For a Solid Diversity & Inclusion Strategy, Follow the Data


Creating a diverse and inclusive workplace is top of mind for HR and is a business imperative in today’s landscape. Companies need the right technology to understand where they are at with diversity and inclusion (D&I) and where they are going, and to hold them accountable along the way, writes E.J. Marin, director of solution engineering & business development, Nakisa.

Creating a diverse and inclusive workplace isn’t just the right thing to do from a moral perspective. It is a business imperative. A much-cited McKinsey report put a dollar amount on achieving gender equality in the workplace: $12 trillionOpens a new window added to the global GDP. That’s a strong business case for diversity and inclusion (D&I), but too many companies lack the data they need to get real results.

Better technology is required to analyze data on D&I because raw statistics are no longer enough. Now companies need to be able to demonstrate how they’ve helped employees make progress. To cite one example, France committed to closing the gender pay gap with the Professional Equality IndexOpens a new window . This index requires businesses to publish an index on their progress toward pay equity, which is calculated using data onOpens a new window :

  • Weighted gender pay gap calculated on employees’ compensation
  • Gender equality in annual individual salary increases
  • Gender equality in promotions for each professional category
  • Payment of salary increases to women returning from maternity leave, provided that salary increases were awarded during their absence
  • Employees from the under-represented gender among the 10 most highly paid individuals
Source: Nakisa Hanelly

These are the metrics required to comply with a single piece of legislation, and there are complex calculations behind many of the numbers. Social justice movements around the world, including Black Lives Matter in the U.S., are bringing renewed focus on other aspects of D&I ­– and pressure on HR to create more inclusive workplaces. In a modern workplace, D&I is not just about hiring. It’s about providing opportunity, achieving a greater sense of social wellbeing and improving the company’s competitive position.

Learn More: 4 Areas Where Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) Technology Can Enable Organization-Wide Change

HR Data Quality Is Critical

To achieve D&I goals, HR leaders not only need technology that is capable of producing the required data – they need assurance that it’s good quality data. Wages, salaries, and benefits are typically the largest expense on a company’s profit & loss statement, so it’s vital to be able to provide accurate employee data – across multiple dimensions – for decision-makers. That’s why so many HR departments that maintain information on spreadsheets and/or disconnected systems are rethinking their approach.

COVID-19 underscored the necessity for HR to have complete, reliable, and relevant information to monitor progress and inform decisions on D&I. When employee data is housed in spreadsheets or disparate systems, issues often remain unnoticed until something changes.

When spreadsheets are just not enough

For example, a tech company client has been engaged in thoughtful reorganization to navigate shifting business currents during the pandemic while pursuing D&I goals. When the company’s data from a legacy system went live on an organizational design and charting platform, the team quickly noticed job vacancies that didn’t match up with recruiting data. Upon investigation, they found that these were temporary positions that hadn’t been removed from the system, where they were skewing the overall data. Oversights like this can lead to decisions being made on faulty organizational data that impacts long-term results.

Mergers are also a flashpoint for the production of bad data. Exhausted by chasing down information in spreadsheets and data cleanup efforts under pressure, HR executives are increasingly looking to organizational charting and design technology to provide accurate data on D&I and a host of other initiatives. They’re also seeking ways to analyze data within an organizational chart framework, which provides context for data and clarifies the big picture from a people management perspective.

Learn More: Diversity Recruiting Strategies: 3 Long-Term Ideas to Power Your Workplace

Using HR Technology to Achieve Independence

An organizational chart framework that ensures accurate data allows HR to monitor D&I and serve as an independent and credible business advisor to the executive team. Complete visibility into a changing workforce and the ability to visualize the whole organization in real time gives HR leaders the ability to recommend the vital support employees need to stay focused and productive at home.

It’s impossible to get that big-picture view from an HR add-on to an enterprise resource planning (ERP) system, let alone from spreadsheets. An organizational chart framework is a simple way to visualize complex information, and it makes it easier to slice and dice data to advance objectives, including D&I targets that elevate organizational performance. A single interactive view of the organizational structure powered by people data can drive innovation.

With on-demand diversity metrics, HR leaders can keep stakeholders informed, measure D&I program performance and proactively champion vital initiatives. And by tracking these metrics, organizations can make sure they hold departments accountable to meet D&I goals and commit to real corporate structural reform. While statements of solidarity are a great starting point, quality HR data that provides executive teams a plan for actionable change to diversify their workforce makes a stronger impact in the long run.

How do you manage data in your diversity and inclusion efforts? Tell us on LinkedInOpens a new window , TwitterOpens a new window , or FacebookOpens a new window .