Diversity and Inclusion continues to provide benefits to organizations including performance, innovation, customer loyalty, and employee satisfaction. And there is a good reason for this. Teams that are diverse and inclusive better reflect the population, including the people they sell to, make better decisions by including the different viewpoints and solve challenges with more innovative solutions.
A recent McKinsey report states, “not only that the business case remains robust but also that the relationship between diversity on executive teams and the likelihood of financial outperformance has strengthened over time”.
Even though we know of all the benefits of diversity and inclusion, putting it into practice on a day-to-day basis can be difficult. Unconscious biases, habits, processes, and culture can all inadvertently prevent us from making meaningful change.
The way to move beyond opinions and beliefs, according to Harvard Business Review, is to use data. Utilizing data provides an honest assessment of gaps and creates a single source of truth for the organization through the alignment of honest, accessible metrics. The article looks at four areas to help you use data to build a meaningful diversity and inclusion approach.
Identify Data Gaps
Analytics around people resources are the least analyzed in the business world. When we think of these metrics we tend to think of gender diversity. Beyond that, there are a lot of holes. According to the report, some global companies are prohibited from collecting diversity data due to local regulations.
To identify gaps you may have, document what data you have and what you need to understand your employee base. “Work with HR and legal to ensure that you’re capturing the right data and allowing people to opt-in appropriately. For example, don’t limit employees to a single check box or shortlist of options when self-identifying information like gender, race, and ethnicity.”
Track Leading Indicators on Inclusion
Assess your employee engagement initiatives and see if you are getting meaningful feedback. This includes analysis of quantitative data and written comments. And some video conferencing tools can provide data on who stays quiet, who gets interrupted, and other indicators that can determine if there are unidentified patterns. “If certain groups are consistently talked over, talked down to, or ignored, they are unlikely to stay employees for very long, and the workplace will quickly become less diverse.”
Arm Your Experts with a Single Source of Truth
Once you have collected the data, you’ll need to make it available in an honest, accessible format that everyone can see, filter, and apply to their business unit. You’ll want to ensure a standardized process, “Modern analytics platforms allow HR teams and people managers to query and visualize data such as demographics, retention rates, promotions, and employee recognition without needing to learn complex technology.”
Confront the Brutal Facts and Share them Transparently
No company is going to be perfect in their diversity and inclusion efforts, as gaps are identified, own them and demonstrate how you are going to address them. Don’t try to manipulate the data or use vanity metrics to imply the situation is better than it actually is.
Share the results broadly, with both internal and external audiences, and be transparent. In forward-looking statements, be resolute in your plans with measurable goals and well-defined next steps, “Only brutal honesty and alignment of incentives can lead to meaningful change. Tokenism is a recipe for failure.”
If you have questions or need help in building a culture of diversity and inclusion, send us a note.