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A new survey shows that the gap between what companies intend to do and what they get done to support diversity, equity and inclusion (DE&I) in their workplaces is narrowing.

The 2022 DE&I Intentions vs. Actions survey from Salary.com reveals a -5.8% gap relative to what companies intend to do and the DE&I actions they undertake. This is down from a -7% gap in 2021.

In the survey of 629 human resources professionals in U.S. organizations across a variety of industries, 65% said their companies have proactive initiatives in place that demonstrate diversity is a strategic mission for their organization.

While the vast majority (90%) of respondents intend to promote a culture in which employees feel supported and free to speak up, just under three-quarters agree or strongly agree that their employees do speak for themselves and feel supported.

“The overall results of the survey speak to a desire to do good,” said Chris Fusco, SVP of Compensation at Salary.com. “While respondents’ intentions exceeded their actions no matter how we broke out the survey data, such as by gender and geography, the reality is that gaps exist to be closed. Good intentions lead to good actions.”

Progress is being made on leadership diversity, with 46% of HR respondents stating they have a diverse executive team, compared to 40% in 2021. However, only one-third said their company had a diverse board of directors.

While less than half (49%) confirmed they have someone dedicated specifically to lead DE&I initiatives in their organization, this is still up from 43% in 2021. The majority (51%) said that person has access to senior leadership and the financial resources needed to be successful.

Half of the organizations in the survey have a promotion, evaluation, and succession process that allows diverse employees to grow within the organization. However, almost a third said their company does not have DE&I resource/affinity/breakout groups to help foster change.

HR respondents identified the following as areas most in need of improvement in their organization:

  • Recruitment/Hiring: Diversify candidate pool, with a focus on representation for women, BIPOC, managers, and executive leadership
  • Training & Education: Make this available to all employees, including managers and senior leaders; communicate DE&I goals, formalize practices, and implement training
  • Data: Establish and track metrics for progress and accountability
  • Prioritization: Investment of time, resources, and budget to DE&I goals and initiatives

The survey collected data earlier this year from 629 organizations representing 21 industries. Businesses ranged in size from smaller organizations with fewer than 99 employees to global companies with more than 100,000 employees.

For the responses, on average, organizations agreed that Intentions are above neutral, with a score of 3.6 on a 5-point on a Likert scale for all questions (with a score of 1 for an answer of “strongly disagree” to a score of 5 for “strongly agree”). On the Actions dimension, the score of 3.3 demonstrates only a -7% gap relative to Intentions.