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Businesses claim to need just 4 years to achieve their D&I goals, according to research from ECI Partners

New research from ECI Partners, the leading growth-focused mid-market private equity firm, has found the average number of years that businesses believe it will take them to achieve their diversity and inclusion (D&I) goals is 4 and a quarter years.

Only a quarter (24%) of the 202 HR managers surveyed believed it will take them longer, estimating between 5-10 years to achieve these goals. Interestingly, one in ten businesses (10%) say they believe their organisation has already achieved its D&I goals, despite attitudes and expectations surrounding D&I constantly developing.

Encouragingly, only 4% of businesses said they had not yet defined their D&I goals. However, this rose to 14% for smaller businesses with 50-99 employees. This highlights the need from businesses at this level for greater assistance and support in creating and developing D&I strategies.

In order to achieve those D&I goals, 58% of HR managers said they needed external support. Of those, 45% said that D&I programmes would help, while 41% said partnerships with social mobility and EDI schemes to attract and retain talent would support them in achieving their goals.

37% thought partnering with recruitment agencies or consultancies that can source diverse talent would be the most helpful in achieving D&I goals, while 24% said external mentorship opportunities would support them in their D&I journey.

Stephen Roberts, Partner at ECI Partners, comments:

“While it is encouraging to see that organisations are taking D&I seriously and have defined goals towards achieving a more inclusive culture, our research clearly shows that these businesses need more support if they are to achieve these goals in the coming years. Businesses which embrace D&I are more likely to have highly motivated workforces, greater innovation and, ultimately, better financial growth. Having an action plan towards achieving those D&I ambitions is crucial.

“It’s why at ECI, our People and Culture toolkit provides our portfolio businesses with resources such as employee engagement surveys and best-practice around D&I strategy, to understand where they currently stand on D&I and what more they can do.

“There are several ways businesses can get the support they need. ECI portfolio company, Ciphr Limited, for example, has worked with external partners such as apprenticeship and graduate trainee schemes, Applicant Tracking Schemes (ATS) and candidate screen suppliers, and RPO providers. This has allowed them to tap into wider insights and best practice, leveraging these relationships to ensure their efforts and investments are focussed on achieving the best possible results. For Ciphr, it is all about incremental change when it comes to D&I. Continual improvements to their attraction and talent management approach in particular is where they believe they will make the most significant and sustainable change.

“Creating a truly diverse and inclusive company culture will always be a journey, rather than having a defined end point, but businesses that embrace D&I and are focussed on making progress, will undoubtedly see the benefits.”