The Value of Diversity: Measurement

The Diversity Value Index, or DVI, benchmarks four critical dimensions of the diversity and inclusion function, including diversity strategy, leadership commitment and execution. The final dimension is impact. Each of these dimensions are evaluated in terms of how well an organization represents diversity, recognizes the value of diversity in the context of the organization and utilizes organizational diversity to create value (Figure 1).

Measuring impact requires that diversity leaders examine how diversity connects to the larger functions in an organization, using the best possible data to examine how diversity creates value.

To determine diversity impact, the DVI judges were asked to examine how the actions of the function yielded positive organizational change. Further, judges examined how an organization’s diversity metrics provided clear evidence of bottom-line influence, or if it contributed to organizational mission, rather than metrics solely focused on compliance.

In terms of diversity and inclusion, the goal of high-quality, enterprise-wide measurement is to look beyond compliance and to focus on measuring performance and behaviors directly connected to elements of the function.

This spotlight is the final in a series highlighting important aspects of the DVI program. The March/April issue highlighted organizational mission and values; the May/June issue showcased strategy; and the July/August issue highlighted leadership commitment.

For more information on the Diversity Value Index, visit here.

— Sarah Kimmel, director of research and advisory services, Human Capital Media Group

Best Practices for Impact

The following reflect best practices to achieve diversity impact from organizations that participated in the 2013 Diversity Value Index program.

• Create and maintain easy access to goal-oriented measurement tools with annual D&I targets, including scorecards, dashboards, rubrics and benchmarks.
• Institute regular and systematic review of the available metrics by leadership to ensure accountability for D&I goals, as well as needed adjustments to those goals.
• Design reasonable and attainable diversity goals that matched the organization’s needs.
• Effectively measure representation of diversity goals for the organization.
• Track diversity within the organization and use it to create reasonable targets for diversity goals each year.
• Track added business value that is a direct result of the D&I function, including: business referrals; increased business among targeted customer segments; new opportunities and innovations in products and services; and increased revenue.
• Monitor all types of diversity in the organization, including: demographic representation; recruiting among targeted employee segments; employee retention; talent diversification; and skills diversification.
• Monitor the impact and effect of: ERGs; diversity program participation; diversity and inclusion training; employee satisfaction with D&I initiatives; employee engagement in D&I initiatives; consumer satisfaction; and outreach and other programs.
• Monitor and measuring the return on investment of the D&I function.

For more information on the 2013 DVI report visit here.

At Comerica, What Gets Measured Gets Done

Measurement at the bank plays an integral role in driving diversity — and the business — forward.

To Linda Forte, senior vice president of business affairs and chief diversity officer of financial services firm Comerica Inc., a company’s diversity and inclusion efforts are only as good as its ability to measure how they impact the business.

“For us, it’s like putting your feet on the pedal of a car and then being able to apply power so that you can drive forward,” she said. “Measurement does that in whatever way, shape, form or fashion, and I can’t think of very many things that have to do with this side of the business that can’t be measured.”

Forte said her personal philosophy on diversity measurement comes from Comerica’s culture: What gets measured gets done. Tracking and measuring the impact and success of various programs and initiatives is how companies can determine whether the needle is moving in the right direction — or if it’s moving at all.

The primary tool Comerica uses in this regard is a diversity scorecard, which the bank implemented seven years ago.

“The scorecards are maintained on a division-by-division basis, and are then incorporated into the performance objectives for the division executives. Metrics are identified up front. At the end of the year, results are measured against those goals, and they become one of the elements that are measured in the performance plan,” Forte said.

Diversity measurement is also embedded within the organization’s larger performance management process, with the diversity scorecard as part of a performance objective. Just as a business unit executive is measured for performance based on a goal, the same is true of diversity and inclusion.

Forte said the genesis of the diversity scorecard began with a fundamental question: “If we’re truly going to have an impact on diversity and inclusion in our organization, where would those areas of impact be for us?”

With that as a baseline, Forte said the function identified four impact areas where the organization wanted to try to move the needle with diversity and inclusion: human capital; revenue; supplier diversity; and improved productivity, decision-making and problem solving.

“We knew that if we focused on those impact areas, it would make a difference to Comerica not only in terms of its culture, but obviously continuing to elevate and facilitate our ability to be successful from a business standpoint,” Forte said.

Human capital: This can be measured through recruitment and talent development by reviewing women, minorities and other groups new to the organization as well as promotions. Comerica identifies goals in terms of representation and placement of individuals — for instance, it may examine women in its senior leadership pipeline.

Revenue: “From a revenue perspective, we are focused on relationship building and business development in those market segments where heretofore we may have been either underrepresented or we have not been entirely focused on,” Forte said.

Forte said Comerica has teams of people focused on specific strategies to advance market segments such as Hispanics or African-Americans. The organization then measures how much business has been conducted as a result of those teams’ outreach.

“We’re doing two things at once: We’re focusing on outreaching to develop relationships that ultimately result in our ability to attract and strengthen business relationships in those diverse communities. We’re also developing cultural competence in our colleagues,” she said.

Forte offered an example of an outreach effort the bank made to cultivate relationships with large Arab and Chaldean populations in Michigan.

“They identify and make certain that we have relationships with centers of influence, that we have active partnerships with organizations, that we know or put ourselves in situations where we can be introduced to business leaders,” Forte said. “That knowledge of our organization by that community, that recognition of our community commitment, that active participation in programming and activities that are mutually beneficial position us with high visibility, a strong image, and position us to be able to generate or enjoy referrals in that community from a business standpoint.”

Supplier diversity: Comerica also measures buying opportunities with diverse suppliers. “We set annual goals; we proportion those goals amongst our business units based on the ability to have a buy opportunity and we track it,” Forte said.

Improved productivity, decision-making and problem solving: “[This] entire impact area focuses on culture and our ability to create an environment where individuals in the workplace feel included in a way that improves or fully engages them in terms of their productivity and their contributing to the organization,” Forte said.

The company also tracks and measures its compliance with mandatory diversity education courses. It measures the participation and activity of teams focused on outreach from a business perspective, as well as internally focused groups such as employee resource groups and diversity roundtables.

Above all, there are two important questions Forte said every organization should continually be evaluating: Is the needle moving and on target? And is the right needle moving?

Deanna Hartley is a former senior editor at Diversity Executive magazine. She can be reached at