New Lever Report Uncovers Gap Between Employee Perceptions and Workplace Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Initiatives

Lever, a leading Talent Acquisition Suite, released the State of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Efforts: Progress, Priorities, and Opportunities report, uncovering major misalignments between employer efforts and employee perceptions of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) initiatives in the workplace. While nearly all (97%) employers report they have introduced new inclusion measures in the past year, nearly a quarter (24%) of employees believe their employer has not introduced any new measures.

Lever’s report revealed that when it comes to DEI initiatives, communication efforts are a barrier for employers and employees. While 64% of companies have added DEI efforts to their home page, just 29% of employees reported their company doing this. Additionally, 51% of employers report sharing DEI through company-wide channels, but just 24% of employees report this happening at their organization.

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“While the survey provides an optimistic outlook on organization’s commitment to DEI, it also uncovers an important reality: employees aren’t aware of their company’s efforts,” said Annie Lin, VP of People at Lever. “Meaningful change will take time, communication, and measurable data. As DEI efforts continue to become a higher priority for more companies (a very positive trend), leaders will also need to share updates with, and solicit feedback from, their teams more intentionally. At Lever, for example, we’ve implemented regular and open lines of communication with our Employee Resource Groups (ERGs), incorporated DEI into our company-wide OKRs (which we report out progress on every two weeks at All Hands), and discuss DEI trends on a regular cadence in our check-ins with leadership teams. It is disingenuous to talk about DEI without action, and it is also a missed opportunity to take action on DEI without talking about it — employees often have great ideas and feedback to share on DEI initiatives, including whether or not they’re actually having the intended impact day to day.”

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Additional findings from the report include:

Employees and Employers Have Varying Perceptions of Equity Measures at the Organization

  • In the last year, 52% of companies have introduced measures to ensure employee pay is equal across titles or positions, but just 24% of employees report these actions at their organization.
  • Nearly a third (31%) of companies began using gender-inclusive language in their employee handbooks, but just 18% of employees report their company implementing this measure.
  • More than a quarter (27%) of companies introduced or expanded inclusive benefits and perks, but less than one in 10 (9%) employees reported this step was taken at their organization.

Employers and Employees Have Differing Perspectives on Inclusivity Efforts

  • Nearly half (43%) of employers are making sure job postings are worded to eliminate bias, just 27% of employees report their company does this.
  • More than a third (36%) of employers have replaced educational requirements with relevant skills or core competencies in the last year, just 19% of employees know their company does this.

Employee and Employer DEI Priorities For the Next Year

  • Employees (34%) are most concerned about improving communication around ongoing and future DEI plans.
  • Employers are most concerned about internal alignment around what DEI means for the organization (52%) and adopting more diverse hiring tactics (50%).

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