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Our current socio-political climate has shined a glaring light on the necessity for large scale change across organizations of any size when it comes to equity, diversity and inclusion (EDI). Most companies however, face the same issue they always have when working with qualitative features of social systems.

How do you make things tangible?

When implementing change in an organization, it can be hard to find a starting point, especially when it comes to tackling social systems in the workplace. However, being able to add tangible value to these concerns can make for a good start. Ways to make EDI tangible is using metrics to quantify the levels of engagement in EDI in the organization. Using metrics will help you find a starting point in your organization’s journey and will help your managers stear in the right direction. The best part of using metrics is that they can be used across all of your organization’s departments and can act as a benchmark for your EDI journey.

How do you justify the time, effort and investment in ways that make business sense?

Organizations are always going to ask themselves “Is this even worth it.” The answer is yes. Diverse companies make better decisions 87% of the time, are 35% more likely to have above average profits, are more productive, innovative and attractive to investors and customers. Employees of diverse backgrounds and abilities can reduce risk by 30% while improving innovation by 20%. Implementing diverse practices makes business sense. Having EDI fosters more creativity to help with problem solving and can ultimately improve an organization’s bottom line through breakthrough innovations. Not only can it improve your organization’s productivity, it can also impact the overall culture in a positive way that makes your employees feel safe and included to share their perspectives. 

Organizations have always had trouble dealing with these questions even in a broader people sense, now including new budget items around EDI need to be justified and warranted.

This is why industry leaders today put an increasing emphasis on measuring, analyzing and implementing a data-driven, quantifiable approach to EDI, giving it the same level of analytical thought as other technology-heavy functions like finance and supply chain.

The problem here is the difficulty in accurately and meaningfully quantifying these unique, ambiguous and subjective features that set EDI apart from most other functions. Most small and medium enterprises that lack the technology, systems and data aren’t even sure of where to begin. Hopefully, this article will help with that first step.

EDI metrics can be broadly classified into 3 categories – Diagnostic, Tracking and Prediction.

Diagnostic metrics are the most fundamental ones that directly determine the success of the other categories. These parameters help explore, quantify and shine a light on the potential focus areas for interventions. Some are common across most organizations, such as:

  • Diversity ratios
  • Employee engagement and retention metrics
  • Hiring and recruitment pipeline metrics
  • Compa ratios and benefits
  • Standardized exit interview data 
  • Employer brand. 

Others would be more specific to each organization based on its location or industry. For example, language might be an important diversity metric in European offices, while race and ethnicity might be more crucial in North America. The purpose of these metrics is to provide a blueprint and starting point for your organization, the data of which can then be used to start asking the right questions.

Once these questions have been asked, Tracking metrics come into play. How do you know whether your questions are accurate and what is your frame of reference? What are the standards to which you hold each parameter? Benchmarking plays a key role in this stage to provide each organization with the context and guidance it needs. When interventions are decided based on your diagnostic metrics, tracking parameters would include measures like participation rates in training programs, membership rates in ERGs and mentorship groups, and employee feedback data. These metrics will help steer the course of your interventions and adapt them to best suit your organization’s needs. Having a benchmark allows your managers to have a starting point in the EDI journey. 

The final and most challenging category is prediction metrics. These can be thought of as return on investment, but aren’t simply limited to financial returns. In order to understand how well your interventions are doing, you must most often draw insights against time. Trends across months or years help provide a bird’s eye view of the progress being made by the organization and in turn help predict the most probable outcome. These predictions can be as simple as a regression line that predicts the re-hire budget saved through diversity retention, or as intricate as complex supervised learning models that predict which employees are at a risk of getting disengaged. A major variable to keep in mind here is that ethics and moral decision-making must always trump the ever increasing need for more accurate information. 

When starting or continuing your organization’s EDI journey, finding that starting point can be the most challenging and daunting part. This is where Veza helps. Veza and its team of EDI experts will help guide your organization through its EDI journey through our Assessment. The Assessment gives your organization the necessary metrics on all aspects of the business to ensure that your EDI journey is measured. Our Maturity Model is used to gauge where your organization is on its diversity journey. The model helps identify the level of investment the organization is making to attract and retain underrepresented groups as employees, suppliers, or customers.

To get a snapshot of how your organization is doing for inclusivity, Veza offers a free Self Assessment. This free Self Assessment will give your organization an insight of areas for improvement in its EDI journey. However, if after taking the free Self Assessment is leaving you wanting more, you can take the plunge into Veza’s Full Assessment. 

Click here to take Veza’s free Self Assessment!