Monday, March 10, 2014

How to Assess and Evaluate the Progress of Workforce Diversity Initiatives

Any diversity strategy must contain well-defined measures to assess effectiveness and to evaluate
whether outcomes support organizational objectives and targets. Such measures must be straightforward and unambiguous so that all employees and leaders clearly understand what is expected. - from Best Practices in Achieving Workforce Diversity

In a previous post, 10 Measures of Diversity Working in Society and in the Workplace, is a list of some of these diversity indicators or variables that can be measured, provided in the same study report above, which diversity-minded companies can use in assessing the progress of their diversity initiatives.

The report was the culmination of a benchmarking study conducted by a group of leading private firms in cooperation with the U.S. Department of Commerce and then U.S. Vice-President Al Gore's National Partnership for Reinventing Government in whch the study team shared their experiences and best practices.

Among the best practices presented in the report regarding the assessment and evaluation of diversity indicators by which a company can track the progress of its diversity process are the following:
  • Conducting an annual organizational chart assessment to identify the current diversity status of the company and see if it reflects the community it serves.
  • Setting specific workforce diversity objectives; for example setting a goal of having its workforce reflects the customers it serves and the place in which the company is located, and its global management at a designated year in the future be able to represent the demographics of their global market. This practice shows how a company can integrate diversity into its performance-based culture.
  • Using a diversity scorecard to assess diversity progress.
  • Using a diversity check-list of suggested action items from which managers can develop their diversity action plans.
Using a Diversity Scorecard

Diversity indicators, or variables are the items to be measured for progress, and which can be presented in a scorecard format. According to MDB Group, a business, diversity, inclusion, and intercultural expertise consultants, the core diversity and inclusion metrics and scorecard challenge is deciding what to do and then designing appropriate metrics and scorecards to measure progress. Periodic (e.g. annual) updates to the diversity metrics and scorecard are also important. If progress has been made, the metrics must change to “raise the bar.” If progress has not been made, the metrics must change so that different things are tried. Read more here

The following are some areas of measurements that can be used in assessing a company's diversity efforts that the Washington State Human Resources suggests:

I. Quantitative Measurements track how many or how much percentage of people in the company that measures against traditional affirmative action goals. These measurements can be based on:
  • Representation or workforce profile
  • Hiring
  • Development – ex: individual development plan
  • Pay Equity
  • Promotion
  • Turnover
  • Accessability of Programs and Services
II. Qualitative Measurementscan be outcome-oriented or activity based.
a. Outcome-oriented measurements can focus on “feelings” - for example, the perceived level of inclusion felt by all employees. It can also deal with:
  • Employee Inclusion
  • Customer Satisfaction
  • Employee Resource Affinity groups
b. Activity-based measurements can track the progress of an organization's diversity effort in the areas of:
  • Recruitment
  • Retention
  • Training
  • Diversity Committment

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