Today, organizations across the world are becoming more inclusive and diverse than ever, even going beyond the traditionally used definitions of diversity & inclusion, that comprises of gender, race, culture, disability, and sexual orientation. The definition today has evolved into Diversity, Equity & Inclusion, with an aim to create a sustainable impact, fuel innovation and creativity brought by its principles. Therefore, DEI will not only bring forth the strengths, but also how the differences in the workplace can be embraced. Numerous studies have correlated DEI with increased organizational, team, and individual performances, especially in today’s hugely complex workplace scenario.
According to a Mckinsey study, for both gender and ethnic/cultural diversity, companies in the bottom quartile were 29% less likely to achieve above-average profitability whereas companies in the top quartile were 15% more likely to experience the same. Three years later, it rose to 21%, clearly implying that diversity is a lagging indicator of performance. Hence, honoring each individual’s contribution becomes even more important, to bring forth varied ideas and thoughts to solve the next intricate challenges organizations face today.
Need of defining the buzzwords
Diversity means difference of thought, opinion, being, and contribution. Equity means everyone is fairly represented and can contribute equally. Inclusion means everyone is included in the dialogue regardless of their background. In short, the definition of DEI is a big umbrella, beneath which the various nuances lie for better understanding and application.
Understanding DEI, its applications, and defining its metrics to measure progress are crucial to achieve the organizational goals, also because DEI can be a ‘sort of ambiguous’ subject to define in a very objective way. In today’s data-driven world, there is a growing need to embrace an approach where diversity of thought, opinion, contribution, and being are measured by data. This becomes more important as organizations are being driven by great employee experiences, with a baseline of practicing a culture where everyone has equal opportunity to participate and thrive. What’s more powerful than a metric & data-driven approach to determine the impact of all that gets done under the DEI umbrella.
Driving DEI measurement, approach, and impact
Defining metrics and its implementations will not only determine the impact of employee experience, but also ensure that no milestone gets missed from an employee’s journey. This measurement driven approach will also identify gaps in an organization’s DEI approach, to proactively ensure it remains on track.
DEI isn’t about women, LGBTQ+ and PWD alone
DEI encompasses a world where it’s about ``inclusivity of being” and being ‘fair and equitable to all’. Measuring representation of ‘all’ kinds of diverse groups in the employee population therefore becomes important & metrics have to capture this distribution very holistically. After all, it cannot be just a unidimensional measurement.
Open & Inclusive Leadership
It is the first step towards creating an engaged workforce. The correct tone for DEI is set by the leadership as a non-negotiable cultural behavior before it percolates down the line. They help define what kind of culture a place possesses and follow it by example. That is why representation of diverse groups in various layers of leadership, especially the C-suite is critical to be measured.
Attracting, Engaging, and Retaining Talent
Measuring diversity of the candidate pool helps determine how impactful the DEI journey will be. If the optimal recruiting mix isn’t achieved, it may also indicate what culturally an organization has to do more to achieve it. Further, Engagement Scores help in determining if this diverse talent, after joining, is getting engaged enough with the specific set of policies & practices and cultural elements tailored for them.
Measure the growth of careers
The objective of an employee’s career growth is to help them thrive and give their best. Organizations that measure growth for all employee groups score high as they reinforce their cultural message that it’s a fair workplace and provides everyone an equal opportunity to grow.
Pandemic has induced complex challenges for everyone to deal with. Therefore, measuring the data of total employees who may be dealing with mental wellbeing issues & yet are productive, can provide a great insight of a workplace’s ability to be inclusive. However, this does mandate measurement keeping confidentiality & sensitivity in mind.
Slowly so, but inclusion is also getting defined by faith and how companies manage it. For now, even measuring instances where respect to faith is challenged is a great way to know where cultural interventions may be needed to bring back DEI in its full form.
Whether it’s the provision of correct technology to work-from-home or physical workplaces that follows gender neutrality and accessibility for people with disabilities etc. goes a long way in engagement and retention. Measuring this as part of the engagement & productivity scores is a great way to build correlation between DEI, Engagement & Performance.
A data driven analysis along with qualitative feedback is an excellent way of understanding why diverse groups of an organization are leaving and a key to taking appropriate actions that don’t dilute the efforts of creating an inclusive workforce.
Creating impact on DEI isn’t about measurement alone. It starts with an unwavering commitment by the whole organization, from the leadership to employees, and embraces it in all forms. Data-driven measurement and rigorous governance can help identify pitfalls and of course correct the DEI framework of an organization. DEI is truly the bedrock of culture transformation and therefore, a carefully crafted data-oriented approach to the DEI framework would help organizations to become more diverse, fair, and inclusive to bring forth great people & performance results.