Is the company you work for trying to encourage diversity and equality?

A new poll finds most Garden State residents, 74%, think their employers should be playing a role in promoting racial equity.

The Fairleigh Dickinson University survey, commissioned by the New Jersey Business and Industry Association and Taft Communications, also finds almost 6 in 10 workers report their employer has made an effort to build a more inclusive workplace culture, and 51% say their employer has made a public statement about the importance of racial equality.

According to NJBIA President Michele Siekerka, there’s a wide spectrum when it comes to where businesses are relative to their diversity, equity and inclusion efforts.

“We know that there are companies out there that are trying really hard to lift up new programs because they didn’t have any in place yet,” she said. “So they’re looking for best practices because they don’t just want to be checking a box.”

Siekerka said when a company embraces diversity, equity and inclusion it has a profound impact across the board.

“Not just are you going to be able to attract the best workforce, because that’s what the workforce is looking for, but also just think about your clients and your customers. People now are looking for mission driven companies to do business with,” she said.

Siekerka also said the recent trend among Jersey businesses of all sizes is to embrace diversity, equity and inclusion.

“It’s important because it’s the right thing to do,” she said. “But companies know there’s significant return on investment for doing this as well because it allows you once again to hire a skilled workforce. It allows you to attract the best customers, clients and vendors.”

Siekerka noted there is also increasing pressure from shareholders of companies to expand diversity and inclusion.

The survey also finds 44% of respondents said their employer made a public commitment to increase efforts toward diversity in hiring and 24% said their employer had made a financial donation to an organization that promotes racial equality.

The survey was conducted between June 18 and 29. Respondents were randomly contacted via cell phones and landlines and 506 respondents were included in the study.

You can contact reporter David Matthau at David.Matthau@townsquaremedia.com