by Heather Bussing

We talked to Jace Harker, ADP’s Director of Product for DataCloud, and Annette Allen, ADP’s Director of Strategy for DataCloud, to learn more about how people analytics can improve diversity and inclusion. Here are the thoughts they shared.

Diversity and inclusion is much more than increasing the number of people in various demographics. It’s also about helping people succeed in your organization.

To learn more about how people analytics can improve diversity and inclusion, we talked to Jace Harker (JH), ADP’s Director of Product for DataCloud, and Annette Allen (AA), ADP’s Director of Strategy for DataCloud. Here are the insights they shared.

Q: Diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging seem like they’re more about connection, relationships and culture. How can data and analytics make a difference in DEI initiatives?

AA: Data and analytics is the place to start so you can assess where the organization is, see areas for improvement, get insights and begin to connect those insights to business results.

JH: It’s important that the information makes sense to people who are not data scientists. Having the right information, presented in a way that tells a clear story is the first step to understanding where your organization is and what is happening.

AA: Analytics is more than a metric or number. It’s about having some context for how you can think about what’s happening and what to do next.

Q: Where do you start?

JH: Start with your demographics so you know how diverse your organization is overall. Then look at the detail. Are there locations or departments that are more diverse than others? What does diversity look like by race/ethnicity, gender and age? You can also look at other categories, such as veteran, disability or LGBTQ+, if the organization is collecting that data.

AA: Also look at intersectionality to see where you have people who fall into more than one category. The idea is to see your strengths and gaps so you can decide where and how to approach diversity and inclusion.

Q: What can people analytics tell you about how people are doing in your organization?

JH: Analytics can give you a more holistic picture of what’s going on. Look at diversity in who is joining, who is leaving, why they’re leaving, who is advancing and the diversity of your leadership. You can start to see where things look good in different categories and where you may want to increase efforts to improve diversity and inclusion in other areas.

AA: Also look at trends and what the data looks like over a few years. Have there been increases or decreases? Where?

Once you have a clearer picture, you can start looking at related data. For example, if you see more women leaving in a certain department, you can look at the reasons that were given and then go talk to people to learn more about what’s happening there.

It’s also important to understand the quality of the data you are looking at. Are these fields populated so you have the data? If not, why not? Knowing what data is missing or incomplete can help you build the quality of your data so you can understand and trust the information you’re getting.

Q: Once you have a picture of what diversity looks like in your organization, how do you know if that’s good, just OK, or in need of some work?

AA: Benchmark your organization’s diversity against other organizations in your state or industry. When you understand what your current makeup is and you want to improve some of the gaps, look at what better looks like. For example, you can see what the minimum talent availability is so you know what it will take to improve.

JH: Even if your diversity is similar overall to other organizations, look at how you compare in specific categories. This can inform your recruiting and retention efforts.

Q: How can people analytics improve diversity and inclusion strategies?

JH: Having the right data and tools allows you to track your progress, see where your initiatives are working and determine where you need to focus.

You can also say, “Here’s what we want it to look like five years down the line,” and then try different scenarios to see how they may make a difference. If you see issues, you know where to look to find out more about what’s going on. Maybe you have policies or practices that are making it harder for certain people. Sometimes the way you’ve always done things no longer makes sense. Having the right insights points you toward better solutions faster.

AA: Being able to look at what is happening by job, location, department and manager is huge. This kind of data is the foundation to understanding where you are so you know where you want to go and can figure out how to get there.

Once you put new strategies and policies in place, you can also track the data to see if it’s working. For example, you can track new hires over time to see how long they stay and how they progress through the organization. You can also look at overall trends and how changes make an impact.

Having a pulse on what’s happening and a line of sight is key. That’s how you begin to implement changes that will help your organization be successful.

Meaningful insights about your people and processes are hidden in your people data. We’ll help you find them.

This article originally appeared on SPARK powered by ADP.

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