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How to Measure the Effectiveness of Your Diversity Program

July 11, 2022

Benchmarking Word Cloud

Once you integrate a diversity and inclusion program in your company, it’s time to watch carefully and gather information about its effectiveness. Not every program will have the same results in different environments, so it’s imperative to analyze the data to ensure your employees are getting the most out of the program.

There are many things that can help you measure diversity after starting a program, like employee engagement scores and workforce composition, among other metrics. Gathering information on these inclusion metrics will help determine what works in your diversity training and what may need to be adjusted to improve.

The Importance of Diversity and Inclusion in the Workplace

To understand how to measure diversity metrics, it’s essential to understand why diversity and inclusion efforts matter in the workplace. A diverse group of people in the workforce brings a collective assortment of knowledge otherwise unachievable in most groups. Without diversity, ideas will grow stagnant, and business success will suffer as a result. Organizations with a diverse talent selection perform better across the board with all metrics.

The importance of diversity and inclusion begins long before an individual is onboarded into the company culture. The employee life cycle begins when an individual learns about the organization and proceeds through their recruitment process, ending only after they exit the company. Unconscious bias within the organization can negatively impact the employee’s experience before they are even hired, resulting in a poor overall experience and reduced support for the company from the general public.

From hiring practices to daily interactions, diversity and inclusion make all the difference to employees. Measuring inclusion for underrepresented minorities creates inclusive teams that boost employee morale and engagement. It extends further than employee satisfaction, improving the business metrics as well. Diverse companies that employ more women than average tend to show better profit margins than those with a majority of men acting as senior leaders.  Making sure to have a comprehensive diversity program is key to the success of any initiatives the company has.

Diverse Group of Employees Celebrating Success

Elements of a Diverse Workforce

At a glance, it can be difficult to tell if a workplace is diverse and inclusive. Not all diversity goals are apparent at the surface level, nor should they be. Recognizing the diversity metrics can be done by evaluating key indicators present in the workplace, particularly measurable statistics and data to be analyzed later.

For example, some of these diversity metrics include new hires, open positions, staff turnover, and how many women or minorities are present in leadership roles. Inclusion programs should work to improve these diversity metrics for employees, starting from the hiring process and following through their entire employment period. To accurately measure how effective your diversity program is in the organization, the business must be looked at as a whole over several criteria.

Strong Inclusion Efforts

The best efforts are what make the difference in the workforce. When inclusive teams strive to continue working hard, the business thrives. Organizations can easily get lost in numbers, but the way the employees feel about their jobs and the company greatly impacts their productivity and work ethic. A company that works to show that it values all groups of people, including underrepresented minorities, shows a united front to its own employees and the general public.

Certain groups may struggle to find their place in a company that doesn’t promote a safe, diverse work environment. Diversity and inclusion measure success both at a professional and personal level in the office. An inclusion initiative aims to bring unique voices into the workforce composition, no matter their gender, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, or parental status.

Furthering education for employees and offering incentives can bring individuals closer together. Educating them on the company history, changes made to achieve a progressive future, and diversity and inclusion programs outside basic training can help employees feel that they are valued, no matter their background.

Diverse Talent

Diversity efforts apply to sifting through the application pool to find individuals with specific skill sets that will help the company reach its goals. While every position in a company requires some standard set of skills and education, inclusion training aims to go beyond that to seek individuals with soft skills like empathy and adaptability.

These skills are useful for relating to customers and clients alike, ensuring they feel understood when conflicts arise. Soft skills are also useful for communicating in the workplace. Diverse talent requires diverse communication methods to ensure that teams work together seamlessly.

Diverse Employees

Every employee’s background develops their unique voice and experiences that they bring with them to work. Measuring diversity means having a wide array of voices present and heard to keep all perspectives fresh and available. The best business strategy includes employees from all backgrounds using their specific expertise to help evaluate the next step in a plan and execute it.

Diversity doesn’t apply to a single role in the company. Employees at all levels, from part-time to vice president, should be an assortment of individuals from unique backgrounds and experiences. Different groups of people have different views and ideas to share, nurturing a positive working environment.

To ensure a diverse team is created, diversity targets can act as a guide. Avoid the risks of tokenism and positive discrimination by not enforcing strict policies that ultimately do not measure inclusion accurately. Unhealthy diversity targets can damage the employee life cycle and cause unconscious bias in the workplace to fester. Meaningful progress is made by mindful decisions for the business, not strictly following data metrics.

A Strong Company Culture

Helping employees feel heard, represented, and supported is imperative to building a diverse and inclusive environment. Inclusion initiatives can help develop the company culture into a nurturing and supportive environment for employees. Every step of the way, from the initial hiring process to future development opportunities at all levels, diversity and inclusion should be the primary focus.

