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  • Writer's pictureAbbey Salvas

5 Ways You're Hurting Your DEI Efforts by Not Using Data

Originally posted on Mattingly Solutions Blog.


In today's data-driven world, diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) efforts can no longer rely solely on good intentions and aspirational strategies. At Mattingly Solutions, we always say that utilizing data is crucial for understanding the effectiveness of DEI initiatives and ensuring meaningful progress. 



Often when we make these statements, there is pushback. What does data have to do with DEI? Why is it important to use data in DEI initiatives? Below are five ways you might be hindering your DEI efforts by neglecting data-driven approaches: 


  1. Lack of baseline assessment 

  2. Inability to track progress 

  3. Limited understanding of root causes 

  4. Wasting resources 

  5. Inability to hold leaders accountable 


1. Lack of baseline assessment 

Without data, it's impossible to establish where your organization currently stands regarding DEI. Conducting a comprehensive baseline assessment allows you to identify existing disparities, pinpoint areas for improvement, and set measurable goals.


This baseline assessment can include evaluating forms of data that already exist in your organization, such as employee engagement surveys, exit interviews, or the current demographics of your employees. Data-driven insights provide the foundation for informed decision-making and targeted interventions. 


2. Inability to track progress 

Measuring progress is vital for evaluating the impact of DEI initiatives over time. Without data, it's impossible to track key metrics such as representation, employee satisfaction, promotion rates, and pay equity. Tracking progress enables organizations to identify trends, celebrate successes, and address persistent challenges effectively. 


3. Limited understanding of root causes 

Data provides valuable insights into the root causes of inequities within an organization. By analyzing data you may already have or that you collect, you can uncover patterns of bias, discrimination, and systemic barriers. 


For example, you may notice that while demographic representation in your organization may match the local population, this representation may decrease as you look at more senior levels. Therefore, inequities may exist in the promotion and advancement processes of your organization. Understanding these root causes is essential for implementing targeted interventions and fostering a more inclusive workplace culture. 


4. Wasting resources 

Without data-driven insights, it's challenging to allocate resources effectively to support DEI initiatives. Investing in programs or training without understanding their impact can lead to wasted resources and missed opportunities.  


For example, rather than conducting training on bias in your organization without data to support that initiative, instead, organizations should use a training needs analysis to determine where the training needs are and how the impact of the training can be measured. 


5. Inability to hold leaders accountable 

Data holds leaders accountable for driving meaningful change in DEI. Without metrics to track progress and performance, leaders may not feel accountable for advancing DEI initiatives or may lack the necessary support to make meaningful changes. By establishing clear performance indicators and holding leaders accountable for achieving DEI goals, organizations can ensure sustained commitment and progress. This can include adding incentives to measurable DEI goals or encompassing DEI into already existing performance management systems. 


Looking to advance DEI through data-driven insights in your organization? Contact us at Plan to Action today to drive meaningful change, together.


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