According to a new Brandon Hall Group study, more than 80% of organizations believe they provide a diverse and inclusive environment for their employees. However, BHG research shows only about one-third rate themselves highly for critical drivers such as having a diverse talent pipeline, leadership that reflects the diversity of the customer base and workforce or a workforce that reflects the diversity of the customer base or communities the organization serves.

In the wake of the social justice movement and COVID-19, Diversity & Inclusion has never been more important, both as a business driver and as a way for organizations to connect with their increasingly diverse workforces.

“In 2020, many organizations took action to improve inclusive practices, discuss social issues and support employee activism at work and in the communities they serve. Complicating the evolution of D&I is a lack of executive-level leadership, critical for culture change,” said Brandon Hall Group COO Rachel Cooke.

Almost half of organizations have no clear D&I leader or efforts are led by a non-manager with other, often competing, responsibilities. Organizations that do have a senior leader or executive, such as a chief diversity officer, heading their D&I efforts are two to four times more likely to say their initiatives are successful, the research shows.

“Organizations that do not invest leadership, time, energy and resources into Diversity & Inclusion are missing a unique opportunity to improve organizational culture, business competitiveness, employee engagement and talent retention,” said Brandon Hall Group SVP and Principal HCM Analyst Claude Werder.

Employers seeking to fully leverage the power of Diversity & Inclusion to improve business results must answer many critical questions, including:

  • How can we do a better job leading, managing and funding D&I efforts to improve the impact?
  • How can we do a better job creating awareness of unconscious bias and building a culture of self-awareness that empowers “unconscious inclusion?”
  • How can we embed the values of Diversity & Inclusion in all levels of the organization?
  • How can we develop a diverse pipeline of professional and leadership talent, internally and externally?

“Success in Diversity & Inclusion involves an organization-wide strategy. It is about building a culture through values, engaging talent, continuous learning, recognizing success and employee activism,” said Brandon Hall Group CEO Mike Cooke. “It is a complex journey, but one worth investing the time, money and effort required to drive business growth and improve the engagement of employees, customers and all other stakeholders.”

Brandon Hall Group provided its membership community with the latest Diversity & Inclusion research, which includes two studies — one on benchmarking and one focusing on how the importance of Diversity & Inclusion is changing. Based on both the quantitative research and scores of interviews, we offer our clients seven strategies to improve Diversity & Inclusion as a business driver.

To get a glimpse of the evidence-based insights Brandon Hall Group publishes for the most forward-looking corporate organizations, download the infographic Bridging the Diversity and Inclusion Gap Between Intent and Reality here.

For information on Brandon Hall Group’s research and how we can assist your organization, please visit

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