Creating an Effective (and Legally Defensible) Metrics-Driven Workplace Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Program

There is a strong and well-documented business case for workplace diversity, which has grown even more compelling over the last several months. Indeed, given a renewed national focus on social justice issues and a growing expectation that organizations will work harder to prevent discrimination and remove artificial barriers to opportunities for all, now is an especially good time for organizations to build greater structure, discipline, and intentionality around their diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) efforts.

When managed properly, diversity metrics can be an indispensable component of a meaningful, solutions-oriented DEI program. It is often said, “What gets measured gets done.” Thus, one of the primary advantages of DEI metrics is that they can help to facilitate evaluation and drive accountability. Nevertheless, as with so many important business strategies, when considering the efficacy of diversity and inclusion metrics, another cliché is equally appropriate: “the devil’s in the details.”

Many companies seeking to boost their DEI efforts collect a range of evaluative information and use it to set measurable goals for attaining certain DEI objectives. To be truly meaningful and sustainable, DEI metrics must be consistent with and link to corporate business goals and strategy, but also be designed and implemented in such a way as to avoid noncompliance with workplace anti-bias laws.

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