When it comes to hiring in the workplace, diversity is a rather easy area to measure. It’s not difficult to make goals and measure metrics to assure the Human Resources recruiters are hitting various targets.
On the other hand, measuring inclusion is far more difficult. In a sense, the only way to truly measure inclusion is by starting to have conversations with various teams at your company. From management down, ask questions and not only listen to answers, but create strategies to integrate new ideas for inclusionary practices into your company’s culture.
Asking these questions could include personal 1:1 meetings with teams and managers, managers sending out micro surveys to their teams, or by a companywide annual employee survey asking employees to share their opinions anonymously. Yes, you’ll have to ask the hard questions… so be ready to read what could be harsh responses. However, employee feedback is the only way to truly gauge if your company is doing its role to be part of the DEI solution, rather than adding to the problem.
Introducing the Gartner Inclusion Index
In an effort to provide executives with a roadmap for navigating various topics that make up the concept of inclusion, Gartner set up another study; this one tapped almost 10,000 employees working in companies around the world. They asked the respondents to rate 45 work related statements and whittled down the data to seven specific questions the company named the Gartner Inclusion Index.
The seven questions in the index relate to:
- Who has the decision-making abilities
- How differences are integrated in the workplace
- Fair treatment
- Issues of psychological safety
- Sense of belonging
- Perceptions about diversity
No company wants to find out their employees don’t view the workplace in the brightest of spotlights. But to get at the answers, you’ve got to ask the difficult questions and be willing to hear the true answers so you can plan to do better.
Go Ahead: Ask the People!
Think about it this way. You’ve heard the old cliché, “one rotten apple can spoil the bunch,” right?
The only way to truly achieve a workplace where employees and managers both feel there is a positive focus on Diversity and Inclusion, is the company has to focus on both.
To obtain a level of honesty and facts about employee perception, the population at your company needs to be diverse. That is why diversity has to come first if a company is going to gain any useful information from using a tool like the Gartner Inclusion Index.
Consider this: If a company was not diverse and only hired, let’s say, women, for example, it would be difficult to find out whether the company is inclusive when it comes to the way it treats men. Everyone in the research pool wouldn’t have an honest opinion on the question at hand. The ugly truth here, the almost 800-pound gorilla in every room where diversity and inclusion are discussed goes much deeper than the issue of gender (though gender issues are certainly important).
When you bring race, religion, and age into the mix, you can be assured that the only way to get a real sense of people’s perception of inclusivity is when the room has fair representation of each category.
Gartner research shows that it’s very difficult to focus on one aspect of inclusion. In fact, only by taking a diverse population and getting input on the current level of inclusivity can an effective strategy be put into place to evoke real change. You might find out that the employee pool you are working with isn’t as diverse as you thought, or as it should be. But you can’t find out until you dig in and ask the questions.
And that final point is perhaps the most important. If you are intending on asking questions about inclusion and diversity in your workplace, and really want to make positive changes happen, you have to listen to all the voices and reply with action.
So, first things first, a company or organization needs to do the work and collect information that can be analyzed in helpful ways.
Remember, this isn’t a once and done activity. It’s going to take a long time to get everyone on the same page. It may even take several tries to get people to really speak up in the smaller focus groups. These aren’t easy conversations and, quite often, people don’t want to raise their hand to point out problems at work for fear of retribution.
If you think that could be a problem, then it really is a problem—not only on the surface but with inclusionary practices.
Once you gather the information, take action! Many people are used to “the same old way we’ve always done things.” If you are going to make positive changes, start small but initiate your new strategies quickly so people see changes. Only then will they feel that offering their opinions and perceptions on difficult topics can really enact change.
When You Think Diversity & Inclusion, Think Easterseals New Jersey
Easterseals NJ has been around for over 70 years, with various programs aimed at helping people with disabilities and special needs achieve their goals and thrive in their communities. Easterseals NJ has various employment programs, helping individuals train and develop skills to achieve their career goals. . Can your company get involved? Absolutely! Contact us to learn more about partnering with Easterseals New Jersey.