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Four Stages of Diversity Management

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Diversity metrics are a key component for determining the four stages of diversity management. What stage is your company in


DiversityInc has been studying companies’ diversity metrics and the four stages of diversity management for more than a decade. Most companies are in the first two stages, with companies that earn spots on the upper portions ofThe DiversityInc Top 50 Companies for Diversitylist in Stage Three. We don’t yet know any companies that are in Stage Four, but a handful of very innovative companies are poised to break through to that stage.

Stage One: Celebration Focused

The company has begun to recognize the value of diversity and begins to have celebrations, such asBlack History Monthand Cinco de Mayo day in the cafeteria. The danger for these companies is in raising expectations with no corresponding gain in opportunities. They have a high level of regrettable loss (loss of talent, particularly from traditionally underrepresented groups) that could have been developed. They also have increasing difficulty in recruiting people from these groups and all younger people, who want a more inclusive environment, according toPew Research reports.

Stage Two: Workforce Focused

The company has created a diversity planwith actions, objectives and milestones. It has begun to show gains in thediversity of its workforceand has implementedresource groupsand, often, astructured mentoring program. The company now has a competitive advantagewith talent and reaching customers/clientsover competitors still in Stage One.

Stage Three: Marketplace Focused

The organization has metrics-driven accountability for its diversity-management efforts, often through its executive diversity council. Its human-capital and supplier-diversity metrics are well above average and it assesses and communicates clearly the value diversity management is bringing to the organization. The company exhibits cutting-edge diversity-management initiatives, such as innovative work/life programs that aid in retention and talent development, or clear linking ofsupplier-diversity effortsto community building. It is outpacing its competitors in reaching and developing talent and creating marketplace solutions. These companies outpace their competitors in raising cultural competency in marketing and sales efforts.

Stage Four: Out-Thinking Competition

These companies leverage diversity management to create, sponsor and nurture innovation. They provide thought-leadership and integrate cultural competency in all they do, from recruiting to customer service.

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