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Why efforts to promote DE&I are falling short

July 19, 2023

Diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging (DEI&B) is a topic that is being pursued by companies worldwide, but making it a consistent practice is still a challenge. Nearly two-thirds of employees think their companies are not doing enough to foster DEI&B in the workplace, according to the results of a new survey from WebMD Health Services.

The study ‘Diversity, Equity, Inclusion & Belonging: Uncovering What Employees are Offered, Want and Need’, found that while 89% of survey respondents work for companies with DEI&B programs, 62% believe that the programs are not doing what they are designed to do. Nearly half reported that DEI&B programs have failed them personally. 

Whether through education and training, mental and emotional health support, mentoring, resources for gender identity and sexual health, and paid time off for volunteering, most respondents (64%) said they would benefit if their company were truly committed to DEI&B. Nearly nine in 10 reported stress over issues ranging from the economy and world events, and 68% said they needed more help from their companies in managing their financial, emotional, and mental and physical health concerns.

Call for Accountability

While the survey found that a wide majority (89%) of employees believe their company CEO would publicly endorse DEI&B, the results point to a disconnect between this high-level support, employee perceptions, and overall impact of programs and policies.   

  • Nearly half of survey respondents (46%) cited a lack of accountability in achieving DEI&B goals.  
  • A majority (73%) said the job of promoting and implementing DEI&B should rest with managers or supervisors, rather than senior leaders.
  • Only 16% said the job should be left to human resources departments.

“Although most employees work for companies with DEI&B programs, the majority are not experiencing the benefits,” said Christine Muldoon, vice president of strategy at WebMD Health Services. “This survey tells us that programs and policies aren’t enough on their own. What is needed now are strategies that can leverage those programs so they change workplace culture at all levels. This commitment, combined with effective accountability, can empower employees to bring their best contributions and authentic selves to the workplace.”

Source: WebMD Health Services