One year after a wave of civil rights protests pushed CEOs to double down on diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI), Insider surveyed workers on how they think corporate leaders are doing to fulfill their promises.

As part of a series called Cost of Inequity, Insider conducted a survey of over 1,000 professionals, the majority of American workers think business leaders are motivated to improve DEI in the workplace. However, managers are significantly more hopeful than rank-and-file employees.

About 74% of managers said they think their employer’s executive team cares about improving diversity, compared to 63% of workers.

As corporate America faces increasing pressure from investors, employees, and customers to make good on DEI promises, addressing the gap between manager and employee sentiment is crucial. DEI consultants said that leaders who drive employee engagement around DEI goals will be more successful in their goals.

Why managers feel more engaged

Kerryn Agyekum, principal of diversity, equity, inclusion and justice at The Raben Group, a DEI consultancy, said companies need to boost employee buy in on DEI efforts.

For Kerryn Agyekum, DEI principal at consultancy The Raben Group, the findings were not surprising.

Individuals who are largely at the worker or individual contributor level are more likely to be from historically marginalized groups, she explained. Data shows managers and leaders, across a variety of industries, are more likely to be white.

“It’s not surprising that workers, individuals who do not have that power or privilege like managers do, have a very different perspective around whether or not an organization’s diversity, equity, or inclusion efforts are having an impact,” Agyekum said. “They are waiting to see results.”

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There will be a gap in sentiment until managers are able to really bring about change in their organizations, the DEI consultant said.

Cynthia Orduña, DEI consultant at consultancy Peoplism, credited the gap in enthusiasm to a communication problem. Oftentimes leaders communicate their DEI efforts to managers, but not to all of their employees, so employees aren’t as up to date, she explained.

Leadership can be very scared to be transparent about what’s going on in the background in terms of new diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives…They’re afraid of not getting things right. Cynthia Orduña

“Leadership can be very scared to be transparent about what’s going on in the background in terms of new diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives,” she said. “They’re afraid of not getting things right.”

If employees aren’t aware of what’s going on, however, they’re more likely to think that their executive team doesn’t care about DEI efforts.

Orduña said that 63% of workers thinking their executives care about DEI was somewhat disappointing.

“It’s more about, how do we get that number to be 75% 85%?” she said. “If a good chunk of employees don’t think their executives care about DEI, that’s a story.”

Managers were also more likely than their direct-reports to say their company has clear channels for participation in DEI efforts. Some …read more

Source:: Business Insider

      

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