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5 Key factors for DEI success (tried, tested, and proven by experts)

April 18, 2023

While efforts to drive diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) have increased globally, the World Economic Forum has flagged a concerning rise of diversity fatigue (especially among those driving it).

This is understandable. Breaking down barriers and building fair and equal processes, all while justifying your work, can be emotionally draining — especially when progress is slow. And according to the WEF,  a major cause of this fatigue is a waning in leadership support and focus on DEI. The organization also reveals that this dip is largely due to the de-motivating and devastating set-backs caused by the pandemic.

Of course, giving up isn’t an option. And as Hua Hsu wrote in the New Yorker: “the true casualties of “diversity fatigue” are the ones who never feel entitled enough to complain about it.”  

ℹ️  What is diversity fatigue? 

The phrase ‘diversity fatigue’ can conjure up complaints of “awkward conversations” or social media comments from people that are “tired of hearing about it”. However, diversity fatigue is also used to describe the exhaustion, despair, and a (worryingly) potential disconnect felt by those working hard to create a diverse, equitable, and inclusive world.

The solution? Look at and learn from progress 

Despite the difficulties and setbacks during this time, many organizations remained committed and have progressed DEI. For example, last year, the employers we work with improved at least 340 thousand people’s working lives through policy changes alone. 

Using case studies of companies successfully driving DEI during this time (including WORK180 Endorsed Employer Schneider Electric), the WEF and McKinsey and Company have identified five key success factors.

Five success factors common across DEI initiatives. Source: Source: Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Lighthouses, McKinsey & Company

While exciting, tired and disillusioned team members may look at the steps and struggle to see past the problems within their organizations: a lack of clear data, an inability to accurately track it, and a leadership team whose focus is primarily set on surviving the current economic challenges. 

It’s for such reasons that our DEI experts have developed The Progress Hub — our all-in-one DEI tool making it easy for teams to focus, track, and amplify their impact. And all with measurable impact. 

Beginning with a thorough DEI Assessment and a reporting tool for ongoing tracking, The Progress Hub supports teams to follow each of Mckinsey’s five steps to DEI success:

1. Nuanced understanding of the root causes

The Progress Hub begins with a comprehensive yet simple to complete DEI assessment. The result is a thorough report and key metrics that provide a holistic, intersectional understanding of your company’s current DEI performance. This includes highlighting specific areas within your organization in need of improvement, as well as current strengths your company could already be using to nurture diversity.

2. Meaningful definition of success

The easy-to-read data within your DEI report can help inform a clear action plan, one that includes both quick-wins and defined long-term goals. With such focus and The Progress Hub’s tracking tool at hand, your team can maintain momentum, monitor progress, and prove your impact along the way. 

3. Accountable and invested business leaders 

Benchmarking you against other organizations and making it possible to prove your impact, the report and tracking tool provides the data  most decision-makers need to fully commit to DEI efforts. In fact, it’s The Progress Hub’s usefulness when it comes to engaging the full organization that many companies say they appreciate the most.

“The DEI Assessment provided helped our Leadership Team understand the areas for opportunities and where we were excelling in our Diversity and Inclusion Strategy. We have used it for strategic discussions and prioritizing the next year’s focus as well as to support budget requests and business cases. It has proved an invaluable resource for us.”

4. Solutions designed for context

We support the DEI efforts of hundreds of organizations around the world and so know more than most that there’s no one-size-fits-all approach. The Progress Hub enables and empowers organizations to develop and drive a strategy for their specific organization. This is a strategy based on demonstrable data and a clear understanding of their strengths, weaknesses, and what will really drive impact (short and long term). 


5. Rigorous tracking and course correction

While providing measurable data around DEI is notoriously difficult, The Progress Hub makes it easy. Tracking the right things, in the right way, you can monitor your progress, identify areas of concern, and ultimately keep your company focused. 


“The DEI assessment was a great opportunity for EDL to see the areas we’re doing really well in and also understand some opportunities for improvements. Having this clear report will be helpful to continue to build on our DE  strategy.”

Want to find out how The Progress Hub can help your team in particular? Talk to our team at a time that suits you.

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About the Author

Gemma Lloyd is Co-Founder and CEO of WORK180, which is on a mission to raise organizational standards for all women in the workplace. Working with employers across the globe and at all stages of their DEI journey, Gemma has a decade of experience helping companies build and benefit from workplaces where all women can thrive.

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