Key takeaway: DE&I goals are essential for cultivating an inclusive work cultures. By implementing actionable and measurable diversity, equity, and inclusion goals, you can drive meaningful change for your organization, fostering trust, engagement, innovation, and performance to build a competitive advantage.
Diversity, equity, and inclusion (DE&I) has become vital for organizations. Whether you’ve scoped out the market and realized the need for DE&I or discovered limited internal representation, diversity, equity, and inclusion goals can help your business become more well-round.
Using clear DE&I goals in place, you can propel impactful change within your company, cultivating higher levels of trust, engagement, and performance.
In this article, we'll dive into DE&I goals, discussing how you can set and tackle them appropriately at every step of the way. We'll do so by discussing:
- What are diversity, equity, and inclusion goals?
- Why are DE&I goals important?
- Examples of diversity, equity, and inclusion goals
- How to set DE&I goals
- How to measure DE&I goal success
- Top tips for achieving your DE&I goals
What are diversity, equity, and inclusion goals?
In alignment with your broader Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) strategy, DE&I goals are aspirational outcomes you want to achieve regarding diversity, equity, and inclusion.
The most successful DE&I goals are actionable, measurable, and transparent, with quantifiable progress visible across the organization. Moreover, they have a designated owner. The owner of the DE&I goal is held accountable for the progress of the goal — this helps avoid one of the main DE&I challenges: a lack of frontline leadership.
See more DE&I challenges here
Why are DE&I goals important?
With 69% of executives classifying diversity and inclusion as important, DE&I goals have become imperative to a healthy work culture. DE&I goals turn the vagueness that often accompanies DE&I into a specific, executable strategy for diversity, equity, and inclusion, giving rise to many organizational benefits. For example:
- Companies with a DE&I strategy are eight times better at employee retention
- Inclusive companies are 1.7 times more likely to be innovation leaders in their industry
- Diverse and inclusive corporations are 35% more likely to outperform competitors
Read more benefits of DE&I here
Diversity, equity, and inclusion goals examples
To showcase how some companies structure their DE&I goals, we'll look at a few real-life examples of diversity, equity, and inclusion goals below.
Mattel’s DE&I goals include:
- Achieving and maintaining 100% base pay equity for employees in comparable roles or performing identical work in similar markets
- Increasing the representation of women at all levels across the organization
- Increasing ethnic representation across all organizational levels
As part of KPMG’s long-term commitment to DE&I, KMPG’s DE&I goals include:
- Increasing representation from underrepresented groups to 50% at the level of partners and managing directors, including doubling their Black representation
- Increasing their Black and Hispanic/Latinx workforce by 50%
- Significantly increasing the representation of underrepresented groups in client and leadership roles
Some of McDonald's DE&I goals include:
- Increasing representation of underrepresented groups in US-based corporate leadership roles to 35% by the end of 2025
- Increasing representation of women in global leadership roles to 45% to reach gender parity in leadership roles by the end of 2030
- Aligning pay opportunities with the external value of a job to attract, engage, and motivate talent
- Reviewing the competitiveness of pay rates regularly in accordance with peer companies that reflect their size, performance, scale, and talent needs
- Implementing a DE&I strategy that includes annual training and education for employees to be better practitioners and leaders of DE&I
Some of Amazon’s 2021 DE&I goals included:
- Ensuring that 100% of Amazonians take the required inclusion training
- Doubling the number of U.S. Black employees at L8-L10 (Directors and VPs) year-over-year from 2020 numbers
- Increasing the hiring of U.S. Black employees at L4-L7 by at least 30% year-over-year from 2020 numbers
- Increasing the representation of women at L8-L10 (Senior Principals, Directors, VPs, and Distinguished Engineers) in tech and science roles by 30% year-over-year
- Increasing the number of U.S. Black software development engineer interns by at least 40%
As part of Hershey’s Pathway’s Project — the company’s 5-year plan to increase diversity and inclusivity in the company — Hershey’s DE&I goals include:
- Using new hiring policies to gain 50% more diversity among candidates and interviewers
- Showing up against racism by improving access to education for Black and Brown communities using new partnerships
- Using unconscious bias training, mentorship, and commercial leader development to recognize and cultivate previously underrepresented talent
How to set DE&I goals
Now that we’ve conveyed the value of DE&I goals, we'll cover the process of setting these goals for your organization. This five-step process consists of:
- Assessing existing representation in your organization
- Getting employees’ perspectives on your company’s DE&I culture
- Choosing a goal-setting framework
- Establishing DE&I goals based on your gap analysis and industry benchmarks
- Creating a DE&I program for your DE&I goals
Step 1: Assess existing representation in your organization
Before crafting your DE&I goals, you must find out which areas of your business fall short in terms of representation. As these shortcomings vary depending on each organization — and sometimes within organizations themselves — an analysis of your DE&I culture is the necessary first step to setting DE&I goals.
