MRA Hot Topic Survey on Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Shows No One-size-fits-all Strategy for Success

September 15, 2020
Press Release
Diversity and Inclusion
Read time: 3 mins


Media Contact: Kathryn Klopfer, Marketing Communications & PR | 262.696.3426 

MRA Hot Topic Survey on Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Shows No One-size-fits-all Strategy for Success

MILWAUKEE, WI (September 15, 2020) MRA’s most recent Hot Topic Survey asked organizations about their current Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (DEI) plans, along with their challenges, successes, and future considerations.

“We know that Diversity, Equity & Inclusion is of critical importance to employers. DEI improves culture and has a direct effect on the bottom line,” said Susan Fronk, President and CEO of MRA—The Management Association, one of the largest nonprofit employer associations in the nation. “Today, more than ever, DEI plans are crucial to create the inclusive cultures that organizations need to support a successful workforce.”

MRA’s survey found that there is no one-size-fits-all DEI strategy. Each business is unique when it comes to culture, values, leadership, and the drive to improve and change.

The survey did reveal that only 16 percent of organizations have a formal DEI initiative or plan with goals and metrics. Out of the 84 percent that do not have a formal DEI plan, the majority indicated they are making efforts of limited scope or are at the beginning stages of their initiative.

Of the 16 percent with a formal plan, 5 percent consider their initiatives to be “strong” and reflected in their culture, while the remaining recognize there is still work to be done.

Despite efforts being made, many organizations of all sizes struggle with where to begin, or how to sustain progress. The top challenges include:

  • Lack of internal expertise and time/resources (64%)
  • Budgetary constraints to support programming (40%)
  • Don’t even know where to begin (38%)

Recent events have prompted action. In response to the social injustice movement, 50 percent of survey respondents have taken action. The most frequent actions were around increased communication (both internally and externally) and implementing “real talk” discussions.

Of those who have implemented DEI initiatives in the last 12 months or who are considering implementing plans in the next 12 months, training continues to be the most prominent approach with harassment prevention being a popular topic. Other areas of action include: conducting pay equity audits, reviewing internal policies and procedures, diverse recruiting and hiring, DEI meetings, and mentoring.

Survey results show many organizations have had successful outcomes from their diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts especially around employee involvement strategies, increased awareness through training, and more diverse candidate pools.

To incorporate DEI into the workplace, MRA suggests asking: What’s your motivation for change?  MRA recommends talking to all levels of leaders in the organization and employees to listen to their ideas, experiences, and feelings. Brainstorm, host focus groups, and hold listening sessions. Conduct assessments to look at strategy, processes, policies, technology, culture, and employee behaviors, as well as individual and structural bias that are barriers to fair and respectful treatment at work.

MRA Hot Topic Surveys are designed to provide data and information that organizations can use to address current business trends and issues. Along with providing survey data, MRA offers DEI tools and resources on a dedicated webpage MRA’s HR Hotline 866.474.6854 is also available 24/7 for employers with human resource-related questions.


About MRA—The Management Association: MRA is one of the largest nonprofit employer associations in the nation, providing resources to 4,000 businesses to help them thrive. Headquartered in Waukesha, WI, MRA has regional offices in Palatine, IL; Moline, IL; and Plymouth, MN. To learn more about MRA, visit