The Key to Achieving your Diversity & Inclusion Goals: Include D&I in Your KPIs!

Photo by wutwhanfoto/iStock / Getty Images
Photo by wutwhanfoto/iStock / Getty Images

So you’ve done the heavy lifting: you have the buy-in from the C-level on the launch of a new Diversity & Inclusion initiative, and now it’s time to build it. How do you ensure you’re assembling a program that will yield results?... The same way you’d build any other program within your organization: Accountability, accountability, accountability. The key is to Include D&I goals in your job descriptions, departmental processes, and ultimately, in performance reviews of teams and individuals. You mean a manager’s bonus could be partially based on their achievement of D&I goals?! Ding, ding, ding!


Organizations measure employees and teams on Key Performance Indicators for all areas of job function. If you’re hired to bring in a certain amount of revenue, plan a set number of events, or design a required amount of new product releases, your performance review reflects those stated goals and the specific actions you take to achieve them (think: phone calls, meetings, marketing plans, product proposals, etc.). Diversity & Inclusion goals should be no exception to this rule. If position descriptions include responsibilities that drive diversity and inclusion efforts across the organization, you can hold employees accountable to do just that. Plus, institutionalizing D&I goals ensures that employees know there is built-in time in the day to take part in an Employee Resource Group (ERG), attend a steering committee meeting, and/or implement a new program. It’s simply a part of their job. Here’s a simple plan of attack to get started:


Step 1:

Build your overall goals. Make them realistic and also aspirational. Here are some great examples:



  • Accenture set the goal of achieving a 50/50 gender balanced workplace by 2025.


  • AOL pledged that women will make up 50% of leadership by 2020.


Step 2:

Build an action item list to achieve it, broken down by department.


=>CFW ProTip: Make your D&I efforts pervasive. This isn’t just an HR initiative, this is a company-wide initiative. Along with adjusting your recruitment and retention processes, how are you implementing best practices in marketing, product design, and customer service? Work with individual teams to build in protocol that ensures diversity of perspective in all company decision-making. And build diversity into your employer brand—share your successes and challenges with the public. By doing so, you'll not only reinforce your commitment, you'll hold your organization accountable.


Need some inspiration? Here are some great examples:


  • Create a D&I Steering Committee that includes a cross-section of company leaders (e.g. Bloomberg’s committee is made up of an HR leader, a General Counsel, and a Managing Editor)


  • Hiring? Follow JJ.Abram’s version of the “Rooney Rule”: “requiring that women and minorities are submitted…for the company in proportion to their representation in the U.S. population.”


  • Don’t just encourage your leaders to sponsor diverse team members; require active sponsorship for managers and implement trainings so that they are fully equipped to identify and cultivate talent (Check out how eBay SVPs and VPs committed to sponsoring five women each as a part of their gender initiative).


  • Require a percentage of company culture gatherings be during the day. Build programs that drive talent development for underrepresented populations—lunch with the C-level, cross-departmental projects, mentoring opportunities—and make participation possible within the work day.


  • Institute equal parental leave for all employees (and make sure your managers model good behavior—take the time!).



Step 3:

Include these action items as part of job descriptions and annual performance reviews.


Step 4:

Monitor metrics and iterate. Share results with the organization (Things to measure include recruitment, promotion, vendor diversity, and culture of inclusion). Base your future action steps off these metrics. Then iterate based on the results!


Check out our other blogs for specific tips on intentional diversity recruiting and for reducing female attrition in the workplace.