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min read

10 Tips to Measure Diversity and Inclusion in the Workplace

Written by
David Whitfield
10 Tips to Measure Diversity and Inclusion in the Workplace

Are you looking to measure diversity and inclusion in the workplace?

In this blog, I’m going to show you 10 tips that’ll help you progress to the next level of your D&I journey.

In fact, these are the exact tips that have helped hundreds of HR and people managers make a huge difference in their businesses.

Let’s get into it. 

Tip #1: Understand WHY you need to measure diversity and inclusion in the first place

Like any worthwhile task, it is important to understand why you are doing it. 

Without clarity, you risk taking action that falls far short of what is actually needed.

And we’ve seen it happen time and time again.

So, why is it important to measure diversity and inclusion in the workplace?

D&I measurement will enable you to align action with intent.

In other words:

Connect the dots between doing what you say you do, and making realistic what you want to achieve.

D&I measurement enables you to be transparent. 

And not just transparent with your employees, customers and investors about the work you are doing.

But also transparent with yourself.

The reality is that privileged people in positions of power will not have the lived experience to understand what it feels like to live as a person in a marginalised demographic.

It’s impossible.

Instead of guessing the challenges your employees are experiencing, you need to hear it from them.

That way you can make changes that will truly support individuals.

Tip 2: Define the key areas of analysis to measure diversity and inclusion in the workplace

It is impossible to measure diversity and inclusion in the workplace without defining areas of focus.

The question is: What are the key areas of analysis?

Representation at each level

This includes the percentage of colleagues across the D&I characteristics at each level within the company.

That way, you can pinpoint opportunities for progression and see where representation is lagging behind.

You may already know that analysing representation at each level is a universal indicator of D&I performance.

How long people are staying.

Differentials in the amount of time people stay with your company may point to a lack of inclusivity.

For example, a high percentage of first-year leavers would be a cause for concern.

Talent movement

Get sight of the percentage of people joining, leaving and being promoted in your organisation.

This will help you to understand if your employees are being given the opportunities to succeed.

If people do leave, an exit interview is a great way to help you understand more about why.

The ‘why’ will provide invaluable data for you and your organisation.

Pay differentials

Track the pay for each level and function within your organisation.

That way you have the opportunity to make proactive pay decisions.

Plus, you can ensure that everyone is fairly rewarded.

Know that you can start this at a high level before you deep dive into the data. 

Talent areas

Work out the percentage of different colleagues in each function and role.

This is important because it demonstrates a commitment to break stereotypical roles.

For instance, women in engineering.

But be aware that there is not a quick fix solution to this. 

You will need to make a long term commitment and you should expect change to be slow.

Tip 3: Get a grasp of D&I characteristics

Understanding the makeup of your workforce is central to anyone looking to measure diversity and inclusion in the workplace. 

The Equality Act 2010 sets out nine protected characteristics as a guide.

These include:

  • Age.
  • Disability.
  • Gender reassignment.
  • Sex.
  • Pregnancy and maternity.
  • Marriage and civil partnership.
  • Race.
  • Religion or belief.
  • Sexual orientation.

(NB: This list is up to date with all changes known to be in force on or before 24 April 2022)

But that’s not all.

There are other characteristics to consider including caring responsibilities, working pattern, geographic location and social economic background.

We currently cover five of these protected characteristics on the D&I Index - age, disability, ethnicity, gender and LGBTQ+. 

And we’re set to introduce social economic and caring responsibilities soon.

It’s worth noting that every company has data on age and gender.

So, when it comes to collecting data from your employees, these are two characteristics that you will face no barriers for.

However, disability, ethnicity and LGBTQ+ may be trickier to collect data on.

Which brings me to my next point…

Tip 4: Put in the leg work to overcome disclosure hurdles

There’s no denying:

It can be tough to gather D&I data.

But, don’t allow the challenge to prevent you from moving forward on the D&I agenda.

There are steps you can take to encourage and improve disclosure rates.

Here are four steps you can take:

Build a culture of trust.

I cannot overstate the value of developing trust between you and your employee.

To start, build and deliver an engagement campaign to make it clear what, why and how the data will be used.

In fact, culture is so important to measure diversity and inclusion in the workplace, we’ve dedicated a whole tip to it in this blog.

(Keep reading)

Get to grips with your human resources information system (HRIS).

Some systems can be clunky, outdated and difficult to use.

