Date: Wednesday, July 20, 2022

Time: 1:00pm Eastern / 10:00 am Pacific

Presenters: Christian Nielson, Chief Revenue Officer, DecisionWise; Dave Long, Chief Operating Officer, DecisionWise

Cost: Free

Care for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) is critical for any modern organization. But how do you best measure the current state of DEI and surface opportunities for improvement? During this webinar, Dave Long, Chief Operating Officer, and Christian Nielson, Chief Revenue Officer, will discuss the best techniques to include DEI as key component of an employee engagement survey.

Register and reserve your spot today!

This Webinar qualifies for SHRM and HRCI credit.


Christian Nielsen | 00:01 

Let’s, uh, let’s go into DEI as a priority, um, the last few years, I don’t know if, if you noticed, but the last few years have been very interesting. Um, for all of us across a, a number of, a number, a number of dimensions. COVID really changed what we saw at work, uh, you know, in every aspect of our life, but especially in the, the workplace. It’s been a fascinating study. Uh, those of us who’ve been doing this work for a number of years, pre covid, um, uh, you know, this is the, the last three years have been unlike anything we, we’ve seen. So we’ve got a couple of slides that we talk about shifting employer concerns. So as we’ve worked with all these organizations, um, different topics are, are top of mind for the our clients. And I wanna talk a little bit about how those have evolved a bit in the last few years. 

Christian Nielsen | 00:55 

And this sets the stage up for the kind of the DEI conversation that we’ll be going into. So in 2020, we saw that the beginning of the pandemic and lockdowns, we saw employers focused on safety protocols and migrating teams to remote work and DEI, which has always been important, but it really started to come to the forefront in a way that we haven’t seen. We’ve always had, uh, wonderful clients that have measured and been de dedicated to creating a diverse and inclusive workplace. But we saw more organizations making a priority, and a lot of this came as a result of, you know, increased civil unrest, um, across the us. It, it became a national topic in a way that hasn’t, hasn’t been the case, uh, in the past. And so more organizations were coming, uh, to us to, to capture a baseline. So, um, you can see that kind of the top concerns we saw from employers in 2020 DEI was certainly in the mix, and it was really around are we diverse? 

Christian Nielsen | 01:52 

Are we inclusive? It was kind of this organiz many organizations that had never looked at their employee survey with that lens, suddenly interested in capturing a baseline, which was great. Um, and, and, and what’s was interesting for me, and I don’t know, Dave, if you, uh, have a different take, but, um, not just new organizations, but industries that haven’t necessarily, uh, always been concerned with that. So, um, we saw more clients in the manufacturing industry or, or, or locations or geographies that haven’t historically been as, um, concerned with DEI, uh, efforts, uh, really entering the conversation, looking to get some of this DEI information 

David Long | 02:37 

And, and the way we measure DEI is, uh, through, uh, or, or measure anything on our engagement surveys through a variety of different themes or constructs. And prior to 2020, we would, uh, part of our survey design process was always to, you know, introduce our clients to the DEI framework that we use and how you might be able to measure it in your survey. And maybe, I don’t know, maybe 20% of organizations decided to include that as part of their experience survey. After everything happened in the summer of 2020, it became more like I would say 75, 80% of organizations. And, and, and it was almost like they came to us, well, that’s a given. We should have that in our survey. It wasn’t a choice or wasn’t, uh, anything to deliberate it over. Whereas before they’d be like, well, I don’t know if I wanna include that now. It’s like most organizations are saying, we really wanna include this. 

Christian Nielsen | 03:33 

Yeah. And it, and it really fascinating to see that change and to see that change so quickly. And, uh, of course we in this space, you know, love that we’re able to, to have those conversations and, and go, uh, you know, employ more of those techniques with our, our clients. Uh, we, if we watch this evolving conversation, we go from 2020, and by the way, Dave and I are, are very proud of our new icon library that has a number of covid icons. So, uh, all is fun when we get to use the, uh, the covid icon. Um, someday we, we hope to stop using that. Um, if we go to 2021, uh, you know, you can see how the conversation still a lot of the same themes, but shifting a bit work from home, is it working? You know, people are really concerned with that workload and, and, and stress and burnout, certainly retention, um, general culture, the DEI conversation for a lot of those organizations that just started, that their journey down this path, it went from, are we diverse to now? 

Christian Nielsen | 04:32 

Are we getting better? We have a baseline, are we improving or are we, are we making a, a difference in, in ways that are meaningful for our employees? And then if I jump to 2022, uh, kind of what we’ve seen so far, it’s really been, you know, flexibility, re retention, recruiting workload, all those things. Mental health, certainly as people are dealing with a lot of internal and external pressures, the de conversation, um, has, you know, still, are we diverse and inclusive? Are we getting better? But this con uh, conversation around belonging, which we’ll, we’ll spend a lot of time on today, um, uh, really e entering more of the, the organizational conversation around do employees feel like they belong? And we’ve got some really interesting, uh, data and, um, thoughts on the importance of this concept of belonging, uh, to an organization or the sense that we belong. 

Christian Nielsen | 05:26 

So we’ll, we’ll get into that. So it, it’s, um, DEI has always been a very important concept and important topic. Um, and we’re pr, you know, thrilled that it’s, it’s come to the forefront and we’re able to do more, and not only, not only, um, so that we can, you know, help more clients down their journey with DEI, but also we’ve got more data than we’ve ever had where we, you know, our clients are providing with greater demographic information. So it, it, it helps us improve our methodology and our approach as well. So, looking forward to, um, going a little bit further here with you today. 

