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Why Assessments and Data are Vital for Work Optimization and Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

Making workplace culture changes to include more people, promote diversity in practice, and make sure power is equitably distributed is about winning over hearts and minds. As we talked about in our article about creating leadership buy-in, effective strategies are needed to overcome the resistance of some, especially including those in power at your organization.

One important way is to do this is through the use of data, because data can do two things: it can elegantly show something that has been hard to grasp (such as a mass exodus of talent), and it is irrefutable to the point that even the staunchest numbers people cannot deny what’s going on.

Regardless of the org, numbers matter. There is no need to mince the truth: The modern business marketplace is a data-driven environment, and data is at the core of nearly every business decision made. Philanthropies place a big value on using data to determine how to give and what the real problems and best solutions are. Of a survey of 467 nonprofit leaders, 90% of nonprofits responded that they collect data for their needs.

At a recent conference put on by the Human Capital Institute, “Build an inclusive culture 2021 virtual conference”, there was a belief that kept coming up — that data is everything. Executives from Johnson and Johnson, Intel, Kellogg, and Wayfair all stressed the importance of having hard numbers and a focused plan on tracking and parsing the data to determine the value of any DEI effort. In fact, the Wayfair representative (Nelson Spencer, Lead, Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Analytics) had a whole talk called “Is Any of This Working? Why Data is the ‘Secret Sauce’ for Intentional Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in the Workplace”. In it he discussed data collection and visualization tools like Vizier, R, Python, Talio, and the use of natural language processing, and even had QR codes that attendees could scan to access resources.

Kara Inae Carlisle, Vice President of the McKnight Foundation, states in regards to DEI efforts, “Data can help us identify stories we’ve been missing and gaps in our knowledge and networks”. She adds that there’s a significant body of evidence that collecting and analyzing disaggregated data helps with fresh thinking, and that these efforts help institutions to uncover hidden pattern.


Some Tools for Collecting the Data

There are numerous tools available to collect a wide range of valuable information related diversity and inclusion in your workplace. Before you complete any strategic planning around DEI, bake these tools into whatever you make to help set the milestones and ultimate goal numbers you want to hit.

Pulse Surveys

Brian Harker, (Performance and Innovation Manager of the Deputy City Manager’s Office at the City of Edmonton) expressed a fondness in pulse surveys in his HCI presentation. These very quick assessments are meant to track changes over time, and are given multiple times a year, such as quarterly or even monthly. These surveys have the edge of being agile enough to better track employee engagement changes in shorter periods and give you ability to act on problems that require immediate attention.

Entry and Exit Surveys

Entry surveys can be used twofold in an organization — to figure out where a person best fits in a new role at the organization, and to gauge what is important to the employee and how to support them. This is especially important for satisfying the huge influx of Millennial and younger employees, as many of them care about more socially progressive and diverse values.

Exit surveys can yield a trove of insights on how (un)successful your previous DEI efforts have been, and how your current ones are doing. For example, they can provide important data relating to your turnover rates — a high turnover from feeling dissatisfied with the work culture, or even a feeling of nonacceptance, is vital to know and respond to.

Demographic Reports and Culture Maps

These are tools that are used to visualize the DEI data collected through surveys, focus groups, interviews, and more instruments. The demographic report analyzes trends in your organization related to race, gender, ability, language, and many other attributes to give you an understanding of the diversity you already have as well as the gaps. Culture maps are aggregated reports that use specific inputs from surveys to generate the areas of strengths and opportunities your organization has in regards to the workplace culture. To learn more about these tools, read our brochure.


Where to go next

Data and analysis are powerful tools for DEI programs to win over the leadership they need to get the resources they require. In order to collect all this data, it helps to have a culture of feedback where people have the psychological safety to speak their minds.


We can provide accurate, effective assessments to help you gauge your obstacles and opportunities. Read through our brochure to learn about what we can offer and why we do the work we do or reach out today.

As always, at Int Inq we strive to co-construct ideas and solutions together. While dialogue, alternative perspectives, and questions are encouraged, please note that extreme comments will be deleted as they do not foster collaborative communication. Instead, I would encourage you to message directly through our website --we are always open to engaging.

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