"Anti-Racism ‘Imperative’ Starts With C-Suite"

DEISustainable LeadershipDiversitySustainabilityDiversity, Equity, and Inclusion Advisory
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一月 31, 2022
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DEISustainable LeadershipDiversitySustainabilityDiversity, Equity, and Inclusion Advisory
Leaders say DEI is a key sustainability issue that should be solved, but few are leading by example. It's time to take action.

Excerpt from article originally published in Agenda by Lindsay Frost

Russell Reynolds Associates' Divides and Dividends Global Report and Consultant Kurt Harrison were featured in Agenda.


Companies have pledged millions of dollars toward diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives and philanthropic efforts since the murder of George Floyd in May 2020 spurred companies to take action on systemic racism. But those efforts won’t be successful unless corporate leaders do more to listen to employees and create a common, companywide language around DEI, sources tell Agenda. They also need to be transparent on what their companies are measuring.


Indeed, a September 2021 survey from Russell Reynolds Associates shows that 33% of 907 global C-suite leaders and 22% of more than 8,000 global employees say diversity and inclusion is a key sustainability issue senior leaders should solve. However, only 37% of C-suite leaders said senior leaders at the company lead by example.


A majority (63%) of C-suite leaders surveyed by Russell Reynolds said, “Senior leaders in their organization show a bias or favoritism towards those like them,” while 47% of employees said this is an issue. And 61% of C-suite leaders agree that it is easier for men to get promoted than it is for women, while 42% of employees agree. These answers are similar when looking at race or ethnicity — 62% of C-suite respondents said it is easier for individuals with certain ethnicities or backgrounds to get promoted than others, while 40% of employees said the same thing.

"[A]s our research shows, the U.S. still has a long way to go to root out and change patterns of behavior that still allow bias and favoritism to thrive," wrote Kurt Harrison, head of the global sustainability practice at Russell Reynolds, in an email. "It is not enough to talk the talk on DE&I. Leaders also need to walk the walk.”

To read the full article, click here.