Is it possible to measure the success of diversity, equity, and inclusion in your organization? While this is not easy, it’s also not impossible. 

There are certain best practices, metrics, and technologies that can enable you to measure the success of your DEI initiatives and quickly find areas for improvement. 

Companies and organizations spend about $8 billion annually on DEI training in the U.S. alone, according to a study from McKinsey. At the same time, just 23% of HR professionals feel that their DEI programs are highly effective, per a report from HR.com.

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This aligns with Deloitte’s finding that more than 20% of employees believe their organization is on the right DEI path and mainly needs to keep pushing on current efforts, while 70% of them have identified several different opportunities for their companies and leaders to consider.

Why Measuring DEI Matters

Why is it so important to understand the success of your organization’s DEI initiatives?

One research found that engagement and inclusion are in fact separate but related concepts. In particular, the research found that employee engagement is an outcome of diversity and inclusion. Whilst those who feel highly included in a workplace with a low commitment to diversity are more engaged (67%) compared to those in a workplace with high diversity and low levels of inclusion (20%), it is the combined focus on diversity and inclusion which delivers the highest levels of engagement (101%).

Like any other workplace initiative, diversity, equity, and inclusion should be measured in a way that shows its impact on the overall business success and performance

However, with DEI this is easier said than done. 

As nicely explained by Laura Mills, Head of Early Career Insights at Forage

“Data is empirical evidence that you’re making progress — or not making progress — towards your DEI goals. It helps you understand your baseline, but also what’s possible. But to make meaningful progress, you need to understand the landscape you’re working within first.”

When organizations are first getting started with DEI activities, they’re most likely to set simple talent acquisition or workforce composition goals — such as increasing the candidate pipeline for a particular underrepresented group. 

While this is a good start, the impact of DEI can and should be much bigger than that. In fact, companies can make a more meaningful, long-lasting impact by focusing on equity and inclusion.

Make your DEI initiatives more impactful with Haiilo!

How to Measure the Level and Impact of DEI in Your Organization

There are different ways to measure the current state of DEI in your organization and understand its impact on the overall business success

Let’s take a deep dive. 

1. Workforce demographics

Start measuring diversity in your organization by analyzing your current workforce demographics. Track the composition of employees across different dimensions such as race, gender, age, nationality, disability, and sexual orientation at all levels (entry-level, middle management, senior leadership).

2. Recruitment pipeline

According to Deloitte, 67% of job seekers use diversity as an important factor when considering companies and job offers.

Naturally, companies that invest in DEI are more likely to attract diverse talent to their organization

dei-recruitment

So understanding the diversity of your recruitment pipeline is critical for ensuring the right level of diversity in your organization. If your talent pool is not diverse, you may want to consider additional channels for promoting your job openings or launching various DEI Employer Branding campaigns to attract more diverse talent.  

3. Turnover rates

Instead of just tracking employee turnover on a company or departmental level, put more effort into understanding turnover among different employee groups

If there are commonalities or outliers, this may be a good sign of a lack of diversity, equity, and inclusion in your organization. 

4. Employee engagement and performance

According to Deloitte, when employees think their organization is highly committed to, and supportive of diversity, and they feel highly included, then they are 80% more likely to agree that they work in a high-performing organization. 

Equity and inclusivity directly impact employee morale, motivation, and engagement, which usually results in better employee performance. 

5. Compensation and benefits equity

Fair pay, compensation, and benefits are critical for ensuring a good employee experience. To ensure compensation and benefits policies in your organization are fair, make sure you conduct pay equity analyses to identify disparities in compensation across different demographic groups.

💡 Related – Diversity and Inclusion in the Workplace: Benefits + Best Practices

6. Access to training and career progression opportunities

Do employees in your organization have equal access to training, advancement, and career progression opportunities

Are these opportunities communicated to everyone?

