Using data to move the needle on diversity, equity & inclusion

Last fall we asked the Analytics Community what they thought would be a prime issue for 2020. (You’re laughing now aren’t you?) Certainly none of us could have predicted what has actually happened and turned much of our world upside-down. However, one of the issues our members raised has indeed risen even more to the forefront of talent needs than already anticipated: attracting & tracking diverse talent.

The question we asked our community this summer:
What measures would you put in place to better understand diversity, equity & inclusion gaps?

Both last fall & this summer, the discussion settled on specific metrics (more on that later) but we really appreciated the discussions that didn’t simply revolve around a dashboard. 

Looking beyond the data to improve diversity, equity & inclusion

For just a moment let’s push aside the general legal/compliance concerns around the data and how it can be used. I think we can all agree that the more transparent we can be with the data, the better we can educate ourselves and our hiring managers on the true issues. Are you sharing only traditional data? Why not show more transparent data around diversity of slates vs diversity of applicants, candidates, or hires? Use the data to help leadership understand that TA is attracting diverse candidates and highlight where the decision to hire isn’t happening so leaders can solve the right problem. We are evolving into an evidence-based world so it’s important that more people have access to the data and that we look at it from different perspectives.

Data perspectives that might make a difference:

  • Review the lifecycle from hire to development to retention — take an objective talent management view. This could help solve problems around succession planning. For example, if you don’t have enough diverse talent to promote for executive roles, what elements do you need to adjust to remedy this with the people that you both attract and hire?
  • Examine the complete funnel to drive conversations about where and why diverse candidates are falling out – or not present at all.
  • Review the job description language for intentional or unintentional points that could screen out diverse candidates and then educate the hiring manager and talent peers on potential issues.
  • Look at specific openings and try to increase diversity there – i.e. women as financial managers, men as administrators. Define those diverse slates by position or department and not as an organization.
  • Identify jobs where certain diverse populations can be successful – i.e. those with various neuro-disabilities.

What measures would you put in place to better understand diversity, equity & inclusion gaps?

Now we’re into the data. We challenged hundreds from the CXR community to consider two sides of the data:

  1. What measures could you put into place to instigate change?
  2. What *actions* does that data inspire?

The collective response and our notes looked something like this…

  • Candidate Value Chain – looking at representation throughout the Recruiting process – evaluating diversity along the way. Reporting out to leadership so they have a strategic perspective.
  • Looking at various levels, high volume/hourly vs. leadership roles. Workforce vs. incoming hires. How does the current workforce diversity impact the hiring approach?
  • Diversity indicator for Recruiter/TA view for metrics/goals.
  • Diversity based on location/market, or grade & position ranges.
  • Evaluating the retention & promotion rates of diverse hires.
  • Associate applicants to hires to tease out if our gaps were attraction or selection based.
  • Track in a multiple metric format. Sometimes in a real-time metric data might go missing.
  • Focus offer data on market rates irrelevant of race/gender (not asking salary details or expectations).
  • Quality > KPI to include > retention funnels and promotion funnels. Are we retaining talent? Are we promoting?
  • A/B Testing of job descriptions.
  • Reporting on progress on diverse pools through the process. Reevaluating slate and definition.
  • Self Identification drive.
  • Comp data against race/gender mix.
  • Masking salary data enabling right salary conversation with hiring manager.
  • Profile Demographics (Gender/Ethnicity) to enable to set minimum diverse slate targets.
  • Leadership MBO.
  • Clear consistent must-haves on the role to open up talent tool.

[It’s time for meaningful action on equity & inclusion]

What actions would you implement to move the needle?

Here’s where the conversation got really interesting. The above metrics and ideas aren’t terribly difficult to put in place. In fact, we’re willing to bet some of you have many of those in place already. The real challenge to you as a leader is to decipher how you can use them to actually have an impact. Here are some interesting ideas:

  • Put a foundation in place. Have a kick-off and share where you are now, what the goals are, and how to use the new actionable data that is reported.
  • Place representation in the decision-making process on diversity, equity & inclusion initiatives – this may mean under represented minorities (URM’s) on the interview panels or final sign-off process.
  • De-prioritize efforts on other metrics to allow meaningful time to focus on diversity, equity & inclusion (i.e. call a time-out on time-to-fill/find/offer for a few months!)
  • Train recruiters, empower them, and have their back with regards to uncomfortable conversations with hiring managers and their colleagues on “cultural fit” and other vague rationale that embeds both unbiased and biased decision-making within our organizations.

We’ve started a conversation for CXR Members in the Analytics eXchange and would love to hear even more inspiration. 

Not a member?  That’s okay – we’re also talking about this over in the public Diversity, Equity & Inclusion eXchange that is open to everyone.

Let’s start moving the needle. TODAY.


Picture of Chris Hoyt

Chris Hoyt

A veteran of recruiting and HR, Hoyt is a sought-after speaker with presentations including national conferences with SHRM, LinkedIn, HR Technology, ERE and others in the USA as well as UNLEASH, iRecruit, Australasian Talent Conference and more abroad. Chris has been promoting and leading full scale and enterprise-wide integrations of social media and mobile marketing within workforce strategies for his entire career. His expertise and passion for interactive/social recruiting, candidate experience, and both national and international recruiting strategies are all areas that Hoyt now leverages as co-owner and President at CareerXroads, a Recruiting/Staffing consulting and think tank organization that works with corporate leaders from around the world to break out of traditional recruitment practices and push the envelope in an effort to win the ongoing war for top talent.

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