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Guidelines for Measuring the ROI Impact of Inclusion

ROI Graphic 4

“Inclusion” is Big Business

Workforce Diversity and Inclusion is a concept that appears to have taken hold in companies worldwide. According to a survey conducted by SHRM, 55% of respondents say their organizations “strongly promote” Diversity and Inclusion. However, the interpretations of the phrase and the methods used to achieve and measure this goal vary widely among companies and regions. In companies with the most successful Diversity programs, the impetus and tone emanate from the most senior ranks of the organization. According to SHRM, sixty percent of respondents to the survey say the main advocates for Diversity and Inclusion in their organizations are the CEO and top management, followed by heads of HR (42%). Most companies recognize that “Diversity” and “Inclusion” are closely linked; Inclusion helps to ensure that employees from diverse backgrounds are able to contribute, remain with the company and flourish (SHRM Report: Global Diversity and Inclusion: Perceptions, Practices and Attitudes).

These facts notwithstanding, how can a diversity executive report to the CEO or Board of Directors that the organization is now 5 percent more inclusive than the year before and quantify what effect that statement has on the bottom line? In the absence of direct measures, it’s often necessary to rely on indirect observations to determine if goals are being achieved. Key Performance Indicators (KPI’s) such as engagement scores, retention rates, productivity measures and diversity representation at various tiers often must be combined as an “Index value” to create a broader picture of an inclusion strategy’s impact on the overall organizational culture.

ROI Graphic 3

Creating Evidence-based Measures

I recommend that in order to effectively create an “evidence-based” measure of “inclusion”, a multi-faceted approach must be used. There are several prerequisites:

To measure inclusion, diversity executives should:

1) Review their current definition of Inclusion and drivers behind the organization’s inclusion initiative to make sure they describe the desired cultural effect as well as the employee behaviors expected to achieve the desired results. Establishing a behaviorally-specific definition for inclusion that spells out measurable elements and is understood across the entire organization can maintain focus and help develop analytics that influence organizational performance.

2) Align the organization’s inclusion definition and drivers with strategic organizational goals. If the organization needs to improve its talent pipeline, weave inclusion initiatives into existing talent management functions. If increasing innovation is critical, promote inclusion programs that will facilitate knowledge sharing. Both of these goals may require raising awareness of the employment brand by competing to become an employer of choice.

3) As organizational goals help to develop drivers, and drivers help to develop programs to support those goals, be sure to evaluate the business and Diversity ROI impact to ensure programs are having an effect. Select or develop metrics that circle back to align with the original drivers. By carefully articulating outcomes, organizations can define measures that assess the impact of their inclusion strategy. For a concept as ephemeral as inclusion, multiple qualitative, quantitative, effectiveness and efficiency metrics may be required to imply success or indicate the need for a course change.

Sample Inclusion Items

Here are a few sample items from one of our Hubbard & Hubbard, Inc. Inclusion surveys that reflect these ideas:
1. I can be fully myself around here without having to compromise or hide any part of who I am.
2. In a group, I am able to be fully part of the whole while retaining a sense of authenticity and uniqueness which reflects who I am.
3. Different views and opinions are valued in decision-making.
4. It is generally safe to say what you think.
5. I feel safe, trusted, accepted, respected, supported, valued, fulfilled, engaged, and can be authentic in my working environment

Use Even-numbered Response Scales

I have found it helpful to use an “even numbered” response scale that encourages the respondent to determine if this item ‘is’ or ‘is not’ true for them rather than somewhere in the middle. You can use “even numbered” scales such as:

  1. Strongly Disagree
  2. Disagree
  3. Mildly Disagree
  4. Mildly Agree
  5. Agree
  6. Strongly Agree

This also guides you towards a more definitive action plan that is firmly rooted in addressing specific problems and opportunities.

