How to use data to improve inclusivity in the workplace
Data can be amazing. Data can improve your decision making, help create more efficient and effective processes and operations, and improve the overall wellbeing of your people. Data can also be used to project a narrative about your organisation; the narrative, perhaps, that you are a diverse one. However, dig a little deeper and you might find a more truthful narrative that doesn’t sit quite as well.
While a diverse workplace can be superficially supported by data, it is an inclusive one that will ultimately decrease staff turnover, enhance creativity, drive communication and increase employee satisfaction. When the right data is captured, it doesn’t just quantify an organisation’s diversity, it can provide the foundations on which it improves. So, what data do you capture to measure those critical details that slip below eye-level? And how do you ensure that this critical data is used to implement real change across your organisation?
The importance of measuring inclusivity
Measuring inclusivity cuts through the superficiality of diversity numbers. The ability to assess whether an employee is included, and feels included, doesn’t simply tell us about diversity in an organisation but where the individual sits within that ‘diversity’. An inclusive company cultivates an atmosphere of respect, trust and unity that allows all voices to be heard and promotes the message that diversity is welcome within the workplace.
Although an inclusive workplace is integral to diversity and innovation, many companies view inclusivity as an intangible measurement. While diversity is perceived as something easier to quantify and act upon, inclusivity is often viewed as a subjective idea that’s far too individualised to draw effective conclusions from. However, as our knowledge of diversity supported by inclusion grows, we must use the technology at our disposal to extract key data in this area.
Inclusivity often centres around communication in the workplace and the extent to which employees collaborate with each other or are left to their own devices. A recent study by the Ascend Foundation highlighted the impact that isolation can have on self-perception and how this negatively affects more racially diverse employees in the workplace. Therefore, uncovering where the silos lie and using this data to bring people together will promote an inclusive environment.
Measuring connection and conversation
We’re not talking email surveillance here, we’re talking about measuring who’s communicating with who and in what way, and then viewing this against a backdrop of key profile data such as age, gender and race. Many organisations are now using technology to make their workplace more connected, but this technology is often kept completely separate from the data captured to measure diversity in the boardroom and disparity in wages.
A key part of measuring inclusivity is knowing who is meeting with who, who is providing the mentoring to who and who is assuming a slightly less visible leadership role. New technology is integral to this, and a platform like Grasp offers complete visibility over key collaborations within your organisation, measured alongside race, gender, age, department and job level. This data gives you key insight into who is being excluded from the conversation and understand whether negative biases are being reinforced across your organisation.
Use qualitative as well as quantitative data
When data is used to highlight diversity, it can actually have the negative effect of boxing ‘diverse people’ into one group whilst failing to account for their individual experiences. If a company only has a 6% female turnover rate, does this highlight how many of those are black or Asian women?
Qualitative data on an employee’s individual experience, while harder to capture, can influence wider change in the workplace. Conversations over when and how an employee felt valued, when their diversity affected their ability to contribute, or when they were hindered by bias, offer the type of insight that quantitative data could never provide alone. This information can only really be shared in a setting where the employee feels comfortable enough to be truly honest. As a communication tool that brings people from diverse backgrounds together, Grasp enables employees to share their experiences with each other and gives organisations greater access to qualitative information that can help foster an inclusive culture that focuses on the individual not just their data group.
Uprooting your workplace culture relies on accessing data that can drive change. Statistics on ‘diversity’ mean nothing if you can’t define it or account for the individuals who fall under the label of ‘diversity’. Seeing beyond the numbers and acquiring detail on how or why something is occurring is the difference between diversity and inclusion. While information on diversity might highlight who is or isn’t in your organisation, the data on inclusivity can potentially turn those employees into fully engaged co-workers ready to communicate and collaborate with each other. Convert those statistics on ‘groups of people’ into individual experiences. Create a unified, inclusive workforce by truly understanding the individuals within your organisation.