Our international coffee chain client wanted to create a ‘people positive’ vision focused on employee well-being. But instead of simply guessing what might achieve greater happiness or satisfaction, they approached us. Our job was to research the landscape to help our client create a more informed vision.
In particular, we focused on understanding what kind of DEI efforts internal partners wanted from the organization. The coffee chain wanted to know what does and doesn’t work — from the perspective of both the organization and its employees. We also looked at best practices across companies in the United States to gain insight on the existing landscape.
How We Did It
Our project focused on fostering a sense of belonging among all employees. To do so, we sought to understand and address workplace culture, upskilling managers and the workforce, and implementing equitable support structures. We ran the whole gamut of primary and secondary research, from literature reviews and landscape analysis to interviews with academics and thought leaders.
We posed questions like, “how are companies defining DEI?”, “what companies/organizations are considered by experts as ‘best-in-class’ in their approach to DEI?”, and “what things should be measured but are not currently?”
After synthesizing the various strands of research, a number of trends emerged. Increasing representation requires addressing both affinity bias and taste-based discrimination in recruitment, hiring, retention, and promotion. The success of DEI efforts hinges on accountability — people must be held accountable to ensure ongoing progress. The research also showed that people want companies to leverage their privilege to address social injustices.
Doing more to define and then incorporate DEI practices into an organization is a considerable undertaking. But it also pays off — literally. DEI reduces employee turnover and absenteeism, increases company profits and revenue, improves innovation and creativity, and even establishes resistance to economic instability.