Christian Nielsen | 06:03 

So we’re here talking specifically about how do we measure DEI in an employee engagement surveys. And I know we’ve got a lot of expertise in the, in the audience and a lot of varied experience with this. We’re gonna talk about where we’ve seen some effective techniques and when we talk about an engagement survey, um, you know, why would this be a good vehicle for capturing DEI information? Well, there’s a couple, uh, really important things to bring up. Uh, an engagement survey or an employee experience survey helps us measure the current employee experience. It gives us a snapshot of the employee con uh, uh, the current employee experience. And usually this is across a number of dimensions. We, we use different survey items that are grouped into themes that we have different indices and benchmarks that we use to understand. And it, I mean, it’s a wide range. 

Christian Nielsen | 06:55 

Our standard survey’s around 50 questions, uh, give or take. Um, and it covers everything from do I have the basic tools and resources to do my job? To, um, do I, you know, is there a clear vision that I understand for this organization? And everything in between, um, as well as open-ended questions and things like that. And so there’s a lot of different aspects of the employee experience that we’re capturing in an employee engagement survey. So it’s really great at helping give it that broad snapshot. And employee engagement survey is also great at telling us how the employee experience differs across populations and what we mean by that. And when you work with, uh, you know, a third party, like decision wise, um, we’re mapping employee survey responses to different, you know, structural and demographic data. Um, and of course we’re, we’re working very hard to protect, uh, individual employees. 

Christian Nielsen | 07:53 

So there’s confidentiality thresholds and things to, to protect that, but it’s really valuable to have that employee feedback mapped behind the scenes to, uh, the hierarchy, to different functional areas, to demographics. And especially in this conversation, uh, the ability to link, um, survey responses to demographic detail is very powerful so that we can understand are we creating a different experience or is there a different experience being perceived by, uh, any subpopulation within our, our employee base? Um, and, uh, demographics are very helpful at, at, at, uh, you know, illustrating them. Dave, I don’t know if you’d add, yeah, anything you, 

David Long | 08:37 

One of the things I’d say about this is, um, whenever you run a survey with this purpose in mind, understanding that we wanna examine the results by structure, yes, but also by specific demographics, age, gender, ethnicity. This is, this is very sensitive for people. So we wanna go about this in the best possible way. Um, and the best possible way is to ensure confidentiality. And the way you ensure confidentiality often is by, uh, is by having a third party that can keep the information confidential. The only other way to do this, if you’re running it internally, is to have people self-report demographics. And if you have people self-report demographics, often in order for them to hide their identity, they will misreport their demographics. So it is very good if you can go in with the ability to lay overlay demographics after the fact. And the best way to do that is to go through a third party, especially when you’re asking about things with regard to, with regard to, you know, age, gender, ethnicity, anything like that, it, it’s important to go through a third party. 

David Long | 09:47 

Now that sounds like we’re obviously a third party survey vendor. I would say that that’s true for any third party that you use. And, and confidentiality and safety around this process is, is goal number one. And, and when you do a survey like this, you wanna have people feel like, okay, when I take this survey, there’s a chance something is gonna get better, but there’s no chance anything will get worse. For me personally, no chance that somebody would be able to identify me based on my responses and be able to come to me based on those responses and, and react to me. 

Christian Nielsen | 10:18 

Yeah. Uh, uh, I think well said, an important point. So we need that data. It, we have very limited use out of this information if we don’t have a hundred percent confidence that, uh, those demographics are mapped accurately, and if they self-report, they’ll, they’ll misrepresent to, you know, pro provide an extra imagined level of confidentiality. Um, but ultimately when we run a survey like this, it, we’re also trying to build trust and make a commitment to the employee population that we we’re gonna value and treat their, their feedback appropriately. So those thresholds are important and, uh, uh, uh, whoever you work with on a survey, uh, definitely a, a, a primary consideration. 

Christian Nielsen | 11:01 

Let’s go, uh, a bit further. I want talk about, um, direct and indirect DEI measures in our survey, uh, as we’re talking at, uh, we run these surveys with an organization. We look at the data at both, through both direct and indirect measures of DEI and we’ll, we’ll explain a bit about the, the differences here. So at a direct measure of, uh, DEI direct measures, assess, DEI through items that reference aspects of DEI directly, and we’ll look at some examples in a minute. But the survey item itself mentions some aspect. It, it calls out diversity, equity, inclusion in some way in the statement itself. So when a participant responds, they know they’re responding to something that’s part of this DEI conversation, uh, in, in some form. And we’ll, as I mentioned, look at some of those indirect measures, assess DEI by reviewing the perception gaps of survey items that do not directly re reference DEI. 

Christian Nielsen | 12:00 

And so, you know, it doesn’t necessarily need to be a survey item that calls out DEI, but we’ll look at it through the lens of different demographic date, uh, categories so that we can see is there a different experience here. So even if it’s around tools and resources, do we have a difference by gender, age, ethnicity, whatever demographic category you have, you can look at any of the items through this DEI lens and say, is there a different experience being had by any population or group within our, our employee, uh, base? So let’s go, let’s go further. In fact, let’s look at indirect measures first. Uh, so we know they, they are, um, not directly referencing DEI, here’s an example. I feel I can speak up without fear of retribution or negative consequence. This is an just kind of the basic level of, do I have a voice here? 

Christian Nielsen | 12:52 

Is it safe to have a voice? Do I feel I can speak up? Now, this item by itself does not tell us much by the DEI, you know, about DEI information until we cut the data by demographic details. So, for example, if we look at this through gender, uh, and this is just some sample data, but if we look at our organization, we see that there’s an eight point difference in how, uh, our male population feels compared to our female population. That tells us that there’s something to at least explore there and say, okay, what, what is going on here? Why is there a different experience? What, what are we doing to create or potentially doing to create a different experience for females? Um, and there’s, uh, you know, all sorts of different paths you could take with this in terms of looking for locations within your business. Uh, you know, is this a, a single team? Does this all roll up to a a functional area? Um, there’s, there’s a lot of, uh, uh, you know, context that needs to be added, but the demographic lens that we can look at a single item, even if it’s not calling out DEI in the item itself, gives us this, uh, some directional information there. 

