Measuring diversity and inclusion: 5 reason to prioritize it and how to do it

DEI survey

“If you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it”. “What gets measured, gets done”. Measuring is a key factor in reaching any business goal and DEI is no exception. Consequently, companies have started to realize the value and benefits of advancing diversity, equity, and inclusion and come out with ambitious goals and plans. However, before adopting any plans or setting goals, it is crucial to assess the current state of DEI. Measuring diversity and inclusion can help recognize what is done well and what areas can be improved. Only after measuring diversity and inclusion can one understand what should be prioritized.

Setting goals for your Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) work is essential if you want to make real progress. DEI has become an organizational imperative. Many companies and organizations are feeling the pressure to do more when it comes to advancing these topics. In today’s business world, employers compete for talent. Thus, it’s important to communicate your DEI efforts to the existing team and potential talent.

However, before committing to any initiatives or setting goals, it is important to stop and think. Who is working in this organization and who is not? What are the actions to prioritize with the current resources for DEI work? Which initiatives would have the most impact? What kind of goals are realistic and seen as valuable by employees? Have you asked the people what their experiences are when it comes to inclusion? What are your strengths and areas of development when it comes to DEI? A D&I Survey helps answer these questions and get started with the work.   measuring diversity and inclusion5 reasons to measure diversity, equity, and inclusion with a survey

  • Get insights to be able to define the right priorities 

Measuring diversity and inclusion is the basis for your DEI work. Assuming facts about the culture, experiences of inclusion or state of diversity in an organization can be misleading. It can lead to wasting resources, often very limited ones.  From the D&I Survey, you’ll get the needed insights to prioritize the right initiatives to make actionable change.

  •  Demonstrate your commitment to DEI.

Diversity, equity, and inclusion are increasingly important values for employees and this is something that top brands and companies have realized. Among the World’s Most Attractive Employers, 98 percent say diversity and inclusion are very important parts of recruiting efforts. Starting with a D&I survey is a signal for your employees that you are listening to them and taking action to create a more inclusive workplace.

  • Understand how different groups are represented 

Do you know how diverse your team is? Are different age groups, genders, and backgrounds represented? Are there people with different educational backgrounds, experiences, or life situations? DEI Survey reveals who is being represented in your organization and who is not, and helps you to identify what to focus on. 

  • Identify areas of strength and improvement when it comes to inclusion

DEI surveys are a good way to measure the experiences of belonging and inclusion. They help identify weaknesses and possible barriers. It is important to remember that an organization itself cannot self-proclaim to be inclusive. Inclusion is a subjective experience and therefore understanding how different employees perceive the working environment and practices is essential. Lack of data in this area might lead to focusing on the wrong initiatives that are not perceived as valuable by the employees. Without data, it’s also hard to know what to prioritize. Inclusion data from the DEI Survey helps you identify both things that you are already doing well and areas that need improvement. 

  • Gather data to monitor progress 

One benefit of the DEI Survey is that you’ll get data to monitor progress. Repeat the survey yearly or bi-yearly, and you’ll see if your DEI initiatives have the impact they are supposed to. It is important to include goals and key metrics from your DEI strategy in the survey to ensure that the survey is aligned with strategic goals. 

The most important question – how to do it?

At Inklusiiv, we have created a customized approach to measure D&I. Organizations are at different stages of a DEI journey so there is no one-size-fits-all approach when it comes to measuring diversity and inclusion. 

Measuring both diversity & inclusion allows organizations to identify impactful changes. Our D&I survey includes questions on both diversity and inclusion metrics. Therefore, it provides nuanced quantitative insights into the state of D&I in your organization.

Diversity metrics focus on measuring how balanced and representative the team is and assessing whether different demographics are represented. Diversity metrics include demographic data related to, for example, age, gender identity, disabilities, sexual orientation, language, family status, or education. However, it’s important to remember that gathering any demographic data requires careful planning as you need to take legal requirements and restrictions into consideration. 

Inclusion metrics focus on assessing how employees experience the work environment and equity of opportunities. Inclusion metrics measure employees’ experiences related to, for example, psychological safety, inclusive leadership, fairness and equal opportunities, harassment and discrimination, recruitment, and organizational commitment to DEI. When measuring inclusion, it is important to identify the most impactful metrics to follow as there are so many different aspects of inclusion.  

Lastly, we want to point out that quantitative data is not always enough to understand the nuances and get the full picture. Consider using a combination of quantitative and qualitative data to gain a deeper understanding of specific areas and pain points. 

Remember these when planning a DEI Survey:

  • Communicate openly & honestly. A DEI Survey can include personal questions that might evoke emotions and make employees question why such things are asked. That’s why it is important to communicate openly and honestly about the purpose of the survey and how the data will be utilized, before even launching the survey. 
  • Make it anonymous & safe. It is of the utmost importance, and a legal requirement, to make the DEI survey safe for employees. Collect all data anonymously and make sure that individuals can’t be identified from the data. Consider using a neutral third party as a survey provider. This guarantees a safe and truly anonymous survey experience and the collection of honest and relevant data. 
  • Share the results & the way forward. After the survey, it is important to communicate the results and actions taken to employees. If you have a DEI strategy, the survey and communicating about it should be an essential part of it. 
  • Take legal requirements into account. When measuring D&I, you need to consider possible legal requirements and restrictions that apply in your organization’s context. 

At Inklusiiv, we offer a comprehensive survey package to measure the state of both diversity and inclusion in your company. We act as a neutral entity with the highest priority on privacy. Thus we enable the collection of honest and relevant information. Moreover, we can also help you review your existing plan to measure D&I in your organization and or provide consultation on developing DEI elements of your existing staff surveys. Contact us at consulting@inklusiiv.com to find out more.

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