Current State

Almost nine in 10 organizations identify diversity, equity and inclusion (DE&I) as important drivers of business results, according to Brandon Hall Group research. And 76% of organizations said the social justice movement that emerged in 2020 increased the importance. 

More than 80% of organizations see themselves as providing a diverse and inclusive environment for their employees, the research shows. 


Most organizations do not have strategies in place to drive diversity, equity and inclusion. For example, more than 40% of organization lack executive-level leadership of D&I, which is critical for any type of culture change. Basic tracking and measurement of DE&I is lacking in most organizations. For example, less than 40% of organizations use any metrics to quantify inclusion. The business impact of DE&I can’t be understood if it isn’t being measured. 

Metrics Used to Track Inclusion 


 There is a disconnect between the self-perception organizations have about their level of diversity, equity and inclusion and the reality. While at least eight in 10 organizations believe they are diverse and inclusive, only about one-third of employers rate themselves highly for critical behaviors such as: 

  • Having a diverse talent pipeline 
  • Leadership that reflects the diversity of the customer base and workforce
  • A workforce that reflects the diversity of the customer base and communities the organization serves. 

Critical Question

To create a business case for improving DE&I, organizations need to assess several key indicators of a culture of diversity, equity and inclusion. Key questions include: 

  • What is the level of support from top leadership for DE&I as a business priority now? 
  • What are the inclusion levels of women and minorities at the C-Suite and senior leader levels? 
  • What is the depth of the internal pipeline of diverse talent? 
  • What programs are in place to recruit diverse talent to the organization? 
  • What programs are in place to develop diverse talent in the organization now? 

Brandon Hall Group POV

Identify a champion and sponsors. HR organizations often struggle to articulate and quantify the value of an investment. Consider including a senior leader outside of HR to champion your DE&I initiative and gain support across the business. 

Determine the biggest business pain points DE&I efforts can help improve. For example, if your leadership pipeline is not robust, targeted development programs for diverse employees address inclusion while expanding the leadership pool. Or, if engagement is not where you want it, employee resource groups on issues of interest to diverse employees provide them with opportunities to contribute outside their jobs and engender a greater sense of belonging to the organization. 

Determine leadership needs. Beyond a champion/sponsor, you will need a leader dedicated to the DE&I initiative. Our research shows that organizations with the most successful DE&I programs have C-Suite or senior-level leaders whose sole or primary function is to drive DE&I initiatives. Organizations without dedicated leadership struggle to make progress. Major change initiatives require ownership at the top.

Measure the effectiveness. Organizations must identify short-term and long-term goals, and how to effectively measure and report them. 

Develop marketing and communication plans. A communication strategy should be developed to articulate the need for DE&I initiatives to key stakeholders at all levels of the organization, from senior leaders all the way to the last person hired. 

Develop a change-management strategy. Any new initiative requires some level of change management to provide a transition to the future state. In most cases, change management begins at the leadership level and requires strong communication with employees about the level of importance and benefits they gain from involvement. In the specific case of DE&I, the change-management strategy should include involving stakeholders across the enterprise in diversity councils, ERGs and other initiatives. Our research shows that organization-wide involvement is critical to building a culture of diversity and inclusion.


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