Diversity and inclusion (D&I) has taken a starring role in the workplace this year, and hopefully for years to come.
Since the murder of George Floyd in May of 2020, reviews on Glassdoor discussing diversity, racial justice, Black Lives Matter and similar topics rose 63 percent, and 71 percent of these reviews expressed concern or dissatisfaction with companies' responses. More than 300 companies also expressed support for the Black Lives Matter movement and acknowledged the reality of systemic racism and racial injustice.
It's critical we stay focused on a long-term goal for employers: making workplaces safer and more inclusive for underrepresented groups.
To that end, we've seen human resources executives working hard to put processes, policies and initiatives in place to support ongoing diversity and inclusion efforts in their workplace. But the efforts of individual employees are not enough. It's going to take a transparent, company-wide approach to measuring and improving D&I in order for it to make change.
Focusing on D&I statistics is important because it's only by measuring an organization's progress that change and accountability are maintained over time. As organizations build their long-term approach to D&I, here are three simple steps you can use to get started:
1. Collect your data
Capturing data around your organization's demographic makeup will give you insight into which strategies should be prioritized to improve diversity will maximize inclusiveness.
One very important point worth noting: It's OK to not be proud of this information at first. The point isn't to be perfect on day one. What's important is to commit and start taking steps, however small at first, to achieve an equitable workspace. That likely requires acknowledging previous shortcomings.
Key steps in discerning what data to collect and how to collect it:
- Identify the fields you want to collect. Most employers collect gender, race/ethnicity, veteran status, and disabilities. More and more employers are starting to collect data around sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender expression.
- Make it clear how this information will and will not be used. Ensure that administrator access to sensitive data is limited only to key personnel. Proper security protocols must be put into place. This is highly sensitive personal data, and any breach in access or security can have major repercussions.
- Make it optional. While you should always include a "choose not to disclose" option, also highlight the benefits of providing the information, with language like: "By providing this data, you help us ensure that our workplace is as equitable as possible."
- Allow people to self-identify, but don't call it "other." Rather than include an option for "other" on key demographic fields, use the phrase, "A _ that is not listed" - "A sexual orientation that is not listed" or "A race/ethnicity that is not listed." Using "other" as a catch-all for additional possible responses can easily cause a feeling of marginalization for someone not finding a specific response they deem accurate or appropriate for them.
- Track your results. Establish a regular data reporting schedule, and elevate key insights to senior executives.
[Keep Reading: Diversity Wins: Why D&I Matters More Than Ever]
2. Assess your benchmarks and set your D&I goals
With your organization's unique D&I data in hand, you can start to chart the path your organization will need to travel to become more diverse and inclusive. "More Diversity" is not an actionable, meaningful or effective plan to pursue. You need to be able to evaluate your benchmarks against your goals and create a viable plan to achieve your specified objective.
Here are some considerations you'll want to take into account as you set your short- and long-term goals around D&I:
- What's typical for your industry? What's typical for your industry may not be ideal, but it's a good place to start when comparing your organization's benchmark data with the rest of your industry. And what are areas in which your industry as a whole needs to improve that you can focus on first? Glassdoor's new features allow you to compare your D&I goals with others in your industry.
- How inclusive and equitable is your employee lifecycle? Diversity is about representation, but inclusion is about far more, namely the entire employee lifecycle. How do your demographic statistics change as candidates proceed from interviews to offers to new hires? How do promotion rates compare across different demographic groups, or across demographics by department? These cuts of data may reveal opportunities to make better and more equitable decisions throughout the entire employee lifecycle, and help you understand where to act to correct shortcomings.
- Who can you trust to inform your goals? Pursuing an effective D&I initiative may require consulting or bringing in outside expertise. Consult and review the findings of analysts, consultants, and leaders in the D&I space to inform the goals you set for interviewing, hiring, and promoting more diverse candidates within your organization.
[Keep Reading: How to Talk About Race with Employees]
3. Communicate your progress
While it might be tempting to keep this process of collecting, analyzing, and acting on D&I data private, we urge you to be as transparent as possible. Your organization will benefit by showing employees that it cares about D&I. And your industry as a whole will benefit as you become a strong voice in the conversation around D&I. Your employees, customers, stakeholders and competitors should know exactly where you stand on these issues.
To that end, it's important to decide when and how you will communicate your D&I progress. Some organizations like Kellogg Company share an annual announcement and analysis. Other options include a D&I microsite on an organization's website or hiring page. The format doesn't matter as much as your organization's commitment that D&I doesn't end with collecting and analyzing data.
[Keep Reading: Glassdoor's Diversity and Inclusion Checklist]
Not knowing how to start often holds companies back from moving forward. Don't let that be the case for your organization. Take the first step today to make sure you're building an organization and a company culture that stands for diversity and inclusion at the most basic level. And if your organization doesn't meet your goals today, at least you'll have a plan in place to be moving forward towards this critical goal.
4. Know your "why"
Understanding and effectively communicating the "why" behind your organization's commitment to transparency around D&I is key. It's important that senior leaders are able to speak with confidence, authenticity and conviction about their plans and goals to diversify the organization. This authenticity will help the organization constructively address any resistance that may be encountered and will also demonstrate a genuine commitment that is key in driving forward an effective D&I strategy.