A diverse and inclusive workplace ensures that the organization develops a strong company work ethic, fostered by a wide range of unique voices and perspectives pursuing progress for the business. A workforce is only as successful as its employees are satisfied, so a positive workplace is a key indicator of a diverse workplace.

If you want consumers and employees alike to buy in to your business, you’ll need to create an environment that can support them, which can be done by including people from all walks of life.

Development Opportunities for Different Groups

Not everyone has the same opportunities in life. That’s why it’s essential for diversity and inclusion to have space in the workforce. Measuring diversity means seeing where the employment opportunities are and how they are being handled.

Underrepresented minorities aren’t always offered the same positions as the majority. And when they do apply, they can be overlooked due to unconscious bias or supervisor favoritism. Promotion opportunities are scarce, and losing out on a position due to negligence or discrimination is harmful to both the employee and the business.

Employee resource groups can help establish an inclusive environment in the office, providing the support and tools needed for professional development. Success and progress in a company come from diversity and inclusion being effective.

Diversity and Inclusion Metrics

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) operates to ensure that laws regarding discrimination against diversity dimensions, like race, gender, religious beliefs, parental status, sexual orientation, etc., are enforced across the nation. Diversity dimensions are not meant to be used in diversity reports to exclude certain groups of people but to see how diversity and inclusion manifest across the country.

Diversity and inclusion metrics model the success and progress made in a company, and measuring them shows how effective the business strategy is. From employee engagement to financial return, an organization cannot ignore these important statistics about its workforce.

Benchmarking Word Cloud

Diagnose Risks in the Workplace

Using diversity and inclusion metrics allows higher-ups, like the vice president or CEO, to identify any potential risks within the workplace. Measuring diversity can help see where the company is falling short of having a wide array of employee backgrounds, and it can highlight any areas of concern.

For example, if a large number of employee turnover is women leaving the workforce, it may prompt further investigation into the disproportionate cause. Another concern may be noted if a diverse group of candidates is up for a promotion and highly qualified applicants from minority backgrounds are ignored in favor of another without the same qualifications.

These are risks that may land the business in hot water with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission if left unchecked. It’s better to evaluate the metrics before and after inclusion training to see what progress has been made and what still needs to be improved. If these risks are minimal or nonexistent, then the training was effective.

Seek Opportunities To Improve

After requiring all employees to participate in diversity and inclusion training, reevaluate and analyze the workforce for successes and failures with diversity. This doesn’t mean you should check boxes off for hiring a certain number of people from a certain group or hiring a certain number of women just to meet the criteria. Look over current hiring practices. Observe where unconscious biases may arise and eliminate employment opportunities for those from diverse backgrounds.

You’ll know how effective your diversity program was if you can spot these areas for improvement or if your employees respectfully bring them to your attention. Diversity and inclusion measure quantifiable statistics, whereas real-world application requires additional effort from employees to show that the content was both understood and executed.

Track Initiative Progress

While diversity and inclusion goals are great, you need to track them accurately to see any progress. They measure how effective your program was, you may want to conduct an engagement survey among the employees in the office to get a sense of how they feel and what they know after they receive training. This will help you gain a better understanding of what needs to be discussed in more detail in the workplace.

Additionally, tracking the initiative’s progress will assess areas of concern within the working environment. Success is not so black and white as one would hope, and there are varying layers across every company of what that progress looks like. Analytical data can only tell you so much about each individual’s understanding of the program training and how they apply that to their daily tasks in the office.

Employee resource groups may be able to supplement the training with additional support and education. Creating one of these groups can be a trackable initiative to monitor progress towards diversifying the workplace. Creating a diverse working environment doesn’t happen overnight, but steps can be taken to evaluate the program’s effectiveness and how that correlates to the bigger picture.

Calculate Business Metrics

There are more benefits to diversity and inclusion than company work ethic and morale. On the business side of things, diversity metrics apply to how successful the business is. Success depends more on a team of diverse candidates than a single strategy. For example, a team may get stuck on a project and not know where to go next to move forward. Without the right mindset, they’ll never get off the ground.

Diversity helps with business growth, and you’ll know your diversity program was beneficial to the company if you see these metrics on the rise.

Another example to consider would be how profits and productivity are affected when more women take on leadership roles around the office. For example, one theory suggests that for companies that surpass the two-thirds gender rule in which women make up over a third of the boardroom, corporate and company performance increases.

