top of page

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.