Despite recent attention to diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI), and commitments by employers to create more diverse, equitably, and inclusive workplaces, a new study finds that many organizations struggle to ensure that workers experience equity throughout their employment.
The National Study of Workplace Equity surveyed just over 1,000 organizations to find that equity is inconsistently implemented across 10 discreate employment systems and that at least one-quarter of employees experience racial, gender, or age-related bias at work. A grantee research team from the Boston College School of Social Work and Society of Human Resources Management (SHRM) find that equity is strongest in recruitment and hiring, compensation and benefits, and orientation and onboarding and weakest in resources and supports, job structures, and supervision and mentoring.
The study also finds that at least one-quarter of organizations report that their employees have reported some form of bias in the past two years. Specifically, the survey finds:
- 28 percent reported their employees had experienced gender bias in the past two years
- 27 percent reported their employees have experienced racial bias in the past two years
- 26 percent reported their employees have experienced age-related bias in the past two years.
The study also provides a roadmap for employers to improve equity throughout their employment systems. The authors identify seven "levers of change" that employers can use to create more equity throughout the employment cycle: policies, practices, planning and evaluation, roles and accountabilities, culture, climate and communication. The authors recommend the following steps for organizations to improve equity throughout employment systems and employee experiences:
- Create a climate of inclusion
- Communicate fairly
- Conduct equity audits
- Assign roles and accountabilities.
Read the Executive Summary or a Boston College School of Social Work news story about the research.