Inclusion Definitions Must be Behaviorally Specific

In order to measure the ROI of Inclusion, the definition of Inclusion that is used must be crafted in behaviorally-specific terms that are measurable. This aligns your work to show the “chain-of-impact” that links the change to your initiative’s outcomes. Here are a few examples of Inclusion definitions that imply a measurement connection:

I define Inclusiveness this way… (I have separated elements of the definition such that you can see some of the measurable components):

  • “Inclusiveness is the act or process of utilizing the information, tools, skills, insights, and other talents that each individual has to offer which results in the measurable, mutual benefit (and gain) of everyone.
  • It also includes providing everyone with opportunities to contribute their thoughts, ideas, and concerns.
  • Inclusiveness results in people feeling valued and respected.”

Wikipedia defines Inclusion as: “practice of insuring that people in organizations feel they belong”. Thus, in order to measure the impact of inclusion you must begin by defining what it means to “belong” in behaviorally specific terms.

Miller and Katz (2002) present a common definition of an inclusive value system where they say, “Inclusion is a sense of belonging: feeling respected, valued for who you are; feeling a level of supportive energy and commitment from others so that you can do your best work.”  (Book: “The Inclusion Breakthrough” by Frederick Miller and Dr. Judith Katz)

Another definition from Wikipedia discusses Inclusion, when applied, it creates

  • A shift in organization culture. The process of inclusion engages each individual and makes ‘people feeling valued’ essential to the success of the organization.
  • Individuals function at full capacity, feel more valued, and included in the organization’s mission. This culture shift creates higher performing organizations where motivation and morale soar.

From a measurement point of view, using this Wikipedia definition would require metrics and processes that track and evaluate shifts in organizational culture, engagement, individual perceptions of value, levels of individual functioning, etc.

These few examples highlight some of the requirement to accurately start to report the ROI of Inclusion. It will require strict adherence to a Diversity ROI measurement process and framework that demonstrates a “chain-of-impact” or “chain-of-evidence” that clearly shows that the Inclusion intervention or initiative was a major source of the calculated ROI impact.

In future Blogs, I will further discuss measuring the ROI impact of Inclusion. In addition; let me know what you think about this approach. If you have other guidelines that have been beneficial in your experience, tell us. We will share your examples such that others can learn and grow.

Dr. Ed Hubbard is an expert in Organizational Behavior, Organizational Analysis, Applied Performance Improvement and Measurement Strategies, Strategic Planning, Diversity Measurement, and Organizational Change Methodologies. Dr. Hubbard earned Bachelors and Masters Degrees from The Ohio State University and earned a Ph.D. with Honors in Business Administration. Dr. Hubbard is available for presentations, conferences, training, consulting and can be reached at edhub@aol.com or 707-481-2268.

 

 

 

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A Next Level Approach to “Evolve Your Diversity Scorecard”​

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How well does your existing Diversity measure(s) capture “strategic organizational drivers” that make a measurable difference in bottom-line organizational performance? For most organizations there will not be a very close match between the two lists. Even more important, in those firms where Diversity professionals think there is a close match, frequently, the senior executives do not agree that this second list actually describes how Diversity creates value. In either case, there is a serious disconnect between what is measured, what is important to organizational performance.

These questions are fundamental because new economic realities are putting pressure on Diversity to widen its focus from the traditional role of guardian of ethnic representation, social justice, and well-being to a broader, more strategic role as an important strategic business partner. As a primary source of production and performance impact, our economy has shifted from physical to intellectual capital (which comes in all diversity mixtures such as colors, backgrounds, genders, orientations, thinking styles, etc.). A good idea does not have a specific color, race, creed, gender, sexual orientation or physical ability. It’s just a great ideas and it can come from anyone! As a result, senior Diversity executives and managers are increasingly coming under fire to demonstrate exactly how they are helping the organization “organize, utilize, and support” this critically significant organizational asset to create improved performance and value.

Performance measurement in organizations is not something new, however, in the last 30 years or so, organizations have realized that financial measures alone are not sufficient for evaluating the success of an enterprise.

