4 Key Metrics for Measuring the Success of Your DE&I Strategy

April 17th, 2024

As accounting firms continue to prioritize DE&I, creating and implementing a comprehensive strategy is a must. However, the work doesn’t stop here— measuring the success of your strategy is a crucial step that is often overlooked, especially in the DE&I space.

According to the recent report, Elevating Equity: The Real Story of Diversity and Inclusion, “roughly 80 percent of companies are just going through the motions and not holding themselves accountable.” In other words, most leaders are implementing DE&I practices, but are they actually reflecting on whether they worked? Just because you implemented your strategy, doesn’t mean it resulted in meaningful results.

To ensure that you are creating an inclusive, equitable and diverse culture and work environment where employees feel safe and empowered to succeed, you must take the proper steps and evaluate the success of your strategy. This will allow you to gauge the impact of your initiatives and therefore make informed decisions about future actions.

So, how do you do this? Below are four key performance indicators to consider when measuring the success of your DE&I strategy.

  1. Benchmarking— Consider what other companies in your industry are doing in the DE&I space. Are you ahead of the curve? Or maybe you are just getting started. “Benchmarking is a great place to start to see if your strategy’s outcomes are in line with your industry,” shared Andrew Stephens, Manager of DE&I here at TBG. While benchmarking may be a helpful tool, be sure that you are benchmarking against industries/organizations that have a positive reputation with DEI for the best results.

    To get a more holistic view of your organization’s DE&I standing, try taking a look at census data in your community. Is your organization representative of the community you serve?

    Keep in mind that even if you are “behind” in your industry or overall, now is a better time than any to start working towards improving your DE&I strategy.

  2. Employee Surveys and Feedback— Employee feedback can be one of the most effective tools to measure the success of your DE&I strategy and initiatives, so it is crucial that you maintain a culture where employees feel comfortable and encouraged to share meaningful feedback.

    “Every organization should have an employee listening strategy—how do you plan to gather the feedback and how will you use it?” shared Andrew.

    Surveys are one of the most common ways to gather feedback. They are cost effective, allow for anonymity, and can be distributed to a large number of respondents. However, keep in mind that if you survey your employees, you should prioritize quality over quantity. “It’s important to not overwhelm your people with too many surveys. This will only lead to survey fatigue and therefore poor results. Instead, be critical of the questions you are asking so you can get more out of one survey,” he added.

    “You may want to consider an annual DE&I feedback survey so you can compare results year over year without sending out too many individual surveys. Employees will learn to expect these annual surveys leading to more solid feedback.”

    Alternative ways to collect feedback include focus groups, physical or digital feedback boxes, and social media monitoring.

  3. Demographic Data— Collecting demographic data in the hiring and onboarding process is key in tracking progress towards your DE&I goals. This can include data on employees, such as race, gender, age, job level, etc. This data will let you see trends regarding who is coming to your organization and who is leaving.

    “It is important to dive into the multiple dimensions of diversity that live in these numbers. For example, are you losing more black female employees than any other group? These are the types of questions the data can answer,” said Andrew.

  4. Pay Equity—Pay equity is another important measure of success that should not be overlooked. Consider analyzing pay equity to ensure employees are being compensated fairly, regardless of their demographic background. You may even want to utilize an external consultant to help perform this analysis and provide advice on how to proceed.

If you are interested in learning more about our firm-wide DE&I efforts, check out our dedicated DE&I page here. And feel free to reach out to our Manager of DE&I, Andrew Stephens, at astephens@bonadio.com if you have any questions or would like to discuss further.