An Organizational Change Management Approach Ensures DEI and DEIB are Sustainable

By Beth Thomas and Julie Kantor, Change 4 Growth – December 29, 2022
An Organizational Change Management Approach Ensures DEI and DEIB are Sustainable

Diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) is a growing and important focus for many organizations. DEI efforts strive to create workplace environments that are welcoming and appealing to everyone by celebrating and leveraging our differences, including, but not limited to, ethnicity, education, skin color, age and sexual orientation. Companies have recognized that they are responsible for improving DEI to elevate stakeholder (employees, customers and the community) engagement. Belonging is a big component of DEI — it now has its own abbreviation. DEIB, which stands for diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging, has come into its own as a key component of a DEI strategy.

Why DEIB?

Research shows that diversity at work and financial performance are linked. A 2018 McKinsey & Company study entitled Delivering Through Diversity found that gender and ethnic diversity are correlated with profitability. Additionally, companies committed to DEIB can better attract top talent, enhance customer and employee satisfaction, and improve decision-making. Diverse individuals bring unique life experiences and perspectives to the organization, leading to innovation, novel services/products and high-performing teams. Numerous studies show that when employees from diverse backgrounds and cultures collaborate on projects, there is a better chance that they will find solutions faster. A survey1 of more than 500 businesses found that every 1-percent increase in diversity correlates with a 3- to 9-percent rise in sales revenue.

Slowly Making Progress  

While DEIB and overall DEI is essential to the success of organizations, there remains a gap between what has been done and what still needs to be accomplished. Ceridian found in its 2022 Executive Survey2 that although 90 percent of respondents have a DEI strategy, only one-third say that progress is being made in this area. PwC also found that organizations still have to make progress in designing and executing DEIB programs. Nearly a third of its Global Diversity & Inclusion Survey3 respondents indicated that only 4 percent of organizations are succeeding in critical dimensions of successful DEIB programming.

Barriers to Success

Many obstacles stand in the way of becoming a diverse, equitable and inclusive orga­nization. The work of DEI professionals often requires changing hearts and minds to overcome real human feelings, egos and learned behaviors. While there are laws in place to protect workers from discrimination, more work must be done to evoke lasting organizational change.

PwC found that 80 percent of leadership engagement on DEIB remains at the primary or emerging levels, and only 25 percent of organizations have DEIB goals for their leaders. A mere 17 percent of these companies have a C-suite-level diversity role, while nearly 31 percent do not have a DEIB leader.

One Viable Solution

Companies must recognize that no matter how many DEIB interventions are introduced into the workplace, nothing will change if employees are not being held accountable for the environments that they are cultivating. The company’s culture must change for the organization to fully accept a diverse workforce.

Organizational change management (OCM)4 is a method of leveraging change to achieve a successful and sustainable transformation. OCM drives the successful adoption and usage of change within the business. It allows employees to under­stand and commit to the shift and work effectively during it.

Margaret Regan, president and chief executive officer of The FutureWork Institute, Inc., asked more than 300 diversity practitioners if an OCM approach would make a difference. More than 86 percent of the Inclusion Allies Coalition (IAC) webinar participants said an OCM approach is needed to drive more robust DEIB results.

Hiring a chief diversity officer, establishing goals, launching training programs and updating vision and mission statements are all important, but much more must be done to make a cultural change. OCM can provide the framework for sustainable change within an organization.

1 workstatus.io/blog/reasons-why-dei-in-the-workplace-is-essential-for-progress/

2 ceridian.com/blog/achieving-organizational-agility-through-workplace-diversity-equity-and-inclusion

3 pwc.com/gx/en/services/people-organisation/global-diversity-and-inclusion-survey.html

4 online.hbs.edu/blog/post/organizational-change-management 


Beth Thomas

Beth Thomas is the chairwoman and CEO of Change 4 Growth.

Julie Kantor

Julie Silard Kantor is vice president of leadership, culture and DEIB at Change 4 Growth.

More content by Julie Kantor:

This article appeared in the winter 2022/23 issue of New Jersey CPA magazine. Read the full issue.

This article appeared in the winter 2022/23 issue of New Jersey CPA magazine. Read the full issue.