When looking to measure the success of your diversity training modules, look into the business side of things to see how your profits are affected in the long term. Seeking a diverse work environment is not a short-term sprint, but a long-term investment in both the company and the staff.

How to Measure the Effectiveness of a Diversity Program

After your employees participate in the respective training program, corporate will want to measure the effectiveness of the program and how it can improve and achieve business goals. There are concrete ways to acquire this data and ensure it is utilized properly to advance the company further. From all the steps in the hiring process to the day-to-day tasks at each employee’s desk, every organization can measure these statistics in some regard.

Diversity in the workplace is not easy to discern at the surface level, which is why the necessary areas to seek the data for are more complex than answering a simple, “Is there improvement?” Multiple areas need to be evaluated to answer how effective a diversity and inclusion program is.

Success In the Workplace

One can measure diversity by various successes in the workplace, whether they are professional or personal endeavors. For example, the inclusion aspect of the program may help coworkers relate to one another better and ask important questions about their unique experiences. Previously, coworkers who struggled to see eye to eye may not be able to engage in a civil conversation and peacefully dispute a topic they disagree on.

Professionally, these successes can be measured by how both the hiring and promotion processes are handled. An increase in diverse applicants can be a sign of improvement, as well as those from underrepresented minorities receiving due recognition in their careers. This does not mean celebrating every occurrence but rather gauging when the appropriate time is to recognize and acknowledge their achievements.

Additionally, successes in the workforce can be viewed on a larger scale, such as company-wide profits and statistics. One branch’s particular improvements may not represent the whole, but if a large number of locations show the same improvements after receiving proper training, it’s safe to assume that the program worked well.

Collage of Diverse Employees

Employee Engagement

Another way to determine if the program was effective is to measure the amount of employee engagement within the company. Whether this comes as coworker interaction or use of company services and resources, the mobility of the individual staff can be tracked to show both how effective and progressive the program is.

For example, employee resource groups can help connect and support coworkers seeking to advance within the company. These resources are generally supported and initiated through such training programs, as they provide employees with the necessary education to successfully contribute to personal and professional development.

These groups have a bonding effect on employees who have shared similar experiences throughout their lives, allowing them to come together and pursue a better future with support from like-minded people. These groups work in tangent with the company to provide the resources the employees need to be successful. If you see these groups mobilizing within your company, it can be a sign that the training is effective.

Financial Return Data

Your company may see an increase in business metrics such as profits if your training modules are effective. There is data to support the fact that you can measure the success of diversity through company profits. Consumers love to see a company that holds its head high and cares about the people who work for them, especially when those people come from diverse backgrounds.

You’ll know your training program was effective if you see an increase in your financial return data. These metrics indicate that the public views your company as favorable due to the amount of diversity present, and the positive media coverage. Avoiding negative press such as excluding or neglecting workers from certain backgrounds can keep these metrics from becoming skewed and harming the company image.

Diversity and Inclusion-Based Business Goals

How many women are there in your company’s workforce? If the answer is less than two-thirds, which has been the historical norm in the business industry, it may be time to change your hiring process. Goals centered around diversifying the workforce and including individuals from various backgrounds must be evaluated at the first step: the hiring practices of the company.

Certain practices can, without meaning to, exclude minorities from the workforce. Changing the interview questions or lowering the application requirements can help improve the applicant pool in terms of diversity. Additionally, creating a diverse team of interviewers will reduce the amount of unconscious bias passed on while sifting through applications. One applicant that would otherwise be looked over may catch a different interviewer’s eye.

When looking to measure the effectiveness of the training program, one way to see it is in how the company’s working environment shifts to meet the diversity goals it has set for itself.

Staff Survey Collection

When in doubt, or when looking for more direct answers, a staff survey can be conducted to gather information about the effectiveness of the diversity training modules. Collecting feedback directly from the employees who received the training is the most straightforward way to learn how effective the modules are and what can be improved upon.

A staff survey can be as simple as rating the training on a scale from one to five or it can be more complex and ask for detailed, short-response answers to what each individual learned and what questions they may have moving forward. These questions can be open-ended to prompt workers to answer honestly, gathering the most direct and pointed opinions about diversity in the specific departments.

These surveys will help you evaluate the effectiveness of the training and whether or not the staff members truly understood the material. While some may be reluctant to answer, or simply opt out altogether, the majority of answers you’ll receive will contain important feedback about how beneficial the training is and what might need to be adjusted for future sessions.

Areas to Focus On

In addition to measuring the success of the diversity and inclusion program, there are areas of improvement that should not be neglected. Just because a program shows potential, doesn’t mean you can sit back and relax. There are always areas that can be improved or expanded upon for clarification.

