Research studies show that employees perceive diversity and inclusion (D&I) as two conceptually distinct organizational practices. Whereas diversity focuses on organizational demographic blend, inclusion removes obstacles so that members from different groups work in harmony and achieve desirable business outcomes.
It is well recognized that diverse and inclusive organizational culture promotes creativity and innovation. The positive effects of diversity led to a growth of interest in recent years to have a better understanding of D&I and to develop effective methods to quantify their impacts in the industry.
When I started collaborating with my D&I colleagues to develop a few effective measures of workplace inclusion I encountered a challenge. It was difficult to find reference materials that could provide me a selection of metrics addressing the measurement of workplace inclusion. The industrial publications (mostly white papers) that discuss inclusion talk exclusively about “change management” on how to create an inclusive work environment if it does not exist at the first place. These sources highlight various positive aspects of inclusive environments. However, these articles do not provide any clear guideline to D&I practitioners about what they should look for to quantify an employee experience or perception of inclusion at the workplace. This lack of information about useful measures of inclusion motivated me to make an extensive search in organizational psychology and organizational management literature to learn what metrics had been studied and recommended as effective measures of employee experience of workplace inclusion.
While I was learning about workplace inclusion theory and measurement methodologies from academic research I kept notes. I have converted my notes into a white paper that focuses on discussing various effective metrics to measure workplace inclusion. The paper discusses conceptual differences between workplace diversity and workplace inclusion. Supported by academic research, it emphasizes the fact that D&I practitioners should know that they must use two distinct set of measures to quantify these two different organizational practices. The paper also highlights that diversity management, a common practice to quantify or measure (employee perception of) inclusion, is not an appropriate method to capture organizational inclusion.
The paper is aimed at D&I professionals, however, anyone interested about workplace inclusion may find it handy. Quite often, either due to lack of resources or because of corporate policy, these professionals have to rely on third party vendors in devising methods to implement organization’s D&I efforts. I believe that a familiarity of the content presented in the paper would benefit D&I professionals in developing conceptual clarity and thus having effective communications with the vendors in successful implementation of D&I efforts, especially any inclusion initiatives.
Below is the executive summary of the paper:
Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) are two distinct organizational practices that play critical roles in driving the workforce dynamics. It is recognized that diverse and inclusive organizational culture promotes creativity and innovation in the workplace. To have a sustainable growth in the competitive market, it is, therefore, imperative that organizations should take appropriate actions to implement these practices and measure their impacts on the workforce.
While workplace diversity metrics are well-known and readily available to D&I practitioners, the concept of measuring workplace inclusion is relatively new and is rarely described in organizational literature. The unavailability of useful inclusion measures undermines an organization’s efforts to understand, recognize, and improve the existing culture of the workforce.
To help D&I practitioners to succeed in workplace inclusion initiatives, in this article, we introduce a collection of seven metrics to effectively measure employee’s perception of workplace inclusion. The set of metrics include 1) decision-making influence, 2) access to critical information (to do the job), 3) job security, 4) individual well-being, 5) job satisfaction, 6) organizational commitment, and 7) workgroup (social) integration. These metrics have been studied in Organizational Psychology and Organizational Management literature and have shown to be effective in measuring workplace inclusion.
A pdf copy of the paper can be obtained from my GitHub repo:
This post first appeared in LinkedIn Pulse on November 11th, 2015: