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Research finds Diversity and Inclusion Key Strategic Priority for Most Admired Companies
-- The World’s Most Admired Companies (WMAC) Rankings Definitive Benchmark on Corporate Reputation --
-- Leaders Say Diversity is as Much about the Way People Think as it is Demographic Differences –
--Despite Advances, Many Say People Managers are Not Held Accountable for D&I Goals and Plans --
LOS ANGELES, Jan. 30, 2019 — With companies facing the challenge of innovating, changing, and growing in a rapidly evolving world, successful organizations are placing a high priority on diversity and inclusion (D&I) efforts. That according to research conducted by Korn Ferry (NYSE:KFY) as part of the firm’s partnership with FORTUNE’s list of the World’s Most Admired Companies (WMAC).
Korn Ferry researchers surveyed leaders of organizations that are on the 2019 FORTUNE WMAC list. They found that the vast majority (87 percent) say D&I efforts have a positive effect on business performance. Likewise, 87 percent say that D&I programs are a source of competitive advantage. The survey also found that leaders look beyond traditional practices of identifying diversity, with 83 percent noting that in their companies, diversity is as much about differences in the ways people think and act as it is about different employee demographic characteristics.
“Having employees with a wide range of diverse backgrounds is critical to bringing new ways of thinking,” said Korn Ferry Senior Director Mark Royal. “Study after study shows organizations that have a diverse group of leaders are more innovative and enjoy greater financial success, so diversity is a clear business imperative, one that is embraced by the majority of companies on FORTUNE’s list of World’s Most Admired Companies.”
In the survey, leaders indicate the primary goals driving diversity and inclusion efforts at the present time include building teams and talent processes that reflect markets and customers served, optimizing team performance, and enhancing competitive advantage in the marketplace. And while the leaders expect that 5 years from now those issues will still be priorities, they believe their D&I programs will evolve to be a key way to enable business strategy.
“It is clear that diversity and inclusion efforts are quickly evolving to go beyond simply being an HR issue to a being seen as a core strategic business enablement tool,” said Andrés Tapia, senior partner and a global D&I thought leader and strategist at Korn Ferry.
Recruiting and Talent Management
In terms of external recruiting, nearly three quarters (70 percent) of survey respondents give their companies high marks for effectiveness in recruiting women leaders and 72 percent say their companies are effective in recruiting people with different backgrounds and characteristics at the leadership level.
More than three quarters (78 percent) say internal development is supported by formal mentoring and coaching processes for women, and 74 percent say there are mentoring and coaching programs in place for people with different backgrounds and characteristics. Reported use of formal mentoring and coaching processes is considerably higher among the leaders of the most admired companies versus peer companies.
However, despite the priority they say their companies put on D&I efforts, more work needs to be done. Only 66 percent feel that people managers are held accountable for diversity and inclusion goals and plans, and nearly half (45 percent) say they do not yet have a Chief Diversity Officer.
“Diversity and inclusion programs are no longer just a ‘nice to have.’ It is clear beyond a doubt that focusing on unique hiring and development initiatives that service underrepresented groups will bring enhanced productivity and profits to well-run organizations,” said Tapia. “Research shows that diverse and inclusive teams make better quality decisions that align with future initiatives, so companies need to continue evolve their D&I programs to ensure they meet the changing needs of organizations.”
About the World’s Most Admired Companies Rankings
The World’s Most Admired Companies (WMAC) rankings are the definitive benchmark on corporate reputation. Korn Ferry has partnered with FORTUNE for more than 20 years to provide deep insights into the business practices that make these companies highly regarded and successful. This year, the firm’s research analyzed the steps WMACs are taking to enhance diversity and inclusion efforts.
About the Korn Ferry Survey
Data were derived from a survey of 867 senior executives from companies eligible to participate in the annual FORTUNE World’s Most Admired Companies rankings.
About Korn Ferry
Korn Ferry is a global organizational consulting firm. We help clients synchronize strategy and talent to drive superior performance. We work with organizations to design their structures, roles, and responsibilities. We help them hire the right people to bring their strategy to life. And we advise them on how to reward, develop, and motivate their people.