New WeSpire State of Employee Engagement Research Finds Significant Drop in Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Programs

Human Resources underestimates employee concerns about social isolation and social unrest

BOSTON–(BUSINESS WIRE)–#CSRWeSpire, the award-winning employee engagement platform specializing in purpose-driven initiatives, released the 2021 State of Employee Engagement report today. It is the tenth year of conducting this research and represents a unique opportunity to assess the widespread impact on employees of the COVID-19 pandemic, the shift for many to fully remote work as well as rising racial justice and equity concerns, political divisions and social unrest on the US workforce.

Key findings from the report include:

  • Employees who feel their company is strongly making a positive impact in this world are fifty percentage points less likely to be open to leaving their job
  • Employees are significantly more concerned about social isolation and social unrest than HR team members think they are
  • Despite rising corporate diversity commitments, the number of employees indicating their company offers diversity, equity and inclusion programs fell 35% versus 2019

“This trend research is always fascinating, but particularly this year given the unprecedented challenges that the pandemic presents. The data proves once again that being a purpose-driven business is critically important for resilience and successful workforce outcomes,” said Susan Hunt Stevens, Founder & CEO of WeSpire.

The research also shows a significant gap between employees’ interest in having access to various engagement programs and the availability of those programs.

“The biggest, and most disheartening, surprise is that fewer employees now have access to diversity, equity and inclusion programs. Our hypothesis is that many of these programs were relatively new, often volunteer-led, and just haven’t effectively survived the transition to remote work. We hope this serves as a wake-up call to leaders that effective, universally accessible programs are required to turn commitments into culture change,” said Stevens.

Other findings include a growing interest in pro-social incentives, ranging from donations to not-for-profits to wellbeing classes and sustainability upgrades. Finally, while many in the workplace complain of getting “too many emails”, email is still the preferred method for learning about engagement initiatives for 60% of employees.

WeSpire surveyed 1,843 US adults across four generations, giving these results a confidence interval of 95%. Forty percent of respondents work for companies with more than 1,000 employees. A copy of the full research report can be requested here.

About WeSpire

WeSpire is an award-winning technology and services firm that provides forward-thinking companies with a platform to design, run, and measure the impact of their employee experience initiatives. For more information, visit our website, contact us at, or follow us on Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook.


Colleen Salley