Driving Diversity & Inclusion with Data

Initiatives to improve diversity and inclusion (D&I) outcomes in the workforce have become a priority for many organizations. Their growth and long-term performance depend on it, as a wealth of evidence shows. Like all areas of workforce planning, people analytics plays a big role in driving D&I. With this in mind, Crunchr recently hosted a Diversity & Inclusion Panel with a group of HR data and D&I experts from large, global companies, including JDE, MetLife and Randstad, among others, to discuss the most pressing questions they have right now -- and how data insights can help answer them.

The State of D&I

As a first step, the group rated D&I at their respective organizations. On a scale of one to 10, all landed at between six and eight. The good news is that the activity and focus on D&I are on the upswing, with overall strong support from corporate leadership. Some participants said that their companies see D&I not as an HR initiative but as a business priority.

Participants were confident that this forward momentum will have an impact on their D&I ratings sooner rather than later. Laura Todd, Inclusion & Wellbeing Director UK & EMEA for Randstad, explained:

 

“We are very focused on not just looking busy around the D&I agenda but really addressing the right challenges, taking the time to do the groundwork.”

Driving Diversity - Caroline (2) Laura Todd | Inclusion & Wellbeing Director UK & EMEA for Randstad

 

Data, of course, is central to this progress. All organizations agreed that there is still a lot of work to be done, and that data analytics will be a key driver.

 

The Main D&I Questions

What are the most important D&I questions these companies are seeking to answer with data? They narrowed it down to four:

  • How can we track organizational representation across promotions, demotions, and lateral moves?

  • How does organizational representation change over time?

  • How can we monitor if we are losing underrepresented groups earlier than majority groups?

  • How does my organizational representation compare to external benchmarks?

Why Data Matters

All participants agreed that having the ability to measure a range of diversity categories either individually (example: gender) or in combination with another category (example: gender and nationality) is essential to developing D&I strategies. Then we turned to the question: Why do you need this data?

The answers fell into four areas:

1. Flagging gaps

Most said that people analytics can be used to flag discrepancies that might go unrecognized. It could show, for instance, an imbalance in gender, nationality, or generation in promotions. Or gaps in organizational representation at different levels.

2. Providing food for thought
Seeing the D&I-related rates and numbers across the organization can be the starting point for a deeper discussion on why things are the way they are. Caroline van den Berg, Global HR Data & Application Specialist at JDE says:
“Maybe you see that in one region, you are promoting more females. Why? Data stimulates you to reflect.” 

Driving Diversity - CarolineCaroline van den Berg | Global HR Data & Application Specialist at JDE
3. Tracking progress and informing strategy

Getting data insights on organizational representation on a quarterly or yearly basis enables companies to measure progress and plan interventions.

4. Spotting trends
It takes data to get to the root cause of why D&I initiatives are working or not working. Sabine Verboom, Global Head of Diversity & Inclusion at JDE explains:

"When looking at the data for your leavers, for example, do you see a trend? Then you can start to examine the reasons why.“

Driving DiversitySabine Verboom  | Global Head of Diversity & Inclusion at JDE

Who Is Using D&I Insights?

Finally, the panel discussed who in their companies are using D&I data. The consensus was that both the HR function -- talent acquisition managers in particular -- and leadership teams are increasingly tapping into people analytics. One company representative said that the appetite for data-driven insights is growing fast among senior executives as the interest in D&I also grows. It is an encouraging sign that D&I is on its way to making the positive impact on workplaces that it should.

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