Survey: What Diversity and Inclusion Policies Do Employees Actually Want?

By Matt Krentz | Harvard Business Review | June 14, 2019

We know that diversity matters. In addition to being the right thing to strive for, having a diverse workforce helps companies acquire and retain the best talent, build employee engagement, increase innovation, and improve business performance. Yet corporate diversity still lags, especially at the top levels, which continue to be dominated by white, heterosexual men.

It’s not that effort isn’t being made. As a senior partner at the Boston Consulting Group and head of our firm’s diversity efforts, I know companies are investing in diversity programs. In fact, our research in 14 countries shows that 96-98% of large companies (above 1,000 employees) have such programs.

And yet, despite this investment, we’ve found that around three quarters of employees in underrepresented groups — women, racial and ethnic minorities, and LGBTQ employees — do not feel they’ve personally benefited from their companies’ diversity and inclusion programs.

So what should companies do to make real progress?

We surveyed over 16,000 employees in 14 countries around the world to see what obstacles they face, which diversity and inclusion interventions are used at their workplace, and which they find most effective for women, racial or ethnic minorities (this data is from the U.S., UK, and Brazil only), and LGBTQ employees.

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