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8 Ways to Measure the Effectiveness of DEIB Initiatives | Ohio Employee Benefits Firm

Diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging (DEIB) is a priority for many employees. But it requires resources and, as a result, buy-in from leaders. To get people to commit to investing in anything, HR must have data and performance metrics to prove the value.

However, DEIB efforts – aside from sheer representation – are not always easy to measure. There is no obvious number to seek. So, HR Exchange Network turned to the thought leaders and experts to get ideas on how to measure DEIB initiatives. Discover what they said:

Unite the Team

“We establish specific goals. This is fundamental. This is the unequivocal path we follow. The goals encompass leadership gender objectives, demographic targets aligned with the communities we operate in and serve, and compensation benchmarks that are gender neutral.

We collaborate with partners who assist us in defining what success entails, providing us with a clear understanding of where we stand on this journey. We also conduct internal surveys to gather input from our associates and Employee Resource Groups. We have a firm commitment to data-driven decision-making and hold ourselves to high standards to ensure that we excel as an organization, benefiting our customers, associates, and the community we serve.

My advice is that it’s non-negotiable to become a ‘Diverse-Equitable-Inclusive-Belonging’ organization. Set ambitious targets and work together as a team to attain them. Set an example in your community of how a company should be run to ensure that everyone feels welcome.”-Andrew Koenig, CEO, CITY Furniture

Open All the Lines of Communication

“Even when doing everything you think is considered ‘right,’ it may still not be effective or impactful for your folks. This is where it’s very important to create avenues to hear from your staff directly.

This could be through surveys, focus groups, or town halls. You should also leverage any ERGs or DEI-focused groups you may have. (P.S. If you don’t already have a DEI committee, now’s a great time to create one!) They will have a better sense of how things may be landing within their communities.

You should also track turnover and retention rates over time to see if there has been an impact in those areas. Exit interviews are another great space to collect feedback from individuals, although I’m an even bigger fan of stay interviews. Intentionally gathering thoughts and insights from all these platforms and bringing them directly to leadership can help show that what they currently believe about staff may not be accurate, as well as help direct where to focus future efforts.”-Zara Chaudary, Global DEIB Impact Manager

Connect DEIB Goals with Talent Objectives

“At Peoplism, we advocate for our clients to measure their DEIB efforts by tying them to specific people-related goals. Investing in manager training? Then, measure the sentiment of manager feedback and development. Revamping performance reviews? Then, measure performance review scores and time to promotion.

The best way to get buy-in from leaders is to understand the strategic priorities of the company. If retention is a pressing issue, then focus on the DEIB initiatives that directly improve retention (e.g., improving performance reviews, improving transparency in promotion criteria).”-Danielle Little, Director, Process Change, Peoplism

Ask People What They Need

“Numbers and outcomes matter! Look closely at the demographics among employees, candidates, new hires, and promotions. Make sure pay is equitable.

Also, ask people what they are excited about and what they are nervous about when they hear about a focus on DEIB. Include leaders; they are people too, and responding to their excitement and worries is the key to getting them on board.”-Rachel Schneider, CEO, Canary

Build Trust

“There are two effective ways to evaluate the beneficial impact of DEIB programming efforts, and both rest on gaining insight from the employees. It is essential that employees feel free to give an honest assessment without fear of recrimination or isolation within the corporate environment.

The first method is to provide a brief, well-drafted survey that can be given anonymously, giving the employee the ability to share their thoughts without fear. The survey must not simply be a series of multiple-choice, or yes-or-no inquiries, but rather one that allows employees to share suggestions and/or criticisms. It is essential, no matter what the outcome of the survey, that the answers are shared; the suggestions are incorporated, if possible, and the criticisms addressed. The second effective method is to sponsor a retreat.

Often, employees can feel comfortable when away from the office, especially amid the beauty of nature, to share more freely. Employee opinion is paramount.”-Lisa Charles, CEO, Embrace Your Fitness, LLC

Leverage AI for Measurement of Success

“The intersection of talent, data, and AI is my love language.

Retention rates, participation rates, and pay equity can all be used to measure effectiveness. Regular surveys gauge sentiment and inclusivity. Focus groups provide continuous feedback.

Evaluate your AI models for biases and ensure the data used to train models captures diverse scenarios and populations.

Start small; don’t try to boil the ocean. Ensure data consistency, accuracy, and privacy at every step.

To gain buy-in, create an executive dashboard with both current and trends over time. Enrich it with industry benchmarks and best practices to identify areas of improvement or excellence.

Highlight success stories and case studies. Identify initiatives that have positively impacted the metrics.

Measuring, informing, equipping, and enhancing the effectiveness will better equip the leaders in making more confident, fact-based decisions that promote a truly inclusive culture.”-Salema Rice, CEO, CDO Today

Survey the Talent

“It’s imperative that we effectively measure the impact of our DEIB efforts. We regularly analyze our workforce demographics and track changes over time to ensure the representation of various groups. Additionally, we conduct team surveys that delve into matters of belonging, psychological safety, and opportunities for personal and professional growth. We also closely monitor retention rates, recognizing that high turnover among underrepresented groups can indicate issues with inclusion.

To get leadership buy-in, you may need to quantify the business case for DEIB initiatives and demonstrate tangible benefits. Illustrate how diversity and inclusion can substantially impact innovation, creativity, employee morale, and, ultimately, the bottom line by presenting data-driven arguments. Aligning DEIB initiatives with your company’s strategic objectives can show how a diverse workforce can enhance your ability to achieve company goals.”-Amy Spurling, CEO/Founder, Compt

Track Representation

“DEI goals are a great initiative for a company. The only way to ensure these goals are being met is by tracking employee representation in the workforce and ensuring diversity is evident across the board in different positions, including senior management. If certain groups are underrepresented, we should put a strategic plan in place to address this. If DEI hiring efforts are not yielding results, there may be bias in the hiring process that needs to be eliminated.

Another important metric is the turnover and retention rates of diverse employees. If hiring efforts result in the desired numbers but diverse employees are leaving, there is a significant issue in the work environment that needs to be addressed to promote inclusion and acceptance.”-Max Wesman, Chief Operating Officer, GoodHire

By Francesca DiMeglio

Originally posted on HR Exchange Network



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