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Can we really measure diversity and inclusion?

19 March, 2019

Jeff Sorensen
Industrial Products Industry Leader, PwC US
Carolyn Lee
Executive Director at The Manufacturing Institute

When assessing diversity and inclusion (D&I) programs, you have to figure out where you are before you can decide where you want to go. This means measuring the progress of D&I policies in all facets of an organization: employee recruitment, hiring, retention, promotions, leadership involvement and even exits. Only when you have the numbers can you determine whether your current policies are successful, and what goals you’ll need to set for the future.

But how do you go about doing this? One way to learn is to look at industry leaders who have already created and tracked such programs. PwC and The Manufacturing Institute carried out a series of interviews with D&I officers at several leading companies—as well as public-sector D&I experts and advocates—as part of a recently published report titled All in: Shaping tomorrow’s manufacturing workforce through diversity and inclusion.

The insights we gleaned were illuminating and we hope you’ll take some time to view the report. One thing we learned is that manufacturers have developed all sorts of innovative ways to boost and measure their D&I programs. Below, for instance, are a few examples from our report of how some companies track their progress:

  • AT&T asks its employees about the company’s culture and diversity practices every two years as part of its Employee Engagement Survey.
  • Pfizer Inc. also uses employee surveys in assessing its D&I efforts. “Our annual engagement survey has an inclusion index which reveals areas in which there may be gaps, where some groups of the workforce may be feeling less included in the organization than others, so we can actively address those situations,” said Willard McCloud, Global Lead, Diversity, Inclusion & Culture at Pfizer.
  • Schneider Electric, SE is creating a global D&I dashboard, consolidating D&I information “to get a real-time picture of where our gaps are, and to drive and measure success of D&I initiatives,” said Ana Marfil, Diversity and Inclusion Lead, Schneider Electric.
  • PepsiCo is also compiling data in one place. Umran Beba, Global Diversity, Engagement and Talent Officer explains, “We have about 260,000 employees globally, and we have real-time, consolidated data on all employees on a single platform—including gender, race, promotion and retention rates—to help us see where we need to place our efforts to make improvements.”

We also saw how different companies use metrics when setting new, more ambitious goals.

  • Merck & Company, Inc. makes a priority of advancing women within the organization and measures its progress. “For the last four years, we have had goals for advancing women, and we have been able to achieve those goals,” said Celeste Warren, Vice President, Merck Manufacturing Division and Global Diversity and Inclusion Center of Excellence. “We found we needed to support and build out company-wide policies, processes and practices to meet our goals–for example in how we do recruitment and on-boarding.”
  • Ingersoll Rand Inc. found that its open commitment to a D&I target has encouraged more women to apply and improved retention rates for female employees. According to Michelle Murphy, Chief Diversity Officer and VP, Global Talent at Ingersoll Rand, “In 2017, Ingersoll Rand was the first in our industry to join Paradigm for Parity and pledge to bring gender parity to our corporate leadership structure by 2030…. While we still see a large percentage of male applicants, our commitment to diversity and inclusion and inclusive hiring practices is helping us attract and recruit more women so that our hiring pools reflect the full breadth of candidates.”
  • Dow[Dupont] has embedded inclusion and diversity metrics into our overall corporate scorecard as a component of a holistic, global strategy that drives inclusion as a business imperative for our Company,” said Karen S. Carter, Chief Inclusion Officer at DowDupont Chemical Company. “We are institutionalizing inclusion into our employee experience in order to transform our culture and deliver breakthrough business results.”

Last, we saw how companies are tying D&I effectiveness to overall compensation. For example, an employee’s D&I scorecard may be used as part of an overall performance score, influencing decisions relating to promotion, salary increase or bonuses. At Ingersoll Rand, for instance, every manager has a D&I goal in their leadership description and at the end of the year needs to show how they have been an inclusive leader.

The needs and demographics of the American workforce are changing, and manufacturers are striving to lead the way in making their organizations better places for everyone to work. Indeed, diversity and inclusion programs are not just viewed as a “nice to have” but rather a top priority for manufacturers of all sizes. Part of making these programs a top priority means setting appropriate metrics to determine what works and improve what doesn’t. As our study shows, that’s just what manufacturers are doing—and what we know they will continue to do moving forward.