To measure and analyze equal access to career progression, you can ask yourself these questions:

  • How many people from diverse backgrounds are making it to leadership roles?
  • How long is it taking them to do so?
  • Is there a difference between the average career trajectory of white employees and employees of other backgrounds?

7. Absenteeism

Previously mentioned research showed that the more included employees feels, the more likely they are to be at work (i.e. reducing the cost of absenteeism). More specifically, the data from one organization demonstrated that if just 10% more employees feel included, the company will increase work attendance by almost one day per year (6.5 hours) per employee. 

8. Sense of belonging

Employees’ sense of belonging in the workplace is a good indicator of their perception of equity and inclusivity in your organization. Make sure that you regularly distribute employee pulse surveys to understand the sense of belongingness in the workplace. 

💡 Related: Top 30 Diversity and Inclusion Survey Questions

9. Incident reports

Dig deeper into the incident reports related to discrimination and harassment in your organization. Look for anomalies to identify differences across various dimensions such as race, gender, age, disability, and sexual orientation. 

10. Participation in DEI initiatives

If your organization is regularly promoting various diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives, make sure that you track your employees’ engagement with them. 

Those who are most engaged could become your DEI ambassadors and help you amplify the impact of your internal DEI communications strategy

📹 Check out our Masterclass about how to build a successful internal communications strategy!

Best Practices for Measuring Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

Measuring and understanding the impact of DEI is complex because DEI has a direct and indirect impact on dozens of people and business-related KPIs

However, these steps can really help you get a better understanding of the impact and benefits of DEI in your organization. 

Set clear goals

In order to understand the impact of DEI on your organization, it’s important that you set up clear DEI goals for your organization

Some examples of the goals may be:

  • Increase the number of job applications from [a specific race, gender, age, nationality, disability, and sexual orientation]
  • Increase the number of promotions for [a specific race, gender, age, nationality, disability, and sexual orientation]
  • Hire X% more women in leadership roles in the next 12 months
  • Increase the sense of belongingness in the workplace by X%
  • Improve employee engagement by X%
  • Increase employee engagement with DEI-related internal content by X%

Benchmark

To understand the current state of diversity, equity, and inclusion in your organization, you must perform both internal and external benchmarking. 

  • Internal benchmarking: Compare DEI metrics over time to assess progress and identify trends in your organization. For example, if your goal was to have 50% of women in leadership roles, benchmark this goal against the current state of female leaders in the company.  
  • External benchmarking: Compare your organization’s DEI metrics against industry standards and best practices to identify areas for improvement.

Ensure internal transparency

Make sure that you consistently share your DEI metrics and trends with the entire organization. Such transparency will help you build trust with employees and show them that DEI is on top of your organization’s goals and priorities

Unfortunately, Deloitte’s DEI trust research showed that 40% of employees who don’t trust their organization to fulfill their DEI commitments would leave the organization. 

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Also, being transparent can help you improve your DEI metrics. For example, if your goal is to hire more people from a specific gender, age, or nationality, you may motivate existing employees to refer more candidates from those groups and help you achieve your DEI goals. 

Measure the impact of your DEI communications strategy

Your internal communications strategy plays an important role in improving the impact of DEI in your organization and achieving better organizational alignment. Not only that IC and HR professionals are responsible for promoting DEI and ensuring transparency in the workplace, but they can also be the driving force behind proving the ROI of DEI initiatives and internal campaigns. 

With Haiilo, internal communications departments can finally understand how their DEI content and campaigns resonate with various internal audiences.

For each of the DEI campaigns, you can set read, reach, and alignment targets. For example, if you want to ensure greater visibility for career progression opportunities among various employee groups, setting up and measuring these targets is critical. 

Furthermore, for each of the DEI campaigns you simply attach a quick survey form or a simple poll to capture your employees’ feedback about these campaigns. 

Data and analytics around alignment scores, interacting users, and content perceptions will quickly give you valuable insights and actionable recommendations for improvement!

Check out our report on the synergy of multichannel communication and employee listening, featuring Forrester!

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