Corporate America’s Broken Diversity Plan: How Business Leaders Can Fix It

Published on February 1, 2021

Diversity, equity and inclusion programs have failed to deliver needed change. New research in the “ALL Report,” a solutions-driven book, offers business leaders DE&I strategies that work.

Senior executives are under increasing scrutiny today for their company’s diversity, equity and inclusion practices. Movements such as gender equity and Black Lives Matter have made it clear most DE&I efforts have been ineffective. The “ALL Report,” a new handbook for business leaders, lays a framework to make DE&I a core company value that aligns with business objectives, spurs productivity and increases profitability.

The “ALL Report” combines deep research into corporate culture with author Diane Primo’s practical insights as a former Fortune 500 C-suite executive and currently the nation’s only Black female CEO of a purpose-driven communications firm. “Changing the equation on DE&I is more critical than ever right now if our nation hopes to avert looming workforce shortages and stay competitive,” Primo explains.

Diversity Marketing and Public Relations

Corporate America and the public agree. Investors and boards of directors are demanding measurable results on environmental, social and governance (ESG) initiatives, and customers increasingly factor DE&I into their purchasing decisions. The “ALL Report” connects this new focus on corporate social responsibility with the pivotal role employees can and should play in corporate transformation.

Inclusion Activates and Accomplishes Workplace Culture Change

“Just as organizations retooled for COVID-19, they must reinvent their processes, communications and structure for a workforce that is changing in critical ways,” says Primo, CEO of the Purpose Brand marketing and public relations firm. “Employees identify with organizations that commit to doing the right thing—and then execute on that commitment.”

Given that our nation is facing talent retention issues—which are intensified by impending workforce shortages—the “ALL Report” is timely. It confronts the urgent business need to attract and retain talent and shows that employees recognize and appreciate steps business leaders take across divisions and sectors to support inclusion in the workplace.

ALL Report book and author Diane Primo.
ALL Report book and author Diane Primo.

In fact, business leaders hold the key to DE&I success. “Our research shows senior executives must take the lead to achieve true diversity, equity and inclusion. It takes embracing cultural change, rewarding innovation and demanding results,” Primo says.

The key is to value all employees, and to respect them with actions that show true commitment, Primo points out. “Diverse employees have different insights into the challenges corporations face, and this is a critical need as we are becoming a majority-minority nation. Furthermore, workers see worth in practical solutions, which is an encouraging sign for organizations that want to make rapid change.”

Research Connects Business Leaders to DE&I Programs That Work

The “ALL Report” handbook identifies the key components of a success-driven business culture and gauges the relevance of a wide range of DE&I initiatives. Its groundbreaking original research evaluates programs across gender and racial lines, among LGBTQ+ and disability communities, and within Fortune 500 companies.

The handbook also offers unexpected recommendations. “It’s often white males and C-suite executives who have the most work ahead of them in making diversity and inclusion succeed,” Primo points out. “Women and minorities make up 70% of the workforce. When that happens, a purpose-driven company can’t ignore 70% of the talent pool.”

The “ALL Report,” available in trade paperback or Kindle download, is a succinct 60-minute briefing for corporate executives and a handbook to help senior leaders achieve a critical but elusive business goal.

About Diane Primo and Purpose Brand

Diane Primo is the CEO of Purpose Brand, an award-winning, full-service public relations, branding and digital marketing firm in Chicago. Primo brings her unique role as a Black CEO of a purpose-driven communications agency to her research on workforce diversity in the “ALL Report” and consumer social identity in “The Purpose Report 2020.” Primo consults with senior leadership teams and conducts diversity workshops for executive and marketing communication teams.

Working across disciplines, Purpose Brand develops and executes end-to-end PR and marketing initiatives to make brands relevant and communities stronger. Services include media and public relations, brand strategy, content creation, web design and development, content strategy, special events, video marketing and training.

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