David Long | 14:02 

And, and, and just to kind of elaborate on your point a little bit there, Christian, you would never wanna look at any item by just one demographic and attempt to explain the score on that item by that demographic alone. So you would wanna look at it and say, okay, well, we’ve got lower scores among our female population, let’s look at that by department. And is there a certain department that we have, or a location that we have that has a larger female population, uh, where it may be more difficult to speak up based on the location and who’s there, or who maybe who’s leading the department than, uh, other places in the organization, rather than just assuming immediately it’s because the people, it, the, the reason why they’re having a hard time speaking up is females in this organization overall have a hard time speaking up. So you wanna look at this through multiple lenses that may very well be the, the answer, but we wanna make sure that we’re looking at this and see, is there anything else that helps us explain this before we take action on something like this? 

Christian Nielsen | 15:07 

Uh, a really great point. And also, you know, the, the organiz, and this is one of the limitations that we have sometimes working with from the outside looking in, there’s some organizational context that you would have that helps you explain this internally. If you know, this is information for your organization, um, you know, just that context around why this might be, for example, and, and this, this is something that Dave and I can see from the outside. Different industries have different roles that are dominated by one gender or another. Uh, just statistically that’s what we see. For example, healthcare, we often see a lot more, uh, higher percentage of female employees in organizations we work with versus manufacturing. It would be, we’d see more males. And so you do have to, to look at the data from different angles and say, are we creating a different experience? What’s the role of, of position? Is this more, you know, what are the other factors at play? But the cuts like this can give you a starting point to start following that and, and making sure we’re being, um, uh, taking a, looking down the right path, and at least starting then and exploring where there is some potentially a, a potentially a DEI opportunity to improve. 

Christian Nielsen | 16:23 

Um, let’s look at direct measures. So this is where we, I mentioned that calls out something around DEI itself. Now this is interesting, uh, too, so, well, I’ll, I’ll speak to the power of using both direct and indirectly in a moment. But let’s look at this one. Uh, the example we have employees here are treated equally regardless of, uh, race, ethnicity, age, gender, disability, uh, religious beliefs, and sexual orientation. Now, I pulled this from our benchmark file, but we have several versions of this particular item where that list is kind of tailored for the organization and, and updated a bit if, if you’re using different terminology around, uh, gender or, or, um, any of these categories. But the, essentially, this is calling out, um, this is clearly calling out a DEI, um, element. It’s a direct measure and, and it’s, uh, an important measure to, to, it’s important to have some of these, uh, and we’ll get into kind of, uh, our constructs here in a moment, uh, because we wanna tap in when we know we’re talking about DEI specifically, you know, how are we all feeling, uh, and as, especially as we cut this by ethnicity, and this is again, just, um, uh, is not, this is just kind of demo data here, but this is a realistic view of what we, it might look like if we cut a, an item by race or slash ethnicity depending on what our client provides us. 

Christian Nielsen | 17:50 

But being able to see, are we having a consistent experience around this? Or where do we have, um, some groups that don’t feel, uh, that there’s this level of organizational commitment around this aspect? Dave, you were gonna say something? 

David Long | 18:03 

Uh, yeah, I think you covered it. Okay, 

Christian Nielsen | 18:05 

Perfect. So the power of both, of using both direct and indirect, um, and especially, um, as this became much more of a national conversation, I, I think it was important because, uh, when we tap into a direct measure, uh, we’re tapping into politically charged and, and present conversation that, that maybe, you know, is, isn’t just contained within the organization. And so we, we also, we not only get a sense of how people are feeling, but we also get a sense of their expectations and how, how, um, you know, what they’re expecting of their organization is if that bar’s being raised and things. So it’s, it’s important to call it out, but it’s also important to say, okay, are we negatively impacting any groups on items that they, that they by themselves, the item itself isn’t tied into a, uh, you know, a diversity and inclusion conversation by itself. Even, you know, simple things like, uh, tools and resources. Do we do, is there a group in our organization that feels like they don’t have access to the, the basic tools they need to do their job? Um, it’s important to be able to look at that through a DEI lens and make sure that we are creating a consistent, um, positive experience. And so the power of direct and indirect, um, measures of DEI, it really opens up the, this conversation and helps provide some, some really useful information on the back end of a survey. 

David Long | 19:31 

I, I, I think a lot of people would tell you that you would be okay with just taking indirect measures, understanding there are certain things or certain items that impact, uh, various populations differently. And, and take those, take those indirect measures by including more of this explicit direct measure of DEI. In your survey, you’re communicating to your organization that this is important to you. If this is not part of your employee experience survey, then it, these days, it’s becoming almost conspicuously absent. Uh, you know, you’re, you’re communicating something by not having something like this in your, in your, uh, survey if, if, if that makes sense to you. So I do believe, uh, but yes, I do believe there’s lots of information and, and maybe even, uh, maybe even more detailed information. Uh, definitely more detailed information we can get from indirect measures. But having the, the direct measures yeah, tells you the temperature around it, tells you how people are feeling around your DEI efforts. And it also sends out a communication that says, Hey, we’re measuring this as part of your experience because we understand it’s part of your experience and 

Christian Nielsen | 20:46 

It’s important to us. Uh, that’s a, that’s a great point. And we use that on several dimensions of the survey. It, you know, the survey tool itself is a communication mechanism. The things that we ask about, send a message, the things that we don’t ask about, send a message as well. And so, uh, I think it’s a good point. You know, we want the direct measure data, and that’s useful, but we also want people, our employees, to know that it matters to us, and so that we’re measuring it because we care about it, and it’s a, it’s a commitment we’re making. So that’s a good point that, that those direct measures help strengthen the, the perceptions in the organization that this is a priority. 