In the mid-1990s, the balanced scorecard concept was introduced; forcing executives to take a hard look at how many of their metrics were financial and then balance out their scorecards with non-financial metrics. The balanced scorecard approach also recommended that fewer metrics are better. The number of metrics that companies tracked had been increasing each year for many years, but Kaplan and Norton suggested that no one should have more than 15 to 20 metrics per scorecard. This is still a tough sell for analytical executives who love pouring over hundreds of charts each month.

The primary issue that Diversity must deal with is very hard for some to imagine and believe, that is, showing Diversity’s measurable impact on organizational strategy and the financial bottom-line. The ability to utilize a diverse mix of human and other resources to create unique blend of strategy focused solutions, by its very nature, creates an innovative competitive process that is difficult to copy – thus making it a competitive advantage (largely invisible to competitors).

 

Evolving the Diversity Scorecard’s Business Impact

 Balanced Scorecard Image

Current Diversity Scorecards must evolve to move beyond simply counting heads. They must elevate their utility to a level that utilizes “Logic Model-based predictive analytics and processes which more accurately generate “Strategic Outcomes” and “Intended Transformational Impacts.

What are Analytics

Analytics come in different types with a specific focus. They can be defined as follows:

·        “Analytics” is the Science of Analysis

·        “Descriptive Analytics” tells what has happened in the past and usually the cause of the outcome.

·        “Predictive Analytics” focuses on the future telling what is likely to happen given a stated approach.

·        “Prescriptive Analytics” tells us what is the ‘Best’ course of action.

 

Descriptive Diversity Analytics can help us understand human capital challenges and opportunities in utilizing a diverse workforce. Whereas Predictive Diversity Analytics, helps us identify investment value and a means to improve future outcomes from Diversity interventions and initiatives.

Although most organizations have come a long way in introducing better metrics for Diversity on their corporate scorecards, there is still a great deal of work to be done. Even the best scorecards need improvement in some key areas to evolve to the next level of performance impact. Metrics on several Diversity Scorecards focus on counting activities, not producing outcomes and organizational transformations. There is a distinct difference between generating “outputs” from scorecard action plans and producing “Strategic Outcomes” and “Intended Transformational Impacts”. I define “Strategic Outcomes” and “Intended Transformational Impacts as “the planned, intended measurable result or effect of an action, situation, or event; something that follows due to a planned execution of actions which result in intended consequence (or unintended consequences) that add value and drives change.

My new book: “Evolving Your Diversity Scorecard. Maximizing Diversity Business Intelligence with Transformational Analytics” will help develop a Strategic Outcomes Scorecard using Diversity Transformational Analytics® to drive organizational change and “next level” impacts (based upon a “Logic Model” framework).

HH Logic Model Example

Logic models are extremely effective tools for planning, describing, managing, communicating, and evaluating a program or intervention. They graphically represent the relationships between a program’s activities and its intended effects, state the assumptions that underlie expectations that a program will work, and frame the context in which the program operates. Logic models are not static documents. In fact they should be revised periodically to reflect new evidence, lessons learned, and changes in context, resources, activities, or expectations. Our system and approach to Logic models increase the likelihood that a Diversity and Inclusion intervention effort will be successful because they:

• Communicate the purpose of the program and expected results.

• Describe the actions expected to lead to the desired results.

• Become a reference point for everyone involved in the program.

• Improve program staff expertise in planning, implementation, and evaluation.

• Involve stakeholders, enhancing the likelihood of resource commitment.

• Incorporate findings from other research and ROI-based initiatives.

• Identify potential obstacles to program operation so that staff can address them early on.

