The Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) landscape is at a crucial turning point. While there’s a clear intent and increased discussion and activity surrounding DEI in companies and institutions, progress remains sluggish. In 2020, the global spending on DEI efforts, such as Employee Resource Groups (ERGs), stood at $7.5 billion, and this figure is expected to double to $15.4 billion by 2026. However, a sobering statistic indicates that, at the current pace, it will take another 151 years to close the global economic gender gap at all levels.
To address this challenge, the Global Parity Alliance initiated the DEI Lighthouse Programme, aiming to identify initiatives that have achieved significant, measurable, scalable, and sustainable impact in DEI. The goal is to equip leaders with best practices to accelerate progress across the global business community and its ecosystems.
The DEI Lighthouses 2023 Report identified five common success factors among initiatives that had the most significant impact on underrepresented groups:
- Nuanced understanding of root causes: Companies must analyse data and gather insights to understand the challenges and root causes affecting underrepresented groups. For example, Walmart discovered that skillset requirements and the cost of obtaining those skills were hindering the advancement of their Black and Hispanic/Latino employees.
- Meaningful definition of success: Defining clear, measurable goals helps guide DEI efforts and assess their effectiveness. Schneider Electric, for instance, aimed to close pay gaps globally and achieved significant progress.
- Accountable and invested business leaders: Executive leadership commitment is vital, with CEOs and senior leaders setting DEI as a core business priority and providing the necessary resources and accountability. Shiseido’s CEO played a pivotal role in promoting gender parity.
- Solutions designed for context: Tailoring solutions to address root causes, including process changes, is essential. Tata Steel’s initiative, for instance, tackled gender diversity by addressing stereotypes, legal constraints, and more.
- Rigorous tracking and course correction: Measuring progress and gathering feedback allows for adjustments to increase impact. Randstad tracked key indicators and participant feedback, adapting its programme accordingly to empower at-risk women.
Incorporating these success factors into DEI initiatives at all organisational levels, from individual contributors to the executive team, can drive meaningful progress. Leaders can use a checklist to apply these factors to their organization’s context, while all members can take simple actions to create inclusive environments and contribute to DEI impact.
For more in-depth information and case examples, please refer to the full report produced in partnership with the World Economic Forum.