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Tying Financials to DEI Goals

A September 2020 Mercer report estimated that 15-20% of S&P 500 companies currently tie DEI metrics to the salaries of higher-ups. Some of the early leaders in this initiative have been Starbucks, Uber and Facebook. Most recently in February 2021, McDonalds announced it would tie executive bonuses to new goals for diversifying the company and for the first time publicly release demographic details of its workforce. Under the new rules, CEO Chris Kempczinski stands to lose 15% of his approximately $2.25 million annual bonus if he fails to meet goals to increase the portion of women and Black, Hispanic, Asian and other minority employees in senior leadership roles.


This is a shift from the numerous organizations that rushed to establish anti-racism protocols after the killing of George Floyd and the racial reckoning in the summer of 2020. Many of the companies putting out statements without a real understanding of the work involved, ran the risk of becoming “performative allies” — a term used to describe surface-level activism that does not bring lasting change but allows the perpetrator to feel good about their actions. We hope that more companies will follow in the footsteps of McDonalds and take the performative out of DEI.

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