- Employers working to address retention may be overlooking a key driver of turnover: employees’ desire to be part of a more inclusive culture. Nearly 40% of 1,000 employees surveyed nationally said they would switch jobs to be part of a more inclusive culture; 45% of Black workers and 54% of managers said they would do so, according to the QuestionPro and EQ Community survey results, released Jan. 17.
- Nine out of 10 workers reported having a positive experience working with and learning from colleagues of different backgrounds and perspectives, the survey revealed. But 43% felt their employer should be doing more to foster inclusivity, including having more diverse leadership and discussing the importance of diversity more frequently.
- Although each organization has its own culture and is in a different stage of its DEI journey, executives should focus DEI efforts on a few common areas, such as: preparing a strong onboarding experience with frequent check-ins; trying different initiatives tied to the organization’s goals; really understanding why employees leave, for example by including a question about inclusivity in their exit interviews; and leading by example, the report recommended.
During times of economic uncertainty, DEI efforts are often the first to be cut, according to recent research by multiple HR consulting firms. They predict DEI positions will be at risk in 2023 as the U.S. totters on the edge of a recession.
But there’s an important caveat, cautioning employers against acting too quickly: “More than ever,” workers expect to learn about a potential employer’s DEI efforts, about 40% of recruiters told Monster, according to its January 2023 future of work report. Similarly, Workhuman’s 2023 Human Workplace Index advised that prioritizing inclusion and belonging can set employers apart in the recruitment process.
Just under half (49%) of employees were more likely to report feeling undervalued; about 48% of women felt undervalued, the Workhuman index found. The QuestionPro results back up these findings: Half of Black and African-American worker respondents expressed dissatisfaction with how inclusive their organization is; 45% of women and 42% of Latino workers said the same. The fact that so many employees are ready to act on their dissatisfaction “should give pause,” QuestionPro noted in its report.
Dissatisfaction is strongly tied to employee engagement, the report suggested. That is, an inclusive workplace doesn’t just come about because of organization-wide initiatives or culture projects driven by HR, it explained. Rather, employee engagement can be traced to managers, providing them with a great opportunity to impact how inclusive their teams are and, in turn, how inclusive the organization is as a whole, the report said.
Lack of connection and mentorship, as well as ongoing experiences of bias in the workplace, can lead to disengagement, a chief DEI officer pointed out in a November op-ed to HR Dive. To prevent this from happening, organizations should help managers support their teams and recognize that managers face unique challenges in the workplace, she recommended. They can learn where more support is needed by taking a hard look at attrition, retention and leadership pipelines, she added.
As businesses shift their focus to mitigating risks to revenue growth and profitability, it’s important for them to do so with an equitable lens — to ensure they don’t compromise their efforts to attract, retain and grow a more diverse employee base, a global DEI head previously told HR Dive. Data shows that workers are more likely to join and remain at companies where DEI goals, including mental health, are openly discussed, prioritized and embedded into company operations, she said.