Consultants provide significant value to clients on each engagement because we can quickly survey and understand the current environment and processes at a company. Our knowledge of an organizational landscape and its procedures are the foundation for what changes we will recommend for implementation in the future. In fact, a significant portion of our understanding is from measurement and utilizing a baseline — a starting point from which to improve. What I have learned at Catalyst, through my experience with the Fischer Fellowship Program, is that this fact is no different for organizations aiming to improve their diversity efforts. In order to advance representation and inclusion of all employees at your firm, you must first conduct a quantitative and qualitative analysis. Below I have summarized a few metrics to consider within your firm.
- Representation of your workforce: Examine your workforce across various attributes including level, department, employee type and status, as well as location/geographic region. Keep in mind different demographic characteristics such as gender, race, generation, disability, primary language, education, marital status, and veteran status. Understanding how employees are represented across different attributes and characteristics is the first step to recognizing any gaps in leadership roles within your company. By knowing where to focus, you can then develop strategic policies to support diversity and inclusion.
- Recruiting for your workforce: Investigate your hiring pools, your offers and acceptance rates, as well as the details of offers by demographic characteristics. For example, referrals are a great way to obtain quality candidates; however, are your referrals inadvertently leaving certain demographic groups from being considered for specific positions? Reviewing interviews to offers, and offers to acceptance, by demographic is also helpful. Are there certain groups less likely to get, and accept, offers? Consider implications related to a candidate’s sense of fit for the culture of the company. The results of such analyses may lead to a strengthened hiring process, with diverse and objective criteria for bringing in strong new employees that bring different styles and perspectives.
- Advancement of your workforce: Consider the tenure of employees within roles and overall at the firm, promotion rates, unique project opportunities afforded, as well as the critical success factors for advancement within your organization. For example, are particular employees getting “stuck” at a certain level or within a particular department? Are the ‘hot job’ assignments distributed broadly across emerging leaders, or to a select few? Do employees truly know and understand the behaviors that must be demonstrated to get promoted to the next level?
- “Why” questions: Because quantitative metrics only tell part of the story of diversity and inclusion within your organization, it is important to ask why your metrics are what they are. The why answers can be obtained several ways, including through employee surveys, focus groups, exit data, as well as interviews with current and past employees. Determining the appropriate way to solicit qualitative feedback is dependent upon your objectives, as well as your organization’s culture. An example of a why question includes: We have data that shows individuals in Europe’s Sales department have an average tenure of less than one year. Why do you think this is occurring? What are the potential reasons for this trend?
- “How” questions: The how question is equally important to consider when attempting to understand the quantitative metric results for an organization. For example, if you know the metrics related to demographics of employees who have access to a particular rotational program, the next step is to pinpoint how certain high-profile opportunities are offered to team members within the firm: What is the process for identifying and selecting individuals for this high-profile opportunity? What “does it take” to be considered for a high-profile opportunity? Are the qualifications for the rotational program openly and equally shared across employees?
Determining metrics to analyze on a regular basis is a great start for organizations that want to be successful with their diversity and inclusion initiative. Once an adequate amount of metrics are obtained, the next step for organizations is to better understand the root causes of why there might be gaps in recruitment, career development, advancement to leadership, and retention. From this point, one can identify key performance indicators (KPIs) around diversity and inclusion, measure trends over time, and determine goals to achieve progress. With measurement, comes accountability and subsequent change – and a more diverse and inclusive workforce benefits men, women, and companies alike.