Tools and Techniques for Implementing Diversity and Inclusion Measurements


By Cathy Gallagher-Louisy

This post supplements the Measuring the Dividends of Diversity feature article. Read the full article.

Strategize First
As with any business priority, you need a strategy. If you don’t have a D&I strategy, you risk having your diversity efforts viewed as a series of disjointed events—and they might just be. Create a D&I strategy document that outlines your objectives, what actions you’ll take to achieve them, and how you’re going to measure success. Set goals that align with your organization’s overall strategic objectives. Determine what success will look like and how you will know (if and when) you’ve achieved it.

Ensure Leadership Support
The tone from the top is one of the single most important pieces of a diversity initiative. Regardless how much grassroots support exists in your organization for your D&I programs, if your leadership doesn’t support these initiatives, ultimately you will not see the results you are hoping for.

If leadership doesn’t understand the business case for diversity, you need to work with them until they do. Furthermore, they need to believe in the business case and live it. If it’s not important to them, it won’t be important to the organization. Employees are very perceptive and savvy about leaders who don’t ‘walk the talk’, so it’s vitally important that they ‘get it’, and exemplify inclusion through their own daily behaviours.

Make the Case for Measurement
Your organization is likely already conducting some form of measurement – metrics such as voluntary and involuntary turnover. Make the business case for why measurement of your D&I initiatives is essential to your organization’s success, and demonstrate how it will impact your organization’s strategic goals.

As a bonus, use the WIIFM (What’s In It For Me) argument with any detractors, and consider articulating how collecting data may also benefit other departments, divisions, or business units within your organization.

Conduct an Employee Census
An employee census is a basic first step to understanding how your organization is performing. Demographic data can be a very powerful tool. Don’t be afraid of it. Organizations that are most successful in the area of D&I collect robust demographic data so they can understand who their people are.

If you don’t have the resources internally to collect the data, consider utilizing an external service provider.

Something Borrowed…
If you have limited resources, work well with them.

  • Recruit diversity champions who already exist in your organization, e.g., employees who are involved in employee resource groups, diversity councils, or other D&I initiatives. Ask them to take on different aspects of the measurement process and give them tasks that will take a limited amount of time. This way, you can spread out the workload.
  • If you have an analytics, reporting or performance management team, find out what data they are already collecting. Perhaps they can spare an analyst for a few hours per week or month.

If these are not options within your organization, then consider engaging an external service provider that can take your data, analyze it and create a useful scorecard for you.

Cathy Gallagher-Louisy is director, community partnerships and knowledge services, Canadian Institute of Diversity and Inclusion (

(PeopleTalk: Fall 2013)

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