Whether you’re just starting to invest in D&I, or have ongoing efforts already in place, gauging your progress is an essential part of making progress. Many of the barriers to diversity and inclusion stem from unconscious biases, and as a result, it can be difficult to determine if the changes you’re making to your workplace are really impactful. Regularly checking in can help save time, money, and resources by allowing you to more accurately identify problem areas and ensure efforts are being directed to high priority areas. Conducting initial analyses is also key to targeting challenges and integrating the right solutions.
1. Determine What to Measure
Every business comes with unique challenges and strategies. To that end, inequities also vary vastly by region and industry. You may be focusing on anything from improving employee retention, diverse hiring, or inclusive policies, along with a host of other Inclusion Pain Points in between. All of these come with different goals, so when looking for effective metrics you need to know what they are. You may be interested in tracking the financial return of investing in D&I strategies, changes in the representation of diverse employees, or retention of talent. Revisiting the initial reasons behind the strategies you’ve been implementing is the first step to seeing if they’re working.
As an example, one significant inclusion challenge in the private equity industry is the lack of support policies in place for new mothers. This has been found to deter women from careers in PE, causing a stark gender imbalance. If a private equity firm hoping to improve this has put new maternity policies in place, an effective way to measure progress might be to track employment with parental status, or female hires over time, to see if the change has actually improved retention or onboarding of female employees. By contrast, tracking something like ethnic minority hires would not be a good reflection of the effectiveness of the new policies.
2. Find Trends Within Different Groups
Break down your analysis to look at various levels, departments, and traditionally marginalized groups. Looking at your company as a whole can yield misleading insights; it’s necessary to separate groups and look at the discrepancy between the minority and majority groups to get an accurate picture of how your company is doing and pinpoint problemsareas. Consider the following exhibit:
If we took an average of all employees surveyed, the percentage of those who feel supported by their manager would be above 80%. Keep in mind the distribution of diverse employees is likely to have more Caucasians and males, so their average response would hold more weight than the responses of black women, to name an example. The results would suggest some room for improvement, a generally good response. In this situation; however, the results would fail to show how one particular group feels significantly less supported, and should therefore be a target for future D&I efforts.
Breaking the collected data down will reveal exactly which groups and areas in your company need the most attention, and can help isolate the potential sources of inequity. Some other things to consider: What groups are advancing the fastest? Are bonuses, benefits and opportunities being awarded to all team members fairly? Do promotion and recruitment candidates have an even distribution of minorities?
3. Leverage Data Technology for Metrics, Insight, and Strategic Recommendations
Knowing what to look for and where to find it is a great start, but there’s the matter of how that often holds businesses back. D&I is a complex and evolving space that can feel overwhelming and intangible — how can one begin to measure it? Without unique expertise, analyzing inclusion is tricky and many companies simply don’t have the resources to collect necessary information internally. This is where external resources can be especially helpful. There are tools developed by teams dedicated to improving diversity and inclusion in the workplace, which make use of advanced data analytics and even artificial intelligence.
Diversio, for example, has a variety of services that measure and track D&I progress for you and will provide unique recommendations tailored to your specific problem areas. These recommendations include detailed implementation plans and a roster of helpful resources to help you execute them. They are also able to benchmark your company against the rest of your industry in a variety of areas such as fair management, safe work environment, and inclusive culture.
4. Welcome and Actively Seek Feedback
Your employees are the best source of information when it comes to evaluating your workspace. They experience the culture firsthand and are the most qualified to provide feedback and suggestions. By fostering an open, communicative environment, workers are more likely to give honest opinions and bring up sensitive issues. Building a positive and safe work culture starts with your team, so encouraging them to share their ideas and be a part of your company’s inclusion journey will spur change.
- Implement an open-door policy. Employees should feel welcome to voice their ideas and concerns whenever they need, so ensure they know there’s always a person to speak with and where to find them.
- Offer methods for anonymous feedback. Some people may not be comfortable bringing up issues directly and could fear the consequences of criticizing their workplace structure. Providing an anonymous inbox or an online feedback form allows everyone to feel safe expressing their ideas.
- Guide discussions and training about diversity and inclusion. Make D&I a positive topic, and educate your team about common issues and company initiatives. Let everyone know that you’re striving to build an inclusive, equitable workplace along with what you’re doing to achieve it, and invite them to contribute.
5. Check-in Regularly
Any work environment is dynamic, and as you continue to adapt D&I strategies, it’s important to consistently re-evaluate how they’re impacting your company. This should be an ongoing, iterative process that’s responsive to feedback and insight gathered from metrics. Keep checking in so that resources continue to be allocated in the most effective ways. In the event that new challenges arise, you’ll be made aware of them quickly and can work to resolve them efficiently and effectively.