Questions to Ask to Determine if Your Organization is Really Committed to DEI

We have a serious disconnect

When organizations say that diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) are important to them, yet 62% of employees in a recent poll do not believe their organization is truly committed to DEI, we have a serious disconnect. 75% of consumers say diversity is important to them, and they want to see deeper, more authentic commitments from CEOs and business leaders to DEI. Today’s consumer expects corporate leaders to be a part of social change and they trust corporations more so than their government and other sectors. 

The business case for diversity is not a secret.  Many well-known trusted resources have measured the ROI on diversity for decades.  Given the recent pushback against DEI work and layoffs across the industry, it is critical that organizations who want to demonstrate an authentic commitment to diversity consider these key questions. 

  • How are we measuring diversity and inclusion?
  • What systems need to be addressed to be more inclusive?
  • How are we holding ourselves accountable to DEI?

How are we measuring DEI?

You might be thinking, “I have no idea where to start measuring DEI at my organization.”  Just as with any data in business, start with what you have.  Your Human Resources Information Systems (HRIS) likely has gender identification and racial identification data from the hiring process.  Perhaps you could ask your leadership team if they have data or could ask someone on their team to gather the data.

Meet your organization where it is at.  Start with what you have now.  Dig in a bit deeper and break out the data by the employee experience.  Consider all aspects of the experience from recruiting to hiring, to performance management to separations.  Then, layer in the dimensions of diversity most important to your organization – race and gender are just two pieces of the puzzle.  Consider layering in disabilities, veteran status, sexual orientation as you progress.

Here are some data points along the employee experience to capture based on diversity dimensions:

  • Overall headcount
  • Hires
  • Turnover
  • Promotions
  • High potential
  • Salary or compensation ratios
  • Separations

Additionally, think about activity levels and perceptions that can be measured over time that are often leading factors for diversity and inclusion:

  • Number of DEI events, programs, and/or training events
  • Survey data on attitudes and beliefs about inclusion
  • Community activities that support DEI

The intent is to gather subjective data that, when measured, could provide a barometer on perceptions about inclusion like – How inclusive are our meetings?  How often does my manager talk about inclusion?  How committed is our organization to diversity and inclusion?

What systems need to be addressed to be more inclusive?

The data is just the beginning of the story.  The data is the “what,” – the “so what?” matters much more.  Once you have the data captured, think about how to tell the story.  Consider facilitating a discussion with the leadership team asking:

  • What story is this data telling us?  
  • Where are the gaps in our systems?
  • Where is bias prevalent (hiring, performance management, pay)?
  • What do our employees want us to do to show a genuine commitment to DEI?
  • What areas can we improve realistically with our current resources?

Strong organizations committed to DEI  hold their leaders accountable for diversity.  They measure it consistently over time with the expectation that it will improve.  It is not an overnight flip of the switch, yet over time, it should start to improve. Often, it is the systems that need to be addressed – where we post jobs, how we write job descriptions, how we make hiring decisions, how we promote people and how we make pay decisions. These systems are riddled with bias. 

How are we holding ourselves accountable to DEI?

As with anything important in business, we hold people accountable to it. There must be a consistent process to capture and communicate information. Be careful to avoid a zero-sum game mentality that pits diverse talent against the majority group.  That is the opposite effect you want to create. A DEI scorecard often fosters healthy competition and holds teams and leaders accountable long-term to DEI rather than check-the-box one and done training or events.

Common questions  to consider for DEI scorecards:

  • How often should I measure the data?  We recommend starting with measuring data quarterly and dial in on the frequency that works for you. 
  • How do I communicate the data with all employees?  This communication is best coming from senior leadership to illustrate its importance and communicated online as well regularly shared in all employee meetings.
  • Who is involved in the process?  The senior leadership team has to be involved in this process.  We recommend an initial review of the data and metrics for buy-in and pulse check communications throughout the process of rolling it out.  Middle management needs to be abreast of the process so they can also explain it to their teams.

Remember, it’s more important what you are doing with the data than the data itself.  If you do not like your data, resist the urge to hide it or wait until it gets better.  It will not get better without intentional focus on it.  Measurement, addressing bias systems, and accountability is what it takes to show genuine commitment.  It signals to everyone “we care and we are taking this seriously”.  Make it fun for people to get involved.  Your organization will be better for it.

Want to learn more about how to measure DEI? 

Schedule time with our team for a complementary discovery call. We can learn more about where you are on the DEI journey and share ideas to help support your organization long-term. Or, join us for our next interactive discussion on DEI hot topics with DEI leaders.

At Next Pivot Point we have lots of resources to help you facilitate successful diversity and inclusion training. Schedule some time with our team today to discuss where to start or how to do better. You can also check out: