Gathering data for long-term success: Diversity, inclusion and belonging

This series discusses diversity, inclusion and belonging (DIBs) in the workplace. Join us as we look at starting and building out your DIBs plan, plus accountability, and implementation and evaluation.

Is data the next big thing in HR and recruiting? According to Fast Company, “it’s more essential than ever.” Forbes calls it “HR’s most important asset.”

Despite what the headlines say, the reality is that data analysis within companies is nothing new. Human resources leaders have been turning to employee data to make decisions for decades. What’s changed is how this data is being used. Case in point: diversity, inclusion and belonging (DIBs) in the workplace.

As a recruitment manager, I know first-hand how crucial it is to take DIBs into account when running an organization and how it can make or break your business. When you have a variety of individuals working together you will get different perspectives and opinions that can benefit your business, and this will allow your business to grow in a number of ways.

In writing this series, I want to help you improve the DIBs efforts across your organization—and do so in the most genuine way possible.

Diversity in the workplace can be a sensitive subject for many people, so you need to take your time with it and carefully consider all potential implications. Even if you have the best of intentions, you could face a wide range of reactions from your team.

The power of data

Simply put, the more an organization knows about its employees, the better it can serve them. Learning as much as possible about the various gender identities and expressions, ages, ethnicities, education levels, geographic locations and job titles that make up your team can put you on the path toward building a more diverse organizational culture, as you can start to identify and prioritize different areas for improvement.

From there, you can build a business case for implementing a DIBs plan. Of course, you need to be ethical and responsible in your approach to data collection but failing to gather any data can have serious effects on both the development of your organization as a whole and its bottom line. Your HR team, in particular, should be trained in handling sensitive personal information and how to store it.

Getting the diversity data you need

How can you ensure the data you’re collecting will make an impact?

Let’s be honest: Collecting data is easier said than done, especially when you’re dealing with sensitive personal information. Because of this, transparency is key. You need to make sure your team has a solid understanding of what data is being collected and for what reason. If your team members know the data will be used to improve an inadequate program or policy, they’ll be more inclined to comply with the process. It’s also important for you to remind your team that you are not collecting personally identifiable information. I recommend highlighting that the data will be aggregated, and all identifiable information will be removed when presenting the findings

How can you gain a better understanding of your employees and their feelings toward being a part of your organization?

Engagement surveys can be extremely effective tools for measuring employee sentiment and people’s experiences. Ask your team members to provide their honest feedback on how things are going and have them rate certain aspects of their experience on a scale of one to 10.

Is your recruitment staff doing an effective job of building diverse and inclusive workspaces? Are there under-represented groups within the organization? Engagement survey insights can help you answer these questions and set achievable DIBs goals and allow you to tackle issues before they arise.

Putting it all together

Once you’ve gathered enough relevant data, you can use the insights to turn your DIBs ideas into a research-supported action plan. And while this is a fundamental step, it’s not the only step. In fact, it’s just the beginning.

So what’s the next step? Read on in this series to find out!

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