How Exactly Do You Measure Diversity in an Organization?

Published by:
Joe Caccavale
June 7, 2021
min read

Hiring Metrics 101: Data-Driven Hiring Crash Course

When we think about ‘measuring’ diversity, our first instinct may be to count the number of employees from different backgrounds. However, this reinforces the idea that diversity is simply a matter of patting ourselves on the back for fulfilling a quota.

A truly diverse and inclusive work environment is one where people, regardless of their background, can flourish and progress. So how can we use this as a benchmark to evaluate our own workplace? In this article, we’ll be discussing how leaders can quantify organizational diversity with metrics that have real meaning. 

The importance of measuring diversity and inclusion

Given the strong business case for diversity, there are considerable benefits to measuring D&I initiatives. Metrics ensure transparency in how leaders are progressing in their efforts to create a diverse and inclusive workplace. Without clear and actionable benchmarks, leaders may lag in their active commitment to harnessing the power and profitability of a diverse workplace.

Many organisations have some kind of diversity and inclusion processes in place. More than one-quarter of business leaders in the UK say increasing diversity is a top priority for them. But to succeed, these programs and processes need to be analysed, assessed, and continually evolved.

Simply put, if we don’t measure it, it won’t get done.

Metrics to measure diversity and inclusion

The diversity of applicants versus hires

By measuring exactly how many people from different backgrounds make their way from the candidate pool to receiving a job offer, you can reveal trends in applicant screening and hiring that may be indicative of unconscious bias. For instance, is there a significant difference in the number of female applicants versus female employees?

Ideally, your hires should generally reflect the diversity of applicants. More often than not, this can be achieved by using anonymous hiring. By removing personal details from applications (as well as sticking to skills-based testing) you can drastically increase your chances of hiring the best your talent pool has to offer.

Staff retention

This includes measuring the average retention period and comparing it across commonalities such as gender and ethnicity. This can then be supplemented by qualitative information about how engaged employees are, and what their reasons might be for leaving the organisation. 

Surveys and third-party apps can help ensure anonymity regarding feedback, and employee exit interviews can be tailored to include questions about inclusivity, company culture, diversity, etc, to gain targeted feedback.

Diversity across organisational levels

While you may appear to have a diverse workforce, do teams become more homogenous the further up the ladder you look? For diversity to actually have an impact, it needs to be at all levels of an organisation, from technicians to managers and key decision-makers.

There are numerous ways to measure how people progress through an organisation. These include promotions, parity in performance reviews, access to additional training, development and mentoring programs. After all, diversity is only meaningful when everyone has equal opportunity to grow and succeed.

Salary and bonuses

Financial rewards are one of the simpler diversity metrics to track, and one of the most meaningful. In an environment where conscious and unconscious biases have resulted in one of the most damaging diversity issues of our time – the gender wage gap – tracking financial metrics is key. Be sure to track salary by role and tenure as well as base pay, and consider discretionary pay, bonuses, commissions, and other financial rewards.

Staff engagement and wellbeing

This is one of the more challenging metrics to track, but it is vital for understanding whether certain groups of employees feel valued, motivated, and supported.

Evaluating an organisation as a whole and analysing these results based on diversity criteria may reveal patterns of bias. These patterns have a profound effect on how different groups of people may experience your workplace. 

Surveys should solicit voluntary disclosure of race, ethnicity, gender, and other diversity factors, and use questions that directly connect with typical diversity and inclusion concerns such as feeling valued, feeling able to speak up without repercussion, having confidence in their leaders, and fair recognition and rewards for contributions.

Applied is the essential recruitment platform for debiased, data driven recruitment. Purpose-built to make hiring empirical and ethical, our platform uses anonymised applications and skill-based assessments to find talent that would otherwise have been lost.

Push back against conventional hiring wisdom with a smarter solution: book in a demo or browse our range of resources, such as our ranking of the top diversity job boards.