Christian Nielsen | 21:26 

So there’s a lot you can do with this data and you, uh, and it will also, um, kind of say you could very easily get overwhelmed by different data cuts. So I, I wanna give you kind of a, a view of, of what just demographic ranking looks like. Now, what’s interesting demographic rankings, the, the kind of the named after the, the area of the reporting tool we use for this. But basically it’s take every item in the survey and pick a demographic category. And that could be something that’s not even historic or, or maybe surface level tied to, um, uh, those categories. But you can look at every item in your survey this way, at least in, in our tool. And I know, uh, there’s probably others that, that have a similar approach. Um, I don’t have every item in a standard survey. I just took kind of a, a snapshot to paint a picture of what that might look like. 

Christian Nielsen | 22:24 

And then I filtered it by range. I said, I wanna look at all the items in the survey by ethnicity, and I wanna see, um, the largest gaps. And so I, I singled out the largest gap here. There’s a 34 point gap. Now, I also picked one that was, um, kind of a little bit ambiguous in terms of what do you do with this? And I wanna talk about that for just a moment. So here the item is, most days I look forward to coming to, to, uh, I look forward to my work, uh, and, and the, this particular sample client would’ve provided this, these categories, these aren’t our standard categories. We, we, we defer to what our clients, how they capture and organize this data. Um, two or more races, um, 53% favorable on that. And the, those employees that are identified as not specified, or they don’t have any ethnicity or race ethnicity data, 87% of their employee population, or the, excuse me, the survey population fall into that category. 

Christian Nielsen | 23:22 

So there’s a 34 point gap. Now, those two categories can be, uh, uh, challenging to, to take direct action and, and find a, a way to improve it. Um, you know, one thing Dave and I, uh, the first question Dave and I would ask after this are, uh, population sizes. You know, if, if, um, often the smaller the group, the more extreme the response might, you know, can be just, uh, you know, law of, of of large numbers. These, these smaller numbers are gonna range higher or lower. And so if, if not specified is 90% of your, your company, then that, that tells you that that group, um, is pretty representative data. Or if two or more races is, you know, a, a big portion of your, your organization, then that, that, um, that also has a little bit more meaning. But if we’re ta talking about three or four people here, well, one, our our confidentiality thresholds wouldn’t add up or wouldn’t show that data. 

Christian Nielsen | 24:17 

But if, let’s say you’re a company of 20,000 employees and there’s, uh, you know, 30 people that show up in one of those categories, that’s not as, um, telling as, as if, you know, if we’re dealing with larger numbers. And I would probably go to some of these other groups and say, okay, well, let’s look at black African at 65% versus our Asian population at 80%. Why is there a different experience there? And, and use that as a point of exploration. But the point of all this is to say, you can use demographic detail to start exploring and start looking at, okay, where are we having a different experience? And again, you can, you can also layer information, say, now I only wanna see this date data for female employees or, uh, female managers. And then I, you know, so there’s a lot of you can do to cut and, and, um, look at the data from different directions to see, are we creating an inconsistent experience? Are we creating the right experience for all employees? Um, uh, and you can see how you could also, uh, <laugh> lose yourself in, in doing different cuts. We’ll talk about some ways to prioritize and, and focus, but I think it’s important to know you can take this lens across all items in a survey like this. 

David Long | 25:31 

And if you look at this data as, as Christian just pointed out, you might say, well, the, the most interesting difference to me would be, you know, the, the difference between the Asian population and the African American or the Hispanic population. Um, and you might say, well, well, okay, let’s explore that deeper. But before we just explore that deeper, again, I wanna reemphasize this point. We wanna overlay other demographic data on top of this to say, okay, is it, uh, the Asian pop? ’cause for example, in a multinational corporation, your Asian population may be wholly, or a lot of it may be wholly located in, you know, Japan or, or, or Korea or China or something like that, right? So you may have an office there and, and, and so it may be more dependent upon that location than it is upon race or ethnicity. 

David Long | 26:19 

Um, so you wanna overlay other demographic information on top of this before we make any assumptions for this. What you do with this information is sort of hard to know as well, because what you don’t do is, is find, you know, one of, you know, a a a a population that’s either doing well or, or not well, or a member of one of these demographic groups and say to them, tell me, uh, tell me what’s going well for you. As you know, that’s not really the way to handle it. It’s, it’s gonna be, it’s gonna be more complex than that. So it’s an interesting, you know, when you see or you find something out about this, there’s definitely something to explore here and trying to understand is there, is there, and if it’s specific to this group, is there, is there something that we need to be doing about it? And, and what are the things that we can actually do, uh, so that we don’t put it upon that population to, to fix the problem? 

Christian Nielsen | 27:12 

Yeah, I, I, I think great points, e everything should be considered from some several different angles. And especially when you’re dealing with information as important as this, and we’re cutting it this way, you, you can’t jump to conclusions. You really have to make sure you’re thinking it through from, uh, the right, right directions. And, um, and that’s, that’s where a lot of times I think that the, the value that Dave and I as outsiders at, uh, is, uh, you know, just being a sounding board and being able to ask and, and, and being a thought partner as we try to decipher what’s going on here, what other questions do we need to ask? And also, where do we go from here to get some additional information? Speaking of additional information on my own segue there, um, the next slide is around external DEI benchmarks. Dave and I live in the world of data. 

