Take 5: Using data for a meaningful approach to Diversity, Equity and Inclusivity

Ascend Canada > Blog > Articles > Take 5: Using data for a meaningful approach to Diversity, Equity and Inclusivity

Creating a diverse, inclusive and equitable organization or business is essential for attracting talent and ensuring a vibrant and innovative work culture, yet collecting employee identity data is an often underappreciated step in creating a measurable and meaningful Diversity, Equity and Inclusivity (DEI) strategy, according to a new whitepaper by Ascend Canada.

For an organization, big or small, international or national, it can be overwhelming to begin the process of implementing an effective DEI strategy. A lot of organizations begin their DEI journey through education or anti-racism training – important tactics, to be sure. But is there a more efficient and impactful way to prompt real change?  

Ascend Canada recently introduced its whitepaper series, ‘Harnessing the Power of Data & KPIs to Advance Diversity, Equity & Inclusion in Organizations’ to better understand how organization can leverage data to improve their DEI strategy.

Collecting employee identity data could be misunderstood as simply “counting people.” But there are many benefits to a data-driven approach, from providing equitable services, tackling systemic barriers to keeping leadership accountable for their commitment.

Wondering how you can get started? Here are five good practices to collecting employee diversity identifying employee data.

  1. Articulate the purpose behind data collection: Before a survey is created or an email is sent out to employees, it’s important have a clear purpose for collecting data to advance DEI objectives. If the organization and its leaders are unable to articulate the reason behind or the intent for collecting employee data, it could cause deep distrust with employees. To have employee buy-in, it’s essential the organization communicates the purpose and intent for data collection at every stage.
  2. Clarify the scope of the data collection: Once a purpose has been established, it’s crucial to determine the type of information you will want to collect from employees. Keeping in mind both immediate and future goals can help structure surveys so accurate and pertinent data can be gathered. There are also legislative parameters to be aware of before setting out to collect data.
  3. Maintain and understand data privacy and security: At the heart of any data collection strategy has to be privacy. By gathering highly sensitive personal employee diversity information, it’s the responsibility of the organization to have a comprehensive tight data confidentiality and security policy in place. There is no quicker way to lose the trust of your employee than with a data breach. As part of the data gathering process, its important communicate to employee the organization commitment to confidentially and privacy.
  4. Build trust for high participation rates: If there isn’t a culture of trust within an organization, participation rates will be low, making the data gathering strategy ineffective. Before embarking on this process, being realistic about the attitudes of your employees can allow you to be ready to anticipate obstacles. A good solution would be to get a third-party to administrator the strategy on behalf of the organization.
  5. Incorporate data gathering into existing processes: Create a plan to incorporate data gathering into existing processes to maximize ongoing awareness and participation. A good example would be to incorporate a form asking for personal identifying data during the employee onboarding process or annual performance review. Employee attitudes are never static and engaging in regular data gathering can ensure your DEI strategy is dynamic and responsive.

Our whitepaper series aims to provide practical insights that help business leaders tackle the challenges that organizations face on their DEI journey. The full report, ‘Good Practices in Collecting Employee Diversity Information’ is available for download here.