As we all now know and appreciate, the need to champion, uphold and insist upon diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) matters at every level of business.
It also matters at every section, joint and intersection of the software supply chain.
As we now strive to eradicate any DEI that exist across team structures, we will also need to examine how the wider software application development process is structured to ensure we can surface maximum levels of DEI as it should ‘belong’ in every workflow, workplace and working environment.
Enterprise cloud application platform for finance and human resources specialist Workday used its Stockholm-located user convention last week to underline the state of DEI and remind software engineers and team leaders where some of the issues lie today – and how we might perhaps fix them.
The challenge for many DEI initiatives and the teams that drive them, suggests Workday, is that many either do not have data, or are not effectively using available data, to drive their strategies and business impact.
These issues have come to light as part of research conducted in late 2022, amongst more than 3,100 HR professionals and C-level business leaders with responsibility for diversity initiatives within the organisation, to understand their motivations, activities and progress in relation to belonging and diversity.
The Workday and Sapio Research study spanned 23 countries and suggested that positive progress has been made, but also indicated clear areas of opportunity, including the need to measure business impact and use data to track progress more effectively.
The research notes that despite the current global economic climate, the majority of respondents saw an increase in dedicated DEI roles within their organisations, alongside seeing an increase (35%) or maintaining (45%) the current investment levels for DEI initiatives in the next financial year.
“At Workday, we believe in building a great place to work for all, which means being intentional about our commitment to Value Inclusion, Belonging, and Equity (VIBE) and creating a workplace where all our employees are valued for their unique perspectives, respected as equal and integral, and are given fair access to opportunity,” said Carin Taylor, chief diversity officer, Workday. “As part of this, we regularly assess and reflect on our own belonging and diversity efforts and continue to refine our strategy so we can continue to make progress.”
While the majority of organisations now have some form of a strategic approach for DEI, 39% of respondents globally said that no strategic approach currently exists, making it difficult to go from goal-setting to goal-getting.
DEI data drive
Since its 2021 survey, the Workday team thinks that ‘many’ organisations have started on their own DEI journeys, but increasingly employees expect a stronger focus on creating lasting change.
“Our research shows that having a clear DEI vision and strategy, driven by dedicated and engaged leaders from across the organisation, enhances a company’s ability to accelerate DEI awareness and drive adoption and accountability. Technology is a powerful tool in helping us to not only understand the different groups that make up our workforce but also to understand how a DEI strategy drives business outcomes,” said Workday’s Taylor.
One of the other key reasons for the lack of a strategic approach was revealed to be down to the data and reporting on DEI efforts, with only 20% of respondents measuring the business impact and value of DEI initiatives. 60% also commented that tracking progress was challenging and required new systems and software, to fully support DEI strategy and implementation.