Christian Nielsen | 27:59 

We love benchmarks. Um, but there’s some considerations, especially when we start to look at, uh, demographic, uh, benchmarks. So, uh, those of you who’ve worked with us, or many, maybe other organizations, know, we often will provide kind of a global benchmark for your data as well as a, an an industry benchmark. So if your hospital will, will provide a healthcare benchmark, or we’ve got manufacturing and we’ve got, you know, like 130 different benchmarks we can provide and, and different regional benchmarks and, and wonderful things. And it’s a really great external comparisons, e external comparison. But when we talk DEI benchmarks, there’s some, uh, uh, some pros and some cons. So I thought we’d just chat about a, a couple of those for a minute. Um, let’s talk about pros of DEI benchmarks. Can we provide some help? Okay. Sorry, I’m just reading ’em some pros of the benchmarks. 

Christian Nielsen | 29:01 

It’s great to ground you in some context. So, so, you know, like for example, and I showed a, a five point difference, male and female on a particular item. First question often is, is that normal? Do we know if that’s, is that something that we can, um, is that something that’s, you know, within some kind of tolerance? And we can use benchmarks to ground you in a bit of like, yeah, here’s what we see at other organizations. And that to the second bullet point can help create some urgency. If you are trying to build a case for this, benchmarks can sometimes be your best friend. If you go to the, the CEO and say, Hey, we’re 20 points above, or, you know, below benchmark on this. Like normally we’re, we’re, we’re seeing a five point difference and we we’re seeing 20 point differences or 25 point differences on this. 

Christian Nielsen | 29:47 

Uh, that can help build some buy-in and urgency. Oh, no, we’ve got a problem, we’ve gotta address this right now. Um, uh, so there, there’s some real benefits there. Uh, there’s some limitations as well. So let’s say you’re, you’re doing better than our benchmark. Well, that might be an excuse for the, the organization to say, okay, we’re good. And being to that second point, alignment with the benchmark doesn’t necessarily mean you’re where you, uh, a final destination’s been reached. Our benchmarks reflect what we see across all of our, the companies. It doesn’t mean what’s possible or where, you know, society should be striving to be benchmarks is really normative data. It’s not, it’s not a high watermark unless we’re using our benchmark, which would be, uh, you know, uh, uh, we have some top decile benchmarks and things like that. But for DEI items, um, that’s just an important note. 

Christian Nielsen | 30:40 

We’re really looking at, okay, this is what we’re seeing on average. Average doesn’t necessarily mean that that’s, that’s the ideal or where we should stop. And so there’s some, some trade-offs in terms of using external comparisons for DEI elements. Um, I’ll speak to that said, let’s look at a few of our, this comes from our decision-wise benchmark, uh, filed. Um, we’ve got, uh, we use a trailing benchmark of four years, and so there’s gonna be over 50 million employee survey responses in here. And that’s, that’s why we can do some interesting cuts. Now, uh, some other challenges, by the way, with this is not every organization categorizes their data the same way. For example, many have different categories for gender, and it’s, and so it’s, it’s a bit inconsistent. Some, some might have two categories, some might have eight. You know, there’s, there’s different, uh, ways that, and so when as we aggregate that data, we have to, uh, try to, to make sure everything align up and, and ethnicity, uh, uh, categories are, are, are similar. 

Christian Nielsen | 31:44 

We, we will get kind of a variance in, in how that, so we have to go through this scrubbing exercise to make sure we can have meaningful comparisons. All those caveats aside, let’s look at a few of these, these gaps. This might be my, my most long-winded, um, approach to this slide. So I apologize if you’re hearing a lot of my voice, um, gaps by gender. Here’s, here’s, uh, where, we’ll, we’ll see some of our, our larger gaps. I feel that I can share my ideas and opinions without fear of negative consequences. We saw a, a different version of that same item, female, 75% male, 80%. That’s from our, our current benchmark. We see a five point difference. So here we can illustrate that point. We might be aligned with that benchmark, but is that good? I mean, we, there’s still a five point difference. 

Christian Nielsen | 32:29 

And so there’s still this internal conversation you need to have with the context of your business. Maybe that’s great. ’cause maybe it was a 20 point difference three years ago, and you’ve been working really hard at, at it, and this shows significant success. Maybe, uh, this isn’t, uh, you know, you see this through the eyes of there’s a different experience and that’s not acceptable. But here is what we’re seeing in our benchmark file, and it doesn’t necessarily give you all the guidance that has to be filtered through the context of where your organization is and where, where your, um, what commitment you have from leadership for A DEI excellence, let’s look at a direct measure. Employees are treated here, are treated equally regardless of race, ethnicity, age, gender, disability, religious beliefs, and sexual orientation female employees, 83% favorable male employees, 88% favorable. Uh, so we, we see, again, a, a five point gap there. 

Christian Nielsen | 33:25 

Let’s look at some gaps by ethnicity. And again, this is where we, after we aggregate our data, where we have enough, um, information in various categories to provide. So it’s not gonna be inclusive of every possible ETH category for ethnicity, but where we’ve got enough data, we’ll, we’ll pull out where we see some of the larger gaps. Creating an inclusive environment is a top priority for this company. Um, our largest gaps, and this one’s interesting, if we look at black or African American, and then also our Asian population, we see 71% favorable Hispanic or Latino. We see 82% favorable on that particular item. Uh, employees are treated equally regardless of race, ethnicity, age, gender, disability, religious beliefs, and sexual orientation. Black or African American, 75% favorable, uh, Hispanic or Latino, 86, uh, percent favorable there. Um, I feel challenged and stretched in my job in a way that results in personal growth, black or African American, 64% white, uh, employees, 73% favorable. So, uh, a nine point gap on this item that’s around growth. Uh, uh, a key component, a key expectation, um, that needs to be that, that an expectation of all employees that we’re, we’re here to explore our potential that there’s some investment in our, our growth and development. 

