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Diversity Impact: How To Measure Diversity Within Your Organisation

How well do you understand D&I within your business? With an increased focus on diversity and inclusion, it’s essential that companies can effectively benchmark their performance, measure diversity initiatives and make changes to improve D&I within their business.

Start with a clear definition of D&I

To effectively measure your progress, you need a clear definition of what diversity and inclusion mean. This varies significantly from business to business. Our research with HR leaders at 25 global companies found a wide range of definitions, which included:

  • Increasing representation for under-represented groups at all levels of the business
  • Building an inclusive culture and reputation as a workplace that welcomes and develops diverse talent
  • Allowing people to be themselves
  • Ensuring employees can reach their potential regardless of background
  • Embracing different cultures and perspectives
  • Ensuring demographics matched the surrounding area


Whatever your definition, it’s important that it is clear and understood by everyone in your organisation.

Understanding status quo

When looking at D&I, it’s essential that companies don’t only focus diversity at the hiring stage. Inclusion is essential for business success. Research by McKinsey found that even when employees had a positive perception of diversity, inclusion was often rated much lower. It’s therefore essential that organisations understand their performance for both.

To do this, companies need to set objectives and have clear ways to measure their activity.

Measuring diversity and inclusion in your workplace

What can you do to ensure you can effectively measure D&I? With so many benefits, we recommend that you align your metrics with your business objectives and with your definition of D&I.

If you’re looking for some assistance in setting the right metrics, here are some ideas:

1. Recruitment measures

This may seem to be one of the easiest areas to measure, as most organisations collect demographic data, such as ethnicity and disability, as part of their recruitment process.

But digging under the surface can uncover some interesting trends that may not initially be apparent. Is the language you use in your job adverts attracting or excluding certain groups? Does your employee referral programme encourage diversity? Does your usual way of recruiting attract a diverse pool of talent?

Taking a different approach to your recruitment can have a positive impact on representation within your organisation. We help our clients by ensuring a diverse mix of candidates through our proactive mapping of the market. And our detailed profiles of diverse talent can be approached for current or future recruitment needs.

Find out more about our talent mapping service or request a call to discuss your needs.

2. Training

If your business is to succeed in meeting its D&I targets, it’s essential that it’s embedded into your culture. All employees need to be aware of diversity and inclusion and you need to be transparent about your goals.

Training helps everyone understand and work towards those targets. Measuring uptake and the impact on attitudes is an important part of ensuring your business is as inclusive as possible.

3. Policies

Review policies and consider their impact on your employees. Do some employees face challenges because of your internal systems? This is especially important when policies need to be drafted quickly, such as at the start of the coronavirus pandemic. D&I should always be front and centre when changes are being made.

4. Progression and benefits

A review of pay and benefits is another good measure to benchmark your D&I. While gender pay gaps are well publicised, all of your workforce should be included in this analysis. It’s also important to ensure that wider benefits are consistently beneficial for different groups.

Pay gaps can also highlight issues with advancement within your organisation. Is the uptake of training consistent across different groups? Do all your employees have the same opportunities to advance? Is diversity equally represented at all levels of business? Ensuring an inclusive workplace is a key part of a successful D&I strategy and brings many benefits to your business.

5. Grievance and issues

Some employees may face discrimination and exclusion so it’s important that any grievances raised are dealt with appropriately. You should also measure how many grievances include reference to D&I issues. With research showing that approximately 50% of employees raising issues face some form of retaliation, it’s essential that companies take steps to protect employees and investigate and learn from any issues being raised.

6. Retention

Sometimes employees will not raise issues but will simply look for a new role elsewhere. Take a look at your staff turnover. Are the figures consistent across different groups or are employees from a diverse background more likely to leave? If that’s the case, it may highlight issues with culture, inclusion or progression for these individuals. Exit interviews and other measures can help to highlight this, but do be aware that some employees may not want to speak out.

Evaluate initiatives

As well as benchmarking D&I as a whole, it’s also important to measure the impact of any initiatives you introduce. Our research found that:

  • 48% of respondents had D&I initiatives/programmes in place
  • 12% were planning to implement these programmes
  • 40% do not and were not planning to implement anything in the near future

But are these initiatives working? The outlook doesn’t appear to be positive. In our research, the average rating for the effectiveness of organisations’ current D&I strategy/initiative was 4.36 out of 10. Only 16% of respondents rated the effectiveness of their current D&I strategy/initiatives as 8+ out of 10. And 40% rated theirs 3 out of 10 or lower.

Only 32% of respondents could evidence tangible outcomes as a result of their D&I initiatives. 40% stated that they were unable to do so and the remaining 20% stated that it was too early in the process to be able to do this.

Given the issues raised, there is clearly more to do.

Make changes to meet targets

With companies facing challenges with successfully implementing D&I, adopting a new approach can have a positive impact. Our insights help our clients to understand diversity within their marketplace and to engage with a wider range of candidates than could be reached through traditional approaches.

If you need insights to guide your strategy or are looking to reach a diverse talent pool, please get in touch without obligation. We’d love to discuss your challenges and how we could help.

D&I: a guide for businesses

Want to know more about the latest D&I trends and how businesses can meet their objectives?

Read the guide

Get a copy of our diversity and inclusion guide

Looking for more in-depth information about diversity and inclusion? Our guide offers insights into the current diversity trends and challenges and offers advice about how organisations can improve D&I within their business.