Assessing DEIB Initiatives: Metrics That Matter

Over the past decade, organizations have made significant leaps in embedding diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging (DEIB) into the core of their company culture. Employers have never had more inclusive policies, training, resources, and processes than in today’s business landscape. The tricky part is understanding which DEIB metrics really matter, and then weighing the impact of those initiatives to improve future strategies.

Further, DEIB data isn’t always easy to interpret. Unlike measuring profit or expenses, it can be difficult to gauge a collective feeling of “belonging” amongst employees. The most effective way to evaluate your DEIB program is to take a holistic approach, gathering both qualitative and quantitative data for a well-rounded perspective of your organization’s culture.

Below we examine 5 ways to assess your DEIB program, along with some practical insights from real companies.

1. Start by Assessing Current DEIB Metrics

Which metrics are you currently capturing and why? Ask yourself if they are relevant to the strategic goals within your organization and then be sure they are trackable over time.

  • Representation metrics: As a baseline, it’s important to know your demographics at each level of the organization. Compare entry-level, management, and executive groups to assess diversity in terms of gender, race, ethnicity, disability, and more.
  • Employee retention rates: Compare attrition across different demographic groups to identify any disparities or areas needing improvement. Understanding who is most likely to exit your company can help reveal weak spots, or ways that inclusion isn’t working in your organization.
  • Promotion rates: Research consistently suggests that people from marginalized groups are given fewer promotions and professional advancement at work. Take a hard look at promotion rates by demographic group—you may uncover hidden biases.
  • Compensation equity: Take the time to analyze your gender and race pay gaps, along with employee bonuses. Conducting regular audits will help you identify any disparities in compensation between employees in similar roles or at similar levels.

Microsoft, recognized as one of Canada’s Best Employers for Diversity according to the latest Forbes list, looks at the data across the business in terms of both representation and population of women and men globally and of racial and ethnic groups in the US. It’s a very effective snapshot of their representation levels over time and allows them to track progress and cross reference with other demographics. Microsoft’s 2023 Global Diversity and Inclusion Report is available here for anyone to review.

2. Dig into Inclusion and Belonging Metrics

It can be challenging to quantify certain aspects of your DEIB program, especially the “inclusion and belonging” components, but there are ways to evaluate it.

  • Engage employees: Surveys and focus groups are great ways to gauge employees’ perceptions of inclusion and belonging. Key questions might include their sense of being valued, their comfort in expressing themselves, and their overall satisfaction with the workplace culture.
  • Participation in DEIB programs: Look at engagement in DEIB-related training and coaching, along with membership numbers of Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) to assess the effectiveness of these initiatives. Many companies track things like unconscious bias training completion or employee turnover by demographics and identify areas for improvement from there.
  • Follow incidents: Be sure to monitor any reports of discrimination or harassment to better understand where the organization’s cultural climate is at, and how incidents are responded to.

3. Evaluate the Impact of DEIB Initiatives on Business

Understanding how your programs and initiatives are affecting your bottom line is critical for any business.

  • Business performance: Take the time to correlate your company’s diversity metrics with business outcomes like innovation output, market share, and revenue to draw connections between DEIB and organizational success.
  • Employee performance and productivity: Investigate how DEIB initiatives influence individual and team performance metrics. For instance, track a team’s performance before and after DEIB-related manager training and compare the numbers over time.
  • Recruitment funnel analysis: Many companies measure the demographic composition of their recruitment pipeline. Take it a step further and try measuring the impact of your process – if candidates with disabilities are less likely to make it past the first interview than those without, then you may have some issues to address in your talent acquisition group.

4. Patterns, Trends and Benchmarking

Tracking comprehensive, year-over-year data can help improve future DEIB programs and provide your company with a strategic advantage in the marketplace.

  • Monitor trends over time: To understand if your DEIB program is effective, you must examine short-term outcomes as well as long-term impacts and take action based on patterns in the data.
  • Be sure to benchmark: Research a competitor’s DEIB strategy and compare your own metrics to evaluate where your business stands in comparison.

5. Track Supply Chain Demographics

Expanding your DEIB metrics externally is socially responsible and can give your business a competitive advantage.

Let’s have a look at lululemon athletica, which was rated second on Canada’s Best Employers for Diversity, according to the latest Forbes list. One metric lululemon tracks (that most companies don’t) is the diversity of their suppliers, or “makers”. They record the percentage of procurement spent with diverse makers to ensure their supply chain supports inclusive economic growth.

The company also provides their suppliers with access to “wellbeing tools and resources” and sets clear goals around the initiative. By tracking supplier diversity, lululemon not only contributes to social equity, but also gains competitive advantages in innovation, resilience, and market positioning.

Today’s HR teams should feel empowered to use their DEIB data to make a positive impact in their company. Ultimately, it’s all about making modern-day organizations a place where individuals feel supported, safe, and welcome. Focus on the DEIB metrics that matter to your business, make sure they are measurable, and let the data guide you in your future goals. Remember, businesses that prioritize DEIB metrics are better positioned to attract and retain top talent and achieve sustainable growth in a diverse, competitive global economy.

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