Insights for Organisations

How to Measure Diversity, Equity & Inclusion in Your Business

Paul Brown
09.01.23

Diversity, equity and inclusion play a vital role in the workplace, helping create a space where everyone feels valued and there is equal opportunity. Since each individual can offer their own unique skills and perspectives, a diverse workforce is not only essential for employee happiness and wellbeing, but is also a key driver to improving business outcomes.

You may already invest time and money on diversity initiatives, or believe you already have an inclusive organisation, but how do you really know for sure?

Measuring diversity, equity and inclusion in the workplace is essential to understanding where your business stands, and to avoid any unconscious bias that you may otherwise not know exists. Measurement and tracking of diversity metrics can help employers stick to their commitments and remain accountable, while promoting an inclusive culture in the workplace that benefits everyone.

How to measure diversity, equity and inclusion within an organisation

The best way to measure diversity, equity and inclusion within an organisation is to first identify and understand the challenges marginalised groups may experience, and where these challenges may arise for them. It’s important to consider which business processes or policies may be biased or exclusive to certain groups, such as parental leave policies or recruitment processes. It is only once you have considered this, can you begin to look at diversity metrics, tracking and intervention.

Measuring diversity, equity and inclusion can be more difficult than you might anticipate, especially when it comes to inclusion in particular, as this is more subjective than diversity. In many cases, acts of inclusion are a collection of behaviours, and whether or not someone feels included will depend on their personal experiences and interactions.

9 Steps to measuring diversity, equity and inclusion in your workplace

We’ve outlined nine steps you can take to start measuring diversity, equity and inclusion in your workplace.

1. Define what diversity, equity and inclusion means to your business

The first step is to define what diversity, equity and inclusion really means to your business. This will vary from business to business, and there is no blanket approach. So, think about the different types of diverse talent you’d like to attract, such as different academic backgrounds, cultures and ages, or those with unique skill sets and qualifications. Then, you need to consider what inclusivity looks like to you and your employees. For instance, does it mean hiring quotas, equal pay or fair promotions?

One of the most important elements to this stage is getting input company-wide, so that you get a representative view and eliminate unconscious bias within this process itself. For example, what you think diversity is as a board member may vary completely to what a junior-level employee or your customers think!

2. Review data protection policies

When looking into diversity, equity and inclusion metrics, you are likely to find yourself handling employee and customer data for tracking purposes. As such, it is imperative that you review your data policies to ensure you are not breaching any GDPR laws in the process. Data breaches can lead to damaging legal and financial implications for your business.

3. Choose your diversity metrics

Next, it’s time to choose the diversity metrics you are looking to measure. Examples include leadership and employee demographics, in comparison to your application pool. You also need to consider the specific dimensions you can measure, such as race, gender or age. Many of these you should have identified in the first step.

Then, you’ll need to think about inclusion metrics. One of the best ways to measure inclusion is through employee satisfaction, which you can find out through conducting surveys or tracking job retention rates.

Here are a few diversity metric examples that relate to various dimensions that you can use to help you measure diversity, equity and inclusion:

4. Identify your benchmark measurements

Before you begin tracking these metrics, you need to understand where you’re starting from so you can measure your progress. Therefore, you will need to record your benchmark measurements to have something to track your performance against in the future. Benchmark measurements will also help you identify whether or not new diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives are working. For example, if 10% of your exit interviews mention diversity as an area for improvement, but this is reduced to 5% the following year, you’ll know you’re doing something right.

5. Set goals

After understanding the current state-of-play for your business, you can then set diversity goals. Having clear targets in place will help you stay focused. Remember your goals should be measurable and attainable to avoid disappointment, or even backlash brought on by false promises.

Within the goal-setting process, you will also need to pre-empt any potential set-backs and take these into account, to help make reaching your objectives that little bit easier.

6. Establish roles and responsibilities

Diversity, equity and inclusion are a company-wide responsibility, and to achieve your goals, you will need input across teams – whether that’s from recruitment, mid-level employees or leadership. It is key to delegate responsibility and make sure everyone is on the same page and taking accountability. To do this, there are a number of different project and performance management tools you can use.

7. Start tracking

We recommend tracking your findings and conducting analysis on a regular basis, which could involve comparing data per month, quarter or year. After you have tracked enough data, you will be able to draw actionable insights and see where more work is needed to improve diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives.

8. Report on your progress

We encourage all businesses to translate their data findings into digestible reports that can be shared across the company. This will help you offer full transparency with your employees and customers, which, in turn, will help you gain more trust. Even if the results are not as positive as you would hope, by not disclosing the data, you may be creating concern among your employees, which could impact employee satisfaction and trust. Within these reports, you can also share updated initiatives to improve your findings if necessary.

For instance, at FDM, we publish our annual gender pay gap report, which offers a deep dive into our commitment to promoting equal opportunity, diversity, equity and inclusion in the workplace. Why not take a look and see if this is something you could try in your business?

9. Review measurement processes on an ongoing basis

After establishing your measurement processes for diversity, equity and inclusion, you may think the work is done. However, this is not the case. Your workplace is always changing, so it’s important to review how your business measures diversity, equity and inclusion on an ongoing basis, reconsidering the diversity dimensions used and the chosen metrics.

Diversity, equity and inclusion at FDM

At FDM, diversity, equity and inclusion are at the core of everything we do, and we have successfully established ourselves as an equal opportunities employer. We have a number of diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives, and put a lot of work and commitment to get to the point we’re at now – and offer full transparency.

If you’re committed to diversity, equity and inclusion, but don’t know where to start, there are various training programmes available to help you achieve your diversity goals. Alternatively, if you do not have the resources to do this yourself, you can use a talent partner, like FDM, to help you improve recruitment diversity, equity and inclusion. Make sure to choose a talent solution’s partner that aligns with your diversity ethos and can help you realise your goals.

If you are looking to tap into a diverse talent pipeline and create an inclusive workforce, check out FDM’s consultant services for more information.