Women’s Leadership in Diversity and Inclusion Must Be Formally Recognized

Research reveals diversity and inclusion are critical to businesses, but success remains dependent on leaders who currently lack formal recognition

New research suggests vital diversity and inclusion (D&I) initiatives are too often delivered informally, by leaders who are insufficiently recognized for the value they deliver. Greater formal recognition of D&I leadership would bring cultural and performance benefits, says Questionmark, the online assessment provider.

The 2021 Women in the Workplace report found senior-level women are twice as likely as men to dedicate time each week to supporting D&I in their teams. Women are more likely to commit time to supporting employee resource groups, organizing events, and recruiting employees from underrepresented groups.

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While 70 percent of companies said work to promote D&I remains very or extremely critical, less than a quarter recognize this work in formal evaluations.

Questionmark is calling on all employers to recognize and reward the delivery of D&I, using tools such as online training and staff assessments to challenge bias and bring about organizational change. Gauging employee knowledge and attitudes can provide a means of measuring the impact of training, provide evidence of change and ensure systematic good practice lies at the heart of such programs.

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Jennifer Johnson, Chief Customer Officer of Questionmark, said: “it is good news that despite the disruption of the past two years, diversity and inclusion remain a priority. Yet there’s a danger that the value — much of it being delivered by female leaders going beyond their formal job responsibilities — may be lost without a renewed focus on training and evaluating change. Assessments should play a central role, as they can be used to check attitudes towards diversity, identify common stumbling blocks and introduce training where necessary.”

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Diversity encourages innovation and can boost profitability by 36 percent.2 One study revealed a range of factors that positively affect the impact of diversity training in the workplace. 3 These include:

  • longer training sessions that use exercises rather than lectures
  • establishing that diversity training is important to leadership
  • training delivered by the organization’s managers as opposed to external trainers

Questionmark has created Anti-discrimination for People Managers, a ready-made assessment to measure knowledge of discrimination law and help managers make fair and balanced decisions.

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