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SHRM Cites Substantial Gaps Between Initial Commitments and Sustained Momentum as Organizations Track Toward DE&I Goals

Survey data indicates a need for lasting, widespread commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion efforts within business organizations

Las Vegas — New data from SHRM (the Society for Human Resource Management) found that, while some businesses have successfully implemented measures to increase diversity, equity and inclusion within its workforce, many others have failed to follow through on organizational commitments in this area. In fact, two-thirds of the respondents (67%) for the Harvard Business Review Analytic Services Survey, conducted in partnership with SHRM, sponsored by Trusaic, admit their organization is, at best, only somewhat successful in its attempts to create a more diverse, equitable and inclusive workplace.

The survey split respondents into three categories – leaders, followers and laggards based on how they rated their organizations on DE&I progress. 

A recurring theme in the survey's findings indicated a lack of support from senior executives. There was an especially distinct gap between visible executive support for efforts to improve DE&I at leader organizations (77%) when compared to laggard organizations (34%). Half of the laggard organizations surveyed say their efforts are hindered by noncommittal leadership, with 72% reporting lack of senior-level diversity as an additional obstacle.

"True progress toward organizational DE&I goals requires steady commitment, communication and representation across all levels of the company," said Johnny C. Taylor, Jr., SHRM-SCP, SHRM's president and chief executive officer. "The only way for executives to build a workforce that accurately reflects today's society is to lead by example and remain actively involved at every step along the journey.'"

Organizations should expect to introduce more advanced training for employees as they grow into more senior roles, but the survey found that laggards are less likely to provide training for all employees and, similarly, less likely to hold leadership accountable for implementing DE&I practices.

Laggards were also more likely to report that their organizations do not track equity across key business functions. DE&I leaders were at least twice as likely to track equity in compensation, promotions, performance development and feedback, mentorship programs, and access to growth opportunities than laggards.

The most common area in which organizations track diversity is in the hiring process; most survey respondents ranked hiring (74%), recruiting (64%) and retention (47%) as the top areas to track diversity. Among respondents who track diversity, 45% of leaders do so for development opportunities compared with only 10% of laggards.

Organizations that track progress toward DE&I goals are most likely to share updates and metrics with senior leadership, their board of directors and executives. DE&I leaders reported measuring progress toward diversity goals more frequently and were almost twice as likely (47%) as laggards to share metrics with all employees.

"The best intentions won't affect change without real, measurable action. Access to timely and reliable data is central to closing the gap," said Robert Sheen, CEO of Trusaic. "Data supports firms in holding themselves to account. By measuring what matters and acting upon it, organizations have the power to drive forward progress."

Focusing on DE&I has positive impacts on business. As a direct result of their DE&I efforts, surveyed leaders reported improvements in team diversity, employee engagement and ability to recruit top talent.

Methodology: A total of 1,115 respondents drawn from the Harvard Business Review audience (magazine/newsletter readers, customers, users) and SHRM membership completed the survey. All respondents presently reside in North America. For the complete demographic breakdown, see full report.


About SHRM
SHRM, the Society for Human Resource Management, creates better workplaces where employers and employees thrive together. As the voice of all things work, workers and the workplace, SHRM is the foremost expert, convener and thought leader on issues impacting today's evolving workplaces. With 300,000+ HR and business executive members in 165 countries, SHRM impacts the lives of more than 115 million workers and families globally. Learn more at and on Twitter @SHRM.


About Trusaic

Trusaic is a software company that helps organizations reduce their risks, maximize opportunities, and keep up with rapidly changing regulatory requirements.  Trusaic's pay equity, diversity, and inclusion solutions combine advanced data analytics with human expertise to ensure comprehensive, customized support for their clients.  We help build better workplaces, so our clients can build better businesses.


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