Employers divided on impact of DEI programmes

Diversity should go beyond hiring practices

Employers divided on impact of DEI programmes

Employers are split on the perceived impact of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) programmes, a study from talent solutions provider Robert Half revealed.

Approximately 42% of surveyed employers said that they believe DEI programmes increased their company's diversity – however 41% said the initiatives did not have any impact on their diversity levels.

"With the majority of… business leaders believing their DEI programmes have had either no impact or a negative one, we see that diversity remains a deeply ingrained and complex structural issue that positive sentiment and intent alone cannot solve," said Nicole Gorton, director of Robert Half.

Despite these results, 49% of executives believe they’re already working with a diverse candidate pool when making a hiring decision. A similar proportion (46%) said there’s a balance between dominant applicant profiles and more diverse candidates, while five percent said many of their open roles attract a similar type of applicant. More companies are beginning to reinstate roles and increasing their staff headcount despite the pandemic, according to the research, and this has led to an opening for employers to fix imbalances within their talent pool and exercise their commitment to diversity through proactive hiring plans.

"Our survey results show that proactive hiring efforts can be a game-changer for achieving greater diversity among the workforce, and with significant growth opportunities on the horizon, many businesses are finding themselves at this pivotal moment," said Gorton.

However, she stressed that diversity cannot be achieved through hiring practices alone.

"Businesses must ensure they support their hiring efforts with a culture of inclusivity that values diverse backgrounds and perspectives," she pointed out.

'Always-on approach' to diversity

Gorton made several recommendations to help diversity and inclusion become more integrated in the workplace culture, including changing hiring practices.

"Firstly, diversity and inclusion efforts are not a 'set and forget' project - effective programmes require an always-on approach to refining and improving efforts in dialogue with employees and external consultants, which are measured against evolving goals," said Gorton.

Read more: Diversity and inclusion best practices to follow

The Robert Half director also said that employers should "lead by example" so diversity and inclusion can go down the hierarchy of the organisation.

"Promoting diverse employees, seeking out diverse voices in decision making, eradicating potential biases, creating a culture of safety when it comes to expressing viewpoints, and communicating the shared benefits of diversity and inclusion are all essential building blocks for successful diversity and inclusion," she added.

Gorton said the benefit of having a diverse and inclusive workforce will be "two-fold." It can make staff happier, more motivated, and more engaged with their work and employer.

"At the same time, the resulting improvement to staff retention and productivity gains can be a real boost to an organisation’s bottom line," she said.

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