Competitive Strategy

New Inclusion Index: How do Companies Measure Their Transparency, Best Practices, and Company Culture in Diversity & Inclusion

The Diversity Best Practices (DBP) Inclusion Index was created to drive change and help organizations accelerate progress in diversity and inclusion.

The DBP Inclusion Index application helps companies target their efforts to understand gaps and provide specific strategies and programs, tools and resources to help raise the bar on D&I strategies. It was thoughtfully developed to focus on the best practices that are proven to have impact and that will encourage companies to take action.

Companies were measured in three areas:

  • Transparency, as indicated by willingness to measure, track and report specific data on representation of women, people of color, and other minority groups within their workforces. (30%)
  • Adherence to best practices for fostering diversity and inclusion in recruitment, retention and advancement. (35%)
  • Best practices in promoting a company culture that values D&I. (35%)

Completed applications were collected online from April 3 to June 10, 2017. In its inaugural year, 51 organizations fully completed the application, and the 33 of those listed as members of the 2017 DBP Inclusion Index achieved at least 70 percent of the available points. Of those, seven have earned Leading Index Company status achieving 85 percent of the available points.

Below we offer some of our initial insights from the 2017 Index Data, what trends to look for over the next several years and suggested additional reading and resources.

For a list of the 2017 DBP Inclusion Index Companies and Leading Companies and to view the complete Inclusion Index Data Snapshot, click here.


Also read: 175 Top CEOs Pledge to Diversity and Inclusion Initiative


Goal-setting and Accountability

Even among DBP Inclusion Index companies, goal-setting is not enough of a priority. Only 30 percent say they set absolute numeric goals for diversity representation and 42 percent set percentage change goals for diversity representation. And although 82 percent of the DBP Inclusion Index companies do hold managers accountable for D&I issues as part of their performance reviews, only 46 percent tie D&I results to compensation.

These numbers represent an issue DBP has consistently seen over the last several years, which is the gap between external messaging in regards to a commitment to D&I by an organization and the internal systems in place to support that commitment. We return to the old adage, what gets measured, gets done. Until organizations hold themselves and individual leaders accountable to D&I goals and objectives, progress will continue at a snail’s pace.

Auditing the Talent Management Process for Implicit Bias

This is an area where, even at Index Companies, there is work to be done. Only 64 percent of Index Companies audit human resource and people processes to address implicit bias. When you look at each step of the talent process, the numbers get even lower:

Sourcing 39.4 percent, recruiting 54.5 percent, interviewing 45.5 percent, onboarding 30 percent, performance management 48.5 percent and succession planning 51.5 percent.

Many companies are leveraging technology to address this issue including de-biasing apps, e-learning to create “inclusion nudges” along the way and mobile recruiting apps. However, DBP cautions that technology will not solve the problem of implicit bias. Organizations need to take a holistic approach to addressing bias in the talent system including training and development for hiring managers, recruiters and all people leaders, and continuous evaluation of all processes.


Also read: During Turbulent Times, How Does Diversity & Inclusion Best Serve Its Workforce?


Employee Resource Groups

Not surprisingly, every Index company offers Employee Resource Groups as part of their D&I strategy. Groups for women and LGBTQ employees are offered at all of the Index Companies, with the vast majority offering groups for Black, Latino/a, and Asian employees as well as for people with disabilities and Veterans. Only 35 percent of Index Companies offered ERGs for Native American employees.

Although only 24 percent have faith-based or inter-faith groups, we predict that this number will go up over the next year or two as recent interest from Diversity Best Practices’ member companies to learn more about faith-based and interfaith ERGs has been high.

Tracking Employee D&I Engagement

The majority of Index Companies (94 percent) conduct their own regular employee surveys that include diversity and inclusion. In addition, the majority of companies break out results by gender, ethnicity, age and length of service. However, less than half (45-48 percent) of Index Companies look at survey results by LGBTQ, people with disabilities, veterans and ERG membership.

These low numbers are likely linked to the challenge that many companies face in getting people to self-identify as LGBTQ, a person with a disability or a veteran. The good news is that 82 percent of DBP Inclusion Index companies include a way for veterans to identify themselves during recruitment and 79 percent do this for people with disabilities. However, only 15 percent provide an opportunity for LGBTQ applicants to self-identify through the recruitment process. This is another area to watch as more and more companies are putting a concerted effort into encouraging people to self-ID, and not just at the recruiting stage.

Additional Reading/Resources

DBP is proud to share our upcoming publication, the D&I Strategist Playbook. This book was created to support companies in addressing the gaps found in their Inclusion Index report, but serves as a go-to resource for any organization building or advancing their D&I strategy. Out later this year, you can learn more and pre-order this book now on our website, here. Note: DBP member organizations will all receive one free copy of the book as part of their membership.

About the Author

Jennifer London is the Content Director at Diversity Best Practices currently managing all member content including conferences, web seminars, publications and the DBP website. Jennifer brings over 15 years of experience in education and youth work to the team, most recently working with LGBTQ youth of color in New York City.