Where are you on the D&I maturity curve?

17 December, 2018

John Karren
Industrial Products People & Organization Leader, PwC US
Carolyn Lee
Executive Director at The Manufacturing Institute

Diversity and inclusion (D&I) programs have been advancing for decades. Some companies boast sophisticated, comprehensive programs, but others might be relatively new to these endeavors—and may not know how they can improve. Thanks to new research conducted by PwC and supported by The Manufacturing Institute, we can help you determine where you fall on the “D&I maturity curve” and how you can climb it.

Now, this is not an area in which we tally up winners and losers. When companies advance their D&I programs, we should consider it a win, no matter where the program started out. It’s true that some organizations—notably large multinationals—have built programs with impressive data-gathering capabilities, analytics and even artificial intelligence. But even small companies can make dramatic changes that help shift the culture of the whole industry.

And this is exactly the moment for all companies to put extra effort into their D&I programs. America’s demographics are shifting fast, while the current manufacturing labor force is aging. Meanwhile, both companies and their customer bases are putting an increasing premium on workforces with more diverse experiences and backgrounds.

The industry has started adapting to this new era. Nearly half of consumer and industrial products companies, for instance, are expanding employee training to help them learn how to be more inclusive in their everyday job responsibilities.1 But there’s still a lot of work to do. About 85% of manufacturers in the United States say that attracting a diverse pool of candidates for open positions is a “high” or “very high” challenge.2 In addition, just 33% of global industrial manufacturing, metals and mining companies have a D&I program leader sitting in the C-suite.3

Reaching D&I maturity: Successful D&I programs all share the following main drivers: robust metrics, business-focused strategy, leadership alignment and integrated talent processes. Companies typically don’t become expert in all these areas at the same rate. Yet, we can judge companies on their general degree of accomplishment, sorting them into four levels: emerging, basic, progressing and differentiated. As companies rise through these levels, their D&I programs have an increasing impact on their businesses.

First, companies in the emerging level have rudimentary D&I programs in place, but they are piecemeal, siloed and untethered to business needs.

At the basic level, we find more institutionalized D&I programs, which are more closely integrated with the talent lifecycle and core business goals. Most employees are aware of D&I concepts and the programs’ business value.

At the progressing level, a D&I program is even more thoroughly integrated into the business, and some employees identify its mission as one of the company’s core values.

Finally, at the differentiated level, employees view their D&I program as essential to their own and the business’ performance. Inclusion becomes almost instinctive, embedded throughout the employee and customer experience. At this level, we would call a program fully mature.

Diversity and inclusion curve

D&I data and analytics: A company can only ascend the D&I maturity curve when supported (and pushed) by sound data collection and analytics. To be strategic, it must leverage data. We have identified six stages of D&I data analytics:

  1. basic D&I data reporting
  2. D&I surveys
  3. D&I metrics and dashboards
  4. D&I benchmarking
  5. advanced D&I analytics (e.g., gender pay equity analytics)
  6. predictive D&I analytics

Companies with the lowest levels of D&I analytics rely on operational reports and surveys. But as they advance, businesses acquire new tools, such as dashboards (which consolidate D&I-related metrics so the company can benchmark employee cohorts). At the more advanced levels, companies combine internal and external data to understand D&I with greater nuance. Ultimately, companies should strive to develop real-time, predictive analytics and artificial intelligence that can guide their decision-making.

A timely matter for manufacturers: In the coming years, manufacturers will face challenges in diversifying their workforce—not only in the United States, but throughout the rest of the world, as supply chains shift in response to new trade policies. To adapt to these changes, they must advance their D&I programs.

No matter where a manufacturer finds itself on the maturity curve, it must resolve to commit even more time and resources. As with any core business imperative, manufacturers must go “all in.”