Diversity Equity and Inclusion: Meaningful Ways To Measure And Improve Your DEI Efforts

Modern DEI is less about what sets people apart and more about acknowledging, accepting, and celebrating those differences.

What is DEI?: Creating a Diverse, Equitable, and Inclusive Organization

Diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) is a term that refers to initiatives and policies that promote the representation and participation of all people regardless of gender, race, culture, ability, religion, age, and sexual orientation. Diversity is a powerful force for innovation, creativity, and growth. DEI-focused strategies conceptualize that all people should be celebrated individually for their unique background, experience, and expertise. 

Organizations are becoming more aware that diversity, inclusion, and anti-oppression promote belonging for individuals and equality for everyone.

According to research, having diverse viewpoints at all levels of an organization improves profitability, organizational and team performance, company culture, and overall employee satisfaction. Because of this, there is an increased emphasis on equality in companies. 

We have been talking about diversity from the same point of view for decades, and it's becoming increasingly difficult to shift that thinking. It's time for a new paradigm. As we move away from a monoculture society, more people will embrace new ways of thinking about and discussing diversity. Organizations must acquire new competencies to create scalable initiatives that empower DEI-focused workplaces.

What Is Diversity: 

It's necessary to remember that diversity is less about what sets people apart and more about acknowledging, accepting, and celebrating those differences. 

There is a strange inclination to refer to a person or a group of people as "diverse." Even with the best intentions, referring to individuals in this way suggests they are an “outsider.”  Framing diversity in this way is misleading as it assumes we're all the same.

Blanket treatment of diversity is an ineffective, reductionist simplification that alienates people rather than includes them. It's a damaging concern echoed among many job seekers, talent acquisition specialists, and HR professionals. 

What is Equity:

Under the rubric of diversity, the goal of equity is to guarantee fair treatment, equal access, and opportunity for everyone while also aiming to eliminate the obstacles that have kept marginalized groups from wholly participating. 

Organizations and institutions committed to promoting fairness and justice through equity initiatives must build "equal opportunity" into processes, procedures, and distribution of resources. This pursuit necessitates the development of a framework that supports equitable talent screening, hiring, workplace standards, and culture. To develop a sustainable framework, organizations must first grasp the fundamental explanations for societal gaps.

What Is Inclusion: 

The degree to which members of an organization feel a sense of belonging or camaraderie is referred to as inclusion. The key distinction to make is that there is not always a sense of inclusion, even among the most diverse teams. Representation does not equate to inclusion. An inclusive workplace strives to eliminate barriers, prejudice, and intolerance by actively encouraging a welcoming, pleasant, and collaborative culture that encourages everyone to contribute and participate regardless of their distinctions.

Companies with more inclusive business cultures and policies see a 59% increase in innovation and 37% better assessment of consumer interest and demand.” 

-International Labour Organization

Meaningful Ways To Measure Your DEI Efforts

The CEO Action for Diversity & Inclusion Pledge has more than 1,600 signatories from various industries, and 40% of organizations mentioned diversity and inclusion in their Q2 2020 earnings calls compared to just 4% the same quarter a year previous. Technology companies have begun publishing annual diversity reports, including Apple, Facebook, Google, and Microsoft.

Most executives recognize the importance of inclusion to a successful workforce. Although organizations have measured and tracked diversity, they haven't yet been able to do the same for inclusion. This deficiency has stymied attempts to produce a single, coherent metric to track DEI development across time. To properly track inclusion, businesses must develop a considered definition of inclusion to act quickly on the findings.

More than just demographics need to be measured to create a diverse, inclusive, and equitable workplace and produce meaningful results. A comprehensive evaluation of inclusion, retention, and employee progression will better measure DEI success.

Employee feedback is an essential input in any talent decision today, especially in an environment where uncertainty and change are increasing. Feelings and opinions can quickly fluctuate when employees are affected by developments at work, at home, and in the world around them.

Employee feedback is the most valuable data source for measuring inclusion, and many leaders can use surveys to gain insight into their workforce. The challenge, however, is in first establishing the right metrics and then asking the right questions.

To be effective, DEI methods require the active backing of the entire company. It is not up to excluded groups to develop their initiatives. Although some organizations have made progress with DEI programs, many are still lagging.

Culture Booster is a culture-first company focused on understanding and acting on employee feedback, improving the employee experience. Via human resources solutions that support communication and development throughout the employee lifecycle, we quickly provide the insights and offer coaching to make sound decisions and efficiently prioritize assets to optimize individual and organizational DEI initiatives. Our science-backed insight strategy and data-driven programs enable organizations to measure success, develop an impactful HR strategy, and systematically improve DEI for years to come. 

Equity, Diversity & Inclusion in the Workplace 

The approach to DEI learning that many companies default to today is a passive awareness-only strategy without any context actively preventing harm faced by marginalized people and People of Color (BIPOC). This method reinforces oppression because it fails both in its ability to understand what these groups experience and taking steps towards eliminating those issues from within an organization. Unconscious bias training on its own cannot address the damage caused by discriminatory behaviors, including physical and emotional harm and inequality at each step of the talent lifecycle.

