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How to measure the progression and impact of a diversity and inclusion strategy 

By Yvonne Smyth, Head of Diversity & Inclusion, Hays 

 

Business leaders are increasingly understanding and expecting to see the value and benefits that a diverse workforce and inclusive workplace culture can bring their organisation. However, it isn’t always easy to measure and track the progress made in this area and, crucially, the sought after positive impact that this progress returns to the business.

There are a number of direct and indirect metrics which when captured and then analysed through a diversity % inclusion lens, can help evidence this.

Before searching for solutions, ask the right questions

When deciding how best your organisation should measure D&I, take a step back and ask yourself the following questions: 

  • What do you want to achieve with your D&I initiatives?
  • How will you know when you have reached your objectives?
  • What data points (quantitative and qualitative) will support the above?
  • What do you already know?
  • Where are your ‘pressure points’ or areas of concern within your organisation?
  • What additional insights are required?
  • Which insights create a stronger business case for D&I?

In addition to the above, there are a number of golden rules that you should always remember:

1. Don’t just measure diversity, measure inclusion too

A common pitfall is to focus on measuring levels of diversity (and this itself is a broad church and a topic for a different time) without combining this with measurements around levels of inclusion. After all, it’s not simply having a diverse workforce that gives businesses a competitive edge. It’s about creating an environment where your workforce feel confident and empowered to offer their different opinions and experiences to the workplace and, through this, bring innovation and meaningful change to the organisation.

As well as reporting, for example, on gender representation and ethnicity of employees, aim to quantify levels of inclusion through employee engagement sources such as feedback surveys and 360 reviews. Also look at how often they attend pivotal meetings, are included in key decision-making processes, or are invited to give feedback on the culture of the business and management style.

In short, measuring inclusion is vital. The value and advantages that a diverse workforce represents cannot be realised and sustained in the absence of an inclusive culture.

2. Tailor your measurements to business goals

In order to be both meaningful and truly effective, you need to apply measures based on your own organisation’s strategy. While there are some shared best practice concepts, don’t take the shortcut of simply duplicating what other businesses are doing. Focus on what currently works for measuring and reporting within your organisation, and see how this structure can be used for D&I measures, be they within a wider business scorecard or a specific D&I scorecard.

3. D&I is a continuous change programme, and so is measuring it

What you choose to start measuring in the early stages of your D&I journey may be significantly more limited in its scope to what you ultimately want to cover. This is okay, pace yourself. Prioritise and align your D&I measurements to your business priorities. Ensure you are clear on the data you need to evidence this and continue to build on this as part of your longer-term D&I delivery plan.

Ensure the key stakeholders within your organisation are regularly updated on how the data captured is being used to inform better business decisions and outcomes. This open line of communication will mean that they continue to champion the programmes needed to deliver ongoing progress and change.

To read some more of our ‘golden rules’, please download our latest Diversity & Inclusion newsletter.

About this author

Yvonne is Head of Diversity & Inclusion at Hays, working with our clients to ensure their recruitment strategies are aligned with the latest equality, diversity and inclusion (ED&I) policies and initiatives. She is responsible for creating and implementing diverse recruitment strategies that effectively support the representation of more diverse staff profiles within their business.

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