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At the beginning of 2020, only 40% of Fortune 500 companies had diversity and inclusion executives. By the end of the year, that number had increased by almost 200%.

Diversity and inclusion roles in fortune 500 companies increased 200% in six months.

At first glance, this looks good, and it is — because any increased focus on diversity within corporate America is a step in the right direction. But just because companies are making it a higher priority doesn’t necessarily mean they are doing so in the most effective and holistic way.

On ZoomInfo’s new podcast Talk Data to Me, we released an episode titled “D&I Hiring Spiked in 2020. Was it a movement or a moment?” which features an in-depth interview with diversity recruiter and partner Debbie Tang from Bridge Partners, LLC. In the interview, we hear Debbie’s thoughts on how companies handle diversity, including how she can gauge a client’s level of commitment to the cause and whether or not the recent rise in D&I jobs means real change.


How to Show Long-Term Commitment to Diversity: More than Just the Numbers.


1. It’s embedded in the culture

Hiring initiatives are key, but beyond that — what support systems are in place to retain those new employees? Without mentors and a clear path to success within that organization, the positive impact won’t last long. If you’re thinking of starting an employee resource group at your company, give this a read.

2. All employees are on the DEI team

Too often, companies hire a Chief Diversity Officer (CDO) and expect them to fix everything. The problem is, it’s never just a one-person job.

Tasking either the CDO or employees of color with spearheading all diversity efforts becomes a form of tokenization. In actuality, each person at the company — no matter their position — should be an active part of the DEI team.

3. People are happy to work there

Just because a company has a majority white C-Suite or majority white board does not mean that that company is not doing diversity well, according to Debbie. The biggest indicator of success in this area, she says, is simple: Are people happy to work there?


Signs that a Company’s Efforts are Performative


1. It’s all about the numbers

Not all quotas are bad, so long as they’re not attached to specific numbers.

In the same way that Debbie suggests that quotas — as in wanting to increase representation for a specific demographic — are appropriate so long as they’re not attached to specific numbers, the impact one employee has on an organization or industry can significantly outweigh the meaningfulness of a higher quality of diverse hires if the rest of the infrastructure and larger commitment to diversity isn’t there.

2. Candidates are tokenized

Tokenizing diverse candidates happens when those people are presented to clients over and over again, but never chosen for the job. This can make it seem like that person is only being considered for the position to check off the diversity box, as opposed to actually being considered for the position.

Conversely, diversity recruiters who invest time and energy into building relationships with a network of diverse candidates over time tend to fare better, because candidates trust that their personal and professional well-being is truly a top priority.

3. The client has too many specific requirements

If a client is trying to fill an extremely specific position in a specific industry, and they are only looking for someone of a certain race or ethnicity, it sends a signal that the hiring initiative is performative.

Similar to the numberless quota approach, diversity efforts should be less about hitting specific targets and more about creating a more holistically diverse environment, as well as an inclusive community that is committed to helping that environment flourish.

Listen to Talk Data to Me’s episode, “D&I Hiring Spiked in 2020. Was it a moment or a movement?” on your listening platform of choice.


Do You Have a (Data-Driven) Story?

We’re always looking for ideas on unique ways we can use ZoomInfo’s breadth of data on businesses, the people who work there, and the tools they use.

If you have something in mind or questions we might be able to answer, we would love to hear from you: [email protected].

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The ZoomInfo Editorial Team

The ZoomInfo Editorial Team is our data-driven storytelling team.

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