Data-driven, measurable, specific DEI goals create a roadmap and catalyze the motivation and effort necessary to actualize your DEI mission and strategy. However, in a McKinsey survey, only 50% of companies surveyed had clear goals for setting and tracking the progress of their DEI goals, despite the fact that DEI was cited as a top priority.
Building Block #14: DEI Goal Setting will focus on helping your organization set goals based on your organization’s customized data, developed via participation in the Camber Survey System and other data sources. The process of engaging in DEI work is not a “one size fits all” approach. Rather organizational data must be paired with DEI best practices to make progress in the achievement of meaningful attainable DEI goals.
Achieving workplace inclusion, equity and diversity does not involve merely “checking the box” by simply stating that diversity matters. Rather it involves setting and meeting goals aimed at developing inclusive workplace culture, ensuring equitable systems, and hiring and onboarding diverse candidates in an analytically rigorous, data-driven manner characterized by measurements and accountability.
This Building Block will focus on:
If your organization is striving for an inclusive, equitable, and diverse culture, it is vital to define and share relevant DEI goals with stakeholders – including employees, customers, shareholders, suppliers, community members, and board members.
DEI goal-setting creates new norms, norms that exert a powerful influence on employee behavior and company culture, as described below:
Setting DEI goals that incorporate education via training, team-building exercises, workshops, and courses will impact employees at all levels in the following ways:
Setting goals that tackle the tough questions and discrimination and harassment allow your organization to commit to creating and upholding a safe space for all employees. Creating and communicating goals that improve systems will support your current workforce and help you create safe, inclusive workplaces that attract diverse talent.
Your organizational DEI goals should be data-driven.
Data can be a powerful tool to change behaviors and measure progress. The Camber Survey System provides organizations with critical year-on-year data to help set measurable goals that impact mission and workplace culture. Without specific goals grounded in sound, carefully gathered, and rigorously analyzed data, organizations engage in DEI activities without a real idea of what’s working, what to change, and how to fulfill their DEI mission.
A key resource for Camber Partners is the Camber Survey System – developed in partnership with the Claremont Evaluation Center – which is an annual two-part survey composed of:
Camber Partners that participate in the Camber Survey System receive organization-specific results that reveal valuable insights on how employees perceive their efforts and progress in creating inclusive, equitable, and diverse workplaces. (To express interest in participating in the Camber Survey System in 2021, CLICK HERE [Link to a capture form that feeds to Partnerships?)
Other potential sources of data include:
*Note that Camber strongly recommends that any internal research be conducted by experienced expert research practitioners. For guidance on selecting research consultants and other experts, please consult the “Camber Guide to Vetting Consultants and Other Suppliers” as a resource. (COMING SOON add link from Mindy)
To ensure that your organization gets the most from your Camber Survey System or other research results, ask the following questions:
Results of your Camber Survey System or other market research should be treated as an organizational “North Star” or compass that directs the development of DEI goals tailored to your organization’s unique needs. These results are invaluable tools for the following reasons:
All of your goals should be attainable. To ensure that the goals are realistic and achievable, take the following steps:
Organizations should manage DEI using many of the same principles and best practices that are used to manage other aspects of your business:
Today’s workplace DEI goes much so further than compliance. Engaged employees are more productive and innovative which reduces turnover and the high cost associated with it.
True equity and inclusion involve working with intention to eliminate intolerance, discrimination, and other practices that prevent the valuable contributions of all team members.
Often, “DEI goals” are thought of purely in terms of numerical diversity targets. However it is important to set holistic DEI goals: numbers are important only if they reflect the result of integrated efforts that focus on all three priorities of achieving workplace inclusion, equity, and diversity. Commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion is vital to ensuring a productive workforce, especially since Millennials are the largest generation in the workforce, and 44% of Millennials identify as non-white. Your organization’s goals should be designed to measure systemic change.
For goal setting, across all three areas of diversity, equity and inclusion, the following are some universal keys to setting effective goals:
Communicate goals and progress with key stakeholders inside and outside of your organization.
