5 min. read

Measuring the Impact of DEI Initiatives

How to Set Goals and Track Progress?

What does “good” look like, in terms of representation?

Companies are paying more and more attention to diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) – yet inclusion remains the most difficult metric to track. It’s not as simple as numbers. Inclusion is a feeling of belonging – something that is deeply personal and difficult to gauge.

On the other hand, Diversity and equity can be more directly measured. Diversity metrics can be tracked by defining diversity parameters related to race, gender, ethnicity, age, etc. Equity can be mapped with a cross-section of diversity and parameters such as pay, work-hours, career progression, and more.

To effectively track inclusion, organisations must measure employee sentiment with a considered definition of inclusion, ensuring the organisation can act fast on the results.

In this blog, we will be focusing on how to track inclusion. Though it might not be a straightforward, number-centric metric, organisations can still get an idea of whether their employees are feeling included or not by implementing a few activities.


You want evidence. To ensure all DEI initiatives are successful, organisations must make sure they are sustainable, which means the strategy is supported by the entire organisation, is measurable over time, and is embedded into existing processes. It is the only way you know what’s improving and which areas need more attention.

How to Measure Inclusion?

In a nutshell: establishing the right metrics and then asking the right questions. There are several ways to quantify employee voice and understand inclusion measurement.

1. Conducting Surveys: To gauge workforce inclusion, distribute a well-crafted survey. Inclusion is an ‘invisible’ feeling, often defined by the absence of exclusion events. A survey listing instances of exclusion can serve as an inclusion barometer. Questions should address biases, prejudices, and subtle discrimination, such as microaggressions. ERG platforms like Teleskope offer features like anonymous surveys to facilitate this.

2. Listening Sessions: Though time-consuming, they reveal exclusion pockets experienced by employees. These sessions encourage diverse perspectives and should involve unbiased listening across all demographics and roles. This approach helps identify differing perceptions of inclusion incidents between managers and employees.

3. Exit Interviews: Exit interviews are valuable for understanding inclusion. Employees who feel valued tend to stay loyal. A thoughtfully conducted exit interview can reveal underlying reasons for an employee’s departure and provide insights into how included they felt. Patterns from multiple exit interviews may highlight urgent issues needing attention.

What to Keep in Mind?

Inclusion must be intentional and focused on outcomes. Make sure to look at our DEI Scorecard and 5 Steps to Evaluate Workforce Diversity & Downloadable Template

– If you have good diversity demographic data, you can apply this to existing listening strategies – like using it to categorise feedback from an engagement survey.

This is a good approach to getting high-level insight, but it can lack depth.

– Focus groups can bring depth by listening to employee feedback directly. They need a solid structure to objectively sort and prioritise feedback.

When using this approach, it’s important to ensure that you don’t assume the feedback of one or two represents the feedback of many.

– Use existing digital resources such as inclusion survey tool for organisations with 500+ staff that allows for the highest levels of engagement across different groups as its starting point and helps quantify organisational progress towards inclusion.

– Gartner Inclusion Index: developed by the global research and advisory firm Gartner, measures an organisation’s commitment to diversity and inclusion by evaluating leadership representation, talent practices, and cultural inclusivity based on 7 key factors:

1. Fair treatment: Employees at my organisation who help the organisation achieve its strategic objectives are rewarded and recognized fairly.

2. Integrating differences: Employees at my organisation respect and value each other’s opinions.

3. Decision making: Members of my team fairly consider ideas and suggestions offered by other team members.

4. Psychological safety: I feel welcome to express my true feelings at work.

5. Trust: Communication we receive from the organisation is honest and open.

6. Belonging: People in my organisation care about me.

7. Diversity: Managers at my organisation are as diverse as the broader workforce.

Potential Pitfalls

Ineffective actions can have unintended consequences. Majority groups might feel too much time is being invested in inclusion and diversity without benefiting them, while marginalised groups may see these efforts as performative and become disengaged. This creates a lose-lose scenario. We’ve identified 2 main pitfalls that organisations struggle with:

– Delaying Action Plans: If leaders take weeks or months to review survey results and report action plans, the delay renders them ineffective. Gartner recommends a shorter, just-in-time pulse approach. HR leaders should prepare sample reports in advance and train regional and business unit partners on interpreting and presenting the results promptly.

– Failing to Communicate Actions: Employees need to see that their feedback leads to real change. Leaders must communicate aggregated survey results and intended actions after each survey. When employees witness the tangible impact of their feedback, they are more likely to provide honest opinions in future surveys.

Bonus: General DEI Metrics & KPI Examples

Representation Metrics: How diverse is your workforce?

Metric: Percentage breakdown of demographic groups within the organisation.

Diversity Index = (Number of Employees from Underrepresented Groups / Total Number of Employees) * 100

Promotion and Advancement: Are all employees, regardless of background, getting equal opportunities for career advancement?

Metric: Promotion rates across demographic groups.

Promotion Equality Ratio = (Number of Promotions for Underrepresented Groups / Total Number of Promotions) * 100

Employee Engagement Metrics: How engaged are employees from diverse backgrounds?

Metric: Employee satisfaction surveys disaggregated by demographics.

Inclusion Index = (Employee Engagement Score for Diverse Employees / Overall Employee Engagement Score) * 100

Hiring Metrics: Is the organisation attracting diverse talent?

Metric: Percentage of diverse candidates in the hiring pipeline.

Hiring Diversity Rate = (Number of Diverse Hires / Total Number of Hires) * 100

Pay Equity: Is there equality in compensation across different demographic groups?

Metric: Gender and ethnicity pay gap analysis.

Learn How to Analyse Your Gender Pay Gap

Genuine engagement drives true inclusion and fosters real change. Seek understanding, not just numbers.

Learn What Xena Does

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