Welcome to my weekly Q&A roundup. (Scroll down to find the Q&A.)
If this is your first time here, welcome. I spend a fair amount of time speaking at events and conferences. At the end of my presentations, I leave space for audience members to ask questions — tough questions, brave questions, you name it. The level of candor and curiosity always inspires me, and I want to share that sentiment with you. So each week, I pick one question that I believe others would find most instructive and publish my response to it here.
The purpose of this weekly tradition is transparency and inclusivity.
- Transparency: a behind-the-scenes look at my day-to-day.
- Inclusivity: bringing others along in the journey.
Is it possible to measure “inclusion” among our employee base? Diversity metrics are straightforward but inclusion metrics are more nuanced.
Measuring The Value of Inclusion At Work
Are you included? Do you feel like you belong at work? Do your employees feel included? Do they feel like they belong?
These are simple questions with massive economic consequences, as Accenture discovered in a recent study. According to the study, senior leaders believe that only 2% of their employees don’t feel included at work. Not bad. But ask the employees and fully 20% of them will tell you that they don’t feel included.
That’s a 10x difference in perception.
One In Five Employees Don’t Feel Included
One in five employees at your organization doesn’t feel included, according to Accenture’s research. It could be that their ideas are swiftly dismissed. It could be that they are the last to receive news or project updates. It could be that they are passed on promotions. Perhaps they are not compensated equitably for their contributions.
Whatever the source of the exclusion, we know that it diminishes an organization’s financial performance. In fact, if US companies closed 50% of the perception gap between what senior leaders believe about employee inclusion versus what employees really feel, profits would be 33% (= $1.05 trillion) higher.
Key takeaway: you can hire for diversity, but you must build for inclusion. Don’t assume the former automatically begets the latter.
Build For Inclusion First, Then Diversify
If you don’t have systems in place to ensure inclusion across the entire employee experience, efforts to diversify your workforce will fail. The best way to create a diverse workforce is to ensure the success of your existing diverse workforce.
That’s why, from a strategy perspective, you need to focus on building an inclusive workplace first. Then you can take efforts to diversify your workforce.
Use these questions to get started with embedding inclusion into your workplace:
- What metrics do you use to measure inclusion?
- How do you disaggregate the data? By gender, race, ethnicity, age, seniority, pay grade, etc?
- How do you integrate your data into feedback loops to inform “always-on” progress toward your DEI goals?
- Who is responsible for inclusion metrics?
- Whose job performance depends on inclusion metrics?
Remember, DEI is a journey, not a destination. There’s no right or wrong way to “do” DEI, but all three (diversity, equity, and inclusion) need to be present to thrive.