Analyzing the Right Data to Build Diversity and Belonging

To move the needle on diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts, companies must define it as part of their business strategy and hold leaders accountable, according to research shared by thought leader Josh Bersin.

We’re living in a world where businesses have to do their part to improve diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) at their organizations. Yet according to Josh Bersin, global industry analyst and dean of the Josh Bersin Academy, while many leaders are now acutely aware of the importance of DEI, they still grapple with how to address the challenges of building a more diverse and inclusive workforce in their own organizations. For example, says Bersin, they might think hiring a fantastic head of DEI or implementing compliance-related DEI programs will solve their problems. But, he warns, it’s not that easy.

During a recent webinar, “Analyzing the Right Data to Build Diversity and Belonging,” Bersin shares what can address the problem: a business strategy. “The companies we found that are the most successful in moving the needle on DEI are companies where they define it as part of their business: being inclusive, being diverse, and looking at issues of intersectionality. [They recognize these things] make us a better company, make us a better citizen, and make us a better supplier or partner.”

Bersin participated in the webinar with Phil Willburn, head of people analytics and insight at Workday, to discuss findings from recently published DEI research. They also talked about the impact of solutions such as VIBE IndexTM and VIBE CentralTM, developed by Workday to deliver key insights to help organizations accelerate belonging and diversity efforts and outcomes. 

Willburn shared how Workday solutions coupled with two critical components—diversity accompanied by inclusion and belonging, and a strategy not just of goal setting but “goal getting”—can help your organization drive and influence change.

Below are some research highlights shared by Bersin and Willburn, edited for clarity:

  • “Organizations are committed to this work, and yet we lack the progress. We haven’t been making progress as quickly as we need to for the last 30 years. The biggest gap is around accountability and understanding—really holding our leaders and our organizations accountable.” —Phil Willburn 

  • ”The number one driver of employee engagement isn't having a best friend at work or the size of a paycheck. It's having a sense of belonging. It's having a sense that the company cares; that an individual can be themselves at work; that their teammates listen to them and trust them. And companies that have performed best during the pandemic and have been most responsive have highly diverse, highly inclusive organizations.” —Josh Bersin

  • “On Glassdoor, 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.” —Josh Bersin

  • “When you read research on employee engagement, the thing that is often at the top of the list is the fact that the company is hearing you—not just listening, hearing you—and doing something about it.” —Josh Bersin

  • “We've been setting goals around diversity for a long time. But are we getting after the goals like an Olympic athlete would get after their training, day after day, as they work toward going to the Olympics?” —Phil Willburn

  • “Tools like the VIBE Index from Workday, with its innovative way of analyzing data, are really important because they give you—as a business leader, or as a DEI person, or as an HR person—the information on where you can act to address these issues.” —Josh Bersin 

Watch the webinar “Analyzing the Right Data to Build Diversity and Belonging” to learn more from Bersin and Willburn about the steps successful DEI leaders are taking.


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