For many businesses, the topic of diversity, equity and inclusion (DE&I) isn’t brand new. Over previous decades, employees and leaders have made the resounding call for companies to better represent the diverse workforce, include them in leadership positions, and address equity barriers for marginalized groups. With DE&I gaining even more notoriety over the past year, Worldwide ERC®’s new research demonstrates that companies are no longer paying lip service to DE&I, but are taking action to make the business case for DE&I.

Worldwide ERC® recently reached out to more than 600 senior HR leaders, as well as a subset of corporate mobility and mobility service provider leaders—representing a wide variety of industries, world regions, and company size. This deep dive resulted in findings representing broad, global consensus on the competitive necessity of DE&I initiatives. In fact, more than 88% of respondents report direct funding and resources committed to specific activities supporting a larger data-driven DE&I strategy, and that the vast majority of organizations have specific policies to promote implementation at every level of their HR functions.

Here’s a preview of 3 key areas where leaders are making the business case for DE&I:

Employee Development

For mobility professionals and senior HR leaders, employee development allows companies to tap into talent pools, provide them the necessary tools and resources to reach their true potential, and give companies a competitive advantage. However, meritocracy can often get in the way of allowing historically underserved talent to access these development resources. According to our research, organizations have undertaken DE&I initiatives to review development policies and practices across key DE&I areas, with age in the top ranking (69%), followed by experience and disabilities (both 63%).

Employee Recognition

A comprehensive and well-rounded DE&I strategy understands that, while it’s important to include people with diverse identities, experiences, and talents at the decision-making table, active recognition goes even further. It is within such diversity and inclusion that innovation can arise as a richer tapestry of viewpoints gives way to new solutions to common problems. Recognizing these efforts can go a long way towards employee commitment and engagement, and our research shows that leaders have noticed too. We found that DE&I implementation is hyper-local and culturally specific, with different parts of the world placing emphasis on certain types of rewards over others. Overall, companies are reviewing recognition policies across DE&I areas, such as age (67%), disability (58%), and ethnicity (54%).

Employee Compensation

For many in the workforce, a company that demonstrates tangible commitment to DE&I is an employer of choice. Consider Gen Z workers, as many require such commitment when seeking jobs, and are watching to see which organizations follow up on their verbal commitments made during 2020. It’s key to gaining the trust of crucial talent, especially when said talent comes from historically marginalized communities who aren’t used to seeing themselves in positions of power. That’s why compensation policy is a powerful way for companies to demonstrate their commitment. According to our research, companies are reviewing compensation policies across DE&I initiatives, with age and experience (70%), and disabilities (62%) ranking highest, and over half looking at gender, ethnicity, and race.

DE&I: Good for employees, businesses, and the world

As we’ve seen, DE&I has skyrocketed to the front of strategic business priorities around the globe. At the center of any DE&I initiative is the importance of the employee, as DE&I seeks to address and prioritize the needs of a rich tapestry of employee identities and experiences. Understanding these needs allows everyone to show up to work as their authentic selves, solid in the belief that their workplace supports them and fosters their growth. Ultimately, DE&I is good for the world, and for business too.

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