A well-crafted DEIB strategy is crucial to the success of a company. According to a Gartner report, companies that are diverse and inclusive see a 30% improvement in team performance.
So how can your organization make progress in this area? There are a number of ways in which you can optimize your DEIB strategy so that you move closer to achieving your goals in diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging. And more importantly, there are ways in which you can track your activity to recognize which areas in your employee experience need improvement.
You’ll first need to know the difference between diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging, since progress in one area doesn’t mean progress in another. The acronym is broken down below to help you plan and measure your targeted initiatives accordingly.
A good measuring stick for progress in diversity is for the demographic makeup of your workforce to accurately reflect the demography of your overall society. So how do you do that?
Start with the hiring process. Every step of the recruitment process has its own unique elements that can bring you closer to your DEIB goals.
Ask yourself the following:
Anonymously surveying your candidates is an opportunity for you to track demographics as they move through the recruitment funnel. If you find that there’s a 50-50 gender split in your initial applicant pool, but 70% of candidates who reach the executive interview stage are male, then you know where there’s work to be done.
You can also use data from those surveys to track the demographics of your existing workforce and monitor how that changes from time to time. Don’t forget to look at the demographics by role and level as well – equal representation throughout a company doesn’t necessarily mean equal representation at the executive or managerial levels.
The right people operations platform allows you to visualize your organization and understand how it’s evolved over time. Filter your people by demographics to see the progress you’ve made in your DEIB efforts.
Equity can be measured in numerous ways: salary, advancement, perks and benefits, distribution of responsibilities, assignment and ownership of tasks, and so on. Where diversity is about equal representation, equity is about equal opportunity and equal treatment for employees.
Questions to consider include:
Your goal is to answer all of these questions with a resounding “yes.”
Analyze the salaries in your company. Study the existing benefits package – or packages – you offer. Monitor promotions and raises to see if they are fairly distributed. Survey your employees, ensuring anonymity. As the direct beneficiaries, they’re the experts in what benefit options may need to be included in your current offering.
If you find there’s a gender pay gap in your company (especially in the same roles), that promotions disproportionately favor one demographic group over another, or that the “only woman” at the meeting ends up being the one taking notes, then you have work to do to remove those inequities from the collective employee experience.
Inclusion is more qualitative than diversity and equity, as it’s more about whether your employees feel welcome, respected, and included in the environment where they work. Because this suggests more of a “sense” among employees than an objective item in your DEIB playbook, inclusion is harder to track than the others – but not at all impossible.
Gather employee feedback around their experience and satisfaction with their work environment. Keep a close eye on your retention metrics. For example, the median tenure for adult males with their current employers in the United States has remained at 4.3 years since January 2016 according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. For adult females, it was four years in January 2016 and now stands at 3.8, a full half year less on average than males.
Why’s that? A multitude of potential reasons. For example, females are more likely to leave a career in tech than their male counterparts due to misconception of one’s own qualifications, among other explanations. If that’s the case in your company, you can grow your L&D initiatives, introduce mentorship programs, and increase work flexibility – which are all proven to increase retention, a sense of self-worth, and inclusion.
Belonging is tougher to measure, as it’s the result of an organization that’s diverse, inclusive, and equitable. While equal treatment and opportunity contribute to belonging, there are other, more abstract elements to the sense of belonging in a company – such as an employee expressly saying, “I feel like I’m an essential and valued part of this team’s overall fabric.”
A company can have a truly diverse workforce with truly equal opportunity and compensation, with employees feeling like they’re included – but ultimately, if they don’t feel like they belong, the other three parts of DEIB may start looking like prescribed checkbox exercises.
Again, this is where employee surveys are useful. Sample questions can include:
You want employees to feel as though their layered social identities are honored throughout their journey at your organization. And because you want your employees to feel like they truly belong as an equal and valued member of your organization, it’s best to use your people data to ensure your DEIB efforts are working. Set a regular (and manageable) cadence to survey and analyze employee feedback so you can pivot plans to make the biggest impact.
Ultimately, your DEIB efforts come down to understanding your employees and their experiences as well as ensuring better practices among leaders in how employees are managed. Your team can track all of this indirectly via employee data and directly via surveys.
This strategy is crucial for taking you one step closer to your company’s stated DEIB goals. Not only do the actions in DEIB listed above speak louder than mere words, but the results – such as engagement and retention – speak even more convincingly than that, including in your company’s bottom line.
About the Author: Keith MacKenzie leads the content strategy over at Workable, the world’s leading recruitment software company. Keith is passionate about empowering HR leaders to make informed decisions — which all starts with hiring the best people for your workforce.
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