Most business leaders finally understand why and how to promote and increase diversity and inclusion. However, creating a truly inclusive work environment has proven to be extremely challenging until relatively recently.

Now, business leaders are beginning to understand that data is key. It helps them to understand the barriers and opportunities for promoting real diversity and inclusion. Data doesn’t lie. It can be a helpful and objective tool in helping companies understand where their inclusion efforts could improve.

If you’re in Human Resources and you’re working hard to increase diversity within your organization, then it may be time to start incorporating data tools into your strategy.

Using Data to Resolve Today’s Most Pressing Issues

Diversity and inclusion are top priorities for many executives. It makes sense to reflect the diversity of the world we live in within an organization’s workforce. Mainly though diversity has many cultural and practical benefits for companies of all sizes. Diverse teams are more innovative overall and tend to perform better than teams without much diversity.

Promoting diversity is important for promoting new ideas and providing opportunities for talent that has been overlooked in the past. In order to solve our world’s biggest problems, we need companies to embrace inclusion and tap into the potential of people from a range of backgrounds. Data can help HR departments achieve these goals.

Changing Corporate Culture

Increasing diversity is mostly the responsibility of HR and upper management: hiring practices and policies must emphasize bringing in team members from a variety of different backgrounds and demographics. Boosting inclusion, however, requires buy-in from the entire organization and a shift in corporate culture.

People of different genders, generations, cultures, abilities, and identities must all be able to feel welcome in the workplace. In order to retain a diverse workforce, inclusion efforts must be ongoing, to ensure that inclusivity is embedded into the values and culture of the organization.

Regardless of your industry, it is possible to create this kind of change. However, it always takes time and effort to truly shift a company’s corporate culture in a new direction.

How Data Can Help HR Professionals Promote Diversity and Inclusion

Human Resources has the opportunity to bring about lasting, positive change when it comes to diversity and inclusion, with the help of data analytics. It requires a multifaceted approach to address different areas where diversity is put at risk.

The first step is to examine the data to find out where diversity gaps exist within your organization. In large organizations especially, it can be easy to think that you’ve made more progress than you really have. Because data is mostly neutral, it can show you exactly where you need to focus your efforts.

Data can also help you to ensure that employees are receiving equal pay for equal work. In many organizations, women and minority groups who contribute just as much to the overall organizational goals do not receive fair and equal pay for their time and effort. Analyzing multiple salaries can help you determine where adjustments need to be made.

Finally, data can help you understand why people leave your organization. High levels of retention is a good indication that your company is welcoming and inclusive, especially during times of low unemployment. By examining the data surrounding why people leave, you can develop strategies to reduce turnover and promote inclusion.

If you’re looking to ensure that your data-driven diversity and inclusion efforts are unbiased and effective, it might be worth considering partnering with a trusted consulting firm with expertise in DEI consulting. They can provide valuable insights, best practices, and guidance to help you navigate this important journey and achieve your diversity and inclusion goals.

People Analytics for the HR Pro

Data analytics can help business leaders optimize nearly every business process – and human resources is no exception. HR professionals who want to bring their organization into the future and increase diversity can begin by earning an online business analytics degree.

People analytics can not only help to improve diversity and inclusion in the workplace but also promote employee health and wellness and assist in making HR decisions that will ultimately affect the success of the business and the happiness of the workforce.

Data is no substitute for experienced HR professionals, but it is an incredible tool for making these professionals more effective.

Keeping Data Free of Bias

Although data can be a great tool for making organizations more inclusive, it’s important to keep in mind that we all have hidden biases that we need to look out for—biases that can actually affect our technology and the data we collect if we’re not careful.

Artificial intelligence helps remove bias, but the information these machines provide is based on the information we give them. This means they can be susceptible to the same kinds of bias that humans are. That’s why it’s so important to ensure that not only are you using data in your inclusivity initiatives but that your data is of the highest quality.

By recognizing our own biases and using data to minimize them, organizations can work toward a better office environment, a happier, more engaged workforce, and ultimately, more success.

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Andrew Deen has been a consultant for startups in almost every industry from retail to medical devices and everything in between. He is currently writing a book about scaling up business and his experience implementing lean methodology.