As you may have noticed, the topics of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion are pretty hot right now. In fact, they have been hot topics for a while. Surely, we have made progress by now. Why do we need to keep talking this? The simple answer is that we have not made enough progress. Pay inequity, lack of diversity in corporate leadership and difficulty finding and recruiting diverse talent – the list of unsolved problems should sound familiar.
Why? Here are the top challenges and their remedies:
FOCUS: Organizations are trying to solve every single problem, all at once
Everyone has pipeline problems (recruiting), attrition issues (retention) and leadership training & promotion dilemmas (development). These are very different issues and they have very different solution paths. Frame the challenges in these terms, pick a broad category and start. Have a long term plan that covers all three, but there is going to be one of them that will do you the most good and provide the most visible benefit.
MEASURE: Nothing gets measured and there are no SMART (specific, measurable, attainable, results based, timely) targeted outcomes
Most companies have at least some benchmarks on the composition of their workforces at a granular level (by role & level), but some don’t. In many cases, insiders are not willing to own up to the actual numbers for one reason or another. If your company doesn’t know how many women are in IT or men are in HR or minorities holding leadership positions, then it cannot set a target. To be fair, most do probably know the current state. Setting targets and making leadership accountable is what has to happen. Assigning responsibility and accountability for DE&I business outcomes is how those outcomes will be realized.
EXCECUTE: There is no budget or committed full time resources
If management says, ‘we are committed to diversity, equity and inclusion’, they need to vote with their budgets & other resources. It doesn’t need to be a huge amount of money or a vast number of people, but no DE&I budget = no (serious) DE&I program. If DE&I is not a full-time job and people are being asked to lead these efforts in addition to doing their day jobs, well, it isn’t going to work. In other words, dedicate at least one full time resource who can serve as a focal point for recruiting, retention and leader development and promotion programs While DE&I might be everyone’s responsibility, orchestration matters. One of the best things about DE&I programs is that many of your employees DO care and so will volunteer some of their discretionary effort and expect nothing in return but direction and leadership.
DE&I challenges are ones we can meet with bit of skill and a lot of will. Even if my advice seems obvious, trivial and easy to follow then why aren’t we doing it? You don’t have to start from scratch, there are best (and worst) practices and programs. There are success stories.
Still don’t know where to start? Read the three points again:
Across our company, Gartner analysts are doing a lot of work to help our clients succeed with their DE&I programs. My own contribution, along with my colleague, Christie Struckman, is called EPIC, a framework for measuring pay inequity. It is squarely focused on objectively measuring pay gaps between various groups within an organization.
If you are a Gartner client you can read more about EPIC on our website:
Gartner’s EPIC Program — Call to Action to Achieve Gender Pay Equity, Debra Logan and Christie Struckman, February, 2021
If you are not a client, you will at least be able to see the summary as well as our existing and future blog posts on the subject, available to all