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In response to a number of questions posted by members in the TSIA Exchange, our online member community, TSIA Research launched a Research Rapid Response (R3) poll on Workplace Diversity and Inclusion. This poll was intended to gather initial data and start the conversation on this broad and complex topic. Now that the results are in for this first poll, our plan is to launch additional polls to drill down into more topics over the next year.

One of the challenges the industry is facing regarding diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) conversations is understanding the vocabulary to use. A webinar that we have found very helpful in forming this vocabulary is How to Build an Anti-Racist Workplace, moderated by Dominique Hollins of Hone. The webinar focuses on the journey companies are taking from a position of “Do No Harm,” to becoming actively “Anti-Racist.”

Companies in the “Do No Harm” realm are introducing policies and statements to support DEI, and ensure language and processes improve inclusion and work towards eliminating bias. Moving toward being an “Anti-Racist” company means establishing DEI goals and publicly stating those goals as well as reporting progress toward meeting those goals.

The results of TSIA’s poll on Workplace Diversity and Inclusion show that the majority of companies have adopted a stance of “Do No Harm” and more than half of companies have made progress toward becoming “Anti-Racist.”

The first question of the survey asked, “Is diversity and inclusion a stated value and/or priority area of your organization?” A total of 91% of respondents said yes. An example of this would be that most companies posted messages on their websites supporting the Black Lives Matter movement this summer as protests were taking place across America and throughout the world. Another example is companies analyzing the words used in job postings, websites, and other customer and employee communications to eliminate biased language.

The second polling question moved more toward being an “Anti-Racist” company: “Does your organization have established diversity and inclusion goals?” Establishing goals commits the company to making progress, and continually monitoring that progress.

Diversity and Inclusion Goals

Over half of respondents, 55%, said their companies had established DEI goals. Two follow-on questions dug a bit deeper into these goals:

  • When asked if their organization publicly communicates information about its diversity and inclusion goals, 72% of those who said their companies had established goals, or 40% of total respondents, said yes. This is an important step in not only issuing public statements that the company supports DEI, but is publicly committing to measurable goals.
  • When asked if their organization publicly communicates information about its PROGRESS towards its diversity and inclusion goals, 45% of those who said their companies had established goals, or 25% of total respondents, said yes. This is a brave step to not only publicly state your DEI goals, but to report your progress—or lack of it—toward reaching those goals.

The next survey question asked, “Do your hiring decisions, and process, explicitly take into account diversity?” Nearly two-thirds of respondents, 63%, said yes. This is a very important area, as a diverse employee population begins with hiring. TSIA Research plans to focus the next DEI R3 Poll on this topic to begin capturing emerging practices and policies for DEI in recruiting and hiring new employees.

The final question asked, “Does your organization provide training or education programs to promote diversity and inclusion?” More than three-fourths of respondents, 79%, said yes. This is also a sign of a company moving beyond “Do No Harm,” providing clear guidance to employees on promoting DEI in everything they do. For companies that responded “Yes” to this question, a follow-on question was asked, “Which level of employees receive your training programs on diversity and inclusion?” The results were as follows:

  • The majority of respondents, 93%, said training programs on diversity and inclusion are provided to all employees.
  • A total of 2% of respondents said this training is only provided to managers and above.
  • A total of 4% of respondents said this training is only provided to VP and above.

As a data-driven company, our goal is to collect specific data to help guide discussions around this topic, ultimately uncovering pacesetter best practices. As mentioned, the next DEI R3 Quick Poll will be focused on hiring practices. This survey will attempt to gain insight into how job postings are created to encourage diverse candidates to apply, who is conducting initial applicant screening, and how diversity is being encouraged as part of the initial screening and hiring process.

In addition to this research stream, TSIA is planning quarterly public webinars on topics relevant to DEI. The first of these, Profiles of Success, was held on October 2, and featured TSIA’s Vice President of Membership Development, Diane Brundage, having a candid discussion with Denise Rundle, General Manager and Partner, Microsoft, on topics that included career path choices, defining a work/life balance, diversity and inclusion barriers and breakthroughs, and Denise’s philosophy for success. If you missed the live broadcast, we would encourage you to follow the link and watch the on-demand version and share it with your peers.

TSIA Research would like to thank everyone who responded to this initial DEI poll, and we ask that you stay tuned for additional DEI polls and participate as they are rolled out.

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John Ragsdale

About Author John Ragsdale

John Ragsdale is the distinguished vice president of technology research, for TSIA. His area of expertise is in creating strategies for improving the service operations and overall customer experience by leveraging innovative technology. Ragsdale drives TSIA's highly regarded technology research agenda, delivering insightful, thought-leadership research and analysis on the most pressing business issues facing services leaders to enable them to better plan and execute their service strategies. He is also author of the book, Lessons Unlearned, which chronicles his 25-year career inside the customer service industry.

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