Clearly communicated goals provide your organization with the benefits described below.
Best Practices for Setting Inclusion Goals
Inclusion goals center on the practices, processes, and policies that create an inclusive workplace for all employees.
To set these goals effectively:
Best Practices for Setting Equity Goals
Goals centered on your commitment to equity should focus on specific practices, policies, and processes and lead with a systems focus. To successfully set equity goals:
Best Practices for Setting Diversity Goals
Goals centered on your commitment to equity should focus on specific practices, policies, and processes that promote, measure, and track progress toward increased organizational diversity.
To set sound diversity goals:
Despite the importance of DEI, a McKinsey survey reported that nine out of ten executives surveyed report challenges in executing their DEI strategies, even though DEI has remained a priority during the global pandemic. DEI strategies vary from organization to organization, but there are common mistakes that many organizations make when attempting to formulate their DEI goals.
The foundation of the goal-setting process is to recognize that the overarching ultimate objective of DEI is to create an inclusive, diverse and equitable environment at your organization. However, progress toward achieving this objective can be derailed by the following missteps:
Failure to identify all employees responsible for implementation and progress
A common mistake in creating DEI strategy and goals is failing to identify employees who are accountable for ensuring implementation of and progress towards your DEI goals. Failing to secure resources and empower individuals who will follow through with the action items of each DEI goal reflects a lack of commitment and hinders your organization’s ability to meet your goals. Building accountability for DEI progress into job descriptions and performance evaluations will ensure your diversity goals get the attention from employees that they deserve.
Allowing your DEI to be merely performative activism
If your organization is creating a DEI strategy because everyone else is or it is the “politically correct” step to take, your DEI is performative, and your DEI strategy will fail. “Performative activism” is a pejorative term referring to surface-level activism that is done to enhance how an organization is perceived rather than to make an authentic and substantive commitment to a cause. Current employees, prospective employees, community stakeholders, and activists have become highly attuned to the warning signs of performative diversity — and more vocal about calling it out through social media and other means. A meaningful diversity plan with actionable goals is a company-wide framework that involves knowledge, data, and measurable outcomes.
Establishing an overly narrow definition of diversity upon which DEI goals are based.
Set benchmarks that reflect where we should be as a nation rather than benchmarks that merely match the status quo of a job structure or geographic area that historically lacks equity or diversity. For example, if your organization is located in a geographic area that lacks diversity, it is acceptable to set a goal that states: “This year we would like to increase our representation of Black and Asian mid-level managers by ten percent.” Possible strategies to achieve this goal include creating more virtual roles that enable the organization to attract diverse talent even if the organization is located in a place that lacks diversity.
Setting oversimplified or purely numeric goals that understate the importance of DEI in the workplace.
A common pitfall is that organizations will set a target percentage for new hires from underrepresented communities. However, in the zeal to pursue these targets, leaders and team members may miss opportunities to set goals to ensure that the organization’s talent recruitment system, and the workplace more broadly, is inclusive and equitable.
For example, rather than attempting to engage diverse talent within a talent recruitment system that will reject or tokenize prospects, set a goal to ensure that all job descriptions are developed with a lens of inclusion, equity, and diversity. Note: Specific guidance on creating a diverse talent pipeline is found in Building Blocks #5: Inclusive Outreach and Recruiting. (LINK)
The increasingly important role of data in goal setting requires new attention by organizations.
The most significant emerging trend is that the goal-setting process is increasingly data-driven. To be actionable, data needs to be understood by its intended audience and organizations need to be clear about what that data means for DEI health at your organization.
This Building Block, combined with results from the Camber Survey System and other data sources, will form the foundation for meaningful and actionable goals that empower your leaders and employees to act.
Goals are a powerful mechanism to affect change if employees, leaders, and stakeholders understand them and perceive them as challenging yet achievable. Clear data-driven goals help employees understand the connection between their daily actions and inclusion, equity, and diversity outcomes. Goals transmit organizational expectations and guidelines for DEI best practices that ultimately ensure success in creating and sustaining inclusive, equitable, and diverse workplaces.