United Minds Study Finds Chief Diversity Roles Becoming Increasingly Critical To Business Success, But Barriers To DE&I Progress Remain


NEW YORK, November 10, 2021 / PRNewswire / – New study conducted by United Minds in partnership with Weber Shandwick and KRC Research details the evolving role of diversity directors and diversity, equity and inclusion (DE&I) leaders over the past two years, notably with an increase in resources, responsibilities and optimism for the future despite considerable adversity.

The global study of 227 of the most experienced professionals responsible for ED&I in their organizations spans a 2019 report focused on the United States and provides insight into the function before and after a period characterized by a global pandemic, a racial justice movement and a recession. The 2021 study finds that since 2019, senior DE&I executives in the United States are 2.6 times more likely to hold C-Suite positions and oversee 4.5 times larger teams. Globally, 86 percent of top ED&I leaders are satisfied with the resources their organization has invested in ED&I, with 77 percent reporting budgets over $ 10 million. In the United States, nearly four in 10 senior DE&I executives (39%) say they have budgets in excess of $ 50 million – an increase of 26% compared to 2019.

At the same time, despite an increased focus on societal inequalities, ED&I senior leaders continue to have to justify the importance and impact of ED&I: more than three-quarters (78%) agree that ED&I is not a priority unless there is a visible or public issue and only 45 percent of them strongly agree that their role is considered a “must-have” by the leadership of the organization. This is compounded by the fact that more than half of DE&I senior executives report unfair treatment (discrimination, harassment and / or micro-aggression) within their organizations. And while companies continue to face the Great Resignation, the report shows that the priorities are shifting away from retaining and recruiting diverse talent.

“We are seeing significant momentum in establishing and funding the core role and executive function of the diversity office,” said Tai Wingfield, Executive Vice President, Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, United Minds. “However, we also know that change takes time. A critical part of every diversity manager’s job continues to be embracing the importance of the job, even as the business case is reinforced every day. “

Senior DE&I leaders are becoming increasingly important members of their organizations
Among DE&I senior executives, there is near universal agreement (94%) that the external political and social environment has had an impact on DE&I efforts. Over the past year, 90% of senior DE&I executives in the United States reported an increase in their responsibilities (83% globally), including additional investments and resources, increased scope of work and / or a change in the reporting structure. The median number of people in an organization focusing on ED&I directly in the United States is 90, 4.5 times higher than in 2019.

In addition to high titles and increased resources, DE&I senior executives, more than half of whom strongly agree that domestic support is integral to DE&I’s success, are also experiencing an increased alliance within their organizations, with a significant increase in support from IT and financial services.

The recruitment and retention of diverse talent is particularly threatened
As the Great Resignation continues to weigh on companies around the world, 43% of DE&I senior executives say revenue is at least in part due to dissatisfaction with the level of support being given to DE&I. Senior DE&I leaders in the United States attribute 39% of recent resignations to lack of confidence in organizational commitment to DE&I, a 23% increase from 2019. 2019 to # 5 in 2021.

“While it is possible that pandemic-related hiring freezes have negatively affected the prioritization of recruiting and retaining diverse talent, it is more important than ever that this model continues and that companies understand the value that a diverse workforce adds to their organization, “Wingfield said.” Further efforts to promote diversity, equity and inclusion don’t mean much if business leaders are not taking the necessary steps to ensure they hire and retain diverse talent in their teams. ”

Optimism is evident, but challenges persist
Overall, satisfaction remains high among DE&I senior leaders, with 82 percent endorsing efforts to create a diverse, inclusive and equitable culture within their organization. A majority (84%) are also optimistic about the future of DE&I and in the United States, almost nine in ten are optimistic (89%); an increase of 10% compared to 2019.

However, while nearly eight in 10 senior DE&I leaders say their organization is fair and inclusive, and three in four say their organization is diverse, more than half (54%) also report incidents of discrimination and unfair treatment, harassment and / or micro-aggression have occurred in their current organization over the past year.

The main challenges that hinder DE&I include company-wide issues such as employee engagement, while role-specific challenges such as lack of integration with other functions and visibility of results. DE&I abroad is also a threat.

Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) remain a positive for DE&I
Globally, 100% of DE&I senior leaders believe that Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) and Affinity Groups benefit employees, especially when it comes to providing networking opportunities, visibility for leaders and foster a sense of inclusion. And the employees agree; The United Minds companion study also showed that ERG member employees are more satisfied with their organization’s commitment to DE&I and more satisfied with their work in general.

Looking ahead to the next 12-18 months, ERG oversight has increased the most as a priority of the top three DE&I executives in the United States, dropping from the bottom of the list of most cited priorities (# 12) to 2019 to be near the top (# 3, behind learning and development and promoting racial equity).

About United Spirits
United Minds is a management consulting firm specializing in transformation. Drawing on a wide range of specialists, the company helps organizations bring about positive and lasting change by combining data-driven strategy and creative communication solutions, involving stakeholders in every part of the process. For more information visitwww.unitedmindsglobal.com

About Weber Shandwick
Weber Shandwick is a leading global communications network delivering next-generation solutions to brands, businesses and organizations in key markets around the world. Led by world-class strategic and creative thinkers and activators, we’ve won some of the industry’s most prestigious awards. Weber Shandwick was appointed to Ad age Agency A-List in 2020 and Best Places to Work in 2019. Weber Shandwick was also honored as To provoke World Agency of the Decade in 2020 and PRWeek’s Global Agency of the Year in 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018. The company won over 135 Lions at the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity. Data-driven, with insights at heart, the agency deploys cutting-edge and emerging technologies to inform strategy, develop critical insights and increase impact across all industries and specialty areas, including marketing from brand and B2B, health marketing, change management, employee engagement, corporate reputation, crisis management, data and analytics, technology, public affairs, social impact and financial communications. Weber Shandwick is part of the Interpublic Group (NYSE: IPG). For more information visit http://www.webershandwick.com

About KRC Research
KRC Research is a global, non-partisan opinion research consultancy that turns data into intelligence to help our clients meet challenges. A unit of the Interpublic Group of Companies (NYSE:IPG), KRC Research offers the quality and personalized service of a small business with the reach of a global organization. Comprised of multidisciplinary research professionals, strategists and investigators, KRC has worked for more than 30 years to provide information to businesses, governments, nonprofits and the communications companies that represent them. Our subject matter experts have extensive experience in research methods applied to communications, public health and marketing campaigns, company and brand reputation, and consumer, stakeholder engagement. and employees. For more information visitwww.krcresearch.com.

Contact: Jill tannenbaum
Company: Weber Shandwick
Telephone: 212-546-7815
E-mail: [email protected]

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