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Half of employers don’t have a D&I strategy, CIPD research shows

Susi Donaldson tells HRNews about the importance of data in driving D&I change in the business


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  • Transcript

    Around half of employers do not have a diversity and inclusion strategy or action plan in place according to new research by the CIPD. A quarter admit that their D&I activities are entirely or mostly ‘reactive’ to issues that arise and just 7% of employers have a specific D&I budget.

    This is the CIPD’s Inclusion at work 2022 report which was published last week – a poll of 2009 senior decision-makers during May and June this year. It found that just 38% employers collected some form of equal opportunities monitoring data from their employees or job applicants.

    The report provides seven key recommendations for employers on how to approach D&I, including building a strategy or action plan, taking a long-term and data-driven approach, and enabling and giving responsibility to managers and leaders to champion diversity and inclusion.

    People Management reports on this with advice for HR professionals on the funding side. They say HR professionals can use a data-driven approach to secure D&I funding and demonstrate both the need for action and the impact of any existing funding. However, for that to work, they say  it’s vital to have buy-in from all sides of the organisation, especially from senior leaders. 

    We agree. This needs to be a strategic priority within the business, driven by HR, with support at the most senior level - and that is something we are helping a number of our clients to achieve. Susi Donaldson is involved in that work, and she joined me by video link from Glasgow to discuss it:

    Susi Donaldson: "It’s absolutely essential that this flows from the top and boards should be absolutely instrumental in the development and implementation of their racial diversity, equality and inclusion policies. We need to ensure that they're role modelling the correct behaviours, there needs to be executive sponsorship for these initiatives, and it needs to be embedded into the company's overall strategy. So, I would say it should be a standing item on the board agenda, for example, and there should be the key performance indicators. Board members could be involved in various mentoring schemes, for example, and also should be encouraged to be open about how they progressed to the senior levels within the within the organisation."

    Joe Glavina: "So what's your key message, Susi. One point for HR to focus on?"

    Susi Donaldson: "I think it's absolutely critical to have the data. If you don't know what is going on within your organisation you can't take steps to improve your policies and procedures, there's no measurement there for you, there's no reference point. So, I think the first step is for organisations to gather the data and then, once they have the data, they can set aspirational targets and have some accountability. So many of our clients, for example, at the moment are in the process of collecting their diversity data and traditionally, because it's sensitive data, special category data under the GDPR, companies would do this on an anonymous basis, but I think there's a growing realisation that this sort of data has much more value if it can be linked to the individual. For example, many companies are now gathering the data through their HR systems and where it can be linked to the individual it means that you can track progress in terms of diversity, so you can track the effectiveness of your policies and procedures, your succession plans and talent programmes and promotion schemes in terms of the different diversity strands and that feeds into your target setting. Equally, there are a lot of organisations for example who are proactively reporting on their ethnicity pay gap even though it's not yet a mandatory requirement and, again, that sort of initiative just helps to shine a spotlight on the issue of ethnic diversity, helps them to understand what's happening within their organisations and to devise their initiatives accordingly."

    That report is the CIPD’s ‘Inclusion at Work 2022’ and was published last week. It’s a significant piece of work – 68 pages long – and includes 8 pages of useful practical recommendations for HR at page 12. We have included a link to it in the transcript of this programme.

    - Link to CIPD’s ‘Inclusion at Work 2022’


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