U.S. businesses are increasingly pursuing diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives but they continue to have some disconnect about how important the effort is, according to a new Marsh/RIMS report.

Approximately 71 percent of organizations said they’ve boosted their focus on diversity, equity and inclusion over the past five years. At the same time, just 54 percent of respondents said the lack of a DEI strategy was a core business risk.

Marsh/RIMS said that the findings show many companies don’t understand the risks behind an inadequate strategy for diversity, equity and inclusion. Those risks, they said, include failing to attract and retain top talent, losing clients, reputational damage and potential lawsuits.

The study found training, mentorship and sponsorship to be lagging, with just 47 percent of respondents saying their companies offered training to improve diversity, equity and inclusion for all societies.

Other result highlights

  • 58 percent of respondents said they consider diversity, equity and inclusion when hiring new team members.
  • 38 percent said they consider DEI when promoting within the department.
  • 35 percent said they take part in mentorship programs.
  • 35 percent said they invest more resources in team diversity initiatives.
  • 26 percent said they provide internships to students that meet DEI criteria.
  • 20 percent said they factor in DEI when considering vendors and suppliers.
  • 18 percent said they aren’t taking any action to drive DEI within their teams.

The full Excellence in Risk Management report – “Diversity, equity and inclusion: Progress Made, challenges remain” – is based in part on 350 responses to an online survey, as well as a number of focus groups with risk executives from January through April 2021.

Source: Marsh, RIMS