Diversity, inclusion and equity (DEI) are so often uttered in one breath, that we tend to forget that each term has a distinct meaning, especially in the context of a workplace. Of the three, inclusion is the more difficult element to track. However, diversity and equity can be more directly measured. Diversity metrics can be tracked by defining diversity parameters related to race, gender, ethnicity, age, etc. Equity can also be mapped with a cross-section of diversity and parameters such as pay, work-hours, career progression, and more.
Inclusion is a more elusive parameter to directly track. Inclusion is a feeling of belonging – something that is deeply personal and difficult to gauge.
This gives rise to the question – Can inclusion be measured at a workplace?
The answer is yes. Though it might not be a straightforward, number-centric metric, organizations can still get an idea of whether their employees are feeling included or not by implementing a few activities.
A critical way to gauge if the feeling of being included and accepted is permeating through the workforce is by floating a well-crafted questionnaire or survey. Inclusion is an ‘invisible’ feeling in the sense that it can be defined as the absence of events where one has felt excluded. A questionnaire that lists instances of exclusion would serve as a barometer of inclusion. These questions should take into consideration conditioned biases, prejudices, and subtle acts of discrimination, such as microaggressions.
A deeper way to measure inclusion is by conducting listening sessions. Though time-consuming, when done well, they can uncover pockets of exclusion experienced by employees. These sessions encourage different perspectives to be heard. A key thing to remember is to undertake unbiased listening sessions across all employees, irrespective of their demographic or designation. This willpaint a holistic picture and identify how one incident could be perceived as an act of inclusion by a manager, but could be perceived differently by the employee.
People don’t always switch jobs only for better pay. Employees who feel cherished at their workplace are often loyal to their employers. When an employee chooses to leave an organization, they could be deep-seated reasons for their choice. A sensitively-handled exit interview is an often-missed opportunity to gauge how included and valued an employee felt at the workplace, and, thus, a means to measure inclusion. Multiple exit interviews might bring to surface a pattern that needs to be addressed urgently.
Data analytics can provide insight about inclusion at the workplace. Organizations usually have a plethora of data in the form of employee satisfaction surveys, 360-degree feedback, Employee Resource Group (ERG) memberships and engagement metrics, onboarding, and exit data. When this data is combined and analyzed with intelligent data slicing, inclusion can be mapped across some data cross-sections.
A somewhat technical mechanism to measure inclusion is to use a Recognition Module that allows team members to recognize others as well as themselves for proactive acts of inclusion. This feature encourages employees to be mindful and empathetic at the workplace leading to a positive work culture. The number of acts of inclusion recorded over a period of time can help measure trends in inclusion within an organization. Teleskope’s Recognition Module is built around this theme and can be leveraged to track changes in inclusion sentiment.
Though these methods might not yield a well-defined graph charting inclusion, any insight into inclusion can enable changes at the workplace which can considerably improve the well-being and morale of employees. Hence, any efforts to track and measure inclusion will not go in vain. The aforementioned activities should feed data into each other forming a continuous improvement loop for long-term results. Additionally, promoting ERGs and employee training can boost inclusion at the workplace.