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The search for a purpose-driven organization

Written by Xan Daniels, Global Inclusion and Diversity Leader, Alight Solutions

The last year has unquestionably impacted our ways of thinking and the things that we value. And with so many pressing issues that clamor for our attention — a ruthless pandemic, the juggle of finding work-life balance, and an unrelenting fight for racial and social justice — it’s no surprise that we’re all are taking a closer look at how organizations are reacting to what’s happening in the world.    

With the events of 2020 still weighing on our minds, Alight’s annual Workforce Mindset® Study examined how recent seismic events have impacted the workplace and whether employer actions met employee expectations, particularly around social justice and racial inequities. As expected, we saw that employees are more inclined than ever to seek out organizations that actively take a social stance. In fact, 60% of employees said taking a stand on social and political issues is an opportunity for employers to set themselves apart from the competition. This is particularly true of younger workers and people of color.

“In fact, 60% of employees said taking a stand on social and political issues is an opportunity for employers to set themselves apart from the competition.”

Xan Daniels
Global Inclusion and Diversity Leader, Alight Solutions

So what does a purpose-driven organization look like?

Leaders are starting to reevaluate their efforts to make real changes and meet employee expectations when it comes to inclusion and diversity (I&D) efforts. Companies like FORTUNE and Refinitiv announced a new partnership to make corporate diversity disclosure “the new standard of doing business” by including self-reported diversity and inclusion data in company rankings. This is a great step toward transparency and accountability in the I&D space, but there is still much to be done.

Alight is on this journey too and we know it will be a continual and intentional process. Last summer we took immediate actions following the killing of George Floyd and the ensuing protests. We started by pouring resources into strategies that would open the door to conversations and serve as a starting point for change, like holding listening sessions and offering more training and development opportunities to put diversity at the center of what we do every day. My becoming Alight’s global I&D leader was also an important step  in creating the right infrastructure around and making more investments into  I&D within our organization.

We’re continuing on this path and have committed to ramp up efforts even more, including becoming a recent addition to the Gender and Diversity KPI Alliance (GDKA). As part of this alliance, we’re holding ourselves accountable and will track our I&D efforts against measurable KPIs. This is great progress, but we recognize that our efforts can’t and won’t stop there.  

Today’s employees won’t be placated by lip service; employers must effectively state — and more importantly, actually match their actions to their words — to differentiate themselves in the talent market and realize a correlating impact on the overall employee experience. Finding ways to proactively communicate, open the conversation and embed diversity, equity and inclusion into their culture and talent planning is a solid place to start.

It’s time for leaders to take a stand and make the commitment to change for the better, and for good.

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