 

Evolving the Diversity Scorecard requires that we ask key strategic measurement questions and perform specific actions along the Logic Model path to create transformational outcomes, impact and change. This is not a generic, random process. It involves possessing specific Transformational Analytics knowledge, skills and competencies to correctly drive each outcome phase (Initial, Intermediate, and Long-term) to achieve the desired change effect and impact. To gain the tremendous benefits that Diversity and Inclusion offers, our Scorecards and other measurement tools must take full advantage of “next level” practices such as the Hubbard Diversity Measurement Sciences and Analytics® to ensure better predictive accuracy to deliver strategic Diversity outcomes and transformational impacts. These methods provide the knowledge, skills, competencies, and tools to achieve excellence in implementing these paradigm shifting processes. As Diversity professionals, our utility, organizational value, brand reputation, credibility, and success will depend on our capability to demonstrate critical evidence-based impacts of Diversity initiative success. To this end, our Diversity scorecards must keep pace to display, track, and manage these results. Let me know what you think. Dr. Ed.

This article is based upon excerpts from the upcoming book: “Evolving Your Diversity Scorecard”: Maximizing the Use of Transformational Analytics to Drive Organizational Performance by Dr. Edward E. Hubbard, Ph.D. It is scheduled for release Spring 2019. Dr. Ed Hubbard can be reached at edhub@aol.com.

Dr. Ed Hubbard is an expert in Organizational Behavior, Organizational Analysis, Applied Performance Improvement and Measurement Strategies, Strategic Planning, Diversity Measurement, and Organizational Change Methodologies. Dr. Hubbard earned Bachelors and Masters Degrees from The Ohio State University and earned a Ph.D. with Honors in Business Administration. Dr. Hubbard is available for presentations and consulting and can be reached at edhub@aol.com or 707-481-2268.

 

 

 

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Diversity Process Consulting or Intervention Consulting: How Do We Demonstrate Our Unique Value?

pexels-photo-95916.jpegBuilding an Effective Diversity Measurement System

The creation of an effective Diversity measurement system and “best” practices cannot be a mechanical modeling exercise. It must be preceded by an inspection and utilization of basic business principles. It must focus on organizational and departmental strategic thinking as well as an assessment of the desired quality of work-life. Developing the actual measures is easy compared to the amount of time that should be spent thinking about what is important to the organization’s strategic business objectives and the expectations of the diversity measurement process.

Key steps to building an effective measurement system

Creating an effective Diversity measurement system and process that embodies these concepts involves at least five critical steps:

  • Review the Strategic Business Plan for Needs
  • Formulate Research Questions
  • Design the Study Methodology
  • Collect and Analyze Data
  • Implement Solutions and Communicate Results

Each step in the process logically builds on the previous step which generates an evidenced-based framework that creates a “Best Practice” method for proving Diversity’s link to performance.

Dr H Book Tower Graphic for Proposals

With proper training and skill/competency development, one of the more critical roles a Diversity Practitioner and Professional can perform is that of a Diversity Performance Consultant/Technologisttm. This role in the Hubbard & Hubbard, Inc. Diversity Discipline Framework requires the Practitioner to design, develop and deliver or evaluate diversity performance solutions; maintain and apply an in-depth working knowledge in any one or more of the diversity performance improvement areas of expertise; take a disciplined approach to assessing individual and organizational effectiveness in the midst of collective mixtures of differences and similarities, diagnose causes of diversity tensions from differences, similarities and complexities, and recommend a set of interventions; as well as design solutions to improve diverse workforce performance and/or solutions to improve the organization’s performance.

I have always viewed Diversity ROI & Inclusion methods as “performance improvement technologies”. I am also a strong supporter of participatory approaches to performance improvement, from involving stakeholders in the identification of needs and their causal factors to determining solution alternatives, selecting the solution, planning and managing the change, and monitoring and evaluating the change. This active stakeholder participation is critical to the sustainable success of any Diversity & Inclusion (D&I) intervention, not only because we gain real buy-in from stakeholders, but also because part of what we do as rigorous Practitioners ultimately, is to change the way people think about and approach D&I performance solutions in organizations.

