As organizations strive for greater diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) in the workplace, it is critical to track progress and hold teams accountable for meeting DEI goals. Despite the importance of DEI, many organizations are unsure of how to track and measure their progress effectively.
Set measurable objectives
Setting measurable objectives is one of the most important aspects in developing effective DEI-focused OKRs. Make sure that any aim, whether long-term or short-term, can be quantified.
Set measurable objectives such as “achieve a 5% increase in diversity at the senior executive level by year’s end” if your organization wants to create an action plan for improving recruitment practices for under-represented groups. Furthermore, make certain that each aim includes time frames and strategies for measuring success.
Identify key performance indicators
Having the right KPIs in place and tracking progress toward them regularly is critical for any effort to ensure organizational change and diversity.
Some examples of KPIs that may be beneficial for successful DEI-focused OKRs include:
- Increased representation from diverse backgrounds in leadership
- Diversified supplier networks
- Commitment to lifelong learning opportunities aimed at addressing unconscious bias among staff
- Increases in employee engagement survey results by demographic
- Reductions in turnover ratios by department, gender, race, etc.
- Retention ratios by gender/race/ethnicity/sexual orientation over specific time periods
Ultimately, what works best will depend on the size and scope of a business’s operations as well as how their individual culture and environment might influence these goals.
Monitoring the progress of any project is critical in order to determine if adjustments are needed along the way or if goals can be met within the time frame specified. Regular progress checks should be performed to assess current progress, identify roadblocks, and identify areas of success. Keeping track of the successes and failures associated with each task help identify issues that may affect the timeline or outcome of a project and allows for preventive measures to be taken.
Track employee engagement
It is critical to track employee engagement and satisfaction in order to understand the impact of DEI initiatives. Employee engagement is a useful metric for determining how well these initiatives are received by employees.
Establishing regular surveys and feedback loops to gauge employee perceptions of the initiatives can provide insight into how effective they are for employees and how they can be improved.
In order to develop effective measures of success, data points, such as employee turnover rate, voluntary resignations, performance evaluations, and promotions as they relate to DEI initiatives must be collected.
Analyse data to identify areas of improvement
Depending on the metrics chosen, data analysis could be performed at various points throughout the year to help inform internal decision-making. Consider creating metrics for gender diversity in senior-level positions, hiring practices based on candidate backgrounds (such as race/ethnicity/ability), or gaps between coworkers’ evaluations and performance ratings during gender or ethnicity-based reviews.
Examining qualitative employee feedback from surveys, in particular, can provide deeper insight into patterns that would otherwise be difficult to capture using numerical values alone.
Measuring progress on DEI-focused OKRs can be challenging, however, it is possible to use a variety of strategies to ensure success.
Assess the impact of initiatives
Organizations should consider both quantitative (i.e., process-oriented) and qualitative measures when assessing the impact of DEI initiatives (i.e., those regarding employee experience).
Quantitative measures are concerned with quantifiable items such as workforce diversity and equity data points, whereas qualitative measures are concerned with the employee experience, such as feedback from surveys or focus groups. In order to identify areas for improvement, it is also necessary to consider stakeholder sentiment regarding any changes made.
Companies should also evaluate their internal processes for promoting DEI-focused OKRs and goals. Firms, for example, may assess their ability to attract diverse candidates, provide a supportive learning environment in which employees can thrive regardless of differences, or foster a workplace culture in which equality is part of daily operations.
These metrics can determine whether the organization’s processes are producing the expected results or whether more development is needed to ensure fair results across all departments.
Reporting on Results
Develop a reporting process
The reporting process should include:
- Develop a comprehensive plan with a timeline to track progress on each OKR,
- Identifying who will be responsible for reporting.
- Establishing communication protocols surrounding updates and changes.
- Regular reviews of results.
- Scheduling in time to celebrate successes and gain insights from failures.
Establishing a defined process for tracking, reporting, celebrating, and improving on those metrics will help support meaningful change within an organization. Depending on the context of your team, you can communicate updates in a variety of formats (presentation decks, emails, memos). It is also critical to document actions for follow-up after the presentation or meeting.
Overall, tracking and measuring progress on DEI-focused OKRs can be a difficult yet rewarding endeavor. By setting SMART goals, creating a timeline, and using the right metrics, teams can measure progress and ensure that their DEI initiatives are successful.