27 Sept

Data to Empower Diversity and Inclusion

Zendaya, actress of colour

Like many shifts in culture, the entertainment industry has been at the forefront of conversations about diversity and inclusion. And to much progess; since 2018 the diversity of actors featuring in the highest grossing film list has been consistently rising.

But more inconsistent developments are appearing within top global companies. Many businesses have made impressive policy changes, yet some remain stagnant, others are even backtracking. Only 36% of organizations report effective improvements in building a diverse workforce. It’s the lack of a cohesive framework for Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) which is causing inconsistent improvements across the economy.

Reducing the widespread use of subjective judgements in HR may seek to improve equitability in the processes used. Unconscious bias, for example, has been a widely discussed but also contested issue which may be affecting HR managers. Generating data-driven metrics may be the way forward to maximize the benefits within diversity and inclusion

As important as ever is focusing on how diversity analytics can be harnessed to make the workplace more inclusive for people of all orientations, identities, ethnicities and more.

Know Your Key Performance Indicators

67% of job seekers consider workplace diversity an important factor for employment opportunities. What’s important to employees ought also to be important to the company. But simply increasing diversity to for the sake of it can lead to a fragmented workforce who share nearly nothing in common. In contrast, a purely homogenous team will breed only the same ideas. Finding the sweet spot is something you as a company have to theoretically map out. Get it right and you could see large gains: diverse management is estimated to boost revenues by 19%.

Different organizations will benefit from different structuring of the workforce. Consider what parts of your business may benefit from what types of people. Having vast diversity in a think-tank project for new ideas can lead to booming success; diverse teams are over 80% better decision-makers than individuals. Think about what a diverse work force can work for different areas of your business.

Three workers in a boardroom gathered around an Apple Mac Laptop

Three workers in meeting – image via Unsplash.

Collect the data

While often spoken about together diversity and inclusion are fundamentally different concepts. Diversity is about facts and stats e.g. 75% of the team is male. Whereas inclusion is about a feeling e.g. despite only making up 25% of the team, the women feel very comfortable and incorporated into the company. Both are important but it is really the latter which shines a light on work-place culture.

Collect data to gage what levels of inclusivity in your company. Measuring inclusion can be more difficult because it requires employees to sit down and introspect on their experience. A popular resource is the Gartner Inclusion Index which generates quantitative insights on the thoughts and feelings of workers. The index assesses self-reported levels of trust, belongings, psychological safety, decision making and fairness.  

Analyze and Apply

Data generated by models such as the Gartner Inclusion Index allows for easy application because of their numerical basis. Inclusion data can be numerical. Simple analyses will reveal the key areas in which inclusion is not being maximized. While it may seem simple, it is through data driven processes like these in which diversity and inclusion metrics can become more easily identifiable and trackable. Incorporating evidence based research techniques allows inclusion to become less of a buzzword and more of a transparently accessible goal.

Simple yet effective data driven solutions can help further improve the initiatives of companies to become more diverse and inclusive. While huge gains have been made in HR to make work a fairer place for all, a move towards data analytics holds a sustainable future. 

Header Image: Zendaya, Image from ABC News.

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