A whopping 98% of HR leaders agree that DEI is important to overall business strategy, according to new research.
The survey, which was conducted by OnePoll on behalf of global business strategy and consultancy firm Monica Motivates, revealed the continued significance of DEI in organisations in the UK and US, with 79% of HR leaders calling it “very important” and 19% calling it “somewhat important”.
The importance of DEI was also shown in the number of DEI roles at C-Suite level. More than three-quarters (79%) of the 400 HR leaders surveyed said that there was a C-Suite position responsible for DEI.
The survey comes amid a backlash against DEI, provoked by economic pressures. DEI executives were terminated at a much higher rate than all other executives in 2022. That’s despite an extensive body of research showing that higher gender diversity corresponds to higher profitability and productivity, and that the most ethnic and culturally diverse companies outperform the least in terms of profitability.
The data also showed that HR professionals in the UK and US were positive about the potential for AI to support their work, with just seven percent perceiving it as a “threat”. HR professionals ranked establishing a diverse hiring process; providing DEI training access for employees; and developing a DEI strategy with short, medium, and long-term goals as the most important steps to improving DEI.
The survey showed that the vast majority (86%) of respondents believed employees were more likely to voice concerns about DEI issues now compared to two years ago. Just four percent believed it was less likely, suggesting both the growing importance of DEI to employees and the belief that their difficulties and grievances will be heard and taken seriously.
In addition, more than half (56%) of those surveyed said they had strategies in place to facilitate supplier diversity, while a further 36% said they had plans to do this.
Monica McCoy, CEO and Founder of Monica Motivates, said that the survey was an “important reminder” of the value of DEI at a time when financial pressure was putting initiatives to boost diversity, equity and inclusion at risk.
“HR professionals know better than anyone that DEI has real commercial, creative and moral implications.
“So it’s really encouraging to see that the vast majority of those we surveyed consider it to be a critical piece of their overall business strategy.
“While geopolitical turmoil and an economic downturn are prompting organisations to look broadly for cost savings, this survey is an important reminder that those who work in, with, and around DEI on a day-to-day basis are almost universally assured of its value. DEI programs are striving to undo prejudices and injustices entrenched over centuries and it will take time and ongoing investment to reap their greatest dividends.”
“It’s important that HR professionals communicate this to other decision-makers in their organisations and reiterate the business case for diversity.”