Why Do D&I Efforts Fail? Author Diane Primo’s New Book, “ALL Report,” Shows the Key: They Don’t Reach White Men

Diane Primo

Findings on diversity and inclusion—and actionable solutions— address looming U.S. workforce issues in the “ALL Report” released on Amazon today. The report was driven by labor shortages that are expected to cause annual revenue losses of $1.75 trillion by 2030. It offers fresh, data-informed D&I insights that may help businesses avert impending problems and meet new social and economic demands.

The Black Lives Matter movement has put DE&I under a spotlight, and now corporate America is under pressure to produce results. Labor shortages represent lost opportunities that restrain the nation’s global standing. The “ALL Report” provides a framework to address these equity and productivity crises. The report shows there is still much to do if we hope to increase diversity and build an economically sustainable workplace.

Research for the “ALL Report” looked at a diverse, nationally representative sample of workers from all workforce cohorts. This included white males, women, Asians, Latinx, Blacks, LGBTQ+ and those with disabilities. With a critical assessment of changing demographics, public activation, brand missteps and looming skill shortages, the report offers solid and innovative solutions all leaders can implement. 

One of the book’s major findings is that “all workforce cohorts, and especially white males, are critical players in the quest to create true workforce diversity and solve skill imbalance issues,” author Diane Primo notes. A former corporate CMO and CEO and current founder, Primo is chairman of Purpose Brand, a multicultural, purpose-driven communications agency.

“Executives must lead by example and challenge their teams to follow suit,” Primo says. The “ALL Report” explains why investors, directors and senior leadership should drive DE&I and what it takes to do so. The facts and findings in the report leave no room to question the urgency of now.

Highlights of the 127-page book (Weeva, $24.95, Amazon) include the following points:

  • Workforce supply imbalances are reaching critical levels.
    • By 2030, labor shortages in key U.S. industries are projected to result in $1.75 trillion in lost annual revenue, the equivalent of 6% of U.S. GDP.
  • Workforces are inherently diverse, and diversity is growing. Cultures must adapt quickly to embrace differences.
    • 79% of Blacks, 78% of LGBTQ+ and those with disabilities, 69% of Latinx, 66% Asians and 55% of women feel race, gender, sexual orientation or ability is an important part of who they are and defines them, compared to 40% for white males. They bring their uniqueness to the workplace.
  • Senior leadership and CEOs need to own DE&I.
    • Only 23% of white males and less than 30% of all other respondents—except workers with disabilities at 42%—agreed strongly that D&I was a top priority for senior leadership or CEOs.  More simply put, most workers do not believe diversity is a top priority for senior leadership.
    • Over 41% of women and 69% of workers with disabilities believe HR and the senior diversity officer lead D&I efforts, implying the responsibility is not shared.
  • White males are instrumental in the effort to strengthen DE&I efforts.
    While all groups matter in the workforce, white males have a unique position in the corporate power structure and can contribute the most to fostering diversity. However, to do so successfully, they must have a different mindset. 
    • Only 16% of white males believe D&I is one of the top three contributors to a high-performance organization.
    • Only 18% of white males believe it is one of their corporation’s top three priorities.
    • Only 29% of white males believe it is an integral component of innovation.
    • Only 30% of white males believe it is essential to creating a successful business.
  • Change starts by publicly prioritizing DE&I in business initiatives.
    • D&I is documented as a strong contributor to performance (+35% financial impact) and to innovation, according to McKinsey & Co.’s 2020 report “Diversity Wins.”
    • Resoundingly, the “ALL Report” shows employees do believe businesses are committed to diversity and inclusion. The corporate investment provided through programs like employee resource groups, task forces, unbiased training and more have made them feel better about their institutions. 
    • However, employees are very clear about which programs actually work to spur positive change. These include cross-training, using diverse teams to hire and promote, selecting high-potential candidates and giving them opportunities quickly, providing performance feedback and cultivating career advancement.  All other programs pale in comparison. In fact, workers ranked unbiased training low on the list.  This suggests a disconnect between programs in the workplace and programs that appear to work.

Report Confirms U.S. Labor Shortage Perilous
The findings in the “ALL Report”, coupled with an analysis of the growing 21st century workforce demand-supply gap, show why we are at a demographic and psychographic crossroads right now.

“We’re facing perilous labor shortages, rising minority births, a growing generation of highly motivated youths and changing views of what is tolerable. To change diversity in corporations, we must change our view of what is acceptable,” Primo said.

“Diversity without inclusion, equity and sustained intervention will never work. That’s why I was motived to write this book,” she added. “It will take the entire workforce and specifically senior leadership to create lasting change. CEOs and senior leaders need to clearly understand that.”

The “ALL Report” is frank, insightful and a quick read. It gives practical steps to create sustained and holistic change. There has never been a time when our ability to turn talk about DE&I into action has mattered more—from BLM and #MeToo to our pandemic-stressed economy.  Efforts led by women, Blacks, Latinx, LGBTQ+, Asians and disabled workers must be embraced in corporate America as well as white males. We cannot slide backwards.

About Diane Primo
The CEO of Purpose Brand, Primo is an award-winning, Chicago-based public relations, branding and digital marketing firm. She is the only African-American female CEO of a purpose-driven communications agency. Primo consults with senior leadership teams and conducts diversity workshops for executive teams and marketing communication teams. Her focus on impact marketing stems from her belief that to be successful today, brands must be purpose-driven and committed to consumers.