40% of organizations do not have a strategy on D&I

Workday, a company operating in enterprise cloud applications for finance and human resources, has announced the results of its research, i.e.: most international companies are investing in diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI), but many of them lack data, or are not effectively using available data, to implement their strategies and impact the business.

The research was conducted between August and September 2022 and surveyed more than 3,100 human resources professionals and C-level business executives responsible for diversity initiatives within the companies. The goal was to understand their motivations, activities, and progress in relation to inclusion and diversity. The study, conducted by Workday in collaboration with Sapio Research, looked at 23 countries (Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Korea, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Singapore, Spain, South Africa, Sweden, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, and the United States) and revealed that there’s been a positive progress so far although there are still areas of opportunity, including the need to measure business impact and to use data to track progress more effectively.

The results of the study

The research showed that, despite the current global economic situation, most respondents noted an increase in DEI roles within their organizations or expect to increase (35 percent) or maintain (45 percent) current levels of investment in DEI initiatives in the next fiscal year.

However, while most companies are showing some form of strategic approach to DEI, 39 percent of global respondents said there is currently no strategic approach, making it difficult to move from goal setting to implementation. This situation is particularly prevalent in Asia, Pacific, Japan (APJ), where 52 percent of respondents said they had a low or barely emerging approach toward DEI goals, compared to Australia, New Zealand (35 percent), Europe (39 percent), North America (34 percent), and South Africa (22 percent). Nearly one-third (32%) said their company needs leadership and commitment at the top in order to move forward.

Another major reason was found to be related to data and reporting on DEI efforts, with only 20 percent of respondents having measured the business impact and value of DEI initiatives. Sixty percent also commented that monitoring progress is challenging and requires new systems and software to fully support DEI strategy and implementation.

Other findings

Other highlights highlighted by Workday and Sapio Research are:

  • DEI investments remain strong:
    – More than three out of four companies (76 percent) have a budget for DEI initiatives.
    – More than half (59 percent) reported an increase in investment in official DEI roles within their organization over the previous year, with 35 percent planning to increase DEI investments in the next fiscal year and 45 percent planning to maintain them.
  • Even more needs to be done to celebrate diversity:
    – Overall, it was found that more than a third (36 percent) of respondents said that diversity is recognized, valued and celebrated in their companies. However, 18 percent said it is trivialized and that there is not enough focus on recognizing existing differences.

“At Workday, we believe in creating a great place to work for everyone, which means being intentional about our commitment to Value Inclusion, Belonging, and Equity (VIBE™) and wanting to create a work environment where all of our employees are valued for their unique perspectives, respected as equals and whole, and receive equitable access to opportunities,” said Carin Taylor, chief diversity officer at Workday. “To that end, we regularly evaluate and reflect on our membership and diversity efforts and continue to refine our strategy so we can continue to make progress.”

“Since our 2021 study, many companies have begun their journey in DEI, but more and more employees are expecting more focus so that lasting changes can be made. Our research shows that having a clear DEI vision and strategy, led by dedicated and engaged leaders in all areas of the company, increases a company’s ability to accelerate awareness in DEI and drive its adoption and empowerment. Technology is a powerful tool that helps us not only understand the diverse groups that make up our workforce, but also understand how a DEI strategy determines business outcomes,” she added.

“It is encouraging to see how companies around the world continue to have DEI as a priority,” said Jonny Briggs, diversity, inclusion & resourcing director at Aviva, a Workday client company. “I found it interesting to learn from the research that many companies struggle with their DEI data and say they need to have better systems in place. For us, having DEI data at our fingertips is critical to making better decisions and moving toward an even more equitable work environment-it also shows us that our employees trust us with their sensitive data, highlighting that we are moving in the right direction.”