Become an Evidence-based Diversity ROI Professional

When it comes to setting goals for 2015 to improve your diversity ROI and measurement methods, what are your resolutions for the New Year? What is your plan to improve your diversity measurement brand as an effective strategic business partner with critical expertise and capability? Are you familiar with the skills and capabilities needed to position yourself and your department as an effective, competent, evidence-based ROI resource the organization can call on this year?

Wikipedia defines a New Year’s resolution as a tradition in which a person makes a promise to do an act of self-improvement or something slightly nice, such as opening doors for people beginning from New Year's Day. Often, it is quite a list. Some people are successful at achieving the goals they set while others sputter and can't quite get off the blocks to run their race.

A 2014 comprehensive study, commissioned by Australian comparison website finder.com, found that of the more than 2,000 people surveyed, 42 percent of the participants set a New Years' resolution but most failed at their goals. In fact, the study showed that almost two in three people (62 percent) didn't succeed with their resolutions. Interestingly, out of those who did achieve their resolutions, three in four participants (76 percent) believed that sharing their goals, for example on a social networking service, helped them reach their target.

The most common reason for participants failing to complete their New Years' resolutions was setting unrealistic goals (35 percent), while 33 percent didn't keep track of their progress and 23 percent of the group forgot about them. About one in 10 respondents claimed they made too many resolutions.

In a blog early last year, I mentioned that demonstrating effective, evidence-based D&I acumen is both an art and science: It results from using solid, proven, tested techniques (the science) of diversity ROI analytics and measurement strategies in an inspiring and engaging way (the art). Rather than advocating one specific diversity intervention product or service, consider thinking about the active science-based ingredients that constitute an effective diversity intervention or solution. Then match and locate the effective features in the measurement and analysis approach to ensure it meets your needs.

There are a huge number of diversity, inclusion and training approaches available. They usually try to lure you in by highlighting their ability to address a particular problem or issue and promise to provide you with the things you need to achieve your organizational goals. The real trick is finding the interventions or solutions that work and work consistently to drive sustainability. If you want to implement a solution or intervention that delivers a measurable ROI or non-financial impact, you must be able to access a decision framework that is effective and drives results. The proposed solution or intervention must be able to connect to the roots of your organization’s DNA. This should be a critical area of focus for 2015.

An effective evidence-based diversity ROI initiative must be built on a comprehensive, evidence-based planning and data collection model that incorporates appropriate scientific process and critical factual information. By utilizing these science-based techniques to plan and collect data, your diversity interventions and evaluation studies in 2015 will begin on a solid foundation that positions the initiatives for improved performance and organizational success.

Sample resolutions for your 2015 transformation strategy could include any and all of the following:

1. I will align my D&I initiatives with my organization’s overall business strategies to drive its goals, objectives and outcomes.

2. I will design and deliver better, more effective D&I initiatives using diversity ROI approaches such as the Hubbard Diversity ROI Methodology and its seven-level evaluation framework. This framework will consist of evaluating my initiatives at the appropriate level depending on the specific initiative and stakeholder’s requirements:

  • Level 0: Business and performer needs analysis
  • Level 1: Reaction, satisfaction and planned actions
  • Level 2: Learning
  • Level 3: Application and behavioral transfer
  • Level 4: Business impact
  • Level 5: Diversity return-on-investment, benefit-to-cost ratio
  • Level 6: Intangibles

3. I will support my organization's greatest asset — it's people — by providing clear pathways for development using diversity ROI-based tools such as the Hubbard evaluation framework to generate a measurement “chain of impact” to gauge the strength of the linkage between my diversity and inclusion initiatives and their impact on the organization’s bottom line. I will use this feedback to determine whether the development objectives have been achieved.

Eventually a diversity initiative or intervention should lead to some level of impact on the organization’s business.

In some situations, the diversity initiative is aimed at softer issues, such as improving the workforce climate, employee satisfaction, customer group satisfaction and reducing workgroup conflict reduction. In other situations, diversity initiatives are aimed at more tangible issues such as cost reductions, market share, revenue improvements, productivity and number of voluntary turnovers, all sorted by demographic group. Whatever the case, diversity initiatives and interventions should have multiple levels of objectives and must be able to demonstrate how the specific diversity intervention drove the improvement differences and results that were achieved.

These levels of objectives, ranging from qualitative to quantitative, define precisely what will occur as a particular diversity initiative is implemented in the organization. These objectives are so critical that they need special attention in their development and use. The Hubbard Diversity ROI Model and seven-level chain of impact can assist you in generating diversity interventions with these characteristics.

4. I will use technology to build innovative processes and improve performance using team-based measurement and evaluation processes as well as automated online calculators, dashboards and scorecards to generate consistency and a clear baseline to judge progress over time.

5. I will use research-based ROI practices to improve the effectiveness of my diversity training programs. This will include conducting diversity ROI studies I can use as communication tools to demonstrate the effectiveness of our initiatives as well as build an enhanced “brand image.”

6. I will use diversity measurement, diversity analytics (predictive, etc.), and other data to measure and improve organizational and individual performance.

7. I will be a better leader in 2015 by increasing my personal competency and skills in the area of diversity ROI measurement and evaluation (through diversity ROI training and certification).

8. I will apply a worldview to problem solving by learning “how to” implement diversity ROI-based analytical case study initiatives across cultures globally.

9. I will help others reach their full potential through specific development initiatives by monitoring measuring and evaluating individual performance and the degree to which targeted level improvement milestones have been reached.

10. I will use creative tactics and measurement strategies to involve the learner and improve the retention impact of our organizational talent base.

Adopting these diversity ROI evaluation and measurement resolutions for 2015 can be an excellent way to kick off the New Year. Wishing you all the best and much success in your transformation!