Make Data-Driven DEI Decisions

by YJ Lee

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) leaders from organizations and companies of all sizes—Amazon, Detroit Pistons, Victoria’s Secret, Twitch, and FedEx to name a few--gathered in Memphis, TN for the DEI Summit 2022. Diversity, equity, and inclusion impacts organizations and companies through employee engagement, productivity, retention rates, and overall company brand. Diversity is defined as “the presence (and amount) of difference among a group within a given setting.” Equity is defined as “the fair treatment of all employees regarding the accessibility of information, opportunities, and resources.”  Inclusion is defined as the “actions that make others feel valued, respected, seen, and heard.” Thus, how do decision makers ensure these values are aligned within an organization or company’s mission? Setrice Grice, Chief Consulting Officer & Co-Owner of Mattingly Solutions and co-author of Inclusalytics, has the answer: data. Data provides a way to operationalize, measure, understand, derive insights, and present information to drive leaders and invoke change. 

Setrice Grice was the keynote speaker for DEI and Data during the DEI Summit 2022 and shared important insights into how DEI leaders can use data to drive their work. Here are the key lessons:

Understand your “Why?” 
Grice recommends understanding the “Why?” before starting with data. Asking yourself, “What am I trying to figure out here?” “What’s the point of data collection?” will help pinpoint your organization or company’s goal and kickstart a project plan. Formulating a central question that your organization or company wants to answer within DEI will also outline what data you’ll need so that you don’t get lost in the sheer amounts of data.

Gather and Collect your Own Data
Collecting your own data allows organizations and companies to further value their employees, assess their own baseline, create an end goal, and see where to pivot. All organizations and companies are different depending on their industry, employees, location, etc. which is why it is important to gather your own data to better understand where the organization/company stands and what actions would best move the needle. Gathering data can be through internal HR data that already exists or through surveys. 

DEI data includes demographic data such as gender, race, ethnicity, etc. along with role-specific data such as level, department, time in position, etc. Using these data points, you can answer diversity questions such as, “What % of men, women, or nonbinary people do we have at this company?” These descriptive analytics show representation within a company which is important for employees to know that they are being represented and for company transparency. Then based on your diversity statistics, you can make goals to achieve greater representation or dig deeper into why your numbers do not meet a certain benchmark. For equity, questions such as “Who are we seeing in leadership?” and “Who are we seeing being promoted?” can be answered through gathering role-specific data. As for measuring inclusion, there are tangible ways through measuring inclusive behaviors. Inclusive behaviors might include inclusive language, microaffirmations, building diverse teams, sponsorship, and mentorship.

Derive Insights from DEI Data to Drive Action
Once receiving data and performing and analysis, establish an action plan based on the findings. Using data visualization tools or creating DEI dashboards to present to leadership or decision makers will help bolster change. There are also statistical methods to correlate DEI with engagement and productivity which then drives ROI which is what the C-suite executives are looking for. Generating and communicating these reports to stakeholders regularly will share commitment and progress toward building a more diverse, equitable, and inclusive organization. 

Follow Through on your Commitment, Continually 
In order to avoid being perceived as performative, it is important to act on the data which in return builds trust with the employees or members. Depending on the data findings, actions can include and are not limited to mentorship programs, revising the recruiting/promotion process, updating the language in job descriptions, providing DEI training programs/sessions, and more. Furthermore, continually collecting data, yearly or bi-annually, and sharing those reports will help show commitment, track goals, increase transparency, and foster communication between the employees and the employer. 

In summary, Grice advises, “Slow down, make a plan, get your data, make sure you’re looking at a holistic view of your data. Keep it going. Be open and honest throughout everything. Make sure we’re communicating with all of our stakeholders. And lastly, do not think you have to do this all by yourself. Do not be afraid to get help whether that is internally or externally.” 

You can learn more about Mattingly Solutions’s here. Once you get a grasp on your data, turn to The Granite List to identify the point solutions most relevant to your plan members.

Start searching today. 

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