Employees say nonprofits lag on diversity

Diversity at nonprofits
Diversity at nonprofits

Nonprofit employees see their bosses talking the talk about making their organizations racially and ethnically diverse and inclusive but doing little to walk the walk, a new report says.

Nearly 90 percent of over 1,600 nonprofit professionals surveyed believe their organizations value diversity, but over 70 percent believe their employer does not do enough to create a diverse and inclusive work environment, says The Voice of Nonprofit Talent: Perceptions of Diversity in the Workplace, a report by Commongood Careers and the Level Playing Field Institute.

And among employees who believe their employees value diversity, only 25 percent believe their organization has actively shown its commitment to creating a racially diverse environment.

Twenty-five percent of employees of color hold negative views of their organizations’ actions to create a racially diverse environment, compared to 16 percent of white employees.

Fifty-seven percent of employees of all races, and 71 percent of employees of color, try to evaluate a prospective employer’s commitment to diversity during the interview process, the report says.

Over 35 percent of people of color who examine diversity during the hiring process say they previously withdrew their application or turned down a job offer because of a perceived lack of diversity and commitment.

Ninety percent employees surveyed believe actual staff diversity is the main indicator of an organization’s commitment to diversity and inclusiveness.

The report offers five strategies to organizations to move from just valuing diversity to building and sustaining diversity.

Those strategies include “open” conversations about race that include executive leaders; effective communications about diversity commitments that include measured results; building partnerships and networks that boost effective recruiting; a hiring process free from “subtle” bias; and taking the time to develop, mentor and promote a diverse staff.

“Until the disconnect between value and action is addressed, there will continue to be negative implications for attracting and retaini8ng diverse employees across the nonprofit sector,” Robert Schwartz, executive director of Level Playing Field Institute.

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