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Using Data to Ensure D&I Doesn’t Take a Hit During COVID-19

By Ian Cook

In just a few months, COVID-19 has had a staggering impact on workforce diversity, with women accounting for 55% of the 20.5 million jobs lost in April alone. Research released by Citibank shows the problem is only expected to get worse – of the 44 million workers at risk of losing their jobs, 31 million are predicted to be women (70%).

Many companies are in crisis mode with extremely difficult business decisions to make, leading them to focus solely on financial viability, and are short-circuiting the methods they have used in the past to create a more diverse workforce.

However, this short-term focus on cost-cutting could have long-term impacts on business. Diverse companies have been shown to be more profitable, more innovative, and better at decision-making. McKinsey states that companies with higher gender diversity are 21% more likely to have higher profitability, while companies that are ethnically diverse are 35% more likely to have better financial returns.

So the question is, how do organizations make diversity and inclusion a core part of the decision-making process when an excruciating amount of stress is being placed on the business and it’s just not business as usual? The key is to make sure that D&I policies are deeply embedded into the decision-making process and supported by data. Equally important, senior leadership needs to set an example and ensure accountability, which is easier when it’s quantifiable.

Read More: Is Your Company Going to Enforce a Work From Home Policy Till The End of 2020?

While companies must start focusing on making smart decisions with a diversity and inclusion lens, it is hard to hold someone accountable for decisions when future outcomes are not clear. But using analytics to model or forecast the future diversity of the organization – before changes have been made – makes it possible to properly review the impact of diversity and inclusion. Any policies that are enacted should have the input and feedback from all senior leaders and all departments.

Diversity and inclusion analytics are key to showing how decisions made now in a time of crisis will impact business outcomes and uniquely impact the organization. With a people strategy platform that focuses on D&I analysis, unifies data from multiple sources, and enables users – no matter their data-savviness – to always dig deeper into the data, D&I leaders can:

  • Compare the organization to the most recent EEOC benchmarks for their industry and geography to show why investments are needed.
  • Apply D&I metrics to the dynamic movement of employees (i.e. promotions, internal moves and retention) so they can predict future trends and pinpoint where interventions are required.
  • Clearly communicate organizational changes and diversity insights to the entire team through dynamic, visual storytelling.
  • Demonstrate how D&I initiatives have an impact on business performance metrics.
  • Understand engagement among diverse employees and monitor the impact engagement has on turnover and exit patterns.
  • Securely share insights with all stakeholders to reinforce progress toward goals and to improve accountability.

From beginning to end, a data-driven approach creates a more diverse and engaged workforce. Couple this with transparency and accountability at all levels–from individual employees right through to the CEO–and it is possible to create a foundation for positive change.

Read More: Put your People First: An Open Letter to CEOs

While doing business will change in the wake of Covid-19, with the right data organizations can identify and address key issues that will impact workforce diversity, which will be of tantamount importance in a post-Covid world. Prioritizing these decision-making processes will ensure that best business practices will be intrinsic in the long run.