Measuring Diversity and Inclusion (D&I)

Posted in : Blog
Posted on : August 15, 2022

By now, you know that workplace D&I makes a lot of cents (pun intended), not just for employee satisfaction and retention but for organizational health and profitability.
  • Gender-diverse organizations are 25% more likely to have above-average profitability than their peers; and
  • Ethnically diverse organizations are 36% more likely to have above-average profitability than their peers.[i]
  • Companies with a diverse workforce are up to 20% more innovative and deliver 19% higher innovation revenues.[ii]

What does not make sense is that many companies do not keep track of their current position, nor do they measure their progress towards reaching their D&I goals. Suppose an organization wants to make a meaningful change regarding diversity and inclusion. In that case, it is not enough to adopt a pro-diversity stance without implementing a measurement strategy to keep track of this goal. Organizations tend to measure activities they deem critical to success. By not measuring diversity and inclusion plans and goals, the message is clear that the organization is, at best, indifferent to D&I issues.[i]

It may seem obvious to state, but D&I consists of two distinct elements: diversity and inclusion. Each aspect requires a specific measurement tool, as they are fundamentally different (although interconnected) concepts. Diversity requires a quantitative measurement or census. Inclusion is a qualitative survey of employee feelings and perceptions.

Measuring Diversity

An organization's diversity measurement is based on demographics - the statistical data about a population and particular groups. In other words, it is about understanding the individuals and groups of people in the organization.

Diversity is a quantitative measure. The measurement should look at an organization's workplace and personal demographics. Workplace demographics refer to organizational data points such as tenure, job function, department, location, or job level. Personal demographics refer to each employee's uniqueness. This includes family status, sexual orientation, gender, age, race and ethnicity, place of birth, or languages spoken.

Capturing these two separate and related data sets gives a clearer picture of an organization's workplace diversity.

However, demographics change over time; thus, an organization's diversity can change. It is essential to track workforce changes to ensure that the organization is meeting the needs of its people. Large organizations with rapid employee turnover may need to conduct a census of their people more often than smaller organizations with relatively slow turnover or employment growth rates.

Measuring Inclusion

Unlike the quantitative diversity metrics, inclusion measurement is qualitative in nature. It involves gathering employees' feelings, attitudes, and perceptions concerning their workplace. Organizations must evaluate worker sentiment to successfully track inclusion, ensuring that the employer can act swiftly on the findings.[i]

Inclusion surveys can act as a baseline. In conjunction with "pulse" surveys, they can highlight feelings of inclusion at different organizational levels, which provides an opportunity to understand differences within the organization. 

Leaders can use the pulse data to devise focus groups or conduct listening circles. These tools delve deeper into the sentiments of different groups, teams, or workplace locations, thereby uncovering potential issues, obstacles, or roadblocks.

Beyond the Business Case

Demographic data can guide updated recruitment policies. But without inclusion data, an organization may be allowing micro-aggressions, exclusive behaviours, and disrespectful acts to flourish, thus countering retention efforts. Bias may be hindering employee growth opportunities and in so doing, damaging leadership development paths.

Knowing and understanding workforce diversity can aid in policy development and strategic planning. Revisiting your organization's vision, values, and mission statements may be a good place to start if you are wondering what to do next. In order to be successful, DEI efforts must be aligned with more extensive organizational mandates.

Conclusion

Inclusion, diversity, equity, and accessibility (IDEA) will be at the forefront of business priorities for years to come. It makes good business sense to embrace the changing workplace. By measuring diversity and inclusion, an organization can position itself to make data-informed decisions for strategy and planning.

CCDI Consulting offers a wide range of services to support organizations undertaking their IDEA measurement and assessment needs.

References

[i] McKinsey and Company. (2020). Diversity wins: How inclusion matters. https://www.mckinsey.com/featured-insights/diversity-and-inclusion/diversity-wins-how-inclusion-matters.

[ii] World Economic Forum. (2020). Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion 4.0: A Toolkit for Leaders to Accelerate Social Progress in the Future of Work. https://www.weforum.org/reports/diversity-equity-and-inclusion-4-0-a-toolkit-for-leaders-to-accelerate-social-progress-in-the-future-of-work.

[iii] Williams, J. C., and Dolkas, J. (2022). Data-Driven Diversity. Harvard Business Review. https://hbr.org/2022/03/data-driven-diversity.

[iv] Romansky, L., Garrod, M., Brown, K. and Deo, K. (2021). How to Measure Inclusion in the Workplace. Harvard Business Review. https://hbr.org/2021/05/how-to-measure-inclusion-in-the-workplace.

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