Yrthya Dinzey-Flores once worked for a media and entertainment company that was committed to enhancing its diversity, equity and inclusion (DE&I) efforts. But it had no data to track its progress.
She and her colleagues decided to implement diversity scorecards to get a more accurate picture of their work.
"It's important to provide clarity about what matters and develop the discipline to define what you'd like to measure so that you can better understand where your company's priorities lie," said Dinzey-Flores, who now serves as vice president of DE&I, social impact and sustainability for software company Justworks in New York City.
Her company used the scorecards to better understand where it was making strides, such as in creating more diverse content, while also identifying issues such as its lack of female representation on major film projects.
The organization eventually reaped the benefits of the scorecards, achieving several DE&I goals, Dinzey-Flores said. Many companies nationwide have begun incorporating diversity scorecards and have championed their efficacy in creating a thriving workforce.
What Is a Diversity Scorecard?
A diversity scorecard is a set of data points that help organizations track key DE&I goals.
The scorecard captures key performance indicators (KPIs), including gender, race, disability, veteran status and other demographics. It can be used to chart cultural norms, develop annual strategic objectives, and provide additional information to ensure a balanced workforce is achieved and maintained.
It typically includes several columns to monitor specific initiatives, benchmarking measurements and overarching goals.
"[Diversity scorecards] are as much about the raw numbers as they are about the reflection of your hiring, retention, mobility and leadership strategies," said Diane Primo, CEO at PR firm Purpose Brand in Chicago.
Employers have used diversity scorecards for various DE&I efforts, including as a tool to track the number of:
- Workers who have undergone ethnic, gender and racial bias training.
- Underrepresented candidates an organization has considered beyond the interview stage.
- Employees of color who hold leadership positions.
Primo said the scorecards reflect an organization's intent, performance and "the likelihood of you winning or losing the diversity marathon."
"Ultimately, it is a professional guide to equity in talent, achievement and pay," she explained.
How to Get Started
When considering a diversity scorecard, businesses should ensure they've chosen strategic goals that will drive substantive change, according to Natasha Miller Williams, vice president and head of DE&I for candy manufacturer Ferrara in Chicago.
"The most important best practice is to ensure you have impactful strategic goals," she explained. "Too often, DE&I is reduced to tactical programmatic efforts or tracking, when it should be a strategic function. The tactics should only be executed if they will help you advance toward your goal."
Additional best practices when creating diversity scorecards include the following:
- Start with qualitative metrics. This includes employee feedback, whether from surveys or listening. Then, increase the scope to include quantitative metrics on representation for the full company, by role, leadership, recruitment, retention, engagement and promotions.
- Develop SMART (specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time-based) goals, and provide realistic timelines to reach them. This allows companies to assess DE&I initiatives and their impact on the organization.
- Compare your company to others. What does "good" look like? Viewing the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission's EEO-1 data by industry is a good place to start. Also consider using publicly shared best-in-class benchmarking data for peer companies.
- Talk to people. This is important in not only creating strategic goals but also in tracking progress. Hold regular discussions with your employees or peers on the biggest issues.
- Ensure you have leadership buy-in on your DE&I goals. If leadership is not invested, it will be very difficult for the company to reach its goals.
Employers should consider basic tracking software "to jump-start your scorecard," Primo advised.
"Or start by using an Excel spreadsheet to specify the KPIs you need to track, optimize it, develop processes around it and then work with your IT team to automate it," she said.
Alana Elston, chief people officer at architecture, engineering and construction firm McKissack & McKissack in Washington, D.C., said there are likely features within existing company software that can also capture DE&I data.
"There's no need to start from scratch," she said. "In fact, most payroll software and [human resource information systems] have a diversity feature making it easy to implement. There are many tools in the marketplace that provide diversity scorecards for your organization."
[SHRM members-only checklist: EEO-1 Reporting]
Why Track DE&I Efforts?
DE&I is essential to a company's growth. It drives innovation, increases organizational resiliency, and helps to recruit and retain top talent.
A 2021 survey by Harvard Business Review Analytic Services and the Society for Human Resource Management indicated that companies that intentionally set out to improve DE&I in their workplaces see increases in team diversity, employee engagement and the ability to recruit top talent.
Tracking metrics was a key driver in improving DE&I outcomes in the workplace and differentiated organizations that are successful from those that fall behind, the survey found.
"It only makes sense to treat DE&I with the care and rigor you would apply to any other part of the business," Williams explained.
Diversity scorecards are a sound way to monitor these metrics and help companies:
- Hold leaders accountable.
- Measure the return on key investments.
- Identify potential areas of inequity and more quickly understand where to develop plans.
- Provide a common language for communicating progress.
- Think strategically about where they need to go and how to get there.
- Provide proof of performance.
Dinzey-Flores emphasized the importance of regularly reviewing diversity scorecards and leveraging those measures to define priorities and drive DE&I strategies.
"Companies should establish a cadence that makes sense and integrate a diversity scorecard into your company's overall reporting of people metrics," she said. "[Businesses should also] partner with [their] HR team to ensure everything is integrated."