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Over the past few years, businesses have invested billions in promoting diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) in the workplace but often lack insight into how effective those initiatives are. Health and productivity research non-profit Integrated Benefit Institute (IBI) conducted two surveys to assess the importance of workplace DEI initiatives to employers and to measure engagement, belonging, and employee well-being.

A majority (91%) of employers offer DEI programs, and 80% of employers view their efforts positively. Larger companies, especially those with over 1,000 employees, prioritize DEI initiatives more than smaller businesses. Seven out of ten employers feel their organization pays sufficient attention to increasing DEI.

Employers’ efforts include:

  • 37% of employers have a staff member whose main job is to promote DEI at work
  • 52% of employers have conducted trainings or meetings on cultural sensitivity
  • 54% of employers have policies to ensure that everyone is treated fairly in hiring, pay or promotions
  • 32% of employers have employee-sponsored affinity groups (AG) and 22% have employer-sponsored employee resource group (ERG)

IBI’s analysis highlights the importance of fostering a sense of belonging among employees. Employees who perceive support, connectedness, being accepted, respected, and valued are 3.4 times more likely to be physically healthy, 5.2 times more likely to be socially healthy, and 4.4 times more likely to be mentally healthy.

“Belonging is not just a ‘nice to have,’ it’s a must to have in the workplace. IBI’s analysis found that a strong sense of belonging leads to higher work engagement and improved health and well-being. It’s important for organizations to create an environment where everyone feels valued,” said IBI Researcher Carole Bonner.

However, 30% of employees do not feel a sense of belonging at work. Certain groups such as women, Gen Z, racial minorities, LGBTQIA+ individuals, and caregivers, feel excluded more often.

What can employers do to promote a sense of belonging?

IBI’s analysis shows that affinity groups (AG) and employee resource groups (ERGs) are crucial for creating an inclusive environment. The majority of employees surveyed (84%) indicate their AG/ERG has had a positive impact. And those with positive AG/ERG impacts are more likely to have high work engagement scores.

“Employee Resource Groups are the heartbeat of an inclusive workplace, amplifying diverse voices, fostering connections, and driving positive change,” said Jim Huffman, President/CEO of the Integrated Benefits Institute.


About Integrated Benefits Institute

The Integrated Benefit Institute’s independent research, industry-leading tools and data resources help companies link health-related programs to the outcomes that maximize the contributions of people to productivity and business performance. Founded in 1995, IBI is a national nonprofit research organization and business association serving more than 1,600 employer and supplier members. For additional information, please visit www.ibiweb.org and follow us on Twitter and LinkedIn.

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