Measuring the Right Objectives

Measuring the Right Objectives

Kizzy M. Parks (K. Parks Consulting, Inc., USA), Felicia O. Mokuolu (Florida Institute of Technology, USA) and Daniel P. McDonald (Defense Equal Opportunity Management Institute, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-2668-3.ch009
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Abstract

For businesses to keep pace with contemporary workforce changes, it is imperative to foster an inclusive work environment that empowers, values, identifies, and capitalizes on the workforces’ talents, skills, and abilities. Although diversity is recognized as a crucial element for organizational performance, its measurement lacks standardization. Organizations tend to follow simplistic assessment approaches, typically by tracking and measuring salient areas (i.e., easily measured areas such as the demographics of the organization and/or promotion rates). Thus, they fail to evaluate the actual effectiveness of diversity initiatives. Given that this approach is limited and lacks the substance that would inform organizational strategies of the need to increase employee engagement and productivity, the authors leveraged the expertise of two practitioners to discuss methods for measuring the effectiveness of diversity and inclusion programs. In addition, diversity is discussed as related to innovation, employee engagement, and change management, thereby leading to suggestions for future research.
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Introduction

The change in workforce demographics, increased use of cross-functional work teams and reliance on global talent indicate that workforce diversity is not merely a passing phenomenon. To remain competitive in a global business environment, organizations rely on workforce diversity and inclusion to achieve mission success (Pugh, Dietz, Brief, & Wiley, 2008; Gonzalez & DeNisi, 2009). A diverse workforce is equipped with unique capabilities, talents, knowledge, and skills that can be utilized to accomplish organizational goals. Despite the fact that diversity is a crucial element for organizational performance, it is frequently regarded as a human resource concern, and often relegated to the background in harsh economic times. In order to capitalize on these diverse skills and expertise, organizations must foster an inclusive work environment that values, integrates, and embraces individual differences, as well as similarities (Cox, 1993; Hicks-Clarke & Iles, 2000; Kossek & Zonia, 1993; McKay, Avery, Tonidandel, Morris, Hernandez, & Hebl, 2007; Schneider, Gunnarson, & Niles-Jolly, 1994; Van Knippenberg, De Dreu, & Homan, 2004; Van Knippenberg & Schippers, 2007). Nonetheless, the concept of diversity management is still evolving in general, and lacks standardization, especially in the area of measurement.

To gauge correctly the progress of diversity and inclusion initiatives, top diversity organizations rely on analytics and metrics. Assessments and measures afford organizations the opportunity to track the progress of diversity and inclusion efforts as well as determine the success of such programs. Likewise, metrics and goal setting focus on results and provide direction as well as motivation to reach the targets. Such metrics offer guidance, motivation, and much needed feedback to inform organizations if their diversity efforts are making the progress the organization expected. Given such, a method for monitoring progress in ways that allow for responsive action is imperative. Organizations need to develop appropriate metrics to assess and measure diversity and inclusion. Unfortunately, many diversity and inclusion analytic journeys are misguided. Often organizations are unaware of the strategic diversity and inclusion objectives within their organizations. This neglect fosters misguided assessment strategies. Further, while diversity management is recognized as a crucial element for organizational performance, its measurement lacks standardization. Organizations tend to follow simplistic assessment approaches, typically by tracking and measuring salient areas (i.e., easily measured areas such as the demographics of the organization and/or promotion rates).Thus, they fail to evaluate the actual effectiveness of diversity initiatives. Given that this approach is limited, it lacks substance to inform organizational strategies to impact business measures. This void highlights the need to discuss the next generation of Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) metrics that are commonly excluded from current research. Two practitioners with a combined experience of over thirty years were interviewed for this chapter. These practitioners are Philip Berry, who currently serves as the Executive Director of the Association of Diversity Councils and is the previous Vice President, Global Workplace Initiatives for Colgate-Palmolive, and Dr. Renée Yuengling, President of Renée Yuengling and Associates and a former Senior Fellow with ICF International and the previous Manager of Inclusion Training with Bank of America. During the interviews, the diversity thought leaders identified barriers to diversity and inclusion success, discussed viable diversity metrics, and raised key areas for future research. Given that a gap exists between research and practice in these areas, the aim of this chapter is to use the insight provided by the practitioners to assist in bridging the gap by providing research from a human resource perspective. We raise questions concerning the barriers to diversity initiatives that are rarely measured, such as employee perceptions of inclusion and their stake in diversity initiative success, organizational culture, middle manager support, perceptions of social isolation, and minority employee burnout. Finally, in this chapter we provide information on the Defense Equal Opportunity Management Institute Diversity Climate Survey (DDMCS), an assessment that measures the contemporary vision of diversity and inclusion.

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