“Better to Best” – ADP’s Diversity and Inclusion Road Map

Post by ADP | Aisha Thomas-Petit | April 2020

The best organizations embody an inclusive culture that extends beyond the D&I function. Their leaders drive performance and innovation by demonstrating to their employees and to the world that people belong and are integral to the organization's purpose.

For many organizations the question, “Why is diversity important in the workplace?” is a top-of-mind concern. Companies that struggle to answer this question may find it difficult to accomplish business objectives that focus on recruiting and retaining employees.

A lack of diversity and inclusion (D&I) can have significant negative effects on an organization and its workforce. This can manifest in the form of pay inequity, limited representation in leadership roles, or a perception in the market that the organization is an undesirable place to work.

While some businesses struggle with addressing D&I-related challenges, others are making great strides in this area. To reach the level of best in class for D&I, an organization needs to leverage a variety of methodologies, partnerships and strategic insights to demonstrate why diversity is important in their workplace.

At ADP, we aim high when it comes to diversity and inclusion. Here's how we turn “better” into “best” when it comes to accomplishing our D&I objectives.

Diversity and Inclusion in Action

To be clear, there is no one-size-fits-all approach to creating, let alone sustaining, a diverse and inclusive organization. And the challenge only becomes greater the larger a business is. A Chief Diversity Officer (CDO) in charge of D&I efforts should therefore consider the following key points:

  • Buy-in from senior leadership: Ideally, everyone within an organization would understand, believe in, and value the impact of D&I on the business. This has been the case at ADP, where our CEO, Carlos Rodriguez, signed the CEO Action for Diversity and Inclusion Pledge to demonstrate that D&I is of utmost importance to the organization. It also helps that a C-suite-level role focused on diversity had already existed at ADP for a number of years prior to my own onboarding. Crucial buy-in from ADP leadership has helped our organization become recognized as an industry D&I leader, ranked at number three on DiversityInc's 2019 Top 50 List.

This isn't the reality at every organization, however. Getting buy-in from senior leadership starts with providing a vision that they can see, understand and get behind. It may be helpful to illustrate how D&I initiatives could alleviate organizational pain points, such as high turnover for women in leadership roles. Or low engagement/organizational sentiment scores for underrepresented demographic groups. Senior leadership should hold their teams accountable for working to achieve positive HCM metrics that are enabled by D&I goals.

  • Using data to inform efforts: Data should be used to make decisions that may affect the health of an organization, and issues of D&I are no exception. Some types of data which organizations should focus on in this regard include:
    • Hiring and promotion statistics for women, people of color, veterans, LGBTQ employees and employees with disabilities
    • Retention rates by demographic to assess disparities between majority and non-majority groups
    • Engagement level scores and results from culture surveys reviewed by demographic and geography
    • Employee demographic data, with a focus on reviewing the differential between majority and non-majority populations
  • Having champions throughout the organization: Even within organizations that have a person or a department focused on diversity and inclusion, there's no way their work can reach the entire organization without active support from other stakeholders. Champions can help expand the reach of D&I in a variety of ways. At ADP, I engage with about 30 global champions on a monthly basis. Their objectives are to influence others and share best practices, serve as role models and mentors, and help hold others accountable. When champions are also members of a majority group (e.g., white men) and are genuinely invested in workplace equality, it helps amplify the organization's D&I efforts considerably.

The “Why” of Diversity and Inclusion

Numerous studies have demonstrated that workforces with greater diversity have the potential to be more profitable, innovative and resistant to disruptive market forces than less diverse workforces. For example, according to McKinsey and Company‘s Delivering Through Diversity report, “Companies in the top-quartile for ethnic/cultural diversity on executive teams were 33% more likely to have industry-leading profitability.”

Individuals looking to do business with a company are now examining that organization's higher purpose with greater scrutiny than ever before. Beyond earnings, people will seek answers to their questions about D&I at your organization, and they might make their decision about whether to deal with or join your organization based on your D&I efforts and reputation — as well as your initiatives around Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and philanthropy. Every organization must care about the perception of its brand in the marketplace, and it pays to be known as a business that cares deeply about creating and maintaining a culture of inclusion.

Organizations must also understand and evolve with approaches to communication that individuals concerned with D&I expect to see. For example, when an organization leader expresses their gender pronouns (e.g., during introductions at meetings or in company email signatures), it can send a signal that a company cares about the LGBTQ population — not just internally, but also in the community at large.

Going From “Better to Best”

The best organizations embody an inclusive culture that extends beyond the D&I function. Their leaders drive performance and innovation by demonstrating to their employees and to the world that people belong and are integral to the organization's purpose.

With the support of leadership, data and metrics, and champions around the world, ADP has moved beyond measuring itself against industry practices and standards alone. Our focus now is to embody diversity and inclusion in our culture.

To read more about our diversity and inclusion efforts, check out the ADP Corporate Social Responsibility report available from this page.

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