And you don’t want this to prevent you from moving forward with your D&I strategy.

Acknowledge that you may face challenges from your legal team.

There is a popular misconception that you cannot gather this type of data because of GDPR legislation.

Push back.

There is no reason why you cannot collect this data.

Get buy-in from your senior leadership team from the start. 

Like anything new, it can be difficult to know where to start.

But getting the support from your seniors at the beginning will help prevent any stumbling blocks along the way,

Tip 5: Learn how much data you need to report

You may be struggling to determine what level of disclosure you need before you analyse and self report.

Fear not. 

This is a question we get asked a lot. 

So rest-assured that you are not the only one.

To support this challenge, we have built the D&I Disclosure Calculator.

The truth is:

We used to advocate for about a 60-70% disclosure rate across the board.

However, for it to be statistically relevant, the percentage required should go down with the size of the organisation.

For example, if you have fewer employees, then you will need a much higher disclosure rate because of data sampling.

Plus, we have used census data to adjust the targets based on the predicted number of people you will have across the characteristics. 

So if you’ve any doubt about the volume of data you need, check it out.

Our free disclosure calculator will do the legwork for you.

Tip 6: Master your internal culture

The organisations who are advancing faster on D&I are those who dedicate a lot of time and investment to their internal culture.

And that’s for one simple reason:

You will fail to gather all the data you need if your employees do not trust you.

For example, your employees may feel that disclosing information on a disability could roadblock them.

Which means they are very unlikely to share that insight with you.

The fact is:

To measure D&I in the workplace, you are relying on what people are happy to share about themselves.

So, focus on building a culture of trust.

Which brings me to my next point…

Tip 7: Make sure your employees know how you will use their data

There’s a common mistake around D&I measurement that we see time and time again.

And if you are to keep the cycle of trust with your employees, it’s definitely one to avoid.

And it’s this:

Let’s say that you’ve done a great job encouraging your employees to file their declarations.

Then they wait weeks to hear what you’ve found.

But nothing happens.

And you fail to keep them in the loop about how you’ve used their data.

Which leaves them wondering why they took part in the first place.


You ask an employee to be vulnerable with you and then nothing happens.

They have reason to stop trusting you.

Work to keep the pattern of trust. 

Or you risk being unable to measure diversity and inclusion in the workplace. 

Tip 8: Use a census approach to collect data

At this point, you know why it’s important to measure diversity and inclusion in the workplace.

But the question is: How do you measure it?

We recommend running a census type approach.

Get information for all characteristics.

Otherwise, you may alienate some employees and they could hold back from revealing their true selves to you. 

Tip 9: Benchmark externally to measure diversity and inclusion in the workplace

A lot of businesses will be aware of what they do.

However, few will know what’s going on outside of their own four walls.

In reality, you will have no idea of how you are performing unless you understand how you compare to other organisations.

You may feel that having your own data makes you data-led in making decisions.

But this closed book approach will leave you lagging behind your competitors.

And that’s exactly why we created the D&I Index.

Our hub of aggregated and anonymous intelligence enables you to benchmark yourself against others in your sector.

You can see the standards others are setting.

What perspectives they are using.

And the practices that are most successful.

For example, let’s say you are setting up an employee benefits programme.

The D&I Index will enable you to see what aspects of a programme are working well for others in your industry.

One the back of this, you can implement the most successful tactics.

Rather than basing your programme on educated guess work.

Be guided by the best practices so you don’t waste time and energy going in the wrong direction.

Tip 10: Target areas that need urgent attention

O.K., I’m going to let you in on one of my biggest frustrations:

Business leaders that say they are annoyed by their lack of results, despite actioning tons of work.

To measure diversity and inclusion in the workplace is one thing.

But to make meaningful change is another.

To do that, organisations need to leverage their data in a way that is complete and action driven.

What we often see are companies targeting all areas with little resources and then wondering why they have not made change.

Instead, try this.

An approach that will deliver the needle-moving change you're looking for:

  • Target those areas that you can see need urgent action. You could work on two or three areas comprehensively. Which will likely give you a better outcome. 

Know this - we have seen no direct correlation between the number of actions taken and success.

  • Back your actions with time and resources.
  • Monitor the progress of specific actions taken and work to improve.

Final thoughts

There you have it:

Our tips to measure D&I in the workplace.

Want to step up your Diversity and Inclusion game? Get in touch and see how accessing industry-segmented and unbiased HR Data could help. Contact us here.