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DEI reports showcase a company’s plans, practices, and progress on diversity, equity and inclusion efforts.  Like other company reports, there isn’t a one-size fits all approach to DEI reports, so they run the gamut from detailed to high level, brief to extensive in length. In my research over the years, I’ve found that three components make for an exceptional DEI report.

  • CEO involvement – It is important that your highest level of leadership is on board with the DEI strategy – and not just from a distance. The CEO must have a personal relationship with DEI work and participate in developing the corporate strategy. A note from the CEO in the DEI report demonstrates this buy-in, but that note should not be generic and stale.  It should reveal their personal DEI journey and show they have an understanding of the company’s strategy. The CEO’s authentic commitment and support should shine through in the DEI Report.
  • Data transparency, good or bad – A good DEI strategy is data-driven and this should be evident in the report.  Not every aspect of diversity, equity, and inclusion can be quantified; however, to spot opportunities for improvement and understand when you’ve made progress, it’s important to track diversity representation, equity, and experiences of inclusion where you can. If you’re not sure how to use data to drive your strategy, check out our extensive checklists on DEI Data: What to Measure and Why and Creating Metrics for Tracking DEI Progress. You may not make leaps and bounds every year, and there may even be some moments when you miss your goal altogether.  Recognize this in your DEI report.  Transparency and authenticity are essential in DEI work, so you’ll want to recognize when your company hasn’t achieved its goals, what you’ve learned from it, and what you plan to do differently.
  • Cross-company participation – Employees should not feel obligated to contribute to the DEI Report, especially if they don’t feel the impact of the DEI strategy.  It’s important that employees willingly volunteer to participate because they feel psychological safety and other positive impacts of the DEI strategy. If you include quotes or feature employees, ensure that you consider the diversity of the voices that you feature. When Black, Asian, Hispanic, White, women, non-binary, LGBTQ+, veterans, and employees with disabilities at all levels of the organization willingly volunteer to talk about their positive experiences of equity and inclusion in the company, this experiential data supports your aspirational commitments for a more complete, authentic picture of your company’s DEI journey.

NextRoll’s DEI report was recently released, containing all three components. CEO Roli Saxena contributed a heartfelt intro framing her personal journey and corporate commitment to increasing diversity, equity, and inclusion. The robust data shared in the report reveals the progress NextRoll has made but does not shy away from showing goals that were missed in 2022. The report also features quotes from employees from different backgrounds across different levels and business areas of the company.  Employees experiences demonstrate NextRoll strives to maintain an inclusive work culture for its employees to thrive. To further demonstrate transparency and accountability, results from two external assessments, Mckinsey’s Women in the Workplace and Race in the Workplace studies are also provided. NextRoll’s refreshingly rare approach to DEI shines through in the annual report.

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The Editor

Ngozi Okeh is an experienced leader with a history of driving efforts to conceptualize, define, assess and promote diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) as strategic business processes. Ngozi is currently the Director of DEI at a leading marketing technology company where she develops and executes enterprise-wide DEI initiatives through rigorous strategic planning efforts, community partnerships, leadership collaboration, strategy evaluation, and careful management of communication and buy-in as well as policies and procedures.  Previously, she worked at an independent mortgage bank, where… View Profile