, when diversity programs are in place, accountability for diversity strategies tends to start at the top. When asked how leaders are held accountable for driving diversity in their organizations, 31% of respondents said CEOs are subject to annual diversity reviews. Twenty-three percent of those surveyed said their CEO’s compensation is tied to how well the chief executive carried out the organization’s diversity strategy. However, nearly 20% of respondents say their top leadership is not held accountable for ensuring diversity.

In one of my earlier organizations, I was frequently called on to present the session on Diversity and Inclusion policies for new recruits. When I realised that most new recruits were joining from Organizations where such words had never been mention, I switched to a "Devil's Advocate" mode and asked them why they thought an organization had to have these policies.

Most people would say something like "It's a good thing to do". "Societal obligation" etc. etc.

My response was that organizations almost never do something which does not benefit the shareholder. This comment would seem strange to them. How could a policy like this be linked to profit motive.

The link is quite simple. If you are out there selling to a diverse client and consumer base, across geographies and nations - then your workforce has to reflect that diversity.

If a company doesn't, then it is headed for the dustbin of history.