Overwhelmingly, research tells us that what’s right for employees is also right for the business—having a diverse workforce, creating a culture of belonging, and developing equitable practices across your organization. In a recent webinar, Josh Bersin, global industry analyst and dean of the Josh Bersin Academy, shared that in a Glassdoor survey, “a high percentage of employees or job candidates say they will not even apply to a company that doesn't appear to be highly diverse.”
And yet while many organizations are committed to diversity and inclusion, they aren’t seeing the progress they want to see. Take the influential position of the CEO as an example: In 2021, just 40 of the Fortune 500 CEOs are women, four are Black, and only one is a Black woman. The lack of progress is obvious at the most senior leadership levels, but it’s a challenge at all levels of organizations across all industries.
One of the biggest obstacles organizations face is moving beyond setting goals to holding leaders—and the organization itself—accountable for achieving those goals. Another obstacle is being solely focused on diverse representation. Diversity is critical, but even more important is an employee’s sense of belonging and inclusion. They may accept a position at your company, but if they don’t feel they belong, they won’t stay for long.
Belonging also affects productivity. Harvard Business Review found that employees who feel a greater sense of belonging work harder and are more engaged. In fact, research shows a 56% increase in job performance and a 75% reduction in sick days among employees who feel they belong.