Press Releases

ARLINGTON, Va., July 30, 2020

Gartner Survey Reveals Only 13% of HR Leaders Believe Their Organization Has Been Effective at Increasing Diversity Representation

HR Can Undertake Three Actions to Reset How the Organization Advances Underrepresented Talent

Nearly 90% of HR leaders feel their organization has been ineffective or flat at increasing diversity representation, according to a survey by Gartner, Inc.

Based on a survey of 113 HR leaders in April 2020, Gartner said there are three organizational barriers to the advancement of underrepresented talent: Unclear career paths and steps to advancement; too little exposure to senior leaders; and lack of mentors or career support.

“An April survey of heads of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) found that 69% are prioritizing advancing underrepresented talent especially amidst the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Lauren Romansky, managing vice president in the Gartner HR practice. “While the intent is there, there is no two-hour training remedy for this challenge. Organizations need to assess their current systems and processes to mitigate bias and address organizational factors that prohibit equal opportunity for advancement.”

HR and DEI leaders must address the systemic bias embedded in their systems, processes, and stakeholders to truly increase the diversity of their managerial and leadership benches. Gartner has identified three actions HR can take to reset how they advance underrepresented talent:

Fix the Manager-Employee Relationship

To make progress on increasing diversity representation, organizations need to build healthy manager-employee relationships that set the right foundation for advocacy and advancement.

“Our research and conversations with HR and DEI leaders show that managers are unable to effectively execute critical advocacy and advancement-related activities if they do not have a solid working relationship with their employees, which can be more challenging when manager and employee come from different experiences,” said Ingrid Laman, vice president, advisory, in the Gartner HR practice.

To fix the manager-employee relationship, HR should do the following:

  • Teach managers how to build personalized support for direct reports while enabling them to be effective talent coaches
  • Build manager awareness of the employee experience of underrepresented talent
  • Broker trust between underrepresented talent and their managers

About Gartner

Gartner, Inc. (NYSE: IT) delivers actionable, objective insight to executives and their teams. Our expert guidance and tools enable faster, smarter decisions and stronger performance on an organization’s mission critical priorities. To learn more, visit