While the majority (81 per cent) of Canadian human resources leaders believe senior company leaders need to support diversity, equity and inclusion efforts, they also say accountability for these programs extends across an organization, according to a new survey by Chartered Professionals in Human Resources Canada.

The survey, which polled more than 1,300 HR leaders, found 82 per cent said senior leaders are accountable for DEI efforts, while 61 per cent said accountability also lies with HR and 49 per cent said employees are also accountable.

When asked about the benefits of DEI, respondents cited improved workplace culture (82 per cent), enhanced innovation and creativity (68 per cent) and authenticity (66 per cent).

Read: Employers prioritizing workplace culture, DEI in communications strategies: survey

In terms of the costs of not pursuing a DEI strategy, respondents indicated a risk of homogeneity or group-think (70 per cent), decreased access to the best talent (61 per cent) and losing good employees (55 per cent).

Two-thirds (65 per cent) of HR leaders at employers with a non-diverse workforce and 41 per cent of respondents at employers with a diverse workforce said a lack of career advancement opportunities is the No. 1 reason for preventable loss of employees, regardless of diversity of senior leadership.

“Senior management and HR professionals across the country have a key role in working together to ensure that DEI efforts are authentic, sustainable, accountable and evolving,” said Anthony Ariganello, chief executive officer of CPHR Canada, in a press release. “This is particularly relevant since the data shows that organizations and their leaders are now gaining a better understanding of how DEI intersects with retention, recruitment, engagement and how it drives an organization’s corporate culture.”

Read: 90% of U.S. employees personally benefitting from workplace DEI initiatives: survey