A Structured Approach to Belonging and Diversity

Every person should feel valued for the work they do and the unique perspectives they bring. With the VIBE Index, we want to help equip organizations with the tools they need to build stronger, more inclusive workforces.

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Overwhelmingly, research tells us that what’s right for employees is also right for the business—having a diverse workforce, creating a culture of belonging, and developing equitable practices across your organization. In a recent webinar, Josh Bersin, global industry analyst and dean of the Josh Bersin Academy, shared that in a Glassdoor survey, “a high percentage of employees or job candidates say they will not even apply to a company that doesn't appear to be highly diverse.”

And yet while many organizations are committed to diversity and inclusion, they aren’t seeing the progress they want to see. Take the influential position of the CEO as an example: In 2021, just 40 of the Fortune 500 CEOs are women, four are Black, and only one is a Black woman. The lack of progress is obvious at the most senior leadership levels, but it’s a challenge at all levels of organizations across all industries. 

One of the biggest obstacles organizations face is moving beyond setting goals to holding leaders—and the organization itself—accountable for achieving those goals. Another obstacle is being solely focused on diverse representation. Diversity is critical, but even more important is an employee’s sense of belonging and inclusion. They may accept a position at your company, but if they don’t feel they belong, they won’t stay for long.

Belonging also affects productivity. Harvard Business Review found that employees who feel a greater sense of belonging work harder and are more engaged. In fact, research shows a 56% increase in job performance and a 75% reduction in sick days among employees who feel they belong.

In 2021, just 40 of the Fortune 500 CEOs are women, four are Black, and only one is a Black woman.

An Innovative Solution Based on Our Own Journey

We face these challenges at Workday, and as we’ve assessed and reflected on our own belonging and diversity efforts, we know we have an opportunity to accelerate our progress. There’s still more work to do, and we’ve increased our efforts and commitments in these areas.

One way we’ve done that is with a structured approach for measuring success we call VIBETM—Value Inclusion, Belonging, and Equity. We use these critical attributes as a yardstick to make sure our employees are included, that they feel a sense of belonging within the organization, and that our workplace is equitable.

As you make similar assessments about where your business’s belonging and diversity efforts are today—as well as your goals for the years ahead—we want to share what we’ve learned. And an important observation for us is that organizations can better understand their workforce with a few critical actions:

  • Examining intersectionality, which is how different facets of an employee’s identity—such as their ethnicity, gender, ability, or sexual orientation—intersect to impact their experience at work.

  • Measuring outcomes across the employee life cycle.

  • Spotting areas of inequity, or areas that lack parity.

Research shows a 56% increase in job performance and a 75% reduction in sick days among employees who feel they belong.

The VIBE Index

These elements all come together in the VIBE IndexTM, the Workday methodology for assessing inclusion, belonging, and equity.

We created the VIBE Index because we needed a way to measure our own performance across the entire employee life cycle—hiring, promotions, leadership, belonging, and attrition—and see how we were doing across employee groups. The VIBE Index provides leaders with this information in easy-to-digest scores, enabling them to compare progress across employee groups and identify the areas that need the most attention.

We want everyone to feel valued for the work they do and the unique perspectives they bring, and we want to help organizations equip themselves with the tools they need to do their part. Our goal is to provide you with the foundation to make significant progress on your own VIBE journey.

For more information, read our two-part eBook: “Fostering Diversity and So Much More With VIBE” and Advancing Your Belonging and Diversity Journey.”

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