Diversity Intervention Consulting is primarily focused on a specific transaction, the provision of an intervention (e.g., Cultural Competency Skills for Leaders training), whether it is a specific process or product. In this case, the performance consultant, as “expert,” carries the bulk of the responsibility for delivering the intervention, but does not typically stick around for the consequences of such interventions. Partially rooted in the sociological tradition in new systems theory which views organizations as self-organizing social systems, Performance/Process Consulting provides a different approach. With a Performance/Process Consulting approach, however, the Diversity Performance Consultant/Technologisttm and the client are equal partners who share the responsibility for the desired change. There is a reduced chance of falling into fads or trendy solutions that may be insufficient or not fully applicable to the organizational realities, because both the Diversity Performance Consultant/Technologisttm and the client are partners in the change and its consequences. Both have a stake in the success of the intervention, and both learn lessons along the way. Moreover, they involve others in the organization, so that these lessons learned benefit more than just a few.

I am convinced that the real value of our work is much more than a roster of interventions (no matter how evidenced-based); rather, it is the paradigm shift that we contribute to in the course of our involvement with our stakeholders. Our ultimate value is in the sustainable and positive change of the organization’s performance system that is now able to operate at its goal or outcome level. While neither resource was utilized exclusively, it is certainly worthwhile for us to reflect on our own approach and determine whether we consciously or subconsciously assessed the situation to determine what balance or blend would be of most value for the given situation.

It is always helpful to review our Performance Consulting approach because of the wide range of relevant topics and ROI-based metrics that fit under the performance improvement umbrella. I am fond of saying that “focusing on tactics without a strategic framework is like learning to run faster in the wrong direction”. You cannot make a strategic contribution without a tight alignment and linkage to the business objectives and success metrics of the organization. If you want to have your interventions resonate with the C-suite and line managers of the organization, they must be based in the real bottom-line needs that drive organizational performance. Whether the organizational initiative is diversity training to teach cultural competency skills, selling products to emerging market clientele, innovating new products and services for a global market, delivering healthcare services, serving governmental constituents, meeting a wide range of student needs, improving the customer service experience, etc., “strategically aligned” diversity performance strategies have the best chance at success and sustainability.

Let’s take a look at an example that helps to clarify this relationship. First, among the organization’s strategic objectives, you find a series of crucial performance areas. One of these areas focuses on an objective of improved customer service. Based upon the importance of this area to the business, the diversity organization has created a corresponding strategic objective to analyze and improve service across all demographic market segments. In the second step, you determine that for service to be improved in these targeted markets, the critical success factor areas must include “improved communication”, “culturally appropriate interactions”, quick access, increased satisfaction, and accurate information. Finally, these critical success factor areas lead you to select diversity performance measures and indicators that support each critical success factor area such as the “percentage of multilingual service transactions delivered”, “number of rings to answer” when a customer calls the organization, “percentage of favorable response on your diverse customer satisfaction survey”, etc. This type of alignment drives improved performance and gains top management support.

Both Diversity Process Consulting and Diversity Intervention Consulting can offer strategic value to the organization. The key is how well each Performance Consulting method meets critical needs of the business to drive its goals, outcomes and success. At what value level would stakeholders rate your internal Performance Consulting methods today? What do you need to do differently to enhance your role as a value-added business partner? Let me know what you think. Want to learn more?? Contact me at edhub@aol.com.

Dr. Hubbard is an expert in Organizational Behavior, Organizational Analysis, Applied Performance Improvement and Measurement Strategies, Strategic Planning, Diversity Measurement, and Organizational Change Methodologies. He holds a Practitioner Certification and Master Practitioner Certification in Neurolinguistic Programming (NLP), a Neuro-science discipline. Dr. Hubbard earned Bachelors and Masters Degrees from The Ohio State University and earned a Ph.D. with Honors in Business Administration.

He can be reached at edhub@aol.com.

