How can companies improve? Over the years, companies have become adept at designing tools and training programs to address all manner of challenges and performance deficiency. However, even here, study data points to noticeable gaps when it comes to the percentage of men versus women who report having access to proper training on the tools necessary to do their jobs (78% versus 68%). There is also a sizeable difference in the percentage of women versus men that believe their company provides effective mentorship (63% versus 75%) and sponsorship (47% versus 64%) programs.
Many consumer companies are struggling against stiff economic headwinds and ongoing supply chain disruptions all while tackling ambitious targets to reduce their environmental footprint. Efforts to promote and sustain DEI represent a significant opportunity for businesses to differentiate themselves by providing a compelling proposition when it comes to attracting and retaining frontline talent.
Here are a few ideas to start the conversation around building more equitable and inclusive workplaces:
- Make DEI come alive for frontline workers: DEI programs and initiatives designed at the corporate level may not be flowing down to workers on the frontline. Build a DEI program specifically with the needs of frontline staff in mind and engage them throughout the design.
- Recognize and align to organizational differences: Equip field managers to activate and drive DEI at the regional and individual business-unit level of the company to account for organizational differences that can affect critical outcomes.
- Elevate DEI accountability: Company leadership should communicate DEI as a priority and shared responsibility for all departments in the organization (i.e., send a clear signal indicating that DEI is more than simply an HR issue by tying performance management to DEI goals).
- Focus on sponsorship versus mentorship: Move beyond a focus on mentorship programs to have senior leaders engage in more impactful sponsorship behavior to actively support the career progression of diverse employees on the frontline.
- Live the DEI mission: Align the lived experience among frontline employees with external messaging around DEI to build trust within the company’s workforce. This can lead to better employee engagement, support productivity gains, and help create more compelling customer experiences as well.
To delve deeper into these insights and to learn more about DEI among frontline workers in consumer industries, download the slide deck.