Pope blog

DEI Dashboard: Identifying the Right Targets

Overview: This blog introduces suggested steps for identifying the right targets to monitor progress, measure success, and deliver results-driven diversity, equity, and inclusion plans.

The evolution of diversity and inclusion trends, like placing more emphasis on belonging (DEIB) in the workplace, has many companies under pressure to keep up with efforts to expand inclusion programs each year while also looking for best practices to monitor the success of their efforts. A recent Gartner survey (2021) revealed that those DEI leaders surveyed indicated a strong commitment to setting goals and tracking DEI progress through metrics but that they were still perplexed by the question of “what does good really look like” in terms of reaching their inclusion targets.

We’ve also heard from many of our clients that the most intimidating part of improving workplace inclusion is knowing the right place to start or even restart their commitments and managing progress. Often an executive sponsor, HR business partner, or diversity lead is referred to us to help strategize their approach to addressing a current or impending organizational gap. We offer guidance on targeting the right inclusion priorities through an assessment process and identifying opportunities to advance our client’s inclusion priorities. Organizations can quickly build a DEI Dashboard that is focused on key metrics and performance indicators (KPIs) and leveraged to track progress over time.

Here are four suggested considerations for building your 2023 DEI Dashboard:

  1. Realize that each organization is at a different stage in its DEI journey. There is no “one-size-fits-all” approach to creating and sustaining inclusion. It can be frustrating to be able to envision an organization’s DEI future opportunities quickly, but unable to progress faster. First, organizations should assess at which stage of maturity their current DEI efforts fall under: traditional, evolving, maturing, or equitable levels.
    • Look for organizational data points already being tracked or initiatives that have already been implemented. Workforce demographic metrics are essential data points.
    • Review any compliance practices or impending risk opportunities being monitored.
    • Notice if any business outcomes or organizational results can be linked to specific inclusion goals. Consider things like retention, supplier opportunities, or consumer needs.
    • Take note of specific people or roles responsible for monitoring the program’s progress. Confirm where the DEI commitment aligns with the organization’s overall mission and vision.
  2. Align with executive sponsors on organizational needs, priorities, and accountability levels. A recent HR.com survey found that of organizations with DEI initiatives, 37 percent reported the HR function was primarily responsible for driving inclusion followed by 14 percent who reported that the CEO/President had responsibility for driving inclusion. Having the right sponsor or council members to help prioritize the targets is essential to ensuring the DEI Dashboard is not just looking at one priority, people representation for example, but is attempting to align with the organization’s overall priorities internally and externally. Having the right sponsorship ensures the right level of credibility and influence is in place to move inclusion efforts along.
  3. Identify where DEI targets could link to other internal or external initiatives, not just people representation. Here is a list of other questions to explore so that the inclusion targets are not just focused on workforce needs but help to support the overall organization outcomes.
    • What employee benefits, policies, or programs are in place?
    • How well are our talent acquisition and retention practices attracting diverse candidates?
    • What do our external customers, business partners, and future customers expect from us?
    • Where are the ROIs showing up for the current inclusion efforts? Cost savings? Innovation?
    • Are there any industry trends driving the business’s long-term needs?
    • What employee expectations or workforce changes should be considered for future success?
    • When will technology, economic, and consumer changes impact business practices?
    • What learning, community involvement, or supplier practices are in place currently?
  4. Draft your DEI Dashboard with the top three most attainable targets and set a governing timeline for review. A DEI Dashboard serves one primary purpose, to identify the most critical impact areas and measure the organization’s performance against DEI priorities. Dashboards should be easy to digest and shared at various organizational levels so that everyone can observe progress. Work with your leadership sponsor and other stakeholders to prioritize the top three inclusion priorities that link to organization outcomes. Discuss the desired result using both qualitative and quantitative outcomes for each measure. Be able to define why each priority was highlighted for the dashboard as well as how the results will be evaluated. Lastly, dashboards should be reviewed frequently to help keep efforts on target. Align on the right timeframe to review the status of each target.

• Gartner Survey, hbr.org/2021/05/how-to-measure-inclusion-in-the-workplace
• What gets measured gets done, Cathy Gallagher-Louisy, 2013, p. 7
• The Future of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion 2021, HR.com, p. 14.