 

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The Power of Diversity ROI Measurement Alignment – Part 1

Misaligned metrics, like cars out of alignment, can develop serious problems if they are not corrected quickly. Like the cars, they are hard to steer and don’t respond well to changes in direction. Alignment is a response to the new business reality where organizational business requirements are in flux and competitive forces are turbulent, and the bonds of employee loyalty and engagement can be challenging. Old “representation-focused” approaches to diversity metrics are not strategic or performance-driven.

Mis-Alignment

 

A familiar criticism of diversity and inclusion metrics is that they are often put together in a piecemeal fashion without a clear framework of how they are relevant to the current and future business needs of the organization. Many diversity and inclusion interventions have the best intentions, but they sometimes lack this alignment or linkage to the firm’s overall strategic direction. A great majority of the measurement approaches tend to focus primarily on “activities” rather than “evidence-based outcomes and targeted results.” They are usually not built on comprehensive business needs assessments that are targeted to solve real business challenges. I will weigh in on this topic with a few thoughts in a two-part analysis. In Part 1, I will discuss four of nine steps to improve the alignment of diversity metrics. In Part 2, I will outline the remaining steps of the methodology which cover a wide range of actions to build practical approaches to verify the organization’s strategic business needs.

I am fond of saying that “focusing on tactics without a strategic framework is like learning to run faster in the wrong direction.” You cannot make a strategic contribution without a tight alignment and linkage to the business objectives and success metrics of the organization. If you want to have your interventions resonate with the C-suite and line managers, they must be based in the real bottom-line needs that drive organizational performance. Whether it is diversity training to teach cultural competency skills, selling products to emerging market clientele, innovating new products and services for a global market, delivering health care services, serving governmental constituents, meeting a wide range of student needs, etc., strategically aligned diversity measurement strategies have the best chance at success and sustainability.

Let’s look at an example that helps to clarify this relationship. First, among the organization’s strategic objectives, you find a series of crucial performance areas. One of these focuses on an objective of improved customer service. Based upon the importance of this area to the business, the diversity organization has created a corresponding strategic objective to analyze and improve service across all demographic market segments.

In the second step, you determine that for service to be improved in these targeted markets, the critical success factor areas must include “improved communication,” “culturally appropriate interactions,” quick access, increased satisfaction and accurate information.

Finally, these critical success factor areas lead you to select diversity performance measures and indicators that support each critical success factor area such as the “percentage of multilingual service transactions delivered,” “number of rings to answer,” “percentage of favorable response on the diverse customer satisfaction survey,” etc. This type of alignment drives improved performance and gains top management support.

What Is Top Management Support?

Top management support is not a speech or a memo; it is real actions taken by the leadership function in an organization that undergirds building a successful diverse and inclusive work environment. It is not something nice that the president or CEO of the organization mentions in a speech. It is a continuing commitment backed up by words and deeds over a sustained period of time. It means a strong personal involvement on the part of management in shaping the diversity vision and accountability of leaders, employees and others. In a word, it requires commitment.

Diversity leadership commitment can be defined as demonstrated evidence and actions taken by leaders to support, challenge and champion the diversity process within their organization. It reflects the degree to which the organization’s leaders utilize behaviors that set the diversity vision, direction and policy into actual practice. It also reflects the individual level and degrees of accountability leaders have in forging an implementation strategy, and it analyzes the level of specific behavior they exhibit as a model diversity champion.

From an organizational change point of view, Diversity leadership commitment is the behavior that helps establish a direction or goal for change (a vision), provides a sense of urgency and importance for the vision, facilitates the motivation of others, and cultivates necessary conditions for achieving the vision. Diversity leadership commitment is critical to the diversity change process. It cannot be delegated or given just tacit consideration. It is clear that the CEO of the organization and heads of the main operating units have primary responsibility for breakthrough progress on diversity. If they do not hold themselves accountable for the leadership requirements to execute diversity initiatives, the change effort is doomed to failure.

Diversity officers and their staffs have a crucial role to play as facilitators of the diversity change process. Leaders alone cannot be held responsible for making it happen. As a unifying force, Diversity leadership commitment throughout the organization serves as a key lynchpin for success that is combined with the efforts of others to sustain forward progress.

