Struggling To See Results From Your DEI Strategy? Here’s What To Do.
Updated: Dec 14, 2020
Welcome to my weekly Q&A roundup. (Scroll down to find the Q&A.)
If this is your first time here, welcome. I spend a fair amount of time speaking at events and conferences. At the end of my presentations, I leave space for audience members to ask questions—tough questions, brave questions, you name it.
The level of candor and curiosity always inspires me, and I want to share that sentiment with you. So each week, I pick one question that I believe others would find most instructive and publish my response to it here.
The purpose of this weekly tradition is transparency and inclusivity.
• Transparency: a behind-the-scenes look at my day-to-day.
• Inclusivity: bringing others along in the journey.
One Of The Best Ways To Improve Your DEI Strategy
What are the top 3-5 ways to improve diversity and inclusion at work? I’m planning next year’s budget and trying to separate signal from noise.
Diversity and inclusion strategies run the gamut from stocking restrooms with fem care products to sponsoring employee resource groups to gender-neutralizing job descriptions—and nearly everything in between. It’s easy to get lost in the noise.
So instead of suggesting the top three to five ways to improve your company’s DEI efforts, I’ll share with you one reliable method to find the signal:
>> Implement a diversity scorecard <<
We have scorecards to measure progress toward nearly all other business objectives. Why don’t we do it for DEI?
Without a diversity scorecard (aka diversity reporting, diversity KPIs, or diversity metrics), the billions of dollars US companies spend on diversity programs annually will fall short of their intended goals.
A University of Massachusetts meta-analysis summarized it this way:
“The best organizational research shows that the magic recipe for achieving diversity is no different from the steps necessary to achieve other business goals. In order to change behavior, firms must develop appropriate goals and metrics, share them with stakeholders, and embrace accountability for outcomes.”
PwC got the memo. In late August 2020, the multinational firm released its first-ever Diversity and Inclusion Transparency Report. If you read the full 52-page report, you’ll learn that PwC still has work to do.
For instance, although women and racially/ethnically diverse candidates make up 65% of all entry-level hires, they led only a quarter of the firm’s 20 largest audit accounts for the 2020 fiscal year.
Use Data To Illuminate The Path Forward
Beyond the numbers, there was one aspect of the report I found exceptional: “Our Path Forward.”
In addition to collecting and publishing their workforce data (all properly disaggregated by gender, race, and ethnicity), PwC backed up their DEI goals with an action plan to achieve them:
How will they foster a culture of belonging?
How will they improve diverse representation?
How will they recruit and acquire talent?
How will they set new hires up for success?
How will they fix the leaky partnership pipeline?
The report answers all of these questions with the tactics PwC is implementing to reach their stated DEI objectives. And that’s important.
This diversity scorecard is not their silver bullet. It’s their north star, and it’s guiding their journey to equity.
Progress = Data + Transparency + Accountability
If you’re looking for the top three to five strategies to improve DEI, here’s my recommendation. Pause your unconscious bias training and do this first:
Establish a diversity scorecard—make sure to measure data on the entire employee lifecycle
Collect your baseline data and disaggregate it by gender, race, ethnicity, and age
Establish goals: where do you want those numbers to be in 12 months, 24 months, five years?
Determine how you will reach those goals: what strategies will you implement?
Hold leaders accountable to the goals
Make this process transparent: publish quarterly progress checks and annual diversity reports
We “measure what matters” for a reason. Data-driven companies are 58% more likely than non-data-driven companies to beat their revenue goals. If DEI matters to you, measure it.
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