For an overview of diversity, equity, and inclusion in your organization, assess:
- Your current employee makeup compared to the labor market
- Representation in specific jobs or business units at every level of the company
Moreover, ask yourself whether under-represented candidates are:
- Applying for positions in your company
- Being interviewed
- Being selected
- Promoted as frequently
- Staying in your organization
Note that data from an individual department isn’t enough to understand DE&I in your company. You must evaluate DE&I at a granular level, assessing it across departments, committees, teams, and roles.
Step 2: Get employees’ perspectives on your company’s DE&I culture
While DE&I can be an uncomfortable subject to discuss both in and out of the workplace, encouraging employees to push past barriers and talk about it can create an open and collaborative DE&I environment. This requires intention and structure to ensure all voices are heard when creating your diversity, equity, and inclusion goals. This is particularly important when working with a remote or hybrid workforce.
The three main methods of collecting DE&I data from your employees include:
- 1-on-1 interviews with executives: to determine what visions for DE&I each department, division, or branch have
- Focus groups: where small group settings foster comfort, nurturing more open and honest dialogues about DE&I in your organization
- Diversity, equity, and inclusion surveys: to quickly capture a large amount of data on DE&I from employees
Step 3: Choose a goal-setting framework
The next step of creating DE&I goals involves choosing a goal-setting framework. A goal-setting framework suitable to your needs can offer a structured process for tracking and reporting your DE&I goals. This can keep everyone focused and synced while building trust through visibility.
Some examples of goal-setting frameworks include:
- OKRs: Objectives are qualitative statements of what you’re trying to achieve, while key results are metrics dictating how close you are to achieving your objectives
- SMART goals: are goals that are specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and timely
- KPIs: Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) refer to quantitative metrics that you attribute to business goals
Discover the seven most popular goal-setting frameworks here.
Step 4: Establish DE&I goals based on your gap analysis and industry benchmarks
Based on your internal analysis and discussions with employees, you can create DE&I goals to address gaps or areas of opportunities in your company. As mentioned earlier, your DE&I goals should be specific, measurable, and undertaken by individual leaders to ensure progress.
You can also use DE&I benchmarks to inform your diversity, equity, and inclusion goals. These benchmarks can be derived from third-party sources (e.g., consultants, market survey firms) or governmental agencies (e.g., EEOC, Bureau of Labor Statistics), and cover things like:
Step 5: Create a DE&I program for your DE&I goals
After you’ve set your diversity, equity, and inclusion goals, you need to create an action plan for achieving these. This action plan should highlight who’s responsible for which DE&I goal, what actions are necessary, the timeline for completion, and how you'll communicate.
As such, your DE&I program should outline:
- An internal and external assessment of DE&I based on the initial evaluation of your business and industry
- A business case emphasizing why your organization needs DE&I and what value this brings
- A statement of commitment signed by leaders highlighting their dedication to DE&I
- The appointed DE&I team in charge of spearheading the DE&I program and DE&I goals
- The activities undertaken as part of the DE&I program
- How communication and DE&I training efforts will be broadcasted to the company
- The metrics and measurement methods used to assess DE&I goal progress
How to measure DE&I goal success
According to a Forbes Insights Survey, 60% of companies use metrics to measure the success of their diversity and inclusion efforts. As such, you need to have a quantifiable way of assessing your diversity, equity, and inclusion goals.
