Wednesday 18 September, 2019

Weber Shandwick, in partnership with United Minds and KRC Research, has released Chief Diversity Officers Today: Paving the Way for Diversity & Inclusion Success. This workplace diversity and inclusion survey, conducted among D&I professionals at high revenue companies in the US, focuses on two areas:

  1. The best practices of D&I functions that are well-aligned with the overall business strategy of the company
  2. The roles and responsibilities of Chief Diversity Officers (CDOs) and the challenges facing them today

The diversity and inclusion research classifies D&I professionals into three distinct segments along a D&I alignment continuum according to their stated strategic alignment with business goals: Well-Aligned, Aligned and Misaligned. Four in 10 D&I professionals (39 per cent) strongly agree with the statement, “The diversity and inclusion function at my company is well-aligned with the overall business strategy of my company.” This Well-Aligned segment serves as the model for best in class D&I Functions. Nearly half of D&I professionals (46 per cent) are Aligned and 14 per cent are Misaligned.

Alignment of diversity and inclusion strategy with business strategy provides organisations with several business advantages. Alignment has a tangible outcome on hiring and recruitment, drives company reputation and even positively impacts financial performance. Two-thirds of executives in Well-Aligned D&I functions (66 per cent) strongly agree that D&I is an important driver of company financial performance, a rate significantly higher than that of executives in Aligned D&I functions (27 per cent) and Misaligned D&I functions (12 per cent).

Our study includes a sample of professionals who hold the senior-most D&I position in their organisations (CDOs). The top priorities of these CDOs over the next 12 to 18 months are equal parts recruitment and retention; diversity and inclusion training and learning and development; and fostering a diverse and inclusive work culture (each 33 per cent). CDOs face a variety of challenges in achieving their diversity and inclusion goals, on both a personal and company level. The biggest challenge personally facing CDOs is making the business case for D&I, while the biggest challenge standing in the way of their company achieving its D&I goals is the organisational culture.

Chief Diversity Officers Today provides guidelines for companies to consider when developing a successful workplace diversity and inclusion function based on differences we found between Well-Aligned D&I functions and their less aligned counterparts. View our presentation here or click here to access the full diversity and inclusion survey.