The Missing Link: Sustainable Diversity and Inclusion through Organization Design

Mid adult African American businesswoman is smiling while attending business conference. She is listening to speaker in seminar while she sits in a row with other diverse professional businesspeople. Woman is wearing business casual clothing and is taking notes. She's drinking a cup of coffee.

Design of an organization’s diversity and inclusion efforts has a tremendous and often underappreciated effect on the ability of a company to execute their strategy, embed it into everyday business activities and ensure that inclusive leadership skills are transferred from one generation of leaders to the next.

It takes significant time and the continued focus of many people to design and curate a congruent organization — one that is systematically configured to enable the most effective execution of the diversity and inclusion strategy and in which all the moving parts are aligned and are working in concert. But the effort is well worth it.

In this paper, we examine the principles of organization design that have the greatest impact on the long-term success and sustainability of diversity and inclusion efforts. We share insights from the research we conducted last year highlighting how various organizations design their strategies. The research took place in three stages:

  1. A survey of members of Mercer’s Global Diversity Forum
  2. “Hackathon” meetings with groups of diversity leaders to discuss the survey findings and tease out nuances of the responses
  3. Interviews with a smaller subset of companies representing a range of organizational models and experiences
Deirdre Golden
by Deirdre Golden

Principal, Chair of the Global Diversity Forum and the UK Vanguard D&I Network

Alina Polonskaia
by Alina Polonskaia

Principal, Global Leader of Mercer’s Diversity and Inclusion Executive Peer Client Networks

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