Innovatively Measuring Corporate Religious Equity & Inclusion

If finding a company to work for that values equity and inclusion is important to you, you have likely spent some time online searching for “most diverse companies” or “companies that value DE&I.” Throughout your searches, you have probably stumbled upon some indices that rate companies based on equity factors, like the Corporate Equality Index, the Disability Equality Index, or the Racial Equity Index, to name a few. However, you probably haven’t seen much having to do with religious equity and inclusion… until now.

In 2020, a new index was introduced by the Religious Freedom & Business Foundation, specifically focused on religious equity and inclusion. This index, the Corporate Religious Equity, Diversity & Inclusion (REDI) Index, assesses the Fortune 200 (the 200 top-grossing companies in the United States) based on their commitment to religious inclusion.

How does it work? In summary: “Companies earn scores on the REDI Index based on a careful content analysis of faith-related information on the company’s main diversity and inclusion web landing page – the public face of the company’s diversity and inclusion initiatives. This includes weighted scores for the number and variety of faith-and belief-based Employee Resource Groups (including atheist/agnostic ERGs) mentioned on the company’s website, as well as weighted scores for public training programs they offer to help other companies embrace workplace religious inclusion.” Check out more about the REDI Index and view the 2021 report at the link below:

I spent some time reviewing the 2020 REDI Index and picked up on three major themes:

  1. First off, the 2020 REDI Index is the second annual report released by the Religious Freedom & Business Foundation. Their first report was released in 2020. Comparing reports from both years shows more companies met the criteria to be ranked on the index in 2021 than in 2020 and that company scores on average were higher in 2021 than in 2020.
  2. Second, a deep dive into company size among the companies assessed shows that company size among the Fortune 200 does not correlate with religious equity and inclusion. It was previously thought that larger companies would be more equitable and inclusive because they have more resources, but that doesn’t seem to be the case.
  3. Third, one of the possible explanations for the increase in scores over the last ~ two years is the COVID-19 pandemic. At the onset of and throughout the pandemic, many corporations looked for innovative and meaningful ways to support their employees’ mental health. Many companies turned to their religious employee resource groups and other faith-based resources available as one option for employees.

Indices like the REDI Index have pros and cons. On one hand, they can help compare companies to one another based on a common set of criteria. On the other hand, they typically only evaluate large corporations and only use certain factors. If those companies are not ones you’re interested in or the criteria don’t represent your interests/concerns, the ratings might not be particularly helpful to you. So, while the index information is often viewed as better than no information, it should be interpreted with caution.

Suppose you would like to talk with someone about the REDI Index report or your questions about how your religious beliefs may interact with your career. In that case, we welcome you to schedule an appointment with a career coach at the Center for Career Development. We know that everyone has different concerns when it comes to equity and inclusion, so our career coaches are prepared to have individualized conversations and help you develop action steps that match your personal goals.

Photo by Tim Mossholder on Unsplash

By Lisa Famularo
Lisa Famularo Assistant Director, Equity and Inclusion | Pronouns: she/her/hers