STANFORD, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--The COVID-19 pandemic has produced an economic climate that is challenging for many companies, yet, in the months and years ahead, there will be an economic recovery. As businesses expand hiring and rebuild their organizations, business leaders have the opportunity to rethink the types of organizations they aspire to be. Diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) should be center stage throughout that process.
A new report, authored by highly respected academic experts at some of the world’s top universities—including Stanford and Harvard—alongside prominent business leaders, offers concrete strategies to help companies get there. “What Works? Evidence-Based Ideas to Increase Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in the Workplace” provides human resources professionals, diversity officers, front-line managers and interested employees a new set of tools to make their organizations more diverse, thriving environments.
“Our goal with this report was to take the best research and empirical evidence about what works to increase DEI and distill it into clear steps for organizations,” said David Pedulla, associate professor of sociology at Stanford University and organizer of the report. “In the wake of this pandemic, there is a real opportunity for companies to rethink how they approach this set of issues, and I hope this report will serve as a key resource as they walk through that process.”
Stemming from a conference hosted at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard University in 2018, the report focuses on solutions, not problems. After tracing the changes in implicit attitudes and beliefs about different social groups, the report presents a set of evidence-based interventions that companies can deploy to improve diversity. From collecting data and setting clear benchmarks and goals, to including managers in the planning process from the start, concrete and actionable steps are clearly laid out. While the current business climate is undoubtedly challenging, there is an opportunity to step back, reexamine and infuse new creativity into how companies address DEI issues. The report attempts to cut through the current noise and divergent opinions to deliver insights organizations want and need. Additionally, it explores how technological interventions are implicated in the diversity and inclusion equation.
“Being forced to hit the ‘pause’ button amidst this crisis has provided the space to build inclusion into many new hiring and management practices, and I believe our report offers new thinking and approaches to fuel innovation far beyond the end of shelter in place,” said Lori Nishiura Mackenzie, co-founder of the Stanford VMware Women’s Leadership Innovation Lab and a report contributor. “In conversations with DEI professionals, I’ve learned about efforts to rethink and expand the ways employee resource groups can engage and redesign assessments to accommodate work-life constraints and offer support to people to take care of themselves. While these times have created a great deal of uncertainty, I’ve seen people respond with unprecedented innovation and kindness.”
"Many companies make public commitments to increased employment diversity and creating equal opportunity workplaces but fail to live up those goals. This report rejects fads and easy solutions, relying instead on sound social science to identify what works," said Donald Tomaskovic-Devey, a contributor to the report, professor of sociology at University of Massachusetts Amherst, and director of the UMass Center for Employment Equity. "Firms develop careful metrics on outcomes they value and use those metrics to set goals, adjust practices and hold managers accountable. It is exactly this normal business approach to problem solving which is most likely to produce diverse, respectful equal opportunity workplaces."
"Given the massive shifts in employment due to COVID-19, which have disproportionately impacted people of color and women, we believe interventions of this kind are more critical than ever,” said Dr. Frida Polli PhD, CEO and co-founder of pymetrics and a contributor to the report. “We were delighted to participate in the ‘What Works’ report alongside other leaders and influencers who are focused on increasing diversity, equity and inclusion in the workplace by sharing our views on how technology can increase fairness in the hiring process."
As the economy rebounds and companies gear back up, it is the perfect time to make diversity and inclusion a reality. The tools in this report offer a clear, evidence-based place to start, at a time when making progress on DEI issues may be more important than ever. To read and download the full report, visit: https://www.umass.edu/employmentequity/what-works-evidence-based-ideas-increase-diversity-equity-and-inclusion-workplace.
About the What Works Report
In this report, leading academics, researchers and businesspeople offer keen insights on an array of important topics related to diversity, equity and inclusion. Authored by prominent professors in psychology, sociology and the behavioral sciences at the country’s top universities as well as business leaders and strategists, “What Works” brings together key findings from leading edge social science to provide concrete tools for businesses to increase diversity and inclusion in their organizations. From ways of collecting and analyzing data to building managerial buy-in from the start, useful strategies are offered for all types of companies.