Diversity Metrics & Measurement: Where Should Senior Execs Begin? 1

We all know research has shown us that diversity of thought leads to better creativity and innovation in teams, and organizations can improve their public image by being transparent about their efforts to embrace diversity, foster inclusion, and address systemic inequities.

Commenting on these exact benefits, Richard Branson states,We became aware of business opportunities that we wouldn’t have otherwise known about, and as we ventured into new industries and markets, we celebrated differences, embraced change and encouraged innovation.”

Why Would the Office of Diversity Be Different?

All roles within an organization, from Chief Finance Officers to Marketing Coordinators, have deliverable metrics, or KPIs, they must meet. Diversity professionals should be no different.

Diversity is a strategic business advantage, and should be measured with the same kind of scrutiny that all other strategies always receive. The problem

Measuring your organizations Diversity is possible and is necessary to validate that your diversity strategy contributes to your organizations competitive advantage.

What Are Metrics?

There are two basic forms of measurement:

(1) Quantitative: takes a variety of numbers, such as percentages, proportions, head count, ratios, volume, etc.

(2) Qualitative: takes quality of your decisions, plans, efforts and success of your organization.

Metrics are a necessary element that validate and measure how your diversity strategy is contributing to your organization’s competitive advantage.

Metrics, are usually developed internally and include numbers related to your workforce diversity as well your doing business with diverse and minority businesses.  They also include the dollars spent, and documentation of diversity activities and training.

To determine diversity’s ROI, metrics should be aligned with key organizational values and goals. This can be accomplished by asking –

  • What do you want diversity to help you achieve?
  • What do you need to implement?
  • How can you measure it?

Where Do We Begin?

Typically, what gets measured gets done.  So what do we need to measure? The normal protocol is to collaboratively decide on metrics. Usually, the diversity officers don’t have the business background and the senior leaders don’t have the background in diversity.

Bringing these two together to come up with core metrics is an excellent starting point. We also want to set up a working framework as discussed below.

Stephanie J. Creary, in her book The Conference Board Report Leadership, Governance, and Accountability – A Pathway to a Diverse and Inclusive Organization, suggests to use a ‘model performance measurement framework’ encompassing these three areas:  –

“Leadership, Governance, and Accountability: A Pathway to a Diverse and Inclusive Organization”.

  1. Program implementation – measures actions by companies to facilitate cultural change (‘enablers’) and to remove obstacles, such as indirect discrimination. Actions here are a combination of inputs and processes. This part of the measurement framework tends to measure activities and costs.
  1. Diversity outcomes – these are the intermediate outcomes of the actions undertaken to implement a workforce diversity policy. As such, none of the outcomes in this part of the model generate business benefits but they are a necessary step that must be passed through before such benefits can be realized. The use of intermediate outcome measures is an important mechanism for gauging progress, and is consistent with modern performance measures and existing measurement practices.
  1. Business benefits – this part of the model captures the business impact of investment in a workforce diversity policy. Our framework is based on the types of benefit companies seek from diversity. Short and medium improvements in business performance are measured in terms of operational outcomes rather than overall business results. Improvements in intangible assets, in contrast, form part of more strategic measures.”

Measurements should go beyond a simple list or accounting of activities undertaken to demonstrate true efficacy and organizational impact of the diversity initiatives

Edward E. Hubbard, in The Diversity Scorecard, suggests the purposes and goals of undertaking any measurement strategy are to:

  •  Determine if the diversity initiative is accomplishing its objectives
  •  Identify the strengths and weaknesses in the diversity initiative
  •  Determine the cost/benefit ratio of the diversity initiative
  •  Identify who benefits the most and least from the diversity initiative.
  •  Gather data to assist in pursuing future initiatives.

Hubbard also suggests the purposes and goals of undertaking any  measurement strategy are to:

  1. Determine if the diversity initiative is accomplishing its objectives;
  1. Identify the strengths and weaknesses in the diversity initiative;
  1. Determine the cost/benefit ratio of the diversity initiative;
  1. Identify who benefits the most and least from the diversity initiative; and
  2. Gather data to assist in pursuing future initiatives.

Want to learn how to have significant, measurable impact in the field? Join a group of elite Diversity and Inclusion Professionals committed to advancing their careers and the field. Get credentialed with The Institute for Diversity’s Diversity Professional and Executive certification programs.

According to Cornell University’s – What Diversity Metrics are Best Used to Track and Improve Employee Diversity? Additional metric considerations should include:

Representation Metrics Compare representation of monitored groups to an identified internal or external benchmark
Recruitment Metrics Compare representation of monitored groups in the applicant pool to an identified benchmark
Staffing/Placement Metrics Compare representation of monitored groups hired or placed to an identified benchmark
Transaction Metrics Are monitored groups being retained, advanced, etc. at “expected” rates relative to benchmark?
Training Metrics Evaluate penetration of diversity-related training, general training participation rates, and demographics of talent pipeline
Workplace Climate Metrics Use in trend analysis or comparison of organizational units to broader company benchmark

Using Metrics Creates a Clear Path to Results

Organizations that use metrics that demonstrate Diversity impact can gain meaningful results.  Leadership involvement is critical to improve accountability and inclusivity.

Measurement and Metrics are necessary to determine if your organizational strategic decisions around Diversity are working.  Working suggests an inclusive environment where all are appreciated for individual contributions to their organization.

Related Posts

5 Must-have Metrics for Diversity & Inclusion to Prove ROI

Are you a senior executive that wants to learn how to better capitalize on diversity to improve organizational culture and your bottom-line? Or do you know a diversity or HR professional in your organization that could benefit from such training? Or are you a diversity professional looking to grow your impact and your career? Then check out our nationally recognized credentialing courses.

Certified Diversity Professional Course

Certified Diversity Executive Course

To stay abreast of the very best in results-focused diversity and inclusion practice, you can also join our mailing list by clicking on this link.

The Society for Diversity is the largest organization for diversity and inclusion in the US. With members in 43 states, The Society for Diversity represents a highly specialized association of Fortune 500, nonprofit, government and education professionals throughout the U.S. The Society for Diversity is also the parent company of the Institute for Diversity Certification (IDC), which designates qualification credentials to diversity experts through their professional diversity certification program. By teaching diversity professionals and executives how to drive real-world results, the IDC helps individuals advance their careers as well as have a greater overall impact on diversity & inclusion within their organizations. Together, we can standardize and elevate the field.




Leave a comment

One thought on “Diversity Metrics & Measurement: Where Should Senior Execs Begin?