Smaller Companies Lack Clear D&I Strategy

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Dr. Shelton Goode, DPA

When conducting research for my book, Diversity Managers: Angels of Mercy or Barbarians at the Gate, I discovered that despite a growing awareness of race and gender in communities, companies. and the country, many diversity and inclusion professionals say diversity efforts at smaller companies are often misunderstood or too narrowly defined.

I surveyed or interviewed over 250 chief diversity officers, roughly half said diversity programs were enabling a greater variety of people to contribute in the workplace, but often lacked clear strategy or well-defined goals to steer the company’s diversity efforts.

My research found that organizations with less than 1000 employees were the least likely to have a diversity mission or strategy, while public companies and government agencies were more likely to have well-define diversity initiatives and metrics than private non-profits and for-profits.

Overall, my research confirmed that smaller organizations had diversity programs which tended to focus primarily on race and gender, while almost excluding other dimensions of diversity, such as age, disability, or sexual orientation.

Based on my research, I concluded that most companies in the U.S. with less than 1,000 employees appear to lack a clear understanding of what diversity means beyond race and gender or how success should be defined and measured.