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Diversity and Inclusion – Why is Progress So Slow?

Diversity and Inclusion – Why is Progress So Slow?
21 May 2021

A survey of 83,000 employees across 100 organisations shows that three in five employees do not feel that they can be their authentic self, or that they belong in their workplace.

According to this data from Emtrain, which analysed responses about employees' experiences and observations on diversity and inclusion at work,  few companies are making progress driving a greater mix of race and gender throughout key divisions and senior ranks. 

The lack of progress is being noticed by employees, only 53 per cent of people rate their workplace culture as “healthy” in the area of diversity and inclusion.

Six out of ten individuals (58 per cent) don’t feel their companies have clearly defined their diversity and inclusion goals, and only about half (52 per cent) believe their organisation is genuinely committed to inclusion at all.

More than two-thirds (67 per cent) think their leaders should be doing more to make employees feel included.




6 Key Causes of Diversity and Inclusion Failures by Employers


  1. Decision-Making Processes – Only 31 per cent of employees say their teams use a structured process to evaluate employee performance, and less than 20 per cent believe their managers have been sufficiently trained to fairly evaluate their performance.
  2. Valuing Differences – 80 per cent of people believe diverse teams make better decisions, yet many individuals don’t feel their differences are deeply valued by their manager or team. More than half (54 per cent) of employees understand they make assumptions about people based on limited information, and of that number, 69 per cent believe they can reduce those assumptions by getting to know people who are different from them.
  3. Allyship – Allyship involves using your privilege to make a difference for those who do not have the same opportunities. People who are underrepresented or undervalued have to consciously consider when and how often they speak up, especially if they get negative or neutral feedback when they do. Many times, they choose not to speak at all. Allies can play a role in creating an environment where people can feel comfortable disagreeing with others. Only 30 per cent of employees feel comfortable disagreeing in a meeting.
  4. Demographic Experience – Demographic experience relates to the diversity of a person’s social experience with people from different demographics than themselves (socio-economic, cultural, generational, racial, gender, sexual orientation, national origin, etc.). One in two individuals reported not having very diverse friend groups, and less than half of employees report having diverse executive teams in their workplaces.
  5. Curiosity & Empathy – Fewer than half of employees believe their manager shows empathy towards their direct reports. Managers who don’t demonstrate empathy are more likely to be perceived as having selfish motives for their actions, garnering less loyalty and trust.
  6. Authenticity & Belonging – Three in five individuals do not feel that they can be their authentic self, or that they belong in their workplace. Organizations have opportunities to increase low scores by creating less restrictive dress codes, encouraging employees to share their stories, using internal channels to highlight different co-workers from different backgrounds, and auditing marketing images to make sure they represent a variety of people. Only 33 per cent of people say that leaders create a sense of belonging.


Picture: a photograph of two people working at a desk, and another person standing holding a folder 

Article written by Ella Tansley | Published 21 May 2021


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