Learning is a critical workforce enabler for a comprehensive (DEI) plan. It contributes to developing an inclusive culture and staff dedicated to increasing diversity and equity in organizations.

Communication Is Key 

The inability to communicate honestly and effectively contributes to unhealthy relationships that form across diversity gaps. Better culture begins with improved communication, so by enhancing the quality of your company's everyday discussions, you'll create a culture of greater openness, respect for differences, and understanding. To collaborate meaningfully with all people regardless of distinction, every member of an organization must have the ability to conduct successful exchanges. These conversations will improve collaboration and promote innovation. 

Identify Divisional Bias

Make sure your team is familiar with the benefits of collaborating across boundaries and how you may improve your efforts to unite them.

One of the most effective approaches to exposing and correcting unfairness is network analysis. Conducting a network analysis may be challenging because it requires research into the various aspects of your organization's structure. Begin with data collection through a customized survey. The findings reveal a general over-reliance on a few people or groups and those who are isolated or have valuable or relevant expertise, perspective, or connections that go underutilized.

CEOs and other leaders can identify how unintentional bias is ingrained in their networks and how it limits them and their teams. They may use this information to find individuals or groups who are not being reached, establish objectives to diversify their network and take steps to get others involved, and develop links across organizational divisions.

Coaching Culture

Coaching culture and employee development programs in organizations can help them counteract subtle (and not so subtle) prejudice. Successful leaders and managers alike must be able to effectively handle performance issues, feedback, support, and opportunities for their direct reports.

Establishing a coaching network of supporters promotes employee development, contribution, and career progress. HR specialists assist managers, mentors, and sponsors in comprehending their crucial role in the success of the organization's DEI efforts by providing knowledge on how to employ it.

Beyond raising awareness, you can do a lot more to improve DEI within your organization. Partnering with HR specialists to develop customized learning paths for your company lets you address conscious and unconscious bias, foster empathy, establish a psychologically safe culture and optimize the full potential of all your employees

Evaluating Talent Practices And Policies

Organizations should be assisting managers and teams in evaluating practices and policies that create work structures and how to improve the employee experience. Consider unspoken rules, scheduling, networking possibilities, and working conditions — are they ready for reconsideration and improvement?

Examine hiring, selection, and promotion processes in depth. Consider the impact of talent processes on the system as a whole. Talent processes are models for how people perform and set standards, which can be used to push change throughout an organization.

The Impact of Social Identity 

Social identification comprises a person's group-based aspects of identity, such as (but not limited to) age, ethnicity, race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, nationality, education, physical ability, and socioeconomic status. It feeds our distinct viewpoints and can spur different behaviors.

Most of us have a natural tendency to categorize others and ourselves into groups. It's human nature to identify with certain groups more than others. We're also socialized from an early age to identify with particular groups. For example, we might be born into a family with a strong religious affiliation or grow up in a neighborhood with a predominant ethnic group. We might go to a school where one gender is dominant or have friends from a particular social class. These examples illustrate how our social groups can be relatively diverse.

Social identification can lead to both positive and negative outcomes in the workplace. On the positive side, it can foster teamwork and a sense of belonging. It can also motivate people to achieve common goals. On the negative side, social identification can lead to conflict and division. It can also result in discrimination and exclusion.

When it comes to social identification in the workplace, it's essential to be aware of both the potential positives and negatives. We should strive to create an inclusive environment where everyone feels like they belong. At the same time, we need to be aware of the potential for conflict and take steps to prevent it.

Regardless of size or industry, every business wants to be more appealing, retain, engage, and enable a diverse workforce. By identifying a few key actions in DEI efforts based on the specific context and demands of their company, organizations experience progressive results that are meaningful and inclusive.

Long-established ideologies, unconscious assumptions, and encounters linked to social identity are significant causes of inequality. When all employees contribute to the conversation of diversity, equity, and inclusion by defining it through a social identity perspective, they learn to acknowledge how their own social identity subtly influences their interactions with others or the prejudices they unconsciously hold.

Key Takeaways

So, what does DEI mean for your organization?

DEI procedures necessitate the continued involvement of the entire organization. It is not up to excluded groups to come together and facilitate their own inclusion. Creating a more equitable and inclusive workplace takes time, effort, and commitment. But the benefits are clear: a diverse and inclusive organization is more innovative, productive, and profitable.

Culture Booster Is Here To Help

Culture Booster is a People-First company designed to help HR leaders create a DEI strategy based on their organizations' specific challenges. 

Use Culture Booster to:

If you're looking to create a more equitable and inclusive workplace, start first by evaluating your organization's culture. Do people feel safe discussing sensitive topics? Are there informal rules or norms that prevent people from participating fully in the workplace? Challenging these norms can be difficult, but it's important to make sure that everyone in the organization has an opportunity to contribute.