At what point should you be measuring your Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) efforts, and how should you go about measuring your org’s success?

Last year, a Gartner survey observed that today’s DEI leaders are prioritizing “setting goals and tracking DEI progress through metrics” for their org. And it’s no surprise, companies that have invested significantly in making their workplaces more inclusive are more likely to experience more innovation from their team and better financial returns, faster and more effective market capture than their competitors, and better employee experience and retention overall.

Maybe you’re working with a startup, or a small business with a lot of growth on the horizon – or maybe you’re finally ready to make DEI a core part of your org’s mission. Regardless of where you’re at, if you’re excited about setting and tracking your own DEI goals, we’re here to help get you started.

Below, we’ll walk through how best to begin measuring your own DEI progress, sharing what we’ve learned over time in our growing org.

Identify your org’s needs

No two companies have the same needs, especially as they relate to DEI. The needs of your org are unique, and you likely know what many of them are already. Before you set any goals and potentially begin to solve for the wrong problems, you need to know what’s already working and what isn’t.

Culture Amp has a great article on DEI metrics that breaks these needs down into major groups: employee lifecycle (diversity of hiring panels/pools, retention, and advancement), employee experience (satisfaction and engagement, ERGs, accessibility), and company makeup (aka the more public humans of the company, like leadership and suppliers). Think of this like diagnostics. The first step to better health is knowing what’s not working correctly.

Consider a DEI audit

Depending on the size of your org, you may consider framing this step as a DEI audit to encourage feedback and collaboration from your leadership team. LifeLabs has a free step-by-step playbook for this, which includes a helpful rubric to help you get a sense of where you are.

Set your initial goals

Key word here is “initial.” DEI efforts are an ongoing (and continually rewarding) process. Make sure to focus and prioritize: you won’t be effective if you try to tackle everything at once. Here’s a framework that’s worked for us so far:

Pick 1-3 high-impact items

Now that you know what’s not working, it’s time to prioritize. Depending on the resources available (and the bandwidth of your team) and the items you’d like to address, make a short list of places to focus DEI efforts and commit to addressing them.

Here are some high-impact goals (of different scopes) that you may be thinking about:

  • Increasing diversity of you hiring pool and your hiring teams
  • Increasing accessibility of your in-person/virtual workplace
  • Better DEI training for your entire org and anti-bias training for your hiring and management team
  • Transparent and equitable career advancement/compensation structures
  • Investing in Employee Resource Groups (ERGs)

If you have explicit requests from team members, keep in mind that you may not be able to address everything alongside the goals for your org. Picking 1-3 of the highest impact items is the goal here: if addressing one item won’t result in a high impact for your org, you’ll need to table it for future consideration.

Be transparent with your team

This is especially crucial if you’ve surveyed your team on your company’s current DEI efforts.

Be very clear about . . .

  • Where the company stands today (share your findings from “Identify your org’s needs”)
  • What resources you have available to make change
  • Where you believe resources are best spent, where you plan to focus your efforts in the short and long term, and why
  • What role your team plays in the process

By setting measurable goals and making sure the whole org is involved, you’ll be able to keep each other accountable while working towards something that feels specific and within reach. Even small steps forward count, as long as we’re moving forward!

Measure over a 6-month period

Depending on the goals you have in mind, six months may feel a bit ridiculous. This is what we consider the minimum amount of time to go from goal to (potential) results. Depending on whom you’re working with – for example, if your goal is “higher diversity of applicants in our hiring pool,” you’ll be working with your HR/People and Talent/Recruiting/Hiring teams – you’ll need to do some collaborative surveying, research, and rebuilding.

Hopefully, by the end of six months, your metrics have made some moves in the right direction. Take the time to celebrate the little victories, survey for feedback, and return to your goals so you know what’s next.

Ethena is a modern compliance training platform that delivers current, cringe-free content that employees actually enjoy. Our courses bring the complexities of bias to life through thoughtful real-world examples, dynamic multimedia, and actionable next steps.

Interested in supporting your DEI efforts with training that brings complex issues to life with videos, comics, real-world examples, and more? Preview our Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion training now, or talk to a member of our team to see if Ethena is right for your company.