By Henrieke van Bommel
The business case for diversity, equity, and inclusion is surely undisputed, and more and more organizations start working on this relevant topic. However, well-intentioned initiatives do not pay off and many organizations do not have a good grip on what works.
With the DEI Scan, Highberg helps organizations to gain insight in the current status on diversity, equity, and inclusion and advices on next steps.
Why organizations should measure their DEI levels
Fostering a diverse, equitable, and inclusive culture is a cornerstone in pursuing organizational excellence. Numerous organizations are actively striving to enhance their diversity levels. However, improving inclusion often lags behind, a regrettable circumstance given that research underscores the inability of diversity alone to yield the anticipated benefits. For example, certain employee groups hesitate to voice their concerns, find themselves excluded from activities, or exit the organization almost as fast as they join, because they don’t feel like an actual part of the organization as a whole.
Therefore, organizations must understand to what degree their employees feel included, what differences are experienced, and which employee groups experience this. Measuring DEI is not merely a formality; it is a strategic imperative. It enables businesses to identify areas for improvement, celebrate successes, and cultivate a workplace culture where every voice is heard and valued.
Why partner with Highberg on DEI
Clarity on legal compliance
Organizations often grapple with uncertainties surrounding legal frameworks, questioning what inquiries are permissible under laws and regulations. This concern reflects a commitment to ethical data usage, ensuring employee data adheres to privacy regulations such as the GDPR/AVG.
Building Trust in Employee Participation
A genuine concern exists about how employees will perceive and engage with the research. Establishing trust is crucial as organizations navigate questions about whether employees will feel comfortable speaking out and what results can be shared. Effective communication strategies become key in alleviating these concerns.
Strategic questioning for meaningful insights
Crafting pertinent questions about DEI poses a challenge, as organizations seek to gather insightful data without burdening employees with extensive questionnaires. Highberg addresses this challenge by introducing the DEI Scan, offering a streamlined and effective approach to assessing diversity, equity, and inclusion. This positive initiative aims to provide organizations with valuable insights while respecting the concerns that may have hindered their participation in researching their DEI levels.
In the design of the questionnaire, attention has been given to inclusive language in collaboration with WOMEN Inc., ensuring that everyone feels addressed. WOMEN Inc. is a Dutch NGO, focusing on equal rights, and has been working together with Highberg on this topic for several years
Rest assured that our DEI Scan is designed with the utmost commitment to anonymity and compliance with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). The process is structured to be GDPR- proof, ensuring a fully anonymous experience for participants. Highberg has no access to direct identifiers such as names and email addresses, and individual responses remain invisible to the organization. This separation guarantees that personal data and responses cannot be linked by either party, establishing genuine anonymity in the DEI Scan.
Our solution goes beyond a one-time analysis. The DEI Scan is developed in a way that it can be easily used as a periodical (annual) survey and combined with shorter (pulse) surveys during the year. After every measurement, Highberg provides next to a management report, also a DEI Dashboard with the results of all measures. This allows the organization to dive further into the data and fully understand the DEI development.
Highberg’s DEI Scan
Highberg has developed a unique validated questionnaire that examines different aspects of DEI. We first conducted an extensive literature study on measuring DEI. Subsequently, DEI experts from the profit and non-profit sectors were interviewed. The insights that have emerged from this have led to the DEI scan. This has been tested several times on the Highberg labor market panel for validation.
Diversity dimensions. How diverse is the organization? Here, we ask for personal background characteristics to relate them to inclusion levels. Diversity dimensions include gender, age, sexual orientation, physical ability, mental ability, background/nationality, religion, education, personality, and social class.
Attitude, behavior, and outcomes. What do employees think about DEI, how do they act, and do they see DEI initiatives work? These questions focus on understanding where the organization should start working to improve its DEI levels. Based on these insights, Highberg can give tailor-made advice on the next steps in the organization’s DEI transformation.
Inclusion. Do employees feel included in the organization? The 11 questions in the inclusion construct answer this question. Think of statements such as: “I feel at home with my organization”, “Different ideas and perspectives are valued at work” and “I get as much recognition for my work as my direct colleagues”. Combined with the results from questions on employees’ diversity, it also answers the question: what employee groups feel more or less included than others?
When an organization decides to conduct the DEI Scan, Highberg starts with understanding the organization’s needs. With this input, we advise what questions should be in- or excluded in the DEI Scan. In addition to the standard modules, the questionnaire can be further expanded with several additional modules, such as:
- Organization outcomes. What effect does DEI have on, for example, eNPS and retention intent?
- Marketing, communication, and product review. How do employees experience the DEI track record of the organization to the outside world?
- Undesirable behavior. What is the degree of undesirable behavior?
Highberg conducts yearly panel research to set the benchmark for DEI
We conduct the DEI Scan annually with our own research panel to set a benchmark. This benchmark allows organizations to compare their DEI performance with the average of Dutch employees per sector in the Netherlands.
The 2023 results, our fourth edition of the study, showed no clear trend toward increased inclusion levels. Employees with non-Dutch backgrounds, non-heterosexual orientations, or disabilities reported feeling less included. In early 2024, the new results of the DEI Benchmark will be available.
Interested or want to know more? Click here to view our demo dashboard which includes the yearly benchmark results.