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Beyond Diversity: How to Measure DEI Progress in Your Organization
Measuring the success of your organization’s DEI program is critical to ensure that you are making progress toward building a diverse, equitable, and inclusive workplace.
It’s not just about having a diverse-looking workforce; it goes deeper than that. You need to evaluate culture-based cues to assess the state of inclusion and belonging in your workplace.
One of the important factors to consider is who’s speaking up. Pay attention to who dominates the conversation during meetings and who stays quiet. Instituting a “no interruptions” policy could help empower quieter voices in the room. It’s also good to watch who’s speaking up in written communications like Slack threads and email chains. A lack of engagement could suggest a lack of inclusion.
Another factor to consider is who’s showing up. Participation in voluntary events is an excellent indicator of inclusion and belonging. Take note of the turnout for things like lunch-and-learns and after-hours hangouts. If it’s low, it could be a sign of failing to practice inclusion and build belonging.
What people are saying is another important factor to evaluate. Surveys are a great way to measure DEI success, but make sure to segment the data by gender, ethnicity, age group, location, and other demographic categories. Taking a granular view of your survey data can help identify how and why certain groups are being excluded.
Additionally, it’s crucial to assess your organization’s talent content and hiring practices. Be mindful of unconscious bias in your talent content, as this could be the reason why certain groups aren’t applying or aren’t getting hired. Catching instances of bias can help improve your DEI efforts.
Promotion rates can also tell you a lot about DEI progress. Make sure to track promotion rates for different demographic groups. If you see disparities, it may be time to look at why certain groups are being left behind.
Finally, you’ll want to track clear-cut DEI metrics like demographics of your talent pipeline across hiring stages, demographics of new hires and all employees, demographic diversity across levels of your org, language change, DEI training/programming participation, pay equity, promotion rates by demographic, and demographic retention trends. These demographic data points are good indicators of a DEI program’s impact, but remember, the proof of a truly inclusive and equitable culture comes from a variety of places. Results aren’t always immediate, and some of the most important impacts of your DEI program won’t be easy to quantify. Try to keep measuring what matters and doing the things that matter but are difficult to measure while continuously tracking progress and making changes to make your organization more diverse, equitable, and inclusive.