Defining diversity performance measures that help sustain alignment can be broken down into three steps: first, identifying specific diversity objectives; second, determining where and how the organization must succeed to accomplish each diversity performance objective, spelling out the wheres and hows as a set of critical success factor areas; and finally, selecting diversity performance measures for each critical success factor area. These measures help determine if the organization is in fact performing well on its objectives. Diversity performance measures are the tools we use to determine whether we are meeting our objectives and moving toward the successful implementation of our strategy.

How Do You Begin the Alignment Process?

If you want to successfully align your diversity measurement process with the business strategy of the organization, you can utilize a nine-step method to improve and effectively calibrate your work.

Linkage Graphic using Puzzle Piece

Step 1: Start Thinking of Diversity and Inclusion Metrics as a Critical Part of the Business. It is important to discard the idea that diversity and inclusion is separate from the rest of the organization or can be addressed by simply implementing a series of well-intentioned activities. All diversity interventions must be measured and integrated with the ongoing operational activities of the organization. It requires conducting an analysis to set as top priority those metrics that help the organization meet its strategic objectives.

It is also important to get copies of the organization’s strategic business plans and mine them for ideas, impacts and consequences. Meet with key managers to talk about their plans. Determine where they will need diversity and inclusion support and ROI-based metrics to measure their success. You should also look for new technologies, organization changes, new product lines and new company directions.

Step 2: Learn the Business! Knowing the business is critical to the alignment process. If you want to talk with managers coherently about their challenges, you must know the business and how it affects their business, especially the financial end. It is crucial to know things such as company earnings per share, net profit as a percent of sales, gross profit margin, net income, etc.

It is important to talk with colleagues in the accounting and strategic planning departments about the state of the business. Study the annual reports and anything else you can get your hands on until you are comfortable with the company’s financial objectives and competitive position. Know the company’s ROI numbers, sales figures, operating profit, debt-to-equity ratios and cash flows.

You should be conversant about new business ventures and the company’s direction. Know your company’s products and services. Learn what’s selling, what’s not and why. Alignment requires that you are able to identify with line management priorities to build understanding and credibility.

Step 3: Develop Measurement Strategies and Activities That Line Managers Want.

Start identifying business and line department priorities first, then focus on diversity and inclusion priorities. This is called being other-centered. It improves the diversity metrics alignment by creating a business context for developing analytics solutions. Use your study of strategic plans, operating reports and talks with line managers to locate an appropriate set of metrics to evaluate your diversity interventions. It is critical to get customer input and feedback on proposed initiatives.

Step 4: Involve Top Management. Top management’s involvement is critical to the alignment process. Therefore, it is important to interview them and ask what organizational needs they consider important. You must complete research at all levels of the organization to create a comprehensive measurement strategy.

Develop a master plan by department, level or position to focus your diversity metrics strategy. This means conducting a utility analysis to determine which metrics are critical, important or nice to include to effectively assess the success of the diversity intervention. Use leaders and managers as much as possible as subject matter experts versus your own process knowledge to gauge the performance gap that exists. Once the specific gap is known, an appropriate diversity intervention can be designed.

In the next segment (Part 2), I will cover the remaining steps in the process and a wide range of actions and metrics to build additional approaches to align with the strategic business needs of the organization.

 

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“Evaluation, Reliability, and Validity: How Credible are Your Diversity Initiative Assessments of Progress and Results?”

Performance MeasurementEvaluation is a task that every Diversity Practitioner will face at one time or another. No matter what your role such as Trainer, Consultant, Chief Diversity Officer (CDO), Council Member, ERG/BRG Leader, etc., conducting an evaluation to assess key aspects of your Diversity and Inclusion initiatives is inevitable.

