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Report: Diversity and Inclusion Efforts Suffer Without Buy-In From White Men

Report: Diversity and Inclusion Efforts Suffer Without Buy-In From White Men

White business man floating on a life preserver

A new report offers fresh insights to help businesses avert impending problems and meet new social and economic demands. The All Report by Diane Primo explains the 21st century workforce dilemma; reveals why white males are critical to a solution; and offers an actionable 7-step DE&I plan. Data was gathered from a nationally representative sample of workers from all workforce cohorts. This included white males, women, Asians, Latinx, Blacks, LGBTQ+ and those with disabilities. 

One of the book’s major findings is that “all workforce cohorts, and especially white males, are critical players in the quest to create true workforce diversity and solve skill imbalance issues,” Primo notes. A former corporate CMO and CEO and current founder, Primo is chairman of Purpose Brand, a multicultural, purpose-driven communications agency.

Key takeaways from the report:

There is a disconnect between diversity and inclusion programs that appear to work and programs that actually work

The All Report shows that employees do believe businesses are committed to diversity and inclusion. Employees specifically noted that corporate investment in programs like employee resource groups and task forces more have made them feel better about their institutions. 

However, employees were also clear about which programs actually work to spur positive change. These programs include cross-training, diverse hiring committees, performance feedback and cultivating career advancement. Surprisingly, unconscious bias training training was ranked low on the list.  This suggests a disconnect between programs in the workplace and programs that appear to work.

Senior leadership and CEOs need to own DE&I.

Only 23% of white males and less than 30% of all other respondents—except workers with disabilities at 42%—strongly agreed that D&I was a top priority for senior leadership or CEOs.  More simply put, most workers do not believe diversity is a top priority for senior leadership.

Over 41% of women and 69% of workers with disabilities believe HR and the senior diversity officer lead D&I efforts, implying the responsibility is not shared.

White males are instrumental in the effort to strengthen diversity and inclusion efforts.

While all groups matter in the workforce, white males have a unique position in the corporate power structure and can contribute the most to fostering diversity. However, to do so successfully, they must have a different mindset. 

  • Only 16% of white males believe D&I is one of the top three contributors to a high-performance organization.
  • Only 18% of white males believe it is one of their corporation’s top three priorities.
  • Only 29% of white males believe it is an integral component of innovation.
  • Only 30% of white males believe it is essential to creating a successful business.

Change starts by publicly prioritizing DE&I in business initiatives.

D&I is documented as a strong contributor to performance (+35% financial impact) and to innovation, according to McKinsey & Co.’s 2020 report “Diversity Wins.” The Black Lives Matter movement has also put DE&I under a spotlight, and now corporate America is under pressure to produce results. The report shows there is still much to do if we hope to increase diversity and build an economically sustainable workplace.

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