D&I decoded: Insights from the Workplace Intelligence Report

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4 mins, 38 secs read time

As a talent or people professional, diversity and inclusion (D&I) is already on your mind – and has probably been on your radar for years. And you already know that both diversity and inclusion matter to the rest of your company as well. So you may be surprised to hear that, when it comes to D&I, there’s a bit of a disconnect between what executives say their companies are doing and what employees believe they’re doing.

How can companies do a better job of addressing D&I in a way that resonates with employees? Principal Analyst and Founder of HRWins George LaRocque recently sat down to address this question with Greenhouse’s Director of Content Dinah Alobeid in the Actionable D&I data you need right now webinar. Read some highlights of their conversation below or watch the on-demand webinar here.

Introducing the Workplace Intelligence Report

Greenhouse Director of Content Dinah Alobeid kicked off the conversation by introducing the hot-off-the-press Workplace Intelligence Report by Greenhouse and HRWins, the source of most of the data shared in the webinar.

While other reports strive to identify the trends affecting work and its future, the goal of the Workplace Intelligence Report was to understand how business leaders and employees alike perceive work today in the context of those trends. With this report, we set out to address two important questions:

  1. What’s causing businesses to take action on Talent-related issues?
  2. What is the perceived business value of addressing these issues?

One of the key factors that sets this report apart is that we sought to gain perceptions from both employees and the business side. You can learn more about the report in our recent blog post overview, Announcing the Workplace Intelligence Report: New Research from Greenhouse and HRWins.

How diversity and inclusion impacts business

When examining the data from the report, George noticed an eye-opening statistic: 26% of respondents say they don’t know whether a D&I program even exists at their employer. This is surprising since 77% of CEOs surveyed said they had a formal D&I strategy or planned to adopt one in the next 12 months. He summed it up with, “We all agree diversity and inclusion are important. We’re just not sure what we’re doing about it.”

George wondered,

Is this a failure in establishing, prioritizing or communicating those programs, or all of the above? This is a question that can only be answered by specific employers or employees within that environment.

From his own experience as a consultant, George has found that the majority of companies have D&I programs, but very few have visible, strong messaging describing these efforts. Based on this experience and the data from the Workplace Intelligence Report, George recommends the steps needed to build an effective D&I program.

  1. Ensure a diverse team is driving your D&I programs
  2. Engage your leadership team in the program design
  3. Identify executive champions for D&I
  4. Focus on diversity early

When building out your D&I program, be sure to start with a team that brings the kind of diversity you’d like to see reflected in your business. Involve your leadership team in D&I program design so they have a deep understanding of what you’re trying to accomplish and a sense of ownership to help meet those goals. Identify executive champions for D&I to ensure your program receives attention and resources. And focus on diversity early – look at your board of directors, teams and plans for growth to embed D&I into the culture of your organization.

Communication around D&I

We’ve seen that having a D&I program in place isn’t enough – employees won’t automatically know what your company is doing. That’s why Dinah offered tips to help you more effectively communicate your D&I program and results.

  1. Don't communicate just for the sake of it
  2. Know your audience
  3. Communicate failures
  4. Leverage internal momentum and influencers

Dinah recommends pairing the delivery of a statistic or result with an action your team is taking. That way, you’re not just communicating for the sake of it, but explaining why you’re committing to a specific course of action. It’s also essential to know your audience. Executives, for example, tend to care about the business case and will likely be influenced by data and reports from McKinsey, Harvard Business Review and even our Workplace Intelligence Report. Employees, on the other hand, may be more motivated by the moral case for D&I and appreciate hearing individual stories and anecdotes. But what if your D&I program hasn’t had the impact you were hoping for? Don’t be afraid to communicate that failure.

When it comes to D&I, there’s not a destination; it’s really a journey, and progress is a win.
Dinah Alobeid, Director of Content, Greenhouse

Part of communicating about D&I means being open to awkward or uncomfortable conversations. Dinah says that these are the moments when true sentiment will come out and you can find a way forward. Show your willingness to engage in these types of conversations by holding AMAs, open office hours where employees can drop by to ask questions and raise concerns or one-on-ones with members of the People team. Finally, when you have employees who are excited and motivated about D&I initiatives, encourage them to socialize your program and motivate other people to share their stories and perspectives.

George and Dinah uncovered a disconnect between employers and employees when it comes to D&I. And their insights and advice can help bridge that awareness gap. How will you ensure that everyone at your company is on the same page when it comes to your D&I program?

Watch the webinar
Melissa Suzuno

Melissa Suzuno

is a freelance writer and former Content Marketing Manager at Greenhouse. Melissa previously built out the content marketing programs at Parklet (an onboarding and employee experience solution) and AfterCollege (a job search resource for recent grads), so she's made it a bit of a habit to help people get excited about and invested in their work. Find Melissa on Twitter and LinkedIn.