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Guidelines for Measuring the ROI Impact of Inclusion

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“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.

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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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The Power of Diversity ROI Measurement Alignment : Part 2

In part one; I discussed four of nine steps to improve the alignment of diversity metrics with the bottom line of the business. In this segment (Part 2), I will outline the remaining steps of the methodology which cover a wide range of actions and metrics to build practical approaches to verify the strategic business needs of the organization.

Let’s continue examining the remaining alignment steps…

Step 5: Develop Interventions that are Practical, How-To Approaches

A lot of organizations will say they have diversity measures in place. However, when you actually check them, you see that they are activity counts. They’ll look around and say they’ve established a council or have had a particular celebration on a particular day. And while those are important, senior leaders don’t always see these things as bottom-line outcomes. They’re not looking at how the Diversity process increased market penetrations in key ethnic markets or how the Diversity process has added ‘X’ number of customers. Progressive companies show how they have utilized diversity and inclusion technologies to integrate Diversity process into productivity improvement issues, product quality issues and innovation challenges.

To have credibility, Diversity interventions must be developed in a way that seamlessly integrate with key organizational priorities at critical levels and are designed in a way that employees can use them right away to improve the organization’s functioning. To accomplish this, it may require having the flexibility to move away from pure “academic images” of Diversity theory and venture into the realm of the “live-lab” of real organizational problems and challenges. It means working “hand-in-hand” with line managers as strategic business partners to solve some of the messy problems of performance improvement and change. As Diversity professionals, we must ask ourselves…who am I developing this intervention for…to go along with the latest fad that other organization’s are using or for my internal (or external) clients to help solve their real business challenges? These challenges must be verified with an effective Business Needs Analysis in order to show the benefits and ROI impact.

It is important to stay clear of theories and fads that are not strategically tied to producing organization-enhancing results. Sure, some of them can help create “out-of-the-box” thinking that may help produce new, practical approaches that could generate value. However, these ideas need to be well researched and tested for their practical strategic value and potential impact.

It is also critical to limit “Diversity and Inclusion speak” when working with internal clients and sponsors. As a Diversity professional, we should know the nuances of Diversity and Inclusion processes; however your audience does not have to be masters of it. It may take a while to gain credibility from their vantage point. This credibility will come faster when you are able to demonstrate specific, measurable results in quantitative and qualitative terms. The results and outcomes of the Diversity initiatives must show how the results are tied to the organization’s bottom-line impact. The results you obtain will improve your level of credibility, commitment and involvement, not the merits of theories and fads alone.

Step 6: Get a Handle on Diversity R.O.I. (DROI®)

DROI® is a registered trademark of Hubbard & Hubbard, Inc. All rights reserved.

It is absolutely essential to master the technologies of Diversity ROI (DROI®) analytics and measurement processes for all of the interventions you provide. It is critical to identify interventions, programs, and activities that have a measurable impact on organizational performance.

I have always thought of Diversity as a professional discipline and field of study. However, if it is to be taken seriously as a discipline and field of study, it must possess a structure, framework and critical components that are consistent with other serious disciplines. For example, if we examine the disciplines of Marketing, Sales Operations, and the like, we would find they all have well-defined competencies, proven theories, and applied sciences that under gird their application. These theories and sciences provide a recognized structure, strategy and a set of measurable standards to guide those who work in the field.

If we examine the disciplines that include doctors, engineers, lawyers, and others, they must be certified to practice their craft. There are also certifications for human resource professionals such as the PHR and SPHR certifications offered by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) for Human Resource Professionals, the HPI certification for Trainers by the American Society for Training and Development (ASTD), or the CPT certification for Organization Development professionals offered by the International Society for Performance Improvement (ISPI).

The Hubbard Diversity Measurement and Productivity (HDM&P) Institute offers seven diversity certifications based in its Diversity ROI® and Diversity ROI Analytics® methodology:

  • Certified Diversity ROI Professional® (CDRP)
  • Certified Diversity Trainer® (CDT)
  • Certified Diversity Advisor® (CDA)
  • Certified Diversity Performance Consultant® (CDPC)
  • Certified Diversity Business Partner® (CDBP)
  • Certified Diversity Strategist® (CDS)
  • Certified Diversity Intervention Specialist® (CDIS)

These fields of study contain specific, identifiable roles that are performed, areas of expertise that allow a practitioner to build specialized concentrations of skills and knowledge within the discipline, detailed outputs produced by these roles, as well as a model of measurable competencies that define specific behaviors that enable the work to be completed with a high degree of accuracy and effectiveness.

As a professional discipline, Diversity ROI practices must align with key objectives and outcomes to operate with similar standards built on a solid framework of both concept and science. These practices must be delivered through the work of competent, credible Diversity professionals using clear standards of excellence linked to business performance. Using our talents and skills, based upon a competency-rich Diversity Discipline Framework™, Diversity professionals will be able to integrate the ideas underlying Diversity and Inclusion with specific measurement strategies and organizational systems theory to create a Diversity-enriched climate that utilizes diverse resources more effectively. Getting a handle on ROI means identifying units of measure for the interventions and activities that have a measurable impact on performance. We must consistently apply measurement sciences, track our interventions, and publish them as Diversity ROI studies such that they can be utilized as “best practices”.

