Companies to spend more to achieve greater diversity, inclusion

Employees  iStock / Getty Images Plus
In order to compete, companies will be spending more on diversity.

Companies expect to allocate more resources to improving a lack of diversity in their workplaces over the coming year.

“Having a diverse and inclusive workforce has never been more important,” said Dawn Frazier-Bohnert, chief diversity and inclusion officer at Liberty Mutual. “Diversity and inclusion are key because they are directly tied to engagement, innovation, and market competitiveness.”

“Diversity inclusion programs have the ability to create well-rounded teams that are capable of achieving business goals more effectively due to diversity of thought,” said Wesley Simpson, COO of (ISC)², a membership association of professionals in cybersecurity. “Since millennials are the most diverse group of professionals to date, it’s becoming more important to have programs like these in place. Diversity programs should definitely be a priority when it comes to the budgeting process for companies in 2018.”

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One in three (35%) expect to increase investment in diversity and inclusion efforts and only 3% expect it to decrease. The rest are continuing to invest at the same levels, a survey by Glassdoor said.

Some of the biggest steps appear to be hiring women. Prysmian Group, a 21,000-employee supplier of cables and systems for energy and telecommunications, has committed that by 2020, 40% of hired staff, 12% of executives and 10% of top managers will be women.

The survey addressed many industries, but didn’t explore where the investment will be spent besides "diversity and inclusion programs." However, anecdotally, Glassdoor has seen companies invest in additional internal resources like diversity/inclusion hires (such as a head of diversity and inclusion), and goals centered around diversity and inclusion, a spokeswoman said.

Investment in diversity and recruiting efforts

The report shows recruiting is less effective when companies do not invest in diversity and inclusion programs. Nearly three in five (59%) respondents said a lack of investment in diversity and inclusion is a barrier or challenge their organization faces in attracting and hiring quality candidates.

Informing candidates about diversity and inclusion efforts can help sway them. Nearly one in five (18%) reported that diversity and inclusion initiatives are among the top elements that have the greatest influence on a candidate's decision to join their organization.

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"The opportunity today for employers is to highlight and leverage their company's diversity and inclusion efforts by enabling their recruiters, employees and others to speak about it online and off so that job seekers can gain access to this valuable information where and when they need it," said Carmel Galvin, chief human resources officer of Glassdoor, in a release about the survey results.

Only one in four are optimistic that they will make more progress toward achieving their diversity and inclusion goals in the next 12 months, but they felt the benefits of achieving those goals could be rewarding. Of this group, more than half (52%) responded that they expect the quality of hires to improve compared to 20% that expect quality to worsen. Respondents who said diversity and inclusion will improve over the next year also indicated that they felt six times more likely to convert applicants to quality hires.

Not focusing on diversity and inclusion could be costly to more than just a company's recruiting. Ten percent of hiring managers believe employees will voluntarily leave their organization in the next 12 months due to a lack diversity and inclusion programs.

"In today's era of the informed candidate, job seekers are hungry for as much information about a company as possible before they take a job,” Galvin said in the release. “Job seekers want insights into what businesses are doing to build a workforce that is diverse in all aspects of the word, be it age, gender, ethnicity or thought."