David Long | 34:51 

Christian, I know we have time at the end to answer a few questions, but I wanted to address, maybe answer a couple of the questions that are coming in through the chat, if that’s okay for a second. Sure. Right now, uh, one, one of them was, what’s the minimum to preserve confidentiality thresholds? Um, speaking from the, from the frame of reference that, uh, that their company is under 200 people, uh, our, our default number for confide confidentiality thresholds is five. Um, and that means five, not just five people in a group. And we can divide it up by, by different demographic categories. Each demographic category that we report on would have to have a minimum of five people in it. Now, there are organizations where they feel like trust or, and or safety, and the organization is low, where they would set their threshold at 10 or 20. 

David Long | 35:41 

Uh, it’s really up to you how you wanna do that, um, in order to ensure that the level of safety, but whatever number you choose, you have, you really want to communicate that ahead of time and make sure that people know, okay, this is gonna be divided up by, by, you know, by groups of no, no fewer than five or 10, or whatever it might be, so that people know that when they’re responding to the survey ahead of time. There’s another question, um, about the difference using possibly, uh, splitting up possibly race and ethnicity, um, is two different categories. Uh, I, I think that’s something that we, that we would be able to do for sure. Um, but it’s just a matter of the data that you have in your system. So if you haven’t been collecting separately race and ethnicity information, most organizations have those grouped together. 

David Long | 36:34 

Um, then, then, then we wouldn’t be able to do it, uh, you know, overlay that demographic on top of survey data. But if you have separate ethnicity versus race in your system, then certainly that would be a valuable way to look at it. And, uh, usually what the way we would define the difference between those two would be race would be based on, you know, strictly physical characteristics, whereas ethnicity brings into effect culture and different, uh, maybe even different regions that you might be coming from, et cetera. So, so it certainly is a viable way to look at this data, and I would say an important way to look at this data. But, uh, most organizations that we have worked with do not have those as separate categories. They’re usually put together into the same category. Um, we’ll, we’ll look at some of the other questions and, and continue to answer those as we get through this, but I just thought we’d address a couple of them right now. 

Christian Nielsen | 37:22 

Yeah, no, and, and I, I’m glad you did. I, I’ll just speak to this, this last one too. There’s a question, why do you say gender identity or why not say gender identity and, uh, instead of gender? The, the terminology and the categories we use is really a function of the, the way the employees or the companies that work with us store their data. Um, we do have a few companies that now are using more of that terminology in, in their actual demographic data, data identity or gender identity, gender expression. We have, we’ve seen some that do gender at birth. Uh, it’s a complex and changing, uh, language that we’re seeing with our, our clients use our, our data and our database is really a function of what the, the, the way it’s packaged and sent to us from our clients. Some of, i, I expect in the coming years we’ll start to see more of that terminology become the standard across our client base. And we’ll, we’ll see those categories in that terminology, find its way into our, 

David Long | 38:23 

And Christian, that’s really, that’s really a function of what’s in your system. Um, if you’re collecting gender information, historically, some of that gender information could be, uh, collected 10, 15 years ago, um, in your, in your database. And so it would be going too far to assume that that is the person’s gender identity. Uh, to say gender identity is, is, is, it may not be correct that that is somebody’s gender identity. If you did not ask somebody for, for that specific information or you haven’t updated it, it may not be, uh, specifically that. And so we keep it as gender, because that’s, you know, that’s the original, that’s, that’s the original collection method was, you know, on an application or whatever that they filled out a long time ago when they were filling out their papers to, to join your organization, that’s what they would’ve declared. And so that’s why we use the word gender. That’s what’s in the system. 

Christian Nielsen | 39:15 

I think that’s a, a great point. And also, kind of the broader question there is, we see a lot of organizations that want to have, have more of a DEI measurement in their survey, but they haven’t historically captured some of the demographic data. Easiest time to do that is with onboarding, but gender identity and, and some things need to be updated, uh, through time. And so there’s, I I think there’s, that’s beyond the scope of this conversation, but an important, uh, reflection is, is to be, um, you know, how are you maintaining that information internally and, and what demographics do we need to be collecting, uh, for the, the type of discovery or information we want to be able to have access to in the future? I, I do like this statement and this, you know, we live in, in our space as employee experience and, and employee feedback. 

Christian Nielsen | 40:04 

Uh, ca uh, collection, demo or benchmarks are kind of a market must are, people won’t work with us unless we’ve got robust benchmarks. And we, and we do, and we take it very seriously. We data invest in data science and do a lot to measure and understand benchmarks, but there’s a lot of limitations of benchmarks. And ultimately, the most meaningful comparisons we found for organizations are internal. How are we doing today versus yesterday? Uh, where do we wanna be tomorrow in any of these things? And I think that’s especially true for DEI, the most meaningful metrics are going to be your company’s own DEI baseline, and then subsequent progress. Uh, so a lot of the, the more meaningful comparisons, not to minimize benchmarks and norms, it’s, it’s, they, they have their place, as we mentioned, uh, but it’s really gonna be that own, uh, internal, uh, accountability. 

Christian Nielsen | 40:59 

Alright, so let’s talk a bit about the decision-wise framework for DEI. Uh, because we mentioned you can open up the e every item and look through the lens, but if we wanna try to zero in on some key components, um, or constructs of DEI, um, uh, we’ll walk through what, what we’ve been using for the last several years with, with great success, which is, um, a, a framework around voice growth opportunities and belonging. And, excuse me, organizational commitment, voice growth, belonging, organizational commitment. Those top three would be impli or, or, uh, indirect measures. And that bottom, uh, a, a very direct measure of, uh, DEI. And so I’ll speak a little bit about each of these categories and why we use them. Uh, the first one, uh, voice employees feel their thoughts and opinions are heard and reasonably considered in organizational decisions, reasonably heard, reasonably considered. 

