Much like wellness investments, return on diversity and inclusion expenditure reporting serves a major challenge as these returns are far less easily defined. While this has been assured to HR professionals for decades, the struggle to quantify this ROI persists. Without clear indication that the capital and energy devoted to these efforts translate to revenue driving impact, sustaining these programs and industry reputation is compromised.
Although a singular, elegant indicator of the fruit of these high priority investments would indeed be convenient, for HCM investment this search for one or two results actually stifles the full depiction of progress and lessons learned in these areas. Particularly with D&I where there are two fronts of impact targeted, authenticity and employee engagement as well as innovation and revenue generation, only multiple outcomes and conjoined outcomes can fully convey the impact of these efforts. The real key here is creativity and agility in the analysis of data to match the needs of and impact to your particular population.
Just as one would carefully craft a well-tailored engagement strategy to the particular population needs, so too should impact analysis be conducted.
4 Questions to Assess the Impact of Your D&I Strategy
Does your industry typically recruit diverse populations?
An organization like McDonald’s may already have a fairly diverse workforce, whereas a commercial real estate or financial firm may typically struggle more with diverse recruiting. When indicating success in this area, be certain to compare with industry standard. Where progress has not yet reached competitive standards, relative progress to recruitment statistics over time may be a more accurate depiction of impact.
Do you have a network of D&I ambassadors?
Typically termed Employee Resource Groups, these grassroots networks serve as a great tool to cue into the interests of not only employees, but the community at large. What’s more, ERGs can serve to make valuable business connections in the industry as well. In the process of organizing and putting on events, ERGs utilize intrinsically engaging elements of workforce identity to drive community visibility leading to potential revenue driving relationships. Engagement in these programs may be used to indicate both revenue potential as well as employee engagement. Be wary though to distinguish engagement with the workforce and engagement with an already existing interest. (See ‘strengthen your conclusions…’ in well-tailored engagement strategy)
Are you aiming to diversify workforce or leaders?
Determine where you are in the cultural transformation process to determine where in your data to look for progress indicators. Recruitment statistics are great for those first efforts, whereas promotion data can indicate a culture conducive to career growth for a diverse population.
How much are managers involved in your D&I strategy?
Manager involvement is most definitely a gold standard in executing D&I initiatives, but isn’t always immediately feasible in change management implementation. For those far enough along, inclusion of manager rating in yearly review is a great way to introduce this accountability and conversation. For most that aren’t so far along though, noting the localized, group level progress with engagement survey questions may be used to predict changes in engagement to come