Getting to the root of discrimination or a lack of inclusivity in the workplace is difficult. Making the move to monitor, record and publish what is going on in your company is an essential step.
Taking the steps to a more inclusive workplace via a data-driven approach
As outlined in our guide to improving EDI in the workplace, you can’t know about everything going on in your company. However, your employees do. As such, you should prioritise open communication and accountability towards making any internal improvements to your company culture.
There are several different levels to collecting data about your company, including your employees.
The most basic thing you need to find out are the demographics of your employees. This can help you to pinpoint exactly how diverse your company is in terms of the protected characteristics detailed in the Equality Act 2010, and then compare them to the national average.
From this, you can try and source the reasons why you have more or less of certain social groups or identities within your workforce. Following that, you could undertake more rigorous surveys.
These could include staff member’s experiences of discrimination, their perceptions of inclusivity in the company, their ideas on how to improve equality, diversity and inclusion and taking implicit-association tests to root out unconscious bias.
It must be mentioned that partaking in these surveys must always remain voluntary, which could skew the results. However, you should always be trying to encourage inclusion, not enforce it. You could look at participation numbers as a reflection of how many people feel safe to disclose their identities to their company.
Publish your corporate strategy
Whatever your plans are, they should be negotiated, accepted and observed by the entirety of your company. Although improving a company culture does start from the top, it cannot be imposed from above.
Instead, your employees have to trust that you are committed to the plan, so they can hold you to account and trust that they can be open about their identity without fear of discrimination. To do this, you have to publish your corporate strategy.
Not only is this essential to developing diversity and inclusion within your workplace, but also for marketing your company as inclusive and diverse to prospective employees.
If you develop your company brand as genuinely diverse, whilst being transparent about the reasons why, you will attract a much larger candidate pool when recruiting.
Furthermore, customers are far more likely to buy from a company they consider socially responsible, so publishing your corporate strategy is basically free advertising.
Accountability is not just for disciplining those who get things wrong; being transparent in your processes can help you rectify mistakes and improve. By keeping your employees involved in this process will not only encourage them to feel valued by you but motivate them to take responsibility for inclusivity in the workplace.
By collecting data and comparing it to general data for the UK workforce, you can better identify what parts of your company are not diverse or inclusive. Furthermore, if you can see a correlation with certain aspects or departments of the company you can identify who is responsible for the recruitment or management of those areas.
Given how hard it is to find and root out things like unconscious bias, monitoring, recording and publishing diversity data is the most effective way.