A data-driven framework will help businesses attract and retain a more diverse team by creating mechanisms for measurement, learning, and accountability.
By Jane Jaxon
All leaders understand the business benefits to diversifying their teams. However, few feel prepared to dig in and work against an unjust and inequitable system that is incredibly self-sustaining. While many organizations want to make diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) a priority, it can feel like an overwhelmingly large task with no clear starting point or direction.
According to an mthree report, 68% of businesses feel that there is a lack of diversity in their workforce, but many are unsure of how to address it. Similar to other company initiatives, DEI requires a structured approach -one that not only remains a top priority but is also regularly monitored and refined to ensure it’s effective.
Evaluating workplace culture and setting goals might seem like a tall order, but with the right technology and benchmarking, HR leaders can lay the groundwork for a successful DEI strategy. If leaders are looking to cultivate an inclusive work environment, embracing data and analytics is key.
It’s no longer enough to just know the makeup of the workforce. Companies need to look beyond the diversity of the people it recruits and the people that work for the organization. Tracking DEI metrics across the entire enterprise -everything from hiring, reviewing processes, compensation, and more -is the only way to know where the company truly stands. Two-thirds of DEI leaders who track equity and inclusion have seen improvement in equity in the past two years, compared with only a quarter of laggards.
68% of businesses feel that there is a lack of diversity in their workforce, but many are unsure of how to address it.
Using technology to gather data can provide the analytics needed to visualize and monitor trends in diversity efforts. Organizations that drill down into the metrics that capture progress toward their DEI efforts will be better primed for success.
Here are two examples of how data can help companies achieve more equitable hiring practices.
1. Ensuring pay transparency.
Businesses can’t ignore the potential for personal bias in evaluating pay equity. According to PayScale’s 2021 State of the Gender Pay Gap report, women still only earn 82 cents for every dollar earned by men. For women of color, it’s 75 cents. If companies don’t have a concrete plan to address this, it can lead to inequities in pay and a non-inclusive culture.
Organizations should analyze benchmarks that show how other companies similar in size and industry are paying their employees. After completing that research, companies can create their own pay framework based on where they want their overall compensation to fall relative to the ranges seen in the market.
Having set ranges based on the market ensures transparency, allowing trust to be built with current employees and potential new hires. However, because the market is constantly changing, it’s important to keep an eye on how these ranges are shifting on a regular basis.
Once a company nails down pay ranges, it will need to figure out where individuals fall in the compensation range for their roles. For example, a rubric that outlines the different criteria for each company role and level can help. Every company will have their own set of criteria as it relates to skill set and experience, so rubrics should outline what leaders value most from potential candidates. Having a set rubric not only makes things easier, but it also allows for justified compensation decisions.
65% of DEI leaders who track equity and inclusion have seen improvement in equity in the past two years, compared with only 25% of laggards.
2. Diversifying pipelines by mitigating unconscious bias.
Unconscious bias can really inhibit recruiting and hiring efforts, especially if a company is relying on traditional recruiting sites. Yes, there are a ton of job sites where an organization needs to have a presence. However, it’s important to evaluate how much is being invested in these sites and where else it could be beneficial to advertise and post job listings.
Researching websites that make a concrete effort to target and reach a more diverse audience will help amplify recruiting efforts. Seek out job boards that serve niche groups – people of color in tech, the LGBTQ+ community, and women in tech. Job boards, such as Black Tech Pipeline and People First Jobs, are great to browse to diversify recruiting efforts. Companies that utilize these types of job boards will likely see a more diverse pool of talent in the hiring funnel, giving them the opportunity to add greater diversity to their team.
In addition to having an increased presence on niche jobs boards, it’s important that companies invest in an applicant tracking system (ATS) that supports a fair and equitable experience. Not all ATS platforms have a designated DEI feature, so finding one that supports inclusivity and offers different filtering options to mitigate bias and promote diversity allows companies to fairly evaluate candidates.
Lastly, in order to further mitigate unconscious bias in hiring, create set interview plans so all candidates get the same questions. This will help with evaluating candidates against each other in a fair and unbiased way. Further, make sure the interview team is educated on interviewing candidates by removing their bias and is trained on what to look for in responses.
Many companies are learning as they go with DEI initiatives. While some efforts will fail, it’s important to acknowledge, adapt, and keep trying. Leveraging a data-driven framework will help businesses accomplish their goals of attracting and retaining a more diverse team by creating mechanisms for measurement, learning, and accountability. With these steps in mind, companies can identify gaps and drive real change that will allow them to achieve and maintain their DEI goals.
Jane Jaxon is the vice president of people at Wistia.