Majority of U.S. Employers Have Implemented DEI Initiatives in 2021

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More than eight in 10 (83%) U.S. organizations are currently implementing diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives in 2021, according to a new survey by WorldatWork.

Among the eighty-three percent, almost a third (29%) said they took their first action on DEI initiatives during the past 12 months.

Nearly all (97%) of those DEI-active organizations have either established a DEI strategy (56%) or are actively working on one (41%).

More than half (57%) of these organizations indicated they have metrics in place to measure DEI results, with another 36% considering or evaluating implementing these measures. Of these respondents, 91% said they’re using DEI metrics to track workforce representation and almost as many (89%) are using metrics to track DEI recruiting efforts.

Additionally, at the organizations polled, human resources policies were the most prevalent (74%) DEI activity in the past 12 months, followed by development/performance management (62%), compensation (45%), recognition (33%), benefits (29%) and recruiting (6%).

“We are seeing organizations take action in [a] variety of areas to address workplace equity— policies toward inclusion, [putting] training programs in place, equitable career advancement and development opportunities, expanding benefits offerings for a diverse workforce and performance management with metrics for managers tied to DEI initiatives,” said Deirdre Macbeth, WorldatWork’s content director, in a press release.

Meanwhile, a separate survey of employees conducted by the Schlesinger Group on behalf of WorldatWork found 85% of respondents believe their employer prioritizes DEI a good or great deal in the workplace, while 74% said they feel their employer is putting the right amount of effort into these initiatives.

“Such an endorsement by employees is very positive,” said Macbeth. “It shows organizations are not just saying the right thing but actually doing the right thing.”

Two-thirds (64%) of employees surveyed said they believe DEI is very or extremely important. Indeed, 83% said they agree or strongly agree with the statement, ‘I feel comfortable talking about my background and cultural experiences with my colleagues,’ and 85% said they also either agree or strongly agree with the statement, ‘I feel included and respected at my organization.’