August 3, 2022

How to start measuring DEI success at your organization

The old adage goes: You can’t change what you don’t measure. Here are six KPIs you should measure and why technology could be the missing link in your DEI strategy.

Organizations are committing to DEI efforts

Over the past couple of years, diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) have become a focal point for many businesses — one that’s not only viewed as critical for attracting top talent, but also for delivering better business outcomes. Underscoring the point, more than 2,200 CEOs from major U.S. corporations have signed the CEO Action for Diversity & Inclusion Pledge, committing to everything from implementing unconscious bias training to cultivating open dialogue on complex DEI issues.

Of course, examples of the growing focus on DEI don’t stop there. For instance, mentions of DEI on S&P 500 company earnings calls have increased by 658 percent since 2018. Plus, there’s been an 800 percent increase in postings for DEI-related recruiting jobs, while 88 percent of business leaders say they consider workforce diversity a top priority.

And yet, in spite of the heightened attention around DEI issues, most businesses struggle to move them forward. In fact, less than half of HR leaders report being confident of their ability to manage their organization’s DEI progress. While part of the solution involves fostering more inclusive environments and working to overcome peoples’ biases, it’s equally important to have the right technology. Companies that do can transform DEI from something abstract into something that’s measurable, making it much easier to advance their initiatives.

Below we look at some of most important metrics for measuring DEI that should be on your company’s radar.

Six metrics that drive DEI success

While there are many potential metrics to consider when building a successful DEI program, six categories that every company should track across the employee lifecycle include:

1. Employee demographics and representation

Although having a diverse workforce is important across the board, organizations often have a much more diverse employee base than executive team. For that reason, it’s a good idea to track demographic information such as gender, ethnicity, and sexual orientation, identify any gaps, and then put the right policies in place to ensure there’s always strong representation at every level of the organization.

2. New hire diversity

When you have a DEI strategy in place, one of the first places you should consider focusing your attention to make a big impact is on hiring. Hiring managers and other business leaders should look at the candidates who are applying for positions as well as who among them are actively being considered for roles and actually hired. Ultimately, the goal should be to make sure there’s enough diversity at every stage of the hiring journey to ensure you have a diverse workforce.

3. Retention and turnover among diverse groups

To understand whether your DEI strategy is actually working or not, look no further than your organization’s retention and turnover metrics. Take care to track and manage these details company-wide, looking for any unusual patterns that may mean there’s an issue that needs to be addressed. It’s one thing to be proactive about hiring diverse teams. It’s quite another if you’re not able to keep those teams on the payroll long term.

4. Employee compensation and appraisal metrics

It’s also important to track compensation levels among diverse groups across your business, paying close attention to any potential biases that may have resulted in inequitable practices. Make sure to look at appraisal and other performance-related metrics as well to ensure that everything is fair.

5. Equitable talent advancement

Another thing to consider tracking is skills across employee groups. It’s only when you understand the distribution of skills across the entire business that you can ensure that the necessary training programs are in place for every employee to have the same opportunity to advance.

6. Employee engagement metrics

Last but not least, make sure to run engagement surveys on an ongoing basis and track the results to see how different demographic groups are doing, identifying potential opportunities for improvement. Here, the key is to make sure to action the findings and measure again to see if you’re moving the needle or need to adjust your approach.

Moving DEI into the future

While we all may hope for a day when DEI doesn’t need to be tracked because it’s just a natural part of the fabric of every business, that’s not where most businesses are right now. Instead, measuring DEI is something that needs to be built into business strategies and measured on a regular basis as companies work to improve. Smart companies use technology to help enable that work, and DEI dashboards can help them evaluate progress and the ROI on their efforts.

Vivek Gopalpuria

Vivek is the Senior Director of Product Marketing for Ceridian's Platform, Technology, Analytics, and Integrations.

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