These areas of improvement will further increase the effectiveness of your training if the current curriculum is not as fruitful as you initially hoped. Diversity training is about more than educating staff members on proper etiquette. It’s about taking mindful action around one’s peers and creating a working environment that lasts and thrives.

Diverse Workforce Representation

Representation is a huge issue among businesses across the nation. When a majority of businesses and industries promote the same racial or ethnic image, those who do not meet it feel unseen and neglected in the media. This applies to the work environment as well.

For those who are part of the majority, seeing someone like yourself in a leadership role is not surprising and might be a normal occurrence. For minorities, seeing someone like themselves in leadership roles can be encouraging and supportive. Knowing that they can also achieve those goals, and seeing someone they identify with in that role already, can do wonders for morale and work ethic.

To measure your training’s effectiveness, see how the staff interacts with management and analyze who makes up your leadership team. A diverse team will have many different backgrounds in leaderhip roles to ensure that all voices are heard, seen, and represented.

Very diverse group of young employees

Retaining The Workplace

You can’t just recruit; you must retain them as well. A diverse work environment only stays that way so long as the people who work there do. High turnover can quickly ruin the balance of diversity in the office, especially if only one group of people continually leaves over another.

Measuring success within the company in terms of diversity training means recognizing patterns that turn workers away. What causes them to leave, and is discrimination of any kind involved in their decision? How can the company work to resolve these issues so that all workers feel valued and protected?

These are the questions that must be asked to maintain balance and assess the program’s effectiveness.

The Recruitment Process

Recruiting begins before hiring, which means that all marketing strategies should be inclusive and reach a wide audience. Recruiting new workers for the company extends to the areas that advertisements reach. If you only advertise that you’re hiring to one area, you’ll most likely only receive applicants from that area. You’re effectively cutting out any diverse applicants who may have wanted to seek employment.

Additionally, the interview itself can be problematic if the questions don’t apply to different groups of people. Consider open-ended questions that allow potential candidates to vouch for themselves and tell you about who they are rather than relying on the application alone.

If you see only the same type of applicant repeatedly without any differentiation, it may be an area your company needs to focus on improving.

Indicators that the Program Needs Work

Your initial program may have gone over smoothly, but just like there are areas for improvement within the work environment, there are places the program can be improved. Missing these key signs can cause the training to be ineffective at best, or harmful at worst. Rather than let these issues continue on, you can actively work to put an end to them.

Take a look at the following indicators that your diversity training modules need reevaluation to ensure that your company creates a safe working environment for every staff member involved.

High Staff Turnover From Underrepresented Minorities

Are more women leaving the company than men? Are different groups of people receiving less recognition overall than others? Where can you see issues with leadership showing any form of favoritism or preference towards certain workers? While not every accomplishment needs to be praised, keep an eye out for management that missed the mark with training.

If one employee completes a task and receives praise, but another doesn’t, that can create tension. When that boils for too long, the unrecognized employee may leave. Whether it’s due to management’s favoritism or miscommunication, these problems can generally be avoided through training. If they occur, the program may need to be readjusted or the management may need to undergo a more intensive and detailed curriculum.

Lack of Workplace Success

Are the workers failing to meet demands or burning themselves out to do so? A lack of diverse staff means that the current team risks burning themselves out going over the same ideas time and time again. You can also see some staff becoming frustrated or discouraged with their teams due to creative blocks.

The program may need to be adjusted to highlight how these teams can collaborate and create unique solutions at work.

Employee Dissatisfaction

Company morale should improve after receiving training about how to unite under the business’s goals, but if the opposite happens, the training may be at the root of the issue. Check-in with workers to see how they feel about the subject and what, if anything, caused them to feel upset about their working conditions.

Without proper representation in training, workers may feel as though they’re not genuinely welcome at their jobs. The training may need to be adjusted to be more effective at promoting a diverse and inclusive environment.

Reduced Job Applicants

When word spreads from dissatisfied workers about the company, it may be harder to fill those open positions with new faces. That makes it all the more important to review the training modules and see what can be improved so that new hires won’t be turned away or accidentally outcast by current staff.

Potential hires don’t want to apply to a company with a reputation for a toxic work environment or one that promotes diversity without enforcing it safely. If this happens, review your training modules and investigate the cause of the issue further.

Moving Forward

In short, diversity and inclusion training programs are designed to unite the company under a common goal. Doing so requires said training to be effective, and measuring how effective it is can be difficult.

Identifying the program’s pitfalls will help adjust and perfect the modules. This way, all staff members receive a comprehensive education on what it means to work in a diverse and inclusive environment.