Defining Success in Diversity and Inclusion Initiatives


AMA Playbook | December 16, 2019

AMA Playbook published a bylined article, “Defining Success in Diversity and Inclusion Initiatives,” authored by Russell Reynolds Associates Consultant Cissy Young on D&I best practices. The article is excerpted below.

Many companies are investing in diversity and inclusion (D&I) initiatives. The business case for D&I and the potential impact are clear. However, many also are still defining their paths, and they often feel challenged to achieve the outcomes they desire.

Our 2019 D&I Pulse, a survey of nearly 850 executives globally, sheds new light on what distinguishes companies that are successful in their D&I efforts from the rest. Among those surveyed, only about 15% rate their organization’s D&I strategies as “advanced.” Our findings show that these best-in-class companies clearly and consistently approach D&I differently than others.

Key themes gleaned from our survey results include:
  • Metrics and accountability are integral to setting and executing D&I strategy. Best-in-class organizations are about 75% more likely than others to set demographic diversity goals and to hold themselves accountable.
  • The change journey is hard, regardless of the maturity of the D&I strategy, and perseverance is key. What distinguishes the advanced companies is their commitment and intentionality to prioritize D&I and focus on tackling its challenges with small quick wins and big longer-term changes.
  • Progress in D&I has amplified the effects on organizational health. Executives at best-in-class organizations are 30% more likely than others to feel loyal, innovative, and set up for top performance

Best practices in driving for D&I results

Building an organization in which diverse representation and inclusive leadership are integral parts of the core values and culture is a multifaceted undertaking. Here is a set of simple and yet tangible best practices that any organization can implement today to drive for results:

Define the desired outcomes of your D&I mandate. Top companies start with a well-defined vision for what D&I success looks like in the context of their business. For consumer companies, D&I success means better reflecting the customers that they serve; for biotech/pharma companies, D&I success is bringing the brightest minds around the table to drive innovation; and for financial services companies, D&I success is stronger investment performance. Our data shows that advanced companies are at least 80% more likely than others to define upfront their goals for their D&I investments.

To read the full article, click here.


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Defining Success in Diversity and Inclusion Initiatives