“How can you have any pudding if you don’t eat your meat?”- and of course, how can you improve something if you don’t measure it? Organizations diligently monitor their KPIs for different objectives such as finance, marketing, sales, etc,… to make sure their strategy works and to adjust as need be. Despite acknowledging that Diversity, Equity and Inclusion is one of the most important strategies for building a sustainable business, most organizations fail to measure and thus change this reality.
Diversity, Equity and Inclusion has been a hot topic for decades. Every organization understands its importance to the business. It fuels innovation, attracts an abundance of new thoughts and ideas, and expands an organization’s opportunities. DE&I plays an important role in building trust, improving communication and increasing employees’ work satisfaction, which helps increase the company’s overall team performance. According to Mckensie and company, organizations with leading DEI strategy statistically outperformed their competitors financially by 11%. Undoubtedly, DEI is a powerful strategy to set your organization up for success.
While many companies believe they have effectively embraced DE&I, we still see continued discrimination, racism and inequality, despite the first steps taken by NASA in 1983 to address diversity and inclusion in their space program. With all the recent activities around the Black Lives Matter movement, it’s become even more paramount that organizations of all sizes need to act quickly to address all forms of systematic racism and prejudice. The following 3 steps will help your business get on a path to successfully improve your level of diversity, equity and inclusion, and ultimately set you up for continued growth and success.
Step 1: Create a baseline
Before anything can be done, you must establish a baseline. Identify the key data points that are relevant to your business, such as the number of males vs females, the number of people per race or colour, the average income of males vs females, etc.
Once you have a baseline, certain inequalities will become apparent. Dig deeper and uncover other areas for improvement and create a dashboard with this data.
Step 2: Identify your objectives
Now that you have identified the apparent inequities, think about what you want the actual values to be. These are your goals. The difference between your baseline and your goals are what you need to achieve.
Share this information with your stakeholders. Put it on the ‘office walls’, on your website and wherever else you want to ensure you are held to account. Without this accountability, it’s too easy to fall back to “old habits” and revert to the status quo.
Invite discussion and healthy debate. Listen and absorb all feedback. This is the time for business leaders to think outside the box and lead without title.
Step 3: Monitor and take action
Schedule ongoing reviews on a regular basis where you can evaluate your progress. Post your results, celebrate your achievements and recommit to your shortcomings. Recognize that you are on a journey that will have many ups and downs. Remain focused on relentless improvement and diligence.
Take action to adjust your trajectory and correct your course. Recall that old habits die hard and don’t let complacency take over.
Diversity, Equity and Inclusion is certainly a journey and there is no overnight solution. However, as long as you continue to measure, review and improve, your DE&I can only improve, along with your business.