Leaders want a blueprint of effective DEI efforts

Many companies have an increased focus on DEI, and studies of specific employer DEI efforts or practices have led to strong DEI outcomes. At the same time, many companies find it difficult to know what will work and what will not, but is it enough to do what other companies do? When implementing and succeeding with DEI efforts, one should also think about benchmarking against peers – across countries, industries, and different DEI variables, which is the kind of data Denominator provides. 

C-suite leaders say, “I don’t know where to start,” or “the amount of information and tools is overwhelming,” according to Bain and Grads of Life. Many leaders simply want a blueprint for what is effective for other companies, as they find it challenging to analyze the literature and, on this background, make data-driven decisions. This might be due to a lack of the right capabilities, which consequently will lead to non or bad DEI efforts. It also might be due to a lack of understandable and comparable data. 

At Denominator, we have built the world’s most sophisticated DEI database covering 1.5 public and private companies, 88 industries, and 203 countries on 175+ Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion (DEI) specific data variables. Our insights drive the most comprehensive DEI rating models and indexes creating the global standard for measuring DEI performance, which allows organizations to benchmark against peers and analyze other industries and countries across different DEI variables. Bain and Grads of Life made a shortlist of the strongest evidence-based DEI actions, based on a review of more than 100 research sources, primarily academic literature, and their experiences with clients. Ultimately, they found 10 actions worthy of increased employer attention and investment today: 

  1. Express C-suite commitment and formalize accountability 
  2. Adopt a skills-first approach to talent acquisition 
  3. Diversify talent pipelines through work-based experiences 
  4. Provide family-sustaining wages and benefits 
  5. Communicate skills-based career pathways 
  6. Offer voluntary DEI training for all 
  7. Listen to and learn from experiences of employees 
  8. Invest resources in cross-training and upskilling 
  9. Create mentoring and sponsorships programs 
  10. Build a diverse supply chain 

Each of the actions above resulted in one or more positive outcomes for an organization’s diverse or underrepresented talent, including: 

  • Improved rates of recruitment and hiring 
  • Increased levels of representation in an organization 
  • Increased feelings of engagement and belonging 
  • Increased rates of retention and internal promotion 

The most effective diversity, equity, and inclusion strategies span key areas of business operations both inside and outside of the company’s walls (only with the latter outside): 

  • Strategy, governance, and accountability 
  • Equitable talent journey 
  • Family-sustaining wages  
  • Inclusive culture 
  • External engagement  

The analysis also revealed that half of the 10 actions are not (yet) commonly used by companies – despite the strong research behind them. Not surprisingly, a combination of several, or all, of these actions is more powerful than any one action on its own. While many of the actions alone can drive improvements, when taken together the actions are mutually reinforcing. Consequently, the more you implement, the greater likelihood of seeing strong DEI outcomes. 

Most common DEI efforts  Less common DEI efforts 
Offer voluntary DEI training for all  Express C-suite commitment and formalize accountability 
Listen to and learn from experiences of employees  Adopt a skills-first approach to talent acquisition 
Invest resources in cross-training and upskilling  Diversify talent pipelines through work-based experiences 
Create mentoring and sponsorship programs  Provide family-sustaining wages and benefits 
Build a diverse supply chain  Communicate skills-based career pathways 

While many companies have started using data to create and improve DEI efforts and policies, fewer use data to benchmark DEI performance against peers. 

Strategy, governance, and accountability starts with data. Data allows companies to understand their current state of DEI performance and by benchmarking performance against peers a clear picture emerges of where improvements are needed. Based on the data a tactical plan can be made with actions, realistic targets, and areas of resource investment to achieve the overall DEI strategy. Once both the strategy and tactical plan have been initiated data allows for monitoring of progress and ensuring the organization and leadership are held accountable. 

Denominator’s data allows organizations to benchmark DEI performance against peers across country, industry, and different DEI dimensions. We also offer both Advanced and Certified Ratings which is a complete DEI rating based on companies across all DEI dimensions. More information about our solutions can be found here or by contacting us via info@denominator.one