Christian Nielsen | 41:58 

Um, you know, one of the, a little side note, we, one of the items we pay a lot of a attention to is this organization cares about employees. If we, if we pull at the strings on that and look at the, the drivers or correlates of, of that item, people feel cared for when they feel heard. And so we, we have a number of items that we would flag as employee voice to capture this aspect. And, for example, one is, uh, that, that item we’ve seen a couple times throughout our conversation. I feel that I can, uh, share my ideas and opinions without fear of retribution or fear of negative consequences. We, that item, we have items at the team level and with their manager, we have items that the organization values, employee feedback, those type of things. But the sense of a voice is a key component of, uh, the employee experience in a, a very important construct in the, um, DEI lens growth employees feel they have opportunities and resources to develop and grow in the organization. 

Christian Nielsen | 42:54 

We saw in one of our benchmarks that, uh, black slash African American employees felt differently or felt less favorably towards, uh, a growth item than, uh, their white peers. And, uh, this is a key component of DEI do. I feel like I can explore my potential here. Does the organization going to invest in growth? And I’d also point out that, uh, we see some interesting things with demo, uh, excuse me, generational differences as well. Our millennials especially expect to be paid in growth. And so if, if we’re not creating that same perceived experience around you, have an opportunity to grow here for any population, uh, then, then, uh, we’re doing them a a disservice. And so we wanna make sure we’re, we’re understanding that belonging, we’re gonna say a lot about belonging here. Um, belonging, employees feel accepted, comfortable, and connected within the organization’s culture. And the item we use here is maybe my favorite item in our entire survey. I feel like I belong here. Dave, do you want, do you wanna talk a bit about belonging? Why, why this gets a little extra press in our presentation today. 

David Long | 44:04 

Mm-Hmm. <affirmative>. Yeah. And belonging. And, and, uh, many of you may already be using a, a new acronym instead of DEI. You may be using DEIB. Um, it’s something that we pointed out. Um, you know, as we talked about how the conversation has transitioned from 2020, you know, this idea of we need to start measuring this. We need to get a baseline to 2021, we’re now looking, can we improve? And now, here in 2022, we’re, we’re understanding DEI on a deeper LE level to understand that, uh, belonging is a huge, the, the degree to which somebody feels like they belong or they feel like they’re included or they feel comfortable in the organization is a critical factor to whether or not they feel like the organization itself is, uh, inclusive of them. What’s interesting about belonging is oftentimes you might look at that and think, well, it’s, if they feel like they like the people that they work with every day, that the team that they work on, they’re gonna feel like they belong. 

David Long | 45:03 

It turns out almost everybody in our benchmark, most people in our benchmark really like the people that they work with every day. But that doesn’t necessarily mean that they feel like they belong there. Those two things don’t correlate at all. Um, in fact, what we find out is, is my sense of belonging is often driven by how I feel in relation to the organization I work for, as opposed to just the people that I work with on a day-to-day basis. Certainly there are aspects of belonging in groups and teams and things like that, but when somebody says on a survey, I feel like I belong here, they’re oftentimes saying that in relation to how they feel in the context of the organization. So if they feel comfortable in the organization, if they feel comfortable, if they feel like they have growth opportunities, they have a voice here, they feel like they’re included, then they’re at, at an organizational level, then they’re more likely to be favorable about this. 

David Long | 45:59 

Now, why is it so important that they’re favorable on, I feel like I belong here. This is the single item in our survey that shows up as a top driver of engagement more than any other item that we ask in a 50 question survey. So I feel like I belong here, becomes the most important driver of engagement that we ever ask. In fact, this is the frequency and, and companies in our database. Um, this is just, you know, this is the number of times that these show up as drivers. Um, yeah, 465 times out of all the, where I think it’s out of 600 or so organizations in our database, 465 times the, the, uh, I feel like I belong here has shown up as a driver of engagement. Now that is, uh, remarkably high from a percentage standpoint, but it’s also is telling us, uh, it is telling us that your organization is probably not unique. 

David Long | 46:51 

Um, belonging there is gonna be as critical as almost any other factor. And, uh, we’ve found, we’ve been measuring belonging as part of the DEI index for several years. Uh, now it’s been, uh, it’s been an important part of this index. Um, not only because, um, not only because it’s, it’s something that, that different differing populations or groups might see differently based on personal characteristics, but also because how they view this thing is gonna determine how much they’re willing to give back to the organization in the way of engagement, additional effort, um, additional, um, commitment, more of their ideas, more of their talents to the organization, how they feel about their, their ability to belong there and fit in is critical for that. And so that’s really where we get a tie in from diversity, equity, and inclusion to, okay, does this impact business results? Will you bet it does. I mean, if, if people feel like they’re, they’re included, comfortable in the culture, feel like they belong in your organization, they’re gonna be giving more of themselves to your organization, it definitely does impact, uh, impact, uh, organizational results because of that. 

Christian Nielsen | 48:04 

It’s, it’s, uh, for me, a, a major, it’s had a major impact on, on how I see the, our entire field in terms of, you know, I used to talk a lot about, oh, we build engagement, we help clients build engagement. And then I, I realized, no, we don’t build engagement. We invite engagement through the experience I created. And now over time I’ve learned we might not be inviting engagement. We we’re really inviting people to belong. And when they belong, they engage. They bring their best self, they bring their energy and, and, and everything they have to offer. And so it’s, it’s, it is a fascinating item and it’s, it’s one that, um, I pay close attention to any, anytime I see it in an organizational survey. 

David Long | 48:46 

It’s an interesting one to reflect on yourself. Like, if you were to think to yourself, what are the factors that help you know that you belong or don’t belong somewhere? And you think through that and you think through, you know, what if I don’t feel like I’ve a voice here? What if I don’t see representation of people like me in leadership in this organization? How would that impact my ability or my thought of how, how I belong here? And just doing self-reflection on that helps you understand how other people might feel about their ability to belong within an organization. And it can be really informative, uh, with, in terms of how you might address that organizationally. 