There are various DE&I metrics you can choose to track, depending on what areas of diversity, equity, and inclusion you’re addressing. Below, we’ve compiled a list of DE&I metrics you can use to measure your DE&I goals:
- The budget allocated to DE&I
- Number of regions covered by the DE&I team
- Percentage of budget allocated to specific DE&I activities (e.g., employee resource groups)
- Percentage of diverse candidates applying for open positions
- Percentage of diverse candidates being interviewed
- Percentage of diverse candidates receiving offers
- Percentage of offer acceptances from diverse candidates
- Percentage of diverse talent as part of the workforce
- Percentage of diverse talent as part of senior leadership
- Percentage of diverse talent as part of the board
- Increase in promotions for diverse employees
- Increase in promotions for diverse senior leaders
- Increase in diverse internal candidates for open roles
- Increase in employee engagement scores
- Increase in Net Promoter Scores
- Growth in the proportion of employees agreeing that the organization values DE&I
- Decrease in turnover for diverse employees (with less than/more than two years’ tenure)
- Reduction in turnover for senior leaders (with less than/more than two years’ tenure)
- Percentage of employees participating in DE&I training
- Percentage of managers participating in DE&I training
- DE&I training scores
- The number of DE&I training courses offered
- Pay gap audits conducted
- Amount spent carrying out pay adjustments
- Percentage of employees requiring pay adjustments
- Increase in the number of inclusive policies
- Expansion of demographic coverage in existing DE&I policies
- Increase in the geographic coverage of inclusive policies
- Number of marketing or product development efforts catered to DE&I
- Amount generated from expanding reach to diverse customer segments
- Number of business units catering to DE&I
For a comprehensive list of DE&I metrics, click here.
Top tips for achieving your DE&I goals
Here are some best practices to help you succeed with your diversity, equity, and inclusion goals — from recruitment all the way to retention.
Best DE&I practices for recruitment
- Properly train hiring managers on DE&I to ensure they’re selecting diverse candidates
- Include a DE&I statement on your career page, positioning your commitment to your DE&I goals at the forefront of your job posting
- Post your job openings on platforms that are visible to diverse applicants
- Use inclusive language and expressions when writing your job postings,
- Outline your company’s DE&I benefits and policies (e.g., remote working, flexible hours) to attract diverse candidates
Best DE&I practices for onboarding
- Communicate your DE&I goals and mission statement on the first day of onboarding to emphasize its importance
- Make the onboarding experience gradual and structured to make new hires feel comfortable joining the organization
- Consider a ‘buddy’ system, where new employees are coupled up with existing employees to make assimilation easier
Best DE&I practices for retention
If you have high turnover rates among certain demographic groups, you can:
- Conduct a pay equity analysis to improve compensation and benefit structures
- Create employee resource groups to facilitate teamwork and community in your organization
- Send out employee engagement surveys to allow feedback to flow between employers and executives
Best DE&I practices for employee development
A crucial part of DE&I is ensuring all employees can develop and grow within your organization. To create growth opportunities for diverse employees, you can:
- Look into gaps in knowledge, skills, or abilities amongst employees and address these using adequate resources
- Create an ecosystem that allows diverse employees to access the same data — regardless of whether they’re remote or on-site
DE&I goals in a nutshell
Establishing a DE&I culture within your company requires an actionable plan based on measurable DE&I goals. Prioritizing diversity, equity, and inclusion goals within your organization facilitates internal and external opportunities for both employees and your company.
With DE&I in place, employees feel more satisfied in your organization, which improves your company’s performance. Using the steps, best practices, and DE&I goals examples outlined in this article, you can establish your DE&I goals and be on track to achieving them in no time.
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