How to successfully measure Diversity, Equality, and Inclusion at the workplace

Viktor Nordmark
25 August, 2021


In our last article (see below) on the same subject, we learned the definitions of diversity, equality, and inclusion. Today we’ll look into how to measure these diversity dimensions at the workplace. Considering the complex nature of measuring these, there’s a lot to learn about it. This is why we’ll do our best to lend you a comprised education in the subject. By measuring the current status of the diversity and inclusion metrics at your workplace, you can make the changes necessary which will result in happier co-workers and better financial results.

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The purpose of measuring

As an employer or HR manager, you may “feel” as if though your workforce is equal because from the looks of it you’re gender-equal. But it’s a tad more complicated than that. You can have 50% female/male employees leading you to believe you’re gender-equal, but if you look closer you might notice discrepancies. The purpose of the metrics used to disclose this type of information is to reveal and identify bias blind spots. As well as to track the progress of initiatives, calculate return on investment, and diagnose risk areas and opportunities.

Goals for change

In order to achieve change, you need to set up goals that take you there. Depending on what kind of business you’re in, and the structure of your company, your goals will vary depending on the challenges you’re facing at the time. Therefore there are no set of goals that work for everyone. It’s also more than “just achieving goals”, it’s about building a foundation from which you can work on your journey towards changing mindsets. Having an inclusive mindset is habitual and needs to be actively promoted at all times. It’s about making sure that every decision you make is based on these goals. Another reason why goals play a huge part in a change is that without them we might involuntarily fall back into our implicit bias that preferences some over others.

Let’s look at an example:

Company X has defined three goals that they want to achieve in one year, the goals are:

  1. They want to make sure that everyone at the workplace, no matter skin color, gender identity, sexuality, function-variety, nor age feels included and treated equally
  2. They want equal pay for men, women, and non-binary in all positions
  3. They want to create an equal hiring process

With these goals in mind, they gather data from the three different diversity dimensions in order to understand their current status. To get valid results, Company X also has to define which metrics to use in order to find out the desired result. The strategy and metrics are therefore different for each diversity dimension.

Another important point is to create monitored groups and dominant groups. The monitored groups consist of people who tend to be discriminated against, whereas the dominant group consists of people who tend to be (unfortunately) favored in society.

Which metrics to use and how to measure them

  1. EMPLOYEE ENGAGEMENT INCLUSION

    To measure this diversity dimension we use the employee engagement metric to compare employee engagement scores. This is useful to understand if certain groups of employees are experiencing lower levels of satisfaction and engagement than others. Because if some employees are less satisfied that might indicate that biased mindsets and practices that favor one group of employees over another.

    Create and send out elaborate surveys to the employees, surveys that are measurable, e.g. when the results are in you want to be able to quickly get an understanding of the employee’s perspective on the topic. This is done by, for example, ranking the responses between 1-3. If the question is “During meetings, do you feel that you’re given the opportunity to voice your opinion?.” The possible answers could be for example:

    1- Never
    2 - Sometimes
    3 - Always

When you review all responses you should see a clear overview of which areas need to be seen to and improved.

  1. EQUAL PAY

    Gather salary and gender data from all positions, make an extensive sheet, and compare the genders to each other. Based on the result you’ll see if there are clear wage gaps or not, or if women, in the same position as men, earn less than men do. Which is indicative of bias against women.


  2. EQUAL HIRING PROCESS

    The root cause of why a workplace isn’t inclusive nor diverse may stem from the hiring process itself. Perhaps you’ve used the same hiring company, or the same HR manager, since the early days and unbeknownst to you, the people who work there are biased against minorities. One way to find out if your hiring process is biased is to look at the job applications. How many women contra men have applied for jobs in the past two years? Then look at how many women/men/non-binary there are at your workplace as of today. If you find that there overall are more men than women at your workplace despite the fact that there are actually more women who have applied for all positions, well then there may be some bias blind spots in the hiring department.

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You also have to look at the job advertisement - which words are being used? Are the job ads gender-neutral or are they written with words that attract more men/women? In order to find out, you can use bias detection software or simply let someone else read it.

Apart from the mentioned metrics, it’s valuable to be aware of these metrics as well:

Representation
Identify if certain groups are underrepresented in the organization due to conscious or subconscious prejudice.

Retention
Seeing why someone leaves or why someone gets fired are equally important to understand if any one group is being discriminated against. By conducting exit interviews you can find out why someone wants to leave the company. And by working with an external party that can act as a neutral force, you can find out if your organization voluntarily, or involuntarily, is being prejudiced.

Employer brand
Evaluate, with focus groups, if your employer brand is attractive to all identity groups. If not, ask them how you can better speak to everyone.

Customer diversity, experience, and loyalty
A less obvious part of understanding where you can make improvements is by looking at your customer segments. Compare your customer diversity with industry benchmarks. You may realize that your marketing is not serving everyone.

Supplier diversity
Are you committed to diversity and equality outside the workplace as well? Ascertain this by investigating the identity groups you’re purchasing from.


Grievances and lawsuits
What kind of lawsuits and grievances has the company experienced throughout the years and whom do they regard? Helpful to ascertain which groups are poised to more often be harassed or discriminated against.


Tracking the progress

Tracking your progress without baseline measures to compare with, is like working blindfolded. If you don’t have any measures yourself, you can find and make use of industry benchmarks. But be aware though that just measuring holds no real value, you create value by having consistent follow up’s of your progress and by delegating this task to certain people who will be held accountable for tracking the progress. How do you hold them accountable? Through scorecards and other performance management tools!

It’s invaluable for your organization to be honest throughout this process, take negative results seriously and evoke change where change is needed.

Viktor Nordmark
25 August, 2021

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