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Are we measuring the success of our diversity work?

Are we measuring the success of our diversity work?

Gabby Austen-Browne, (she/her/hers), event industry diversity and inclusion expert, talks metrics in DEI programmes.

The most exciting part of working with organisations that fully embrace the full scope of Diversity, Equity

and Inclusion (DEI) work, is when I see them smash one of the goals they committed to on their DEI journey. For example, Smyle was committed to diversifying its leadership team – because of the work they did with us, they understood that representation matters.

Yes, ‘soft’ skills, such as empathy and bias-free thinking are a key element to creating inclusive workplaces and diversifying teams and supply chains. However, at the same time, we have to recognise the need to approach this work with an analytical lens and a greater focus around benchmarking and metrics.

For those starting to implement a DEI programme or perhaps even refreshing a current programme, it’s not too late to collect some key data, to start benchmarking and setting goals.

Representation and recruitment

There is still the misconception that representation means people of colour or other visual representation. Visual representation is important in the workplace and at events, but we should be considering all intersections of people when we are setting diversity goals and benchmarks. We don’t always mean ‘what you can’t see, you can’t be’ in the literal sense.

There are a few strategies companies can try, particularly when deciding what representation they should be focusing on. Such as, does the overall representation reflect the geographical location of the organisation or venue, and/or does the current organisation reflect the diversity of its clients and/or audience base?

Equity

Simply put, being less represented in higher-level, higher-paying jobs attributes to unequal pay. More importantly this heavily impacts and penalises women and people of colour, affecting everything to generational wealth and retirement due to smaller pension pots. To remedy this, it takes being open to learning about pay gaps, being honest about where pay gaps exist, sharing the pay gaps, setting goals to change this and investing resources to fix it.

Inclusivity and a sense of belonging

It’s actually simple to measure whether the team and individuals feel a sense of belonging. ‘Belonging’ means the ability to bring their authentic self to work in a non-toxic environment, with individuals having the ability to show empathy and understanding for those who are different to them knowing that they will receive the same in return. It’s about cultivating an environment where people can talk openly and honestly and share feedback without fear. Companies can effectively measure inclusivity and that sense of belonging by surveying their employees regularly and having a process to mitigate things that need improving.

Eventprofs, be bold. Share your DEI data. This shows a level of transparency and accountability that current employees and potential ones value. As an industry, we can’t measure our progress if we are unwilling to be open and share.

There is strength in vulnerability.