Effects of diversity and inclusion training remain unclear


This week the CIPD and Westminster Business School launched their new report: Diversity management that works: an evidence based review. At a launch event at the EY offices in Canary Wharf, academics and people practitioners convened to discuss the reports findings. They also explored what it means for practice. The research maps out the current evidence on the types of diversity interventions in organisations. It analyses recent scientific evidence and exploring what works. This was then tested with practitioners and professionals who regularly work on diversity and inclusion (D&I) practices within organisations.

Particular focus was given to the current lack of research around the quality of diversity training within organisations. As many organisations are not recording or evaluating the quality of diversity training initiatives, it becomes harder to understand and gauge their effectiveness. This example was highlighted as a primary area where academia and business can work together more to build better diversity initiatives.

From these insights, six priority recommendations for practice were identified:

  • Understanding organisational context and adapting D&I approaches accordingly.
  • Getting buy-in and commitment to D&I.
  • Making use of people data to guide and evaluate action.
  • Using diversity training effectively.
  • Managing the tension between ‘organisational fit’ and diversity.
  • The role of positive action approaches.
  • The launch event picked up on these themes, with wide-ranging panel discussions on both the state of research in this area, as well as the challenges and issues faced within HR practice.

The debate also explored what next steps still need to be taken to make further progress within UK organisations. One theme that emerged was the normalising and greater use of flexible working practices. These wide-ranging practices have been proved to support people of all backgrounds to enter and remain within the labour market. Another point raised was the need to improve the quality of diversity data within organisations. The more and better-quality people data that employers collect, the better they can design and target D&I initiatives.

The CIPD has published a video exploring the issue of diversity and inclusion as part of a series on good work.