February 20, 2024

Employees Want Companies To Be Vocal About DEI Efforts, Survey Reveals

Black Leadership

Employees globally are voicing a need for more diverse and equitable workplaces despite the recent backlash against DEI initiatives, a survey has found.

The How to Talk About Diversity With Employees to Achieve Your Company’s Objectives survey by Catalyst had over 6000 employees across 11 countries reveal their thoughts.

A Call For Vocal DEI Efforts

The survey revealed that 9 in 10 (93%) employees believe it’s crucial for organizations to be vocal about their DEI efforts. 

Additionally, 3 in 4 (76%) of the respondents claimed that organizations should actively strive to create a diverse and inclusive workplace.

The survey also examined how organizations can make the case for an equitable workplace.

It found that nearly half of the respondents favor a combination of the ‘fairness case’—the moral and ethical reasoning for DEI—and the ‘business case,’ which focuses on the financial benefits. 

Most surveyed prefer the fairness case, emphasizing they experience a greater sense of inclusion and fairness and a stronger intention to stay with the organization. 

This contrasts with the business case, which, when overemphasized, can negatively impact employees from marginalized groups.

A disconnect between employees and employers

This then leads to lower feelings of belonging and increases their vigilance against bias and microaggressions.

The findings also reveal a disconnect in some organizations, with 1 in 4 (24%) employees reporting that their organization’s senior leaders rarely or never engage in discussions about diversity.

“In this polarizing moment when efforts to build equitable workplaces are under attack, it’s significant that employees want to see proactive steps from leadership, along with clear communication regarding the actions being taken to create a diverse workplace where all employees can belong, contribute and succeed,” said Emily Shaffer, senior director of research at Catalyst.

The Solutions To Improve DEI Communication

Catalyst’s report offers practical suggestions for organizations to improve their approach to DEI communication. 

These include aligning DEI practices with the company’s culture and core values and understanding the nuances of both fairness and business cases to set up DEI initiatives for success.

In summary, employees are looking for leadership that talks about DEI and applies it.

“These first steps are simple but significant,” said Shaffer. “Going back to basics allows companies to demonstrate their commitment in a way that resonates with employees, leaders and stakeholders.”

Sara Keenan

Tech Reporter at POCIT. Following her master's degree in journalism, Sara cultivated a deep passion for writing and driving positive change for Black and Brown individuals across all areas of life. This passion expanded to include the experiences of Black and Brown people in tech thanks to her internship experience as an editorial assistant at a tech startup.