What D&I Metrics You Should Use
Measure Inclusiveness with Comprehensive D&I Success Metrics
Diversity and inclusion (D&I) stretches across the whole organization, so D&I success metrics should too. Specific D&I success metrics indicating both micro and macro organizational impact is necessary to show the value of your program and measure the outcomes of D&I projects.
Getting a benchmark means following the right diversity and inclusion research process
To kick off diversity and inclusion benchmark research, set goals in order to identify what the organization wants out of a D&I program (not to be confused with targets, which is the change you want to see in metrics tied to your goals). You can pull these directly from your D&I strategy if you’ve already created one, or talk with your D&I executive sponsor to get their ideas and feedback. Take those goals and describe tangible outcomes - the things that you could show as evidence of success.
Once you identify the intended outcome, attach a metric to it. For outcomes around feelings, perspectives, or other non-numerical items, use ranked method metrics where you offer a statement that speaks to the outcome, such as “I believe this company is inclusive” and ask respondents to rank their feelings about the statement on a scale of one to five. The method gives numbers behind outcomes that are important but difficult to quantify. For more concrete or completion-based initiatives, pick metrics tied to clear milestones.
Surveying or interviewing based on metrics provides a benchmark. From there, you can set a target improvement for each metric. After surveying, tweak and add as necessary. Since the D&I process evolves over time, the company may need new outcomes in the future as things change.
For a full rundown of these steps and more, read our guide for the D&I research process.
Diversity and Inclusion Metrics Examples
This list of suggested metrics can help round out any inclusiveness focused metrics on company surveys and for internal discussions.
There are a lot of metrics to consider. In this guide there are the following categories:
Outside of company metrics
Ranked Method Metrics
Ranked method metrics are single statements where respondents answer on a scale of 1 to 5, one being a “strongly disagree” and 5 being a “strongly agree”. This helps to quantify feeling across the organization.
Ranked method statements to use:
I belong here
I can express my opinion here without repercussion
I can disagree with my co-workers productively, regardless of seniority
I believe management respects everyone equally
I know all opportunities in the company are open to anyone who is qualified
I am listened to at this company
If I get turned down for a promotion or other opportunity, I’m given candid feedback as to why and offered resources for me to address the feedback and be more prepared next time
I believe leadership does what they say they will
I can give honest feedback to anyone, where appropriate, without retribution
This company has easy to follow processes for resolving issues or problems in the workplace
I have opportunities to learn and grow here
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Initiative-focused metrics are things that you can track easily and are tied to progress on a numbers-based initiative.
Initiative-focused D&I metrics to use:
% of bathrooms that are gender affirming or gender neutral
% of entrances and exits that are accessible
% of physical accommodation requests accommodated
% demographic data (eg % of workforce that identifies as a certain gender or other demographic identity)
# of attendees at D&I events you host or sponsor
Demographic D&I metrics should be measured carefully and not used as the sole marker of success in D&I projects. Tracking these numbers is important to identify areas that may have problems.
However, focusing on them too much for success leads to identity-based business decisions. This often breeds resentment and alienates different groups of people against each other. Instead, link demographic data to inclusion data like the Ranked Method questions above.
Further, these metrics are difficult to get a true picture of as many are based on self-identification - a company cannot legally require disclosure of these questions in most cases. To get around any potential issues, have a “Prefer not to disclose” option for every demographic question. If you get this response a lot, there may be other issues at play making employees uncomfortable with disclosing. Without this option, an employee may simply not complete the survey, giving skewed data and limited insight.
Demographic to use:
Disability status and physical accessibility needs
Racial and ethnic identities
Learning and mental accessibility needs
School attended/no schooling
Country/countries lived in
Company-wide metrics help show the impact of diversity and inclusion projects on the business. They should be looked at in isolation but also correlated to the data you have available through ranked method statements and demographic information.
Company-wide metrics to use:
Overall sales growth correlated to increases in diversity or changes in ranked metrics
Sales per revenue generating department (including any relevant support departments)
Revenue per employee (segmented by department or correlated with demography to understand diversity impact)
Brand sentiment (done through social listening and correlated to any public conversation the company has about diversity and inclusion)
While company-wide metrics are crucial for D&I impact, be careful of labelling “diversity” as the cause of revenue increases. While diversity and inclusion can make an impact, stating it was the whole reason for success de-values people who are considered “non-diverse.”
This not only kicks up resentment, it’s also not true: diversity wins because of everyone’s perspectives. Diversity and inclusion aims to ensure everyone can do their best work, not just a specific group of people.
Also be aware that too short a time period may look bad, metrics-wise. Diversity and inclusion can cause discomfort in the short term as teams adjust and cultures shift. In the long term, this shift provides the benefits what the organization wants. Just be aware of the adjustment period.
Correlational metrics are major storytellers when measured against ranked method metrics, demographic metrics, and company-wide metrics.
Correlational metrics to use:
Job level representation
Turnover (both voluntary and involuntary) rates by department, demographic metrics, and seniority
Employment status (eg. full time vs contract vs part time)
Outside of Company Metrics
Looking for metrics outside of the company help to widen the story even further. Specifically, look for:
Supplier diversity (the ownership diversity of suppliers, consultants, and other vendors)
Average demographics in the areas the company operates compared to the company
Remember, diversity and inclusion metrics are all about making the company better. That means some of the metrics in this article may not apply while others are right on. Take what you need from here, but always ask employees what they want and need. If you haven’t formed one yet, start an inclusion committee to help make sense of any feedback received and metrics considered.
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