How To Run A Diversity Audit

Written by Nicola Wylie
Last updated December 4, 2023

Implementing comprehensive equality, diversity, and inclusion (EDI) initiatives is a crucial first step to becoming a better employer. However, ensuring that every area of the company upholds and takes accountability for these practices is equally important. As such, employers should run a regular diversity audit to maintain the standards and principles laid out in their EDI policy.

But how? 

That’s exactly what we discuss in this guide. This resource covers everything UK companies need to know about conducting a diversity assessment and assessing the impact of their policies.

What Is A Diversity Audit?

A diversity audit is a detailed assessment of the overall impact and effectiveness of an organisation’s diversity and inclusion efforts. As part of the audit, employers should evaluate their inclusion policies, current practices, and outcomes. They can achieve this by analysing key indicators, such as workforce demographics, the recruitment process, employee satisfaction, and incidents.

A diversity audit aims to understand how current DEI policies and practices are performing and identify areas of improvement. Essentially, it equips organisations with comprehensive insights into barriers and obstacles to workplace inclusion and offers a structured diversity measurement model. That way, they can develop targeted strategies to improve diversity and inclusion in the workplace.

What Are The Main Components Of A Diversity Audit?

A diversity audit will look different depending on your organisation’s size, structure, culture, and goals. That said, there are several key elements that a diversity audit typically covers.

  • Demographics: The equality audit process assesses workplace demographics based on characteristics such as gender, age, disability, and ethnicity.
  • Recruitment: Evaluation of current recruitment processes to uncover potential biases or barriers that may affect the diversity of new hires. 
  • Company policies: Comprehensive review of company policies and procedures to ensure they promote inclusion and equal opportunities. 
  • Employee engagement: Collection of employee feedback to gain insight into their engagement levels, experiences, and perception of current diversity and inclusion initiatives. 
  • Training and development: Analysis of current diversity and inclusion training programmes to evaluate their impact and accessibility. 
  • Company culture: Assessment of the overall climate in the company to understand how inclusive the work environment is and whether discrimination is present. 
  • Leadership accountability: Examination of commitment and accountability levels amongst leaders and stakeholders. Are they supporting initiatives and allocating adequate budget?

How To Run A Diversity Audit: A Step-By-Step Guide

Conducting an inclusive workplace assessment is an extremely valuable tool for measuring how your company is performing. However, it can be a time-consuming process if not planned carefully. To help you streamline the process, we have created a step-by-step guide on how to run a diversity audit.

1. Set clear goals

Step 1 is to define relevant objectives for your diversity assessment. What do you hope to achieve? Which areas are you interested in assessing (e.g., representation, existing barriers, the impact of inclusion initiatives)? 

Having a clear idea of your goals will make establishing DEI metrics and KPIs easier.

2. Determine scope and metrics

Next, you should establish the scope of the audit. Which areas or apartments do you want to assess? 

Once you’ve determined the scope, it’s time to choose metrics. For example, common diversity metrics include demographics and representation at different levels of the business.

3. Collect relevant data

After you have identified the scope of the audit and set clear metrics, it’s time to gather data. Generally speaking, the more data you have, the better. For example, collect data on employee demographics (gender, age, ethnicity, disability, etc.) and compare it with recruitment data, promotion rates, staff turnover, and the results of employee engagement surveys.

4. Prioritise data protection and confidentiality

Get familiar with GDPR and other relevant privacy regulations to ensure you handle employee data correctly.

In addition, we recommend making data anonymous to protect employees’ privacy and encourage full honesty.

5. Analyse data to find patterns

The next stage is to assess the data to tell a story. You can spot potential issues in your diversity and inclusion efforts by evaluating trends and behaviours in the data. That way, you can make data-driven decisions on how to move forward.

It’s a good idea to use the data to conduct a competitor benchmarking analysis. This will show how you stack up next to industry standards.

6. Pinpoint barriers

Using the data from the diversity audit, search for obstacles or inequities in different areas of operation. In particular, you should look for obstacles in recruitment, hiring, promotion, and decision-making.

That will allow you to identify disparities in representations for underrepresented groups.

7. Evaluate current DEI policies and practices

Next, it’s time to assess the impact of your existing initiatives. What policies and practices are in place? How successful are they in promoting diversity and inclusion? Which DEI initiatives are receiving the highest levels of engagement from staff?

The answers to these questions will guide you in identifying how to improve your current efforts.

8. Get employees’ feedback

Nobody can speak to the culture and climate of your organisation better than the employees who work there. As such, you should conduct employee surveys, interviews, and focus groups to gain deeper insights into their experiences. For best results, employers should create safe spaces that encourage employees to be completely honest and transparent without fear of repercussions.

9. Report your findings

Now that you have translated the data into a clear story of the current state of EDI in the business, you’ll need to share it. 

Start by compiling a comprehensive report of the audit findings, highlighting strengths and weaknesses. Since the data can be dense, breaking it down into visual stories is the best way to engage stakeholders.

Of course, simply reporting your findings isn’t enough. Next, you will need to provide actionable recommendations on how you will address the areas of improvement you detected. 

10. Develop an action plan

Finally, it’s time to build on your recommendations and craft a detailed action plan. That means creating a roadmap of timelines, responsible stakeholders, and milestones toward specific goals.

Just as Rome wasn’t built in a day, neither will your action plan. Instead, think of it as a living, breathing document that evolves over time. Because of this, it’s important to prioritise actions that will most impact diversity and inclusion in your organisation.

After that, it can be a wise idea to identify smaller wins requiring few resources. These will make for valuable side projects to work on while larger initiatives are being implemented.

Next Steps

Holding your company accountable for the implementation and uptake of your diversity and inclusion initiatives is instrumental in its long-term success. As such, conducting a regular diversity audit is essential. 

An inclusion audit ensures that all individuals and areas of the business are upholding EDI practices and policies and fulfilling their responsibilities. That way, you can identify potential weak areas and course-correct before an issue arises. Additionally, it’s an excellent tool for equality benchmarking and bias identification and analysis so you can stay on track.

By investing time and resources into workplace diversity evaluation, you demonstrate your commitment to EDI. As such, this sets the tone for how employees at all levels treat each other and behave.

It’s important to remember that running a diversity audit is an ongoing process. Therefore, you must monitor it regularly to identify where new strategies are needed. 

Are you trying to optimise your diversity and inclusion initiatives? We can help.

Aspiring To Include offers a range of free guides and resources to empower employers to become more inclusive and diverse. We cover core topics, such as inclusive recruitment and monitoring EDI figure, as well as the latest industry news in our blog.

We also offer opportunities to connect with diverse talent by posting your latest job listings on our inclusive job board.

Get in touch to learn more about our full range of employer services.

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Last Updated: Tuesday August 22 2023
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