Two Definitions of Evaluation

People do not always agree on one definition of evaluation. Following are statements that reflect two different definitions:

  • “Evaluation is the systematic process of collecting and analyzing data in order to determine whether and to what degree objectives have been or are being achieved.”
  • “Evaluation is the systematic process of collecting and analyzing data in order to make a decision.”

Notice that the first ten words in each of the definitions are the same. However, the reasons-the “Why!”-for collecting and analyzing the data reflect a notable difference in the philosophies behind each definition. The first reflects a philosophy that as an evaluator, you are interested in knowing only if something worked, if it was effective in doing what it was supposed to do. The second statement reflects the philosophy that evaluation makes claims on the value of something in relation to the overall operation of a Diversity intervention, project, or event. Many experts agree that an evaluation should not only assess program results but also identify ways to improve the program being evaluated. A Diversity program or initiative may be effective but of limited value to the client or sponsor. You can imagine, however, using an evaluation to make a decision (the second definition) even if a program has reached its objectives (the first definition).

For some, endorsing Diversity Evaluation is a lot like endorsing regular visits to the dentist. People are quick to endorse both activities, but when it comes to doing either one, many Diversity Practitioners are very uncomfortable.

Evaluation: An Essential Element of Success

Evaluation is an absolutely essential ingredient when you are attempting to close performance gaps or improve performance. It is the only way to determine the connections between performance gaps, improvement programs, and cost-effectiveness. Evaluation is one of the most cost-effective activities in diversity performance improvement, because it is the one activity that, if applied correctly, can ensure success. It is often resisted, however, because of the fear that it could document failure. Evaluation is the process that helps us make decisions about the value of all the activities we have been engaged in and whether they are a worthwhile investment for the organization. Without systematic evaluation we are left with “wishful thinking” or self-service impressions that are often wrong and sometimes dangerous.

All evaluation studies must satisfy two criteria: reliability and validity. Establishing these criteria up front will help you communicate your expectations to the C-Suite and any vendors who deliver programs and assist in your Diversity initiatives. Reliability, the simpler of the two, requires all evaluation methods give the same results each time we measure. This protects you against measures that change constantly and produce different results every time they are used, because of the measuring instrument. Reliability is relatively easy to achieve, yet its importance is often overlooked. To overcome this you must utilize specific Diversity science procedures and instruments for measuring the aspects of Diversity performance and goal achievement that are reflected in the initiative’s objectives, strategies and the organization’s performance gaps. Next, you have to standardize these procedures such that they measure in the same way every time. These activities can be perfectly compatible with the way correctly designed Diversity initiatives are structured and administered.

The second criterion, validity, requires that all evaluations measure exactly and only what it is supposed to be measuring. This criterion is one of the requirements most often violated in Diversity performance and other assessments. For example, if we attempt to measure the amount of knowledge employees gained in a Diversity Competency Training program using a “Reaction” form that asks them how much they learned, the results will indicate how much employees “think” they learned, not how much they “actually” learned. Reaction forms too often report high amounts of learning when little occurred and vice versa (Clark, 1982). Consequently, training reaction evaluation could be reliable but not valid in these cases, because the actual results were the opposite of what the invalid instrument reliably reported! If the instrument reported the same invalid result each time it was used, it is still reliable—which is why we need both reliability and validity for all evaluation activities.

An example of a valid measurement of learning would be a Diversity competency problem-solving exercise or memory test (provided they represented the knowledge and skills the participants learned during the training. The more you make use of Diversity sciences and research evidence about the event being measured, the better your chances of for validity. Performance evaluation systems such as the Hubbard 7-Level Evaluation Methodology, integrates these approaches in the process.

Conducting a comprehensive Diversity Evaluation is the only true way to know if Diversity and inclusion programs or initiatives are delivering the outcome results expected by key stakeholders. It is essential that Diversity Practitioners master critical Diversity and Inclusion evaluation methods using technologies that are rooted in Diversity ROI® science. Why? Because the perceived value and credibility of what we do to be seen as a true Business Partner and Professional depends on it!

 

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