Dallas Regional Chamber Releases Inaugural DEI Benchmark Report for Business Community

Survey conducted in partnership with Kanarys highlights regional companies’ practices on critical diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives; identifies areas for continued improvement to further strengthen the business community

The Dallas Regional Chamber (DRC) today released its inaugural Benchmark Report on local companies’ diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) efforts in the Dallas Region. The report was commissioned by the DRC’s DEI Council, a permanent, Board-level working group established to harness the power of the business community to help close opportunity gaps in the Dallas Region. The report highlights the practices and initiatives of local employers with the aim to encourage a more inclusive and equitable business community.

More than 100 DRC member companies participated and responded on topics including organizational agility and capacity; inclusion and belonging; talent acquisition; talent management; supplier diversity; and marketplace and community impact. The survey was conducted by Kanarys, a DEI technology company that provides tools for organizations to create long-term systemic change around DEI challenges. Survey responses were collected between November 2021 and January 2022.

A majority of survey participants — 85 percent — have DEI as a publicly stated core value or organizational priority, and 60 percent of those measure and track progress against defined metrics and goals. However, only 49 percent of organizations hold senior leaders accountable for DEI goals in performance reviews, with 28 percent incentivizing leaders through compensation.

“Some progress has been made in the Dallas Region on these critical initiatives, but much more needs to be done,” said Dale Petroskey, president and CEO of the Dallas Regional Chamber. “From a business standpoint, there is a strong correlation between a company’s commitment to DEI and its overall financial strength and success. When companies realize this and make a commitment to DEI, our region will be more inclusive and equitable. Everyone wins.”

Other findings from the report include that:

      • Only 44% of participants have measurable Board diversity goals and only 10% source Board candidates from Board diversity organizations.
      • Nearly 40% of companies offer up to 12 weeks of maternity leave. A majority offer paid maternity leave (84%), paid paternity leave (70%), and paid adoptive leave (66%), which is higher than the national average. Nationally, only 25% of employers offer some form of paid parental leave for the birth or adoption of a child.
      • 60% of participants recruit from Historically Black Colleges and Universities, Hispanic Serving Institutions, or both; 57% require their recruiters to present a diverse slate of candidates.
      • 54% of participants have pay disparity audit practices in place. However, only 47% have initiatives in place to close pay gaps based on specific demographics.

“The first step to an impactful DEI strategy is understanding where your company is in the DEI journey to make prescriptive decisions that address the root cause of the problem,” said Mandy Price, co-founder and CEO of Kanarys. “This report will provide DRC members with a data-informed look at the current DEI landscape and actionable steps to create long-lasting change. We encourage all local business leaders to use this as a resource and help us to propel the Dallas region into a more inclusive and equitable business community.”

The report identifies other areas of opportunity for action, including:

Creating direct lines to the CEO. While nearly 70% of organizations have a senior leader responsible for DEI, only 29% have a direct line to the CEO. A best practice for DEI is to ensure that a company’s CDO / senior DEI leader reports to the most senior manager possible — preferably the CEO.

Enhancing career development opportunities for diverse talent. Many organizations have formal mentorship programs for their diverse employee groups, but only 18% have formal sponsorship programs. Successful sponsorship programs leverage the power and seniority of sponsors to advocate for and expand the visibility of proteges within an organization.

Establishing supplier diversity programs with spending goals. About 46% of organizations have supplier diversity programs, but only 14% have dollar amount spending goals. Tying spending goals to supplier diversity programs elevates DEI as a priority and extends the opportunity for impact into the larger community.

In January 2021, the DRC launched a new, three-year strategic plan to guide its continuing role as the voice of business in the Dallas Region, with an expanded focus on making the region more inclusive and equitable for all.

“I want to thank the DRC and members of the DEI Council for their leadership and vision in bringing this report to life,” said Bob Pragada, president of Jacobs and the 2022 DRC Board Chair. “Our hope is that these findings serve as a roadmap for other companies to expand their commitment to DEI efforts and turn thought into action toward our shared goal of bringing more opportunity to every corner in our community.”

The DEI Benchmark Report is now online and will be provided to all DRC member companies to help identify areas of opportunity and measure progress on DEI initiatives in their organizations.

About the Dallas Regional Chamber

Named as the National Chamber of the Year in July 2022, the Dallas Regional Chamber is one of America’s most established business organizations and serves as the voice of business and the champion of economic development and growth in the Dallas Region. We work with our member companies and regional partners to strengthen our business community by advocating for pro-growth public policies, improving our educational system, attracting talented workers from around the world, promoting diversity, equity, and inclusion, and enhancing the quality of life for all. Our goal is to make the Dallas Region the best place in the United States for all people to live, work, and do business. For more information visit www.dallaschamber.org.

About Kanarys

Kanarys is a technology company focused on providing the tools organizations need to create long-term systemic change around diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) challenges. Working alongside mid-size enterprises and Fortune 500 companies, Kanarys transforms DEI work with data by providing the framework, benchmarking, and data companies need to incorporate best-in-class DEI into every area of the organization. Like a canary in the coal mine, Kanarys helps organizations ensure healthy work environments by revealing DEI blindspots before they become a problem. For more information on Kanarys, visit www.kanarys.com.