There are plenty of headlines and soundbites hailing the progress being made by businesses with diversity and inclusion (D&I). From more female CEOs in Fortune 500 companies than ever to the highest numbers of black and ethnic minority police officers in England and Wales since records began – there’s plenty of good news to celebrate. However, despite this undoubted progress and positivity, we mustn’t lose sight of why diversity and inclusion matters so much or how much further we still have to go.
It’s important to understand perceptions of D&I from ‘the inside’, to see what employees feel and say about it. And this is what we’ll endeavour to share with you in this snapshot report using extensive benchmark data and exploring discrepancies between genders.
“Our gender benchmark was built using employee data from over a hundred client surveys and includes the responses of over 86,000 women and 79,000 men.”
How can we measure D&I in the workplace?
Well there is no universally subscribed method of doing this and research points to countless areas linked to D&I. However, one that particularly resonates for us highlights seven key areas or aspects used to assess diversity and inclusion in workplaces. We’ve listed these in the graphic below and have mapped our gender benchmark scores for the most relevant engagement survey questions against them.
This paints a pretty positive picture of diversity and inclusion, right? Looking at these stats alone, organisations could well feel that they’re doing enough to support employees equally. However, while men and women may not dramatically differ in their opinions here, it doesn’t necessarily mean their experience of work is the same. In fact, we might be looking in the wrong place. It’s a useful exercise to look for elements of the employee experience that are perceived most differently between men and women. Here are some the largest perceptual differences in our gender benchmark:
“What’s interesting to note here is the general trend of women scoring more highly than men across these other survey questions, hinting at greater satisfaction with things overall but this contrasting with the top question on perceptions of D&I overall, where men score this more highly.”
But don’t take the above as universal truths – no two companies are the same with different industry-based, environmental and cultural challenges naturally having a big impact on employees’ outlook. External benchmarks and industry specific comparisons can be insightful but it’s also well worth considering internal comparison across various groups within your organisation when looking at D&I.
Some areas in internal benchmarks that most commonly show up significant perceptual differences between genders relate to perceptions of senior leaders’ behaviour and whether they are role modelling the company’s values, feelings of respect, trust and empowerment, recognition for a job well done, career development and progression opportunities and employee voice.
How can we ensure men and women have the same experience of work?
It is so important that all employee groups feel they are being treated equally and that they have the same experience of the workplace. But what steps are needed in practice to achieve this?
1. Start with the executive team; ensure they’re role modelling good behaviours and are representative of a diverse and inclusive company
“Overall, our benchmark shows that only 63% of employees are inspired by senior leaders. Why is this? Can employees see themselves represented within senior leadership?”
2. Acknowledge the needs, beliefs and practices of different groups (e.g. religious and cultural celebrations)
3. Take steps to eliminate any bias in recruitment, assessment and promotion processes
“We’ve seen great results and progress made from delivering unconscious bias training in organisations we work with”
4. Create a feedback culture and welcome employees’ views and, crucially, act on that feedback!
5. Ensure anti-discrimination policies and practices are in place and are adhered to.
And finally, most of you will I’m sure already be running some form of employee surveys or pulse checks but just ensure you have the scope to cut data by various demographics. This is essential to identifying different needs and views among employee groups, and to creating and promoting a positive employee experience for all.