Quick - take a mental snapshot of your organization. What comes to mind? Leadership teams, frontline workers, maybe products, or possibly customers. Let this snapshot act as a first impression (perspective) of your company’s DEI ecosystem.
Organizations proudly introduce new DEI roadmaps and initiatives. The expectation that they will improve their diversity standings is high, because they feel that a pledge and signature from the executive leader - who is likely a part of the demographic majority - is enough to seal the deal.
But what are the chances that the diverse staff, potential new talent, diverse customer segments and diversity suppliers, see these actions as performative - mere window dressing?
The stronger your DEI ecosystem, the more credible your DEI strategy will be.
Think of a DEI ecosystem as an undercurrent to your organization's values. It flows through and connects all parts of the business. How strong the DEI current is depends on
- the presence of inclusive leadership capabilities
- how consistently the staff influences and advocates for other colleagues,
- the composition of diversity at every level of the organization.
How does your snapshot - your perspective- change based on these three points?
Inclusive Matters advises leaders on how to connect credible DEI to their business, by strengthening their DEI ecosystem. We partner with Pulsely, the experts on DEI analytics, to build a company’s DEI foundation based on clear metrics.
Leaders are aware that inequities exist, but few recognize the larger systemic imbalances that affect their workplace. Typical diversity metrics in Europe are aggregated, and biased towards representing perspectives of only the demographic majority. For instance, data collection and sharing focuses primarily on gender representation which gives, at best, negligible consideration to other diverse demographics in the environment.
Minority staff who identify with diverse characteristics other than “female” lack acknowledgement. Their voices and perspectives are absent from current DEI discussions (as well as in the workplace experience). This behavior negatively affects the engagement levels of these underrepresented colleagues.
“Just because you don't see something doesn't mean it's not there.”- Dr. Willard Wigan, MBE (a Black artist with autism, who creates the world’s smallest handmade sculptures.)
Diverse demographic segments have collective experiences that can run counter to those of the demographic majority (i.e, ethnic white men/women). To provide more equitable environments and build a sense of belonging, leaders must uncover and highlight these different perspectives.
Achieving “Workplace Equity requires companies to identify and address specific needs related to demographics such as race, ethnicity, gender identity, disability, age, parental status, and working location.” - Future Forum
For example, during the pandemic, Slack surveyed 4,700 knowledge workers around the world about their desire to return-to-office after WFH. The aggregate data, which largely supported return-to-office setting, described a significant decline in the sense of belonging while working remotely. A majority of the workers missed interacting with their colleagues in the office environment. But within that aggregate data lay a hidden fact:
There was a pattern of experience that stood in stark contrast to the majority demographic findings. "Surprisingly, historically underrepresented groups (Black, Asian, & Hispanic) actually reported an increased sense of belonging with remote work, while white workers reported lower sense of belonging." - Slack Frontiers Executive Forum
As companies create their DEI roadmaps, they need to be aware of the diverging perspectives among demographic groups. Solutions integrating various perspectives are more inclusive and create a sense of belonging that will cascade throughout the organization.
Partnering DEI Analytics With Strategy
In our partnership with Pulsely, clients uncover the patterns of experiences among various demographic groups. By using algorithms, Pulsely makes the invisible (and largely unintended) advantages and disadvantages more visible, quantifiable and actionable. The metrics from Pulsely’s tools provide the critical information which guide organizations in a more targeted and strategic approach to creating greater equity.
Inclusive Matters and Pulsely work with clients by implementing diagnostic tools & then advising and co-creating the company’s DEIB strategies. Pulsely’s tools supplement the DI strategies that Inclusive Matters builds with our clients. The result - connecting credible DEI to the business.
The partnership birthed self-identification methods, which encourage survey respondents to share how they perceive themselves, rather than ticking a box of how they are perceived. For example, in addition to the binary Gender options of man /woman, Pulsely has added space for self-identification.
Pusely’s tools highlighted the patterns of experiences across the demographic groups. Inclusive Matters then crafts specific strategy solutions with the clients to address the unique challenges of each group. These DEI strategies are implemented with more precision.
Pulsely’s diagnostic tool found an alarming pattern of experience within one European company’s minority demographic. While the aggregated data showed a high level of comfort to share and communicate authentically, the non-white segment of that staff experienced significantly lower levels of trust to engage with colleagues. Building a culture of anti-racism became a pillar of the company’s new DEI strategy, and they are creating organization-wide initiatives that build a common language and facilitate engagement on topics of race and ethnicity.
How do you contribute to the overall DEI image of your company?
- How similar are you to your colleagues?
- Have you had the opportunity to self-identify at your company?
- How diverse are the different departments and functions at your organization?
- What diversity statistics exist at those levels
- How are you personally strengthening the company’s D&I ecosystem?
- Who has directly benefited from your influence or endorsement?
In-depth DEI data leads to a stronger DEI ecosystem.
The stronger the DEI ecosystem, the more credible the DEI strategy.