The organization earlier had a strong commitment & focus to Diversity and Inclusive (D&I) initiatives for the past 4 years. Testimony to this progress were the presence of D&I Executive Steering Committee, (consisting of senior leaders) & D&I Council in the organization. In addition to this, ongoing Diversity and Inclusive education was conducted across entire workforce, with basic levels as compulsory & advance levels optional, with exceptions to People Management roles. (Also see, Delivering Growth through Diversity, McKinsey & co.)
The Pain Point
Coming to present, with competing priorities & absence of efforts to quantify the impact on under-represented segments & organizational outcomes, Diversity and Inclusive focus had become less of a strategic priority, to the extent that D&I Executive Steering committee was dismantled. The D&I council continued to add rigor & energize the organizational mandate, however, it had little to no influence and offered no real impact driving diversity and inclusive initiatives.
With the leadership change in human capital, there was conscious effort to resurrect the D&I efforts, this time with taking an objective & scientific approach to embed Diversity & Inclusiveness, by design in organizational dna. The Leadership were convinced about co-existence of culture of diversity & culture of inclusion, and how it symbiotically feeds into other. Given that organization was undergoing a cultural shift, it offered a perfect opportunity to the resolute D&I champions to reposition diversity and inclusive initiatives as a part of change management.
- To reinvigorate the D&I mechanism, both, at Executive level & Operational level
- To conceptualize D&I strategy & establish it’s linkage & alignment with business outcomes
- To assess Council Members perceptions of the organizational culture
- To objectivize D&I progress, with a framework/assessment tool for future use with all employees
- To use assessment data , from both macro & micro constructs to lead the priority determination of the D&I Strategy execution
- To engage the Council Members in constructive debate and dialogue
Led by new human capital leadership, the D&I councils expanded the membership to all Senior Leaders, formulating as an advisory board. 4 sub-committees were created with each of it focusing on critical D&I objectives.
To add further objectivity & scientific validation to D&I efforts, the council members undertook The D&I Capability Maturity Index & Belonging and Inclusion survey. The former enabled the team to objectively ascertain the current capability maturity & roadmap to strategy, the latter enabled micro dataset on beliefs, perceptions of council members to organizational culture and D&I advocacy.
- Post assessment, the Belonging and Inclusion survey analysis showed critical gaps & differences in perceptions & beliefs of D&I Council Member’s experiences within the current benchmark of organizational culture, driving meaningful discussions & reflections.
- The Capability Maturity Index identified behavioral & structural systemic areas to enhance/develop D&I competence and capabilities at an organizational level
- Data from the reports was used to direct and guide the D&I Strategy
An organization that recognizes Diversity and Inclusive impact on employee engagement and innovation reflects growth mindset, progressive thinking, maturity of organizational commitment & contribution. And which is why, gauging the clear picture of current D&I capability maturity & culture provides an enriching snapshot and baseline which is used to measure the progress & success.
With constant ask on measuring the impact of D&I to demonstrate the business case viability, more companies are measuring Diversity and Inclusive ROI – That’s a great positive, as that helps set right expectations of invested efforts v/s. Returns to be expected. However, force fitting it into a commercial model or following a templatized “one size fits all” approach shall usually see value & confidence erosion.
Hence, organizations will have to approach measurement of diversity and inclusiveness in multiple ways, which drive meaningfulness in their respective contexts and at their own pace. It may begin with something as simple as measuring diversity and inclusivity training or the impact of Diversity and Inclusiveness Councils, ERGs and other associate groups. With more data & measurement rigor, the self-evident nature of D&I impact on organizational business objectives and outcomes shall crystallize.