4 Steps to Building Diversity and Inclusion in the Workplace Through Employee Insights

Building Diversity and Inclusion in the Workplace

Your employees’ insights are key to building diversity and inclusion in the workplace. Here are four steps to help assess and hone your efforts.

In the wake of recent political and social events, it’s clear that there has never been a more critical time to fully address challenges of diversity and inclusion in the workplace. Companies across industries are moving forward to accelerate their commitment to cultivating diverse, equitable, and inclusive cultures, advancing formal programs, policies, and initiatives in support of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI), also known as Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) or Diversity, Inclusion, and Belonging (DIB).

Here are four steps your organization can take right away to assess and optimize your company’s efforts, using important resources you have right at your fingertips: employee survey results and other routine employee data you already collect.

Building Diversity and Inclusion in the Workplace Through Employee Surveys, Feedback, and More

To understand how well your company is delivering on its promise to improve diversity and inclusion in the workplace and create an environment where all employees feel like they are included and belong, your organization need look no further than the employee feedback data you’re already gathering on an ongoing basis. These can help your company uncover trends, themes, and patterns that may otherwise go unnoticed and pinpoint challenges of diversity in the workplace that must be addressed. 

#1: Combine employee data collected through your current employee listening program with indirect employee experience signals 

From annual engagement and pulse surveys to other key employee experience signals, such as performance reviews and customer feedback, taking a look at these important employee data points can offer insights into what your people encounter on a day-to-day basis working for your company, how they are feeling about the company culture, and ways in which they can be best supported. 

For example, including customer feedback offers insight into how employees are treated by customers and how customers react to employees. Are employees respected by customers or are they generally looked down upon as ‘just the staff?’

Data sources to consider bringing together include:

  • Engagement and pulse surveys
  • Employee performance reviews
  • 360 reviews
  • Customer feedback on employees
  • Who has been promoted
  • Compensation increases
  • Meeting invitations
  • Turnover – voluntary and involuntary
  • Sources of internal hires/movement

#2: Use AI-powered text analytics to analyze this data

As global industry analyst Josh Bersin explains in his whitepaper, “A New Model for Employee Experience: Continuous Response Shortening the Distance from Signal to Action,” it’s no longer enough to track employee data — something organizations have spent billions of dollars doing over the past two decades. To be truly successful, companies need to use this data to uncover insights and take action. 

That’s why more organizations are increasingly turning to artificial intelligence (AI) to analyze unstructured data uncovering what drives the employee experience including how well employees of different backgrounds feel included. These valuable insights can then be automatically routed to key stakeholders across the organization who are best equipped to take meaningful action.

When you have your employee data gathered and analyzed at scale, you can take a look at how your employees feel about your company culture and D&I efforts, based on their unique identity/identities.

For example, Medallia customers can take advantage of our researched-backed pre-set D&I topics to quickly analyze text from millions of touchpoints — surveys, social, reviews, compensation and promotion data, and more — to surface what’s really happening without having to send an ad-hoc D&I survey. These include such topics as:

  • Discrimination: Racism, ageism, sexism, ableism, discrimination by sexual identity and gender identity, and more
    • Sample comment: Sometimes I feel some company members treat me differently because of the color of my skin.
  • People and culture: Feeling valued, representation, and more
    • Sample comment: I am the only woman in the product team.
  • Brand Perception: campaigns, sponsorships, events, vendor diversity and more
    • Sample comment: Our B2B stock photos need a bit more diversity…

Applying AI, your organization can uncover the level of employee effort. For example, are certain employees being met with more resistance than others?

#3: Group text analytics and AI findings by key personas to understand how race, gender, age, and other identities impact employee experience 

When you have your employee data gathered and analyzed at scale, you can compare experiences across different demographic personas to uncover bias and other demographic dependent experiences. Key persona groups can include:

  • Gender (looking at female vs. male vs. nonbinary responses)
  • Race (feedback from Black employees/employees of color vs. white employees)
  • Age (Baby Boomers vs. Millennials)
  • Employee type (deskless employees vs. desk employees)
  • … and more

#4: Look for different themes and patterns across persona groups to uncover previously undetected challenges or biases that certain groups are encountering 

Is there a difference across personas with how managers are describing employee effectiveness or how peers are rating employee contributions? How are customers reviewing employees in their feedback? 

Ultimately, the most important thing you can do to ensure a diverse and inclusive culture for your people is to take action on these subtle signs you’ve uncovered by:

  • Bringing together key internal stakeholders across the organization 
  • Coming up with a concrete plan 
  • Establishing goals and metrics for measuring the success of that plan
  • Communicating that plan to all employees
  • Continuing to follow up with progress updates and share how you’re tracking against your goals

“More likely than not, your organization already has a wealth of employee feedback data that can help your team identify diversity and inclusion challenges and opportunities that can be addressed right away. Forward-looking companies are cultivating a practice of assessing and addressing D&I in the moment, paying attention to what’s being said across all of the key touchpoints in the employee journey, highlighting unmet needs, taking action, and optimizing efforts — not just once, but on an ongoing basis,” said Lauren Jackman, Director, Diversity, Inclusion, & Belonging at Medallia. 

Improve Your Employee Experience and D&I Outcomes

Beyond simply being the right thing to do, companies that prioritize diversity in the workforce experience a range of benefits, including higher revenue, greater innovation, more effective decision making, attracting potential new hires, and getting (financially) ahead of the competition.

Want to know what doors an employee experience strategy can open for your organization? Download Medallia’s Definitive Guide to Employee Experience eBook.