Yesterday, 16 law firms from our neighboring north country announced they were joining forces to form the Law Firm Diversity and Inclusion Network. They are working together to improve their diversity and inclusion within the law profession. One of their core values includes evaluating efforts, but not all 16 firms collect diversity statistics. Collecting information about the workforce is a key starting place.
Tracking diversity statistics (demographic characteristics) is often a first step for organizations to look carefully at the levels of diversity within their own organizations. Some questions to ask might include:
- What demographics do we want to track? Race? Age? Gender? Sexual Orientation? Gender Identity?
- How do we safely and legally gather this information? In the U.S. it is still legal in many states to fire someone because of their real or perceived sexual orientation and employees may be reluctant to share this information. What happens when information about demographics are gathered and then someone is let go? Will there be a perceived correlation? Is there a correlation?
- What diversity metrics are we aiming for? Do we want our staff to be representative of the people we serve? What are the racial and cultural demographics of our local communities?
Measuring is a good start and it helps human resource departments set benchmarks, but the next challenge is right around the corner – now that we’re working on diversifying our staff, is the workplace inclusive?
Diverse work environments aren’t always inclusive ones. Inclusive environments are ones where all employees feel welcomed and that their contributions are valued and appreciated.
How does one track this? Following are some sample measures, beyond employee satisfaction surveys. If you can consider these measures in the very early stages of your diversity and inclusion initiative and even go back and collect similar data from the past five years, you will form a clear picture of strengths and weaknesses within your organization.
- Length of employment (turnover)
- Position in organization (by supervisory level, by skill level)
- Compensation by position (pay equity)
- Number/type of promotions
There are many other measurements of diversity to help you set the stage. The Human Resources Department in the State of Washington has a well-rounded and extensive list of good diversity metrics.
Collecting this data isn’t always easy, but having the facts on paper will help any diversity and inclusion team begin their work from a strong foundation.