Global Companies Are Not Following Through on DEI Promises, According to New Research from Catalyst
- Survey of 24,348 people in 20 countries shows only 53% of employees say their organization is held accountable for diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives
- Only 37% of employees say that their organization has fair and transparent processes
- Without these two factors, employees less likely to stay
A new global survey from Catalyst, Promises vs. Progress: Two Keys to Keeping Employees Feeling Good and Staying Put, finds a disconnect between what organizations are promising and what is being delivered in creating fair workplaces free from bias and discrimination.
The Catalyst survey of 24,348 employees in more than 20 countries — including the UK, Germany, France, the United States, India and Japan — finds that just 52% of women and 54% of men say that people within their organization are held accountable for diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) efforts; and only a third (34%) of women and 40% of men say their organization has fair and transparent processes. The numbers are even lower for LGBTQ+ employees, and employees with disabilities.
Words Aren’t Enough
The lack of follow-through on these promises significantly impacts employees’ ability to thrive: When employees feel their organization values and is held accountable for DEI goals, they are twice as likely to feel included, be engaged, and stay in their jobs. Similarly, if employees say their organization’s processes are fair and equitable, they are five times more likely to feel included and be engaged, and three times more likely to intend to stay.
“Employees are looking for more than a great manager; they want to work for an organization which is not only committed to creating a fair and diverse workplace, but follows through on its promises,” said report author Emily Shaffer, PhD. “If an organization says it wants to increase the number of women or people of color at senior levels or address the gender pay gap, concrete and measurable action is necessary.”
What Senior Leaders Can Do to Keep Good Talent
Senior leaders who commit to measuring and advancing DEI and creating transparent, respectful decision-making processes have the power to change how employees experience their workplace. Actions include:
- Take stock: Conduct an audit of your organization’s policies and practices—as well as their effect on diversity and inclusion.
- Listen and follow up: Be proactive in creating processes and policies to listen to employees and involve their voices in decision-making. Then, follow up.
- Engage and iterate: DEI work is not “one and done.” Employ evidence-based strategies to learn how to hold your organization accountable to DEI goals, enact change, and iterate.
- Be transparent: It can be exciting to share progress made toward DEI goals, but it’s even more important to share a lack of progress. Acknowledging these difficult truths makes it easier for organizations to hold themselves accountable, not to mention building trust with employees and credibility with the public.
Catalyst is a global nonprofit supported by many of the world’s most powerful CEOs and leading companies to help build workplaces that work for women. Founded in 1962, Catalyst drives change with preeminent thought leadership, actionable solutions, and a galvanized community of multinational corporations to accelerate and advance women into leadership—because progress for women is progress for everyone.