How To Measure Diversity And Inclusion
As many large companies prioritise and develop their diversity, equality and inclusion (DEI) strategies, more and more are seeking ways to use data to both monitor progress and deliver insights, a way to track and drive improvement. The old management axiom "what gets measured, gets done" has never been more pertinent - particularly concerning DEI strategies.
Suppose specific and vigorous measures are not put in place. In that case, it becomes all too easy to revert to 'bad habits' ingrained thinking and habitual behaviour, limiting the returns achievable and resulting in well thought out strategies becoming ineffective. Here are a few measurement methods that can help accelerate your DEI efforts forward and lead to quantifiable success:
Decide which diversity variables you will track
Typically, businesses will monitor diversity factors with widely available data, such as gender. However, gender represents only one aspect of diversity, so it's vital not to limit any benchmarks to information captured by current systems. Depending on the business' goals, there are many other variables to consider, such as; race, ethnicity, nationality, education, professional expertise, length of service, age, disability, sexual orientation and the various types of status relating to family, caring, full time/part-time/flexible working, etc.
There are also other vital elements to consider, including the tracked variables such as retention, which can be a tell-tale sign that your workforce is not inclusive. If staff from minority groups are leaving at a higher rate than others, it's a firm indication something is wrong.
Organise metrics into objectives
Firstly by looking at measurements that provide analysis of the business, areas for improvement will be highlighted. These can include representation, retention, recruitment, selection, promotion, development and pay & benefits. In addition, diagnosis of factors such as employee engagement, grievances, exit interviews, and employer brand will provide a much fuller view of the overall DEI picture and identify areas to prioritise and potential risks.
Once implemented, organisations must track their efforts regularly to determine whether objectives are being met. The program's success may entail tracking improvements in the metrics mentioned above, with the diagnosis results serving as a baseline.
Set standard measures & targets
Without a standard to measure from, it's almost impossible to track progress. If the preceding steps have been taken, then those baselines will have been found. However, it may be helpful to compare results from other parts of the business or industry benchmarks. Once the baseline measures are in place, you can then set targets. Although these may appear at face value to be relatively easy, care should be taken in setting any specific goals.
Whilst targets can help drive focus, with DEI, those goals can trigger negativity, fear or resistance. Any targets should aim to be realistic but ambitious enough to encourage effort, commitment, and consideration, given that some may be short term and others take longer to achieve.
Your organisation may be monitoring the return on investment in terms of financial or non-financial gains. Still, either way, it's essential to monitor the success of these efforts by having appropriate metrics in place. For example, if the goal is to improve staff retention rates, the results should translate into cost savings. Yet, if the aim is to improve engagement, then the scores should relate to higher levels of staff productivity by monitoring output per employee or profit per employee.
Track & analyse & report
Ensuring there is a formal plan to measure improvements and setting out who will monitor results is as important as all the above elements. But, simply sharing the results will not offer many insights or suggest ways to improve if they are not first analysed. By assessing what is working and what isn't, your business will be more able to determine what needs modifying or if the initial plan needs adjusting.
Establishing regular reviews of your DEI metrics allows them to be altered as necessary and ensures the program matures as the company goals evolve. Although no firm and fast rules exist, the frequency of reporting results tends to be annual, so it may be helpful to review metrics simultaneously as results are reported, depending on the size and complexity of the DEI.
In conclusion, diversity, equality and inclusion metrics are there to improve the business by enabling every employee to feel safe, secure and able to be themselves no matter their background. Selecting the right metrics is an art rather than a science. As often applies to DEI, one size won't fit all, but treating the process organically and allowing it to adapt will ensure it's as successful as possible.
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