Diversity Program Effectiveness
Collect Baseline Data
The first step in measurement, then, is to gather data about current
conditions. Relevant information can be collected from a number
organizational data Buried in reports and computers in your organization
is valuable information that tells about current conditions. Affirmative
action plans, EEO complaints and grievances, as well as turnover
and absenteeism statistics can give you pieces of the total picture.
Existing employee satisfaction survey results also shed light
on factors relevant to diversity. Such data provides even more
insight when group compares statistics. For example, is there
higher turnover among females than males and what is the dollar
cost of turnover to your organization? Are there a higher percentage
of EEO complaints in less diverse divisions? Is there a greater
rate of absenteeism among a specific group of employees? Is there
a significant difference in satisfaction levels of employees by
ethnicity, job classification or gender?
a diversity survey Another way of getting baseline information
is by conducting a survey. This can be done by asking a random
sample or all employees to respond to a paper and pencil instrument.
It is important that the survey tool used is carefully tailored
to your organization and constructed to provide the information
you need, and that it give you enough demographic data about respondents
to help you pinpoint issues and problems. It is also critical
that the format be one that will encourage employees to participate.
In one client organization, a one-page team development scale
was used because leaders knew that their rough and ready field
staff would not spend time on a lengthy questionnaire. Other organizations
have considered a telephone survey response system to overcome
resistance to paper and pencil instruments. Survey questions should
be done professionally-leading or biased questions will skew results,
and can engender hostility.
groups Getting employees together in small groups (6-10 people)
to discuss their perceptions of obstacles, issues, and conditions
is another way to obtain pertinent information. Discussions need
to be led by skilled facilitators who keep the group on track
and capture data either by taking notes or taping the discussion.
Once you've collected baseline data, your next step is to lay out
clear objectives that are measurable. For example:
turnover of female sales representatives by 25%.
satisfaction of all employees by 10% and reduce satisfaction disparities
between groups by 50%.
management track employees to more closely match demographics
of the total workforce. Some non-statistical criteria may be even
more compelling. One organization claimed that it would be able
to tell if there was an impact of their diversity intervention
by the condition of the restrooms. They reasoned that tidy restrooms
with no graffiti on walls nor trash on floors would be a sign
of commitment and belonging by all employees.
Once you've implemented your interventions, whether that be training,
a mentoring program, or revamping promotional procedures, you then
need to measure again, comparing findings to your baseline data.
It is most valid to use the same processes in the post phase that
you did in the pre-assessment. One organization used a simple but
relevant method. Wanting to measure the effect of their diversity
awareness training, they simply added one question to the regularly
administered employee satisfaction survey. By asking respondents
to indicate whether or not they had attended diversity training,
they could compare survey results of those that had and had not
participated in training. Results were dramatic, with those who
had attended showing a significantly higher level of satisfaction
in general and a greater ability to resolve conflicts and solve
problems with coworkers. The case was made that the training did
have a positive impact on employee performance. Measurement needs
to be an integral part of your diver-sity process, not just a check
up at the end of a program. Gathering data and setting criteria
are critical aspects of your early planning. Finally, remember that
measurement is not over when you conduct your post assessment. Rather,
each check up should give feedback that continues to shape future
plans, so that evaluation is integration into your ongoing diversity