By Amy L. Gates, Vice President, Seald Sweet/Greenyard USA and member of the PMA/CGT Diversity and Inclusion Taskforce
With more and more companies seeking to advance diversity and inclusion (D&I) in their organizations, many are looking to their in-house data to help determine points of opportunity and measures of progress. While using your data to tell your company story is great data process, it is especially important to “measure what matters”—that you have set proper benchmarks and milestones to gauge progress toward to meaningful goals and objectives set by your company.
Here are some recommendations from the experts on how to enhance your D&I data to ensure you are really tracking the good work happening at your organization:
Harvard Business Review (HBR) has had a lot to say about data collection on D&I. One of the key lessons HBR has shared is to be transparent with your teams when you’re asking for them to provide personal information.
The number one question: How will you use this data? Having a plan for what you will do with the data you collect from your teams, openly sharing it with them, and demonstrating how you are using it to create a stronger and more inclusive organization is essential to building trust.
The goal for establishing measures and collecting data on D&I isn’t to show everything you’re doing well. It’s about gaining an honest and objective assessment of your progress toward your objectives and the current state of your initiatives and your organization.
Building trust and engagement among your teams is essential to creating a more inclusive organization. While openly sharing shortcomings has its risks, you can rebuild company morale.
To regain trust once it is lost, is a much steeper climb. And, we are all being honest, we are still learning the best ways to advance D&I in our organizations—we can learn together and create deeper team engagement in the process.
Measure What Matters
Culture Plus Consulting has provided a comprehensive breakdown of important data points to track but emphasized the importance of recognizing the strength and limitations of each point. For example:
If you are thinking about recruitment and trying to diversify your applicant pool, consider comparing the profiles of your applicants with the larger labor market. While this can help you identify pipeline issues like unseen bias in your recruitment, it will not tell you why certain groups are less likely to apply for a position.
Hiring a more diverse workforce is one step, but retention may be a more salient data point for what you are looking to achieve. McKinsey has confirmed in their report “Diversity Wins: How Inclusion Matters” that companies in the “top quartile for gender diversity on executive teams were 25% more likely to have above-average profitability than companies in the fourth quartile (up from 21% in 2017 and 15% in 2014.)”
Consider tracking promotions in your company and filtering by diverse identifiers. It helps you determine if there may be bias in your assessment or selection, but it will not indicate if certain individuals are self-selecting out of opportunities.
Measuring employee engagement is a critical way to show that you are listening, especially if you’re acting on the feedback you receive. These surveys allow for an anonymous collection of feedback that can help to indicate patterns among identity groups that could indicate opportunities for improvement.
This does require surveys to also solicit demographic and identifying data that people may be less likely to provide if they are concerned about inclusion. It is also important to research and identify the kinds of questions that will inform areas of diversity and inclusion.
Every organization is different, and each company needs to determine the right strategies and measures that help them build the company culture and employee experience they are looking to achieve. One thing that all companies should consider is that while finding the right data points may be more individualized, all organizations should identify milestones.
A commitment to D&I is a commitment to creating an environment where your team members can thrive and everyone can rally behind your company’s mission and contribute to its performance and growth.
In that sense, the road to achieving a diverse and inclusive workplace is winding and long. Identifying milestones and celebrating when you’ve reached those milestones can help rally your team behind the effort, make them feel a sense of pride and ownership in the accomplishment.
It can also help them to see the results of everyone’s hard work, and demonstrate to each team member the shared benefits and rewards of a diverse and inclusive workplace and culture in which everyone can contribute their best work.