Sample measures which support a Diversity ROI measurement alignment strategy include covering key Diversity Scorecard perspectives such as:

Workforce Profile Perspective

  • Diversity Hit Rate
  • #/ % Minorities as Officials and Managers
  • #/% Diversity Survival and Loss Rate
  • #/% Turnover by Length of Service

Workplace Climate and Culture Profile Perspective

  • % Favorable Ratings on Cultural Audit Demographic Group
  • “Employer of Choice” Ratings versus Top 5- 10 Competitors
  • Retention Rates of Critical Human Capital
  • # and Type of Policies and Procedures Assessed for Diverse Workforce Impact

It is important to design evaluations and utilize metrics that are practical and reflect a systemic analysis. For example, use before and after measures which examine Diversity intervention results compared to key measures which are already established and utilized in the organization.

It is also imperative that you are cautious and careful with the procedure to demonstrate how you isolated the Diversity ROI value from all other possible interventions (that could have contributed to the organizational benefit).  Be careful what you take credit for. In a Diversity ROI study, it is important that you only list those outcomes you can control which demonstrate a “chain-of-impact” to the outcome. Diversity intervention outputs are “inputs” that fuel contributions to line results. There are usually many intervening variable in the outcome production process. Isolation techniques must include utilizing scientific processes such as control groups, time-series analysis, forecast estimates, etc., to attribute Diversity’s contribution to specific business outcomes and benefits (separate and apart from other contributors).

Step 7: Make Some “Hard-Nose” Decisions About What is Needed

It is essential to conduct a comprehensive Business Assessment or “Needs Analysis” to determine what interventions are necessary to meet the intent of the aligned business objectives.  For example, when evaluating an organizational challenge, a practitioner may be partial to a favorite diversity intervention regardless of the problem or need. It is crucial that a scientific approach is taken where effective data collection helps determine the appropriate response, not what the practitioner favors.  Performing a comprehensive Needs Analysis is the cornerstone of implementing a solid, credible performance improvement process. It helps practitioners make “hard-nosed” decisions and provides an appropriate justification for either developing or not developing a diversity intervention.  We must conduct a needs analysis, no matter how abbreviated, before any intervention development takes place.

If a Diversity Training intervention is required, for example, the objectives of the Needs Analysis are to:

  • Describe the exact nature of a performance discrepancy
  • Determine the cause(s) of the discrepancy
  • Recommend the appropriate solution(s)
  • Describe the learner population

In general, Needs Analysis consists of the following steps.

  • Step 1: Identify and describe the performance discrepancies.
  • Step 2: Determine the causes of the discrepancies.
  • Step 3: Identify those performance discrepancies that are based on lack of skill or knowledge. Then identify the skills and knowledge needed that is related to diversity and diversity competence.
  • Step 4: Determine whether diversity training or another intervention is a viable solution.
  • Step 5: Recommend solutions.
  • Step 6: Describe the performer’s and organization’s role in behaviorally specific terms that relate to diversity excellence and performance.

How Are Diversity Training Analysis and Evaluation Linked to Diversity Measurement Alignment?

A needs analysis establishes the criteria for measuring the success of training after its completion. A thorough needs analysis should answer the question:

“What good will training do?”

A thorough Diversity ROI training evaluation will answer the question:

“What good did training do and what was the Return on Investment (DROI)?”

An effective Diversity ROI training evaluation cannot be conducted unless a thorough needs analysis has been completed. We cannot determine what was accomplished by a Diversity training intervention or program unless we have first defined what the program was intended to accomplish. The Diversity training needs analysis provides baseline measures against which to judge our Diversity training efforts and will help us make the hard-nosed decisions about what is the best way to meet our internal/external client’s need.

Step 8: Get Away From a Program Orientation

Diversity is not a program; it is a process of systemic organizational change. Programs have a beginning and an end. However, people will never be finished with their differences. Therefore Diversity interventions and the metrics that support them must reflect a range that supports the systems and processes that drive real organizational performance.  The context for diversity performance is the organization’s business and its objectives. To be relevant and aligned, it is critical to think in terms of the business, its goals, objectives and its performance needs. It requires Diversity practitioners connect to and work in concert with all levels of the organization.

It is reported that many top and senior executives truly support their Diversity organizations and process, but feel they should play a stronger strategic role in the growth and development of the organization. They expect Diversity practitioners to help increase productivity and provide solutions that generate a stronger competitive edge. In effect, both top and line managers are seeking Diversity professionals who can function as “strategic business partners” to solve real business problems which have a bottom-line impact on the organization’s day-to-day and strategic priorities. To successfully align and link Diversity strategies with the organization’s strategic business plan, you must actively pursue top and line managers regarding their specific business problems and speak their language. For example, if we are working with the Finance department, we must be able to talk about their problems and potential solutions using Diversity in financial terms, impacts and consequences. If the problem is focused in the operations area, we must talk in operational terms, etc.

Step 9: Stick With It!

Developing a Diversity ROI measurement capability is a “skill”. And like any skill we must learn what it is, understand its applications, use it, study the feedback from its use and refine the skill until we build a level of competency. This is an expectation for anyone that offers themselves up as an “expert” in a particular discipline or field of study. We expect doctors, engineers, social scientists, technicians, etc., to have mastered their craft in order to trust the solutions and alternatives they suggest. The same is true for Diversity professionals. We must hold ourselves to a high standard whether or not our C-Suite executives and others ask for it.

A critical element of meeting that standard is a strategic alignment with the strategy, structures and systems that drive the organization’s performance. It is imperative to take advantage of learning and listening opportunities that broaden our understanding, build Diversity ROI capability as well as business acumen.

It’s not easy. It will take a lot of work and a heavy persistence for excellence at your craft. It requires that we possess an internal standard that says we do not accept being mediocre at our craft. Developing this expertise won’t happen overnight or without setbacks and frustrations, but it can be done and is worth the struggle. This means that as Diversity professionals, we must develop a “strategic alignment mindset” that places our Diversity ROI measurement efforts on par with any discipline that drives business results and success!

 

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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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