How to Hold Company Leaders Accountable for D&I Initiatives in 3 Steps

Hold Company Leaders Accountable for D&I Initiatives in 3 Steps

Can you imagine not having any accountability in your organization for the benchmarks you’ve set out to achieve?

For example, what if sales reps weren’t expected to bring in a certain amount in revenue, or if the marketing department paid no attention to the number of leads coming in from a new landing page?

For each important initiative, you need a way to measure success. Otherwise, you have no idea whether you’re on the right track to accomplishing your goals.

It shouldn’t be any different for your organization’s Diversity and Inclusion initiatives.

Too often, when faced with the challenge of creating a more welcoming culture, employers just take the very first well-intentioned, compliance-focused step: scheduling D&I training for staff.

But as we wrote in our post “What to Do When Your Training Isn’t Working,” you can’t expect your investment in training to pay off unless you consistently follow up and reinforce the lessons learned in that training. So, when it comes to diversity and inclusion accountability, it’s time we learn how to effectively hold our leaders accountable for their initiatives.

We see three major components to holding leaders accountable for staying on track with D&I initiatives.

Understanding How to Measure and Track Success

There’s not one right way to measure diversity efforts.

The areas you decide to focus on will depend on your company’s culture, and whatever specific problems you’ve been trying to solve within your workforce.

But a good place to start is with a D&I assessment for your office. You can measure how many of your employees identify with certain characteristics, then see how those statistics compare to the national average to identify problem spots.

How to measure D&I training initiatives

Think beyond race, ethnicity, and gender. Consider measuring other factors too, like age, religion, sexual orientation, disability status, and gender identity.

Some companies are also choosing to go beyond inherent physical or personal traits to explore behavior and working style. You can try to assess diversity in terms of learning styles, personality types, or life experiences.

We like the approach taken by Amplitude, a company that develops product intelligence software for teams. Their staff went through an exercise in which they each remembered times when they felt marginalized at work. They used those experiences and pieces of feedback as the foundation for their inclusion efforts.

You can measure each of these traits at each stage of the hiring process, and at each leadership tier within the company, and for retention over time to look for trends and areas to improve.

Free download: How to Collect Diversity Data While Respecting Employee Privacy

Tying D&I Goals Into Other Business Goals

Diversity can be seen as a good thing in and of itself. The presence of diversity indicates that your workplace culture prioritizes equity and is dedicated to providing a welcoming environment for all employees.

But you can’t stop at prioritizing diversity in and of itself.

Diversity and inclusion accountability can be seen as both the cause AND the effect of inclusive workplace culture.

The problem with focusing on diversity numbers alone is that it is indeed possible to have your “quotas” filled perfectly (or at least have numbers moving in the right direction) without actually having an inclusive office environment.

The real goal isn’t diversity itself, after all. It’s to accomplish things like:

  • creating a workplace that hires the best people for the job regardless of their personal background or characteristics
  • creating an atmosphere where all employees can work at peak productivity without being distracted by bad behavior such as rudeness or discrimination.
  • Creating a team where everyone gets along and works together well toward shared goals.

These are all goals that benefit employees as individuals, as well as the organization as a whole.

The two measurements (diversity numbers and shared team goals) need to work together to give the big picture of whether you’re improving and making your office a more welcoming place.

Measuring diversity and inclusion from a business perspective can also help you hold leaders accountable who might not be as likely to prioritize diversity on its own. Incorporating them into business goals can give employees more of a reason to take them seriously.

For example, a more diverse workplace where everyone feels welcome to contribute can lead to:

  • A better understanding of how all kinds of customers make decisions
  • Better product design for products that are useful to more people and applicable to more markets
  • More willingness from employees to consider new perspectives and think creatively, which can put your organization ahead of your competitors

Making Accountability Personal

Once you have a clear sense of how you’ll measure diversity and inclusion in your organization and have set reasonable goals for improvement, you can move on to holding people accountable for change.
[bctt tweet=”Company-wide goals have their place, and bringing these goals up regularly during group meetings along with other important initiatives is important.” username=”@ELI_Training”]

But unless each individual employee understands the role that they must play in reaching D&I goals, progress is likely to stall.

Company-wide goals are important. But they won’t work unless each individual employee understands their role and responsibility.

Depending on your organizational structure, it might make sense for leaders to set goals for their own departments, or for individual committees or employees to set goals that make sense for their roles. These individual goals should be in line with company-wide initiatives and goals.

To gauge progress over time, individual organizational leaders can check in with a representative from the HR department, a third-party training partner (such as ELI), or even with each other.

Once deadlines for D&I initiatives come around, it’s time to assess what did work and what didn’t, to celebrate wins and try to correct for losses.

Think about what happens when an employee meets or surpasses other business goals, such as revenue benchmarks or production goals. What happens when an employee gets a “big win” at your workplace?

Don’t miss: How to Collect Diversity Data While Respecting Employee Privacy

If yours is like most, they’re considered for special development opportunities, recognition, awards, and consideration for promotions.

The same should go for leaders who meet or surpass their D&I goals.

If goals haven’t been met, it’s time for some analysis. Missed goals can serve as the jumpoff for a discussion about how to refocus and improve. Just like any other business initiative, D&I efforts are an ongoing process that must be updated regularly to reflect an employer’s changing values, goals, and structure.

Choosing Accountability Partners for Your Organization

You might know from personal experience that outside accountability is often the most effective.

Just as it’s easier to hold yourself accountable to exercise each morning if your spouse is encouraging you to do it (or doing it alongside you), it’s easier for your company to hold itself accountable for D&I progress with the help of an outside partner.

It helps if that outside partner also has years of experience in what actually works to change company culture for the long-term.

Culture change can be difficult to define, and it isn’t always easy to measure. The journey may not be as linear as we’d like. But with culture-change experts like ELI working in your corner, the process gets a lot more clear.

Our Civil Treatment Workplace program addresses the workplace as a whole, addressing all issues related to harassment prevention, bias prevention, and prevention of other bad behaviors (bullying, rudeness, and more) in a comprehensive way.

We also offer programs specifically for leaders, tailored to specific industries and organizations, and available in a variety of formats (E-Learning, Virtual Instructor-Led, and In-Person).

Please contact us to learn more, and someone from our team will be in touch soon.

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