February 21, 2020

Segall Bryant & Hamill Workplace Equality Index Survey: US Businesses Continued to Embrace Diversity in 2019

Segall Bryant & Hamill Workplace Equality Index Survey: US Businesses Continued to Embrace Diversity in 2019

Segall Bryant & Hamill (SBH) announced the results of the latest Workplace Equality Index survey. For nearly two decades, SBH has screened public companies on their workplace equality policies through this proprietary Index as it is our belief that companies that treat their employees fairly provide better shareholder returns over the long run. The survey is designed to assess trends in workplace equality among public companies that meet the criteria for inclusion in the Workplace Equality Index.

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Highlights from the 2019 survey include that 89% of respondents agreed that senior leaders at their company support diversity and inclusion as a core corporate value. In addition, 79% of respondents said their company has done more to foster an inclusive workplace in the last two years. However, some of our survey respondents in the banking, communications and health care industries felt that their companies were not leaning in to foster diversity and inclusion.

“Businesses that embrace diversity and inclusion understand that diversity can enhance a company’s long-term financial success,” said John N. Roberts, principal and senior portfolio manager at Segall Bryant & Hamill. “While companies that invest in their human capital support this concept, our survey shows that they could do a better job communicating the business case to employees.”

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Less than half of respondents strongly agreed or agreed with the proposition that their company primarily focuses on the business case when discussing the importance of diversity and inclusion. Industries in which we received positive feedback on this statement included financial services, industrial, and consumer products firms.

Segall Bryant & Hamill’s Workplace Equality Index has tracked stock performance of equality-minded companies since 2001. Part of our screening methodology involves surveying employees at public companies. Respondents include employees, employee resource group members, and human resources and diversity and inclusion officers. In 2019, surveys were sent to more than 1,300 employees nationwide and we received a 26% response rate (i.e., 331 responses). The survey responses are anonymous and kept in strict confidentiality.

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