Christian Nielsen | 49:25 

Yep. Yep. I’m gonna, I’m gonna keep us moving. We got just a few more slides and then I, I know we, we’ll probably wanna address some more questions. Uh, the, the last construct, um, we could, we, by the way, we could do a separate webinar just on belonging, but the, the last, uh, construct in our, in our model is organizational commitment. The, the explicit, or the, excuse me, the, uh, direct measure of, uh, of engage or of DEI employees feel the organization champions and sponsors, diversity, equity, inclusion. How much do I believe this matters to this organization is essentially what we’re capturing. And so you saw this item. We have, we have many other items that we would include in this, and usually we to, to measure the, in these, um, different constructs, we’d have, uh, three to five items per construct included in the survey map to the area. 

Christian Nielsen | 50:15 

And, and this is just a sample of one, but this, um, oh, I’ve got a, hopefully I just had a, a popup on my screen. Hopefully it didn’t show there. But, um, this is one of those there, and, and I won’t go into detail here, but this is one of the ways we cut this data to try to understand, and we, we actually take a few extra steps with the math because small populations need to be considered and, and, uh, you know, for example, in this group, and this is just, or, uh, some, some sample data, um, but in this group, that’s, that’s fairly realistic. An organization this size might only have 15 employees that, that ca identify as American Indian slash American, uh, Alaskan native. And well, that group, uh, can sometimes be either discounted because there’s only 15, or it can be over counted if it’s an extreme population. And, and so there’s a few other things we do to, to make sure that we can compare all groups to each other and no one gets lost in the shuffle. Um, and so here, you know, again, for time, I won’t go into great detail, but there’s, this is how we look at those four constructs. One, one of the ways we do to try to understand where are there opportunities, who isn’t having the experience that we’re committed to. 

Christian Nielsen | 51:33 

Um, so my favorite transition slide there, uh, some closing thoughts. Your survey can help you determine your baseline. Uh, and we, we recommend doing that through direct and indirect measures. Uh, a word about baselines, it’s a little bit outside of, of kind of our methodology, but I’ve seen organizations have great success by utilizing, uh, a, a diversity and inclusion, uh, or DEIB, uh, maturity model. I know Deloitte has a phenomenal one, but just basically some way to assess where you are in a continuum, whether you’re in kind of more of a compliance mode, or if we’re in a real leader led, um, D-E-E-I-B environment, but using some kind of external standard, and then using your survey to kind of help measure the, the mile markers along the path is a, is a great approach. Uh, survey can help you surface areas for action or, or populations that, that aren’t having that experience where there might be some additional discovery or follow up, build organizational commitment and accountability. 

Christian Nielsen | 52:33 

Once you have details, uh, once you have information and, and metrics, you can start having those accountability conversations and commitment conversations with leadership. How committed are we to this? Is this the experience that we want employees to have? Uh, you can measure annual progress, and to Dave’s point earlier, uh, the survey itself helps communicate to the organizational commitment to employees. Um, I think before we jump into a couple questions, I, I just love this concept. A culture of diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging is not achieved in a singular action or event. It involves deep commitment and a journey of learning and improvement. It’s not just a one and done, obviously. I, I, I don’t think any of us assume it was, but I think sometimes executives think it’s, oh, a, a box, we can check and move on. This is a continued priority and an ongoing conversation and a survey. And, and these metrics are a great way to keep that alive and to, to keep, um, uh, the active efforts, uh, going. So, uh, with that, uh, do we have any, any questions? I know we’re close on time here. 

David Long | 53:38 

So there’s, there’s really just one more question, uh, comes from Trapper, which is su suggestions for being inclusive in a multinational corporation. Um, that’s one of those where you, I would really rely heavily upon local, uh, HR people. If you’re going into a different nation, you don’t want to assume the approach for DEI or the emphasis on DEIB would be the same in a different country than it is in your home country, wherever that might be. Uh, so you wanna rely upon, you know, kind of what’s going on in that, uh, in that area, in that region, in that country, uh, in order for you to be able to, to really address it. Now, all that’s true for all, I think, uh, direct measures of DEIB in a survey, but for indirect measures, I would approach it the exact same way. When we’re talking about belonging and voice and growth, I’m gonna approach it the same way, um, across the entire, uh, and across the entire organization. I want to understand how people feel, um, regardless of the nation that they happen to be in, um, guidance on use of GDPR and reporting. Um, that’s, uh, uh, that’s one that you, you know, if you’re, if you, uh, we use GDPR as a de default, um, on every survey that we do. We always ask for permission to collect the information that we’re about to collect, um, 

Christian Nielsen | 54:59 

And give Optout options as 

David Long | 55:00 

Well. And there’s, and there’s an OPTOUT option every time, uh, we, we issue a survey, so that’s our default. We do that every time. We don’t have to do it in nations that don’t require it. But I would say in a multinational corporation, you would use GDPR for the entire population. You would be, I’m not use it, but you would, uh, you would be, uh, you would, you would be compliant to that across the entire population. 

Christian Nielsen | 55:21 

Another multinational consideration that we’ve seen is, um, you know, just doing some legwork, uh, uh, uh, doing some pre-work and conversations with works council and, and, and just socializing, this is our approach and what we’re doing. Making sure everyone understands where confidentiality fits in and things like I, I’ve learned a few conversations up front. Uh, can make it life easier on the, on the aftermath or after, after the survey’s been run. Great. Great questions. We, we are at time. I want to thank everyone for participation and, and, uh, you know, exploring this with us. We’ll send, uh, out our slides and, um, uh, additionally, this, this session did qualify for, I should have mentioned this upfront, one hour of SH RM or HRC and HRCI credit. Uh, an email from our team will come out to participants with, um, access to that and, uh, really appreciate it once to.