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Measurement in IDEA: 5 Considerations for Your D&I Strategy

Not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted.
- William Bruce Cameron

The effectiveness of an organization’s measurement orientation depends on choices made during planning. In the webinar, Measuring IDEA, CCDI Consulting leaders Deanna Matzanke (Chief Client Officer) and Sheena Prasad (Manager, Consulting) pose and answer several questions. A previous blog explored why measurement matters. This piece will delve into the question of “What should be measured?”. Here are several factors to consider:

1. What is your leadership accountable for? What data is meaningful?

Executive suite enthusiasm will increase if the data collected focuses on positive changes in their areas of responsibility. This will vary according to the organization’s sector, but goals to consider include:

  • Reducing operating costs
  • Reducing or eliminating the volume of adverse safety incidents
  • Reducing shrinkage
  • Improving or maintaining customer or client satisfaction
  • Improving or maintaining patient or student outcomes
  • Increasing the productivity ratio
  • Increasing market share
  • Increasing the margin of profit, EBIT or net asset value
  • Developing or testing new and innovative services or products

2. Who are the stakeholders?

  • Clients, customers, patients, service users, students
  • Employees and potential employees
  • Suppliers
  • Board of Directors
  • Shareholders
  • Communities or other interested parties

3. What will the data indicate? What insight will the metric or number of metrics combined give you?

Will those metrics allow you to:

  • Show material contribution to the organizational outcomes; and
  • Resonate with those who care.

The types of measurement that produce the most value and best outcomes according to the experience of CCDI Consulting[1] are split into quantitative data (which focuses on demographics and defines the problem) and qualitative data (which approximates or characterizes and describes the problem). Statistics (qualitative) can help assess organizational issues, but the picture is incomplete without information about the experience of the organization’s members. The combination of meaningful quantitative and qualitative data can determine who your employees are and how they experience the organization, as those factors relate to inclusivity, diversity, equity, and accessibility.

4. Primary Goals of Measurement

To support evidence-based decisions supporting diversity and inclusivity in the existing workforce and the recruitment process. The first measurement cycle reveals the current state and the level of “diversity debt.” This provides a guideline for future improvement.

5. What data connect an IDEA strategy to organizational culture or business outcomes?

Workplace and personal demographics provide the current diversity profile. The workforce’s sense of inclusion and perception of the organization’s support for diversity provide qualitative evidence of the workforce’s recent experience. Regarding an organization’s leadership, cultural competence evaluations and 360º assessments provide a “robust view” of where the leadership stands regarding executive suite buy-in and what can be done to help leadership get behind the IDEA strategy.

There is also valuable data that may have already been collected but has yet to be evaluated through an IDEA lens. Engagement, accountability, productivity, absenteeism rates related to productivity, and benefits use and pay equity can measure the organization’s diversity debt symptoms. Then, the current status may be assessed and compared to IDEA benchmarks, like those provided by the GDEIB[2].

All these are “lagging indicators” that establish the organization's current state, but what about leading indicators that may help forecast a future “diversity dividend” from an IDEA strategy? Some examples of measurable organizational and business outcomes are:

  • increased revenue/productivity
  • budget surplus or deficit
  • increase in client/community satisfaction
  • better decision-making in half the usual number of meetings
  • decrease in negative safety rates

The webinar offers several key considerations to guide measurement choices: 

  • Collect and measure data for specific purposes; this helps reduce the workload for the collectors and helps eliminate the collection of unnecessary data.
  • Collect data consistently and regularly and with clear intent to indicate the organization’s commitment.
  • Be honest and transparent about why the data is being collected to eliminate speculation and build confidence.
  • Respect employees and prioritize their diverse experiences.

A successful IDEA strategy will include data collection parameters that define the current state of the organization’s “diversity debt” and provide a means to identify the future “diversity dividend.” With the evidence derived from high-quality data, the workforce, leadership, shareholders, and the wider community will see the business and cultural benefits of a successful IDEA program.


[1]    CCDI Consulting Inc. offers Assessment Services

[2]    Global Diversity Equity and Inclusion Benchmarks