“Risk comes from not knowing what you’re doing.” (Warren Buffet)
In a culture that disproportionately values action itself, it can be courageous to use DEI analytics to pause, assess and understand before implementing. But taking that critical step of DEI assessment is what makes the difference between action for action’s sake (a risky move in the DEI area) - and strategic action, based upon knowledge, that affects real progress towards desired objectives.
In the face of any organizational issue, curiosity is an essential leadership stance. Understanding that “you don’t know what you don’t know” - shedding assumptions and seeking verifiable facts and clarifying insights with DEI metrics - is the first step towards the shift in perspective that move your organization into the space of solutions.
Gaining understanding with DEI analytics is action and places your organization at an astute vantage point with an overview of the inner-workings of your culture. Only from that place, you can act with precision.
The Importance of DEI Assessments - Identifying the Gaps
To get where you want to go, you first have to know where you actually are.
As Lee Jourdan, former CDIO of Chevron, recently told us in our DEI Leaders series interview: “(DEI) metrics help us to establish one version of the truth. Some people think the sky is falling. Some people think everything is wonderful. The truth is typically somewhere in the middle, and it's important that once you're able to get there and share that information, then you can have a conversation about what it really is.”
The role of DEI diagnostics is to help you understand what the underlying issues actually are in your organization, rather than simply working from assumptions or doing patchwork DEI to address visible symptoms. A DEI assessment also helps you to get beyond the revolving conversation of blaming and shaming and beyond the wheel-spinning of superficial and fear-based reactive measures, and enables you to shine an objective light on patterns that are the sum of many (often unconscious) daily decisions, processes and status quo practices in the organization - no matter the good intentions of people.
With DEI analytics, you can understand not only what is getting in the way of DEI progress to support your business objectives, but you can also devise DEI goals intentionally, focusing on where you are now. DEI diagnostics identify the gaps (what, how and even why) in diversity, equity and inclusion in your organization so you can intervene with targeted strategies and focused action (knowing where, why and how you are doing it).
DEI assessments also provide the data-driven arguments that compel leadership to engage and invest in addressing inequity in the workplace, because DEI data helps to frame DEI challenges as business problems that can be addressed and monitored.
Key DEI Metrics and Indicators - Prioritizing and Setting Goals
Implementing a DEI assessment is not about collecting all the data you can get your hands on: it's about getting the right data, reading that data for precise insights, and then knowing how to act on those insights. With bespoke DEI analytics, you can investigate the state of DEI in your organization to formulate and prioritize your action plan.
DEI is complex and multidimensional, therefore, a robust DEI analytics solution needs to encompass key metrics and indicators in different levels and categories. Specifically, Pulsely’s proprietary scientific network assesses:
Diversity Data: the straight facts on representation at different parts and different levels of your organization
- Diversity: a snapshot of representation of different groups in the company that enables identifying the gaps that can be generated by information in your HR systems or through a demographic survey.
- Leadership Pipeline: HR data that monitors the flow of talent in the pipeline to leadership, revealing the patterns of hiring, promotions and attrition that impact your ability to increase diversity in leadership.
Inclusion Data: reveals insights into how different groups experience the workplace in different ways, where this leads to inequity, and how this correlates with business metrics
- Employee Experience: measure the employee experiences on eight self-reported pillars of inclusion (visible DEI leadership, equal opportunity, career support, belonging, work-life effectiveness, team psychological safety, managerial relationships, behavioral accountability) to find gaps in experience (inequity) across groups.
- Performance indicators: establish a correlation between employees’ experience with key business metrics (such as engagement, retention and innovation).
Mindsets: an inner glimpse at where your workforce and managerial staff are when it comes to building a culture of inclusion to guide your approach
- Inclusion Competencies: evaluate the competency levels of individual employees and managers to support a day-to-day culture of inclusion (including learning from others, willingness to adapt, cultural intelligence, courage to engage, awareness of systemic bias, addressing bias, and allyship).
- Inclusion Perspectives: assess the maturity level of inclusion in your organization by identifying the most prevalent inclusion perspectives (the traditionalist, the observer, the connector, the advocate). This data is important because it allows you to calibrate communications and training to engage your employees where they are and foster curiosity rather than create resistance and backlash.
Combining this level of insight with expert analysis, you can identify what are the critical DEI challenges in your organization, learn what’s blocking DEI progress and what’s helping advance it, understand what inclusion gaps are most correlated to business performance, and how to begin to impact change.
A huge benefit of using DEI analytics that take into account the perspectives of individuals is that it informs you who in your organization is already bringing you forward, and who you will be bringing along with you. That way you are able to calibrate communications and training according to where people are on their DEI journey.
Visibility Through a DEI Dashboard - Monitoring and Tracking Progress
Once leadership truly begins to grasp which DEI challenges are hindering your business performance, and begins to address them, you will want to track the impact of your interventions with a DEI dashboard. With this, you will move past the stage where you are simply focused on action because action itself does not equal desired outcomes.
Instead, you will move steadily into engaging with DEI proficiency: where you are focused on seeing the cultural and business impacts that you are creating by implementing targeted initiatives and adjusting where needed. You will be celebrating measurable results and ROI, and looking for the next level opportunities that you have to better execute your strategies and to elevate your organization towards a culture of greater inclusion, step by step.
A digital DEI dashboard cuts through data overload by displaying the most important DEI metrics and indicators and visualizing the data in a way that is easy to manage and to communicate to various stakeholders. It supports you in understanding where you are relative to where you began, and in keeping leadership updated on progress. A DEI dashboard helps to hold your organization accountable for the goals you have set, and highlights where roadblocks appear so you can pivot quickly when needed.
In short, by mastering DEI analytics you will be able to do the insights-based real DEI work that moves your organization to another level.