6 Steps Toward a More Diverse and Inclusive Company

Ashley Goldsmith, chief people officer at Workday, shares ideas and action plans for organizations to consider as they look to make their work environments more diverse and inclusive—many of which Workday is already doing or plans to do in the near future.

In the old days, companies typically tried to meet their workforce diversity goals just to stay out of trouble. Then they got smart. They realized that by making diversity and inclusion a priority, they could build better brands, create better products, and ultimately increase business performance. In fact, 69 percent of CEOs ranked diversity and inclusion as a top business priority, according to a Deloitte report. And frankly, striving for workforce diversity is just the right thing to do.

Today, human capital management (HCM) technologies play a critical role in helping companies achieve their diversity and inclusion goals. Gartner went in depth on this topic in a report it published in March 2017 titled, “HCM Technology Is Paramount for Successful Diversity and Inclusion Interventions.” Here at Workday, we use our own HCM application to track and gain insights into the diversity of our workforce and where we need to do better.

I wanted to share some ideas and action plans for organizations to consider as they look to make their work environments even more diverse and inclusive. At Workday, we’re already doing many of these things or have plans to do so in the near future.

Focus on the Data. It’s hard to move the needle on something you can’t measure. Thankfully, because of increasingly sophisticated HCM technologies, measurement has become much easier in the past two or three years. In Workday HCM, you can look at data in a lot of different ways and start to see things beyond basics (such as the percentage of minorities and women on any given team). Organizations can set up informative dashboards that readily highlight much richer data, such as patterns of attrition and promotion of women and underrepresented groups, and equip executives and people managers with the knowledge to pinpoint problems and initiate action plans.

Set Goals. Use your HCM system to help you set team, department, regional, and company-wide goals. Say you want to set a goal to increase the diversity of applicants by 25 percent, or the number of women in management positions by 10 percent. You could put those goals in diversity scorecards and share them with people managers, so they can work toward targets and see how their teams’ diversity compares with other teams within the company.

In order to create a more diverse workforce, we all need to have an open dialogue about the topic.

Explore Pay Parity. This is complex work, but it’s a big piece of achieving diversity goals, and good data is essential. Using pay equity analyses, organizations can gain a better understanding of their organization’s pay parity, including stock and incentive compensation, and data beyond pay such as job role and years of experience.

Uncover Recruiting Gaps. By looking into the various steps of the recruiting process, organizations can see where diversity has accelerated, or where it’s slowed down. If it turns out they’re attracting a wonderfully diverse applicant pool, but far fewer minorities or women make it past the first phone screen with recruiters, they can dig into the screening process to ensure that bias isn’t playing an unwanted role in those discussions.

Rethink Succession Planning. Organizations may use their HCM systems to look at the succession pipeline at both the macro and micro levels. What about also looking at it from a diversity perspective, by configuring succession planning reports to include dimensions such as age, gender, and ethnicity? Experience has shown that the more diverse the leadership team is, the more successful a company will be at fostering a diverse and inclusive workplace.

Conduct Employee Surveys. Some companies conduct “pulse surveys,” which are quick surveys with one to two questions that allow HR professionals to collect employees’ feedback and measure their thoughts and feelings about job satisfaction, their teams, and their views of the overall workplace. Using analytics to understand any demographic differences in responses can be very enlightening if it reveals disparate sentiments within different populations.

We believe that in order to create a more diverse workforce, we all need to have an open dialogue about the topic. That’s why at Workday we want to be transparent about our diversity progress, which we have reported in our newly released 2017 Global Impact Report. We’ve made great strides in some areas, and know there is still much more to be done. We look forward to gaining more insights and progress in the coming months with the support of Workday HCM and the focus and dedication of people across Workday.

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