Diversity is just a fad

Diversity management is a luxury problem *

... * for those companies that apparently can still afford to forego diversity. This is shown by the study “Diversity Trends 2020”.

Companies should actually be able to dance the business case for diversity by now, as there have been so many studies on this for years (e.g. Center for Talent Innovation, Catalyst, Deloitte). It is all the more astonishing that fundamental persuasion is still required as to why more diversity is desirable in one's own ranks and what all of this actually brings for the individual and the company. But it is precisely this necessity that is unfortunately still imposed in numerous places when reading the new charter study “Diversity Trends 2020”.

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For the second time since 2016, the “Diversity Charter” - Germany's largest association of companies on diversity - has published a study to measure the diversity status quo in German companies. Personnel decision-makers were interviewed from a cross-section of German companies. The companies and organizations that have signed the Diversity Charter have their say as a comparison group. There are now 3,700 companies that represent a third of the working population, namely 13.9 million people, 70 percent more than in 2016. The findings from the new Charter study are therefore particularly interesting for those who are currently working on increasing diversity increase. But they are also a look behind the scenes for those who want to know what can change if you want to.

Highlights of the study

  • The business case has been confirmed:
    • 97 percent of the signatory companies see specific advantages for the company associated with diversity (up to 77 percent in 2016)
    • 80 percent see this as an increase in employer attractiveness,
    • Innovation and creativity as well as the reaction to social change received approval from 83 percent of the signatories
  • Diversity is anchored in the corporate strategy for 50 percent of the signatories
  • The top 3 of the implemented measures reflect changed demands on the world of work:
    • flexible organization of working hours in personal exceptional situations such as illnesses in the family,
    • the general flexibilization of working hours for employees as well as
    • the consideration of diversity criteria when selecting personnel
  • The expectation of top executives to position themselves socio-politically is clear: 90 percent of the signatories and 79 percent of the non-signatories see this as important
  • 81 percent of the signatories see a commitment to diversity as necessary in view of populist tendencies, but 55 percent of the non-signatories can also agree
  • Social origin is included in the canon of the diversity dimensions, as this has for years reflected a special need for entry into the profession as well as real career opportunities in companies
  • The relevance of diversity will continue to grow in the future, say 82 percent of the signatories
  • Best Practices: Sixteen companies demonstrate with concrete examples from their corporate practice how they show the flag for diversity - from appreciative communication to dealing with unconscious prejudices to the monthly measurement of diversity progress via KPI analyzes

Although it is not a causal finding, it is an exciting finding: Anyone who has signed the charter and thus embarks on the process of implementation will get better. 82 percent of the signatory companies are actively taking measures and are ambitious not to give up in their efforts (76 percent versus 12 percent of non-signatories).

There is still something going on - open fields of action

In addition to the positive developments compared to the Diversity Study of the Charter of 2016, there is still a lot to do:

  • Too often there is still no view of the entire employee lifecycle, even if progress has already been made in personnel selection
  • Flexibility offers are weak among non-signatories, so only 18 percent offer mobile working (compared to 57 percent among the signatories),
  • Taboo LGBT * topics: 60 percent of the non-signatories are of the opinion that sexual orientation and identity are a private matter and have no place in the workplace
  • The myth of meritocracy is alive: 37 percent of the non-signatories believe that it is in their own hands to be professionally successful. Own privileges are not discussed.
  • At the same time, disadvantage is assessed as real: 47 percent of non-signatories and 63 percent of signatories state that they have already observed discrimination on the basis of social origin, for example when selecting, promoting or in general everyday office life
  • Concern: 33 percent of those who did not sign: diversity management is still rather skeptical (34 percent in 2016)
  • Only a third of the future is colorful: For only 31 percent of those who did not sign, diversity is the basis for their company to be able to continue to operate successfully.

Against the background of all the advantages and added value contributions of diversity, the last point in particular is both sobering and astonishing. Diversity is neither a luxury problem, a fad, nor a trend. Diversity has long been a fact. It is no longer a question of whether, but only how to control it.

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