According to our research, 89% of employees agree to the item:
"Everyone here is treated fairly regardless of race, gender, age, ethnic, background, sexual orientation, or other differences."
However, 94% of white employees agreed to that item compared to just 85% of black employees.
While this data shows a disparity in the employee experience when it comes to a diverse group of employees—it is possible to improve the perceptions of diversity, inclusion, and psychological safety in your organization.
There’s a lot on the line when trying to make sense of your D&I initiatives. Especially when 61% of employees think diversity and inclusion is important. And it can be overwhelming to try and gather more information from your employees.
But we’ve got good news! You don't have to start from scratch in order to measure and improve diversity and inclusion at work.
In this blog, we’ll share our best practices for improving your D&I initiatives by asking employees the right diversity and inclusion questions to measure, adjust, and forge ahead.
For some organizations, diversity and inclusion programs can seem big and complex. Many times, they look at overall favorability or average response but get stuck at the surface level differences in their employee engagement data. If you’re doing an employee engagement survey, you already have a lot of information right at your fingertips.
Here are three steps to help you break down your engagement survey data to better understand your diversity and inclusion efforts and tell a much bigger story.
You don’t have to launch a new diversity or inclusion survey to start painting picture of D&I in your organization. Your employee engagement survey can help you understand the impact. Start here to discover where you are doing well and where you could improve. Here are some survey question examples that can help you measure diversity and inclusion.
You can use engagement survey questions like these to see what’s happening big picture. But the best insights will surface when you take time to dig deeper. Consider diving into specific demographics like gender, age, race, and disability status. You have a lot of diversity metrics available if you are ready to take a people-first approach to your analytics. Your organization might not have a variety of demographics represented, but your employees are unique.
Intersectionality is the theory of how different types of discrimination interact. As a human being, it matters not only what gender, age, and race we are, but all three of those things combined that influence our experience. When you are looking at your data, you might compare peer demographics. But it can be helpful if you combine demographics to gain further insights.
Take a look at a combination like position level by gender within your engagement survey data. Here you can look at your data and understand the diverse perceptions of female leaders, male leaders, female individual contributors, and male individual contributors. Likely, each intersection of individuals feels very different from the next. You might already have this data, but are you looking at it? If you are, what are you doing with it?
There should always be a purpose for your engagement survey. You shouldn’t look for answers you are trying to solve after you’ve collected your data. When launching an employee engagement survey, you should have an idea of what you are looking for beforehand. Once complete, analyze your survey at face value and always follow-up.
Employees who believe their immediate managers are opposed to, unaware of, or undecided about diversity and inclusion strategies are less engaged than employees who believe their managers are supportive or committed to those strategies. Clearly, managers play a big role in fostering diversity and inclusion in the workplace. But getting leadership buy-in and commitment isn’t easy—despite being arguably the most critical part of advancing your initiatives.
Here are a few ways to get leader and managers on board:
Managers are on the front-line of your engagement initiatives. When rolling out a new program, your managers can be your greatest advocates or your biggest roadblocks. Make sure you are providing them with the right training necessary to be effective. Their job is to connect and build relationships with their employees. Consider how they approach 1-on-1 conversations and be sure they understand how to avoid unconscious bias in performance reviews.
Highlight the effect of their decisions on your diverse employee groups across the organization and explore the challenges they face. Use real-life feedback and opinions gathered in focus groups and surveys to fuel these conversations.
Your managers should be aware of the struggles their employees face and be knowledgeable about social issues from a wide range of sources and perspectives. This is especially true for leaders of smaller or less-diverse organizations, where a variety of insights may not be readily available.
One way to measure and adjust your D&I initiatives is to ask employees about their experience directly. To gather more information about a topic, like diversity and inclusion, you can use a pulse survey. These surveys dive deeper into employee opinions which can help you with your D&I efforts.
Specific pulse surveys about practices and policies may help your HR leaders pinpoint interventions to improve workplace culture. Including questions about diversity, inclusion, and belonging to engagement surveys can also help shine a light on perceptions of psychological safety across demographics. Once you understand how a specific demographic is feeling, you can begin to understand how to improve.
The best way to understand how your employees are feeling is to ask them. Running an effective employee focus group can give you qualitative information to support your survey results. This allows your employees to further discuss trends in your data and provide context to specific topics. Your employees can help you uncover ways to improve and help you develop solutions.
Top organizations measure progress over time and use KPIs to refine their plan and hold leaders accountable for results. Organizations must include affected employees—minority and majority, frontline employees and managers—in the design and assessment of the programs. This inclusivity helps ensure the program will work and take hold.
Use these questions to understand how employees view the topics of inclusion, fairness, equity, respect, and diversity as a way to ensure you are engaging all employees.
Use these questions to evaluate perceptions of psychological safety at the organization and team level.
For some organizations, mounting a diversity and inclusion initiative seems like an impossibly big and multi-faceted endeavor. What works for one organization won’t necessarily work for another. Consider the unique obstacles and opportunities specific to your organization to build and drive your strategies and use these tips to start making an impact today.
Putting an emphasis on D&I in your organization is worth it. Get our research, Diversity and Inclusion in the Workplace, to understand what it is, why it matters, and how to make it a priority.
Published October 29, 2020 | Written By Anne Maltese