What CEOs Really Think about D&I

Study shows that beliefs don’t always translate into actions

When it comes to diversity and inclusion, CEOs don’t always practice what they preach.

That’s a major takeaway from a study by Fort Collins, Colorado–based training and mentoring organization The Moxie Exchange. The study, The State of Diversity and Inclusion According to CEOs, explored what CEOs think about diversity and what actions they are taking. To determine that, 80 CEOs in various industries—65 percent identifying as male and 35 percent female—completed an anonymous survey.

Fortunately, most believe diversity and inclusion are important for business success, says Maureen Berkner Boyt, founder of The Moxie Exchange. “But many don’t understand that diversity and inclusion isn’t a mind-set. It’s a set of behaviors, and many are missing that set of behaviors.” Here are some findings.

Knowing doesn’t translate to doing. While 82 percent of respondents said they believe diversity is linked to positive business results, only 32 percent said D&I was a top five strategic priority in their organization.

CEOs aren’t doing as well as they think. While 53 percent said they are doing enough to foster an inclusive workplace, just 21 percent had given employees resources for managing D&I challenges, and only 29 percent had plans to implement unconscious bias training in the next year.

CEOs have been reactive, not proactive. Many actions CEOs have taken have been prompted by legal concerns. Fewer CEOs have come up with a proactive plan to create an inclusive environment.

Women CEOs have more buy-in. Ninety-four percent of women CEOs believe diversity directly contributes to business success compared with 75 percent of male CEOs.

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