Diversity & Inclusion

July 18, 2022

DEI Goals: How to create, measure and track them

Diverse and inclusive companies are more innovative.

They work better than their non-diverse competition. Their profits are higher. And they’re better for society at large.

This isn’t new information. McKinsey’s research has proven, year after year, that DEI is anything but grandstanding and posturing. It’s progressive, pragmatic – powerful and meaningful.

We firmly believe that work can be fairer, more inclusive, and more diverse – and that committing to those ideals will unlock the true potential of businesses and the workforce. Through the combined experience of people from diverse backgrounds, innovation flourishes and businesses blossom.

It’s nothing but good news.

And so, setting and achieving DEI goals has become one of the most important moves a company can make. Organizations are more aware of it than ever, and many are moving in the right direction.

But without clear DEI goals, they’ll only move in circles. And setting them should start with a simple question: why?

Understanding why: your reasons for pursuing DEI

What’s motivating your push for setting DEI goals?

Is it fear?

Fear of being left behind, fear of scandal? Or is it vanity, or the thought that by “doing DEI”, all your diversity and inclusivity problems will go away?

Do you simply want to reap the financial benefits?

DEI doesn’t work that way. It’s not a box-checking task. And while fear and greed are powerful motivators, they’re not exactly positive or helpful in high-performing businesses.

You need to have a specific reason that aligns with your organization’s mission. Why do you need to uphold diversity and inclusiveness? What will it mean to your company, your people, your customers – to the world?

Don’t make a single move before you know the answer.

This is the absolute bedrock of your DEI goals.

Assess your position

Before you set your DEI goals, you need to know what diversity and inclusivity are like at your company right now.

This will help you zone in on problem areas, identify opportunities for growth and improvement, and give you a benchmark to work from. While every company is different, these might be some good starting points to focus on:

Hiring and recruitment

Hiring bias is a real issue, and can lead to poor decision-making and less diverse teams. Consider your applicant pool; is it more diverse than your current workforce? This could become a key area of focus for achieving your DI goals – but it’s only the start.

Progression and pay

Is there a relationship between diversity, tenure, and seniority? Study your HR analytics data, and see if you can find correlations that could be due to bias. Likewise, check for disparities in pay between key groups that you’re monitoring, and explore the reasons for this.

Retention of diverse employees

If turnover is higher among certain demographics and groups, it could be time to scrutinize your company culture. Employee surveys are useful, but they can only give you so much – especially if trust is an issue right now. They might reveal little to no information if trust is lacking.

While turnover isn’t usually a good thing, having candid exit interviews with outgoing employees (free of judgement or fear of retribution) can give you the most valuable insight on their true motivations for leaving.

Leadership diversity

Representation matters. It matters in film, media, art, music – and it matters in business. Especially at the top.

If your leadership represents the DEI goals you’ve set, there’s a far better chance of achieving them. This goes beyond hiring and progression; it’s the embodiment of a top-down culture that not only promotes diversity, but lives and breathes it.

Set your goals

After identifying areas of focus, it’s time to establish and work towards SMART goals:

  • Specific

  • Measurable

  • Achievable

  • Relevant

  • Time-bound

Importantly, communicate your goals to your team. Get feedback, listen, and adjust. You need consensus on what the goal will be if you’re going to get buy-in and collaboration. Achieving DEI goals can be hard. There can be confusion, setbacks, bottlenecks, friction – and this can all be made worse without transparency.

In almost every case, effective, kind, transparent, and timely communication will alleviate these issues.

With open communication, wins are shared and the team can celebrate them together. The losses are also shared – but storms are easier to weather when we huddle together. Transparent communication of your DEI goals does something else – it makes you accountable. This is a core branch of trust in a company, and shouldn’t be underestimated.

DEI goals – some examples

Remember; you must create your DEI goals based on your needs, your motivations, and your organization. No two companies will have the same DEI goals, but here are some ideas to get you started:

  • X number of submitted responses to a DEI benchmark survey

  • Number of diverse candidates interviewed

  • Reduce turnover rate by X among key demographics

  • Closing pay gaps between key demographics

  • Percentage change YoY of survey scores on inclusivity

These examples of DEI goals are all Measurable – but the Specifics need to be defined by what you can physically Achieve and their Relevance to your business and outcomes.

Set a deadline

You need to have a hard deadline for your DEI goals.

They have to be Time-bound, or you will invariably let them slip out of reach, or endlessly drive towards them without ever stopping to assess how effective your efforts were.

If you never stop to measure, you’ll never know if you’re moving in the right direction.

Set deadlines, measure the impact, and adjust your course if you need to.

These time-based rules give opportunities to report on your results to leadership and to the whole company. And you should do this in success and in failure – in the name of full transparency.

You will build trust, and strengthen your position, fostering a culture that is mature enough to make meaningful steps towards achieving DEI goals.

How to measure and track DEI goals

To make good decisions during the implementation of your DEI program, you need good data – captured effectively and regularly, and cleaned for errors.

Employee surveys

Employee surveys and pulse checks can collect data on inclusion and opportunities, the perceptions of the office culture, and individual experiences. In isolation, and in a low-trust environment, the accuracy of this data can be questionable.

DEI surveys are a little different to employee engagement and pulse surveys – but they’re specifically designed to be effective for their purpose. Communicating the importance of these surveys is as vital as the survey itself – and wording must be sensitive but clear.

Exit surveys

Exit interviews and surveys offer an unparalleled opportunity for candid, honest, useful feedback. They can reveal what many employees may feel too afraid to say, and shine light on serious issues that have to date gone unchecked – particularly in relation to DEI.

Employee records

These provide vital demographics data, which can help determine how diverse the organization is at all levels, and tie in with other important data points for a better picture of your company as a whole.

HR data

Employee turnover, early turnover, and absenteeism can be useful points to integrate into your overall strategy. Other HR metrics, like performance and potential, employee tenure, and time since last promotion can help track whether rewards are being distributed fairly and in line with your DEI goals.

Tracking DEI goals

Most companies use a blend of best-in-class HR analytics and HCM software, with disparate tools that are not always tuned to work well together.

At scale, combining these data sets to track DEI goals is hugely challenging.

So – let’s introduce you to eqtble.

eqtble automatically works with all of your HR and HCM tools, with no code – and offers advanced organizational goal-setting features that let you monitor your DEI goals through to completion.

Meet eqtble. Meet your DEI goals

eqtble lets you actively track the progress of each one of your DEI goals – with actionable insights on how to achieve them.

We help companies understand and achieve their DEI goals, with our groundbreaking, data-driven platform; and the world’s most advanced DEI metrics dashboard.

Sign up for early access. It’s free!