Data-Driven DEI: Are you starting or continuing your DEI journey? Data can make a big difference

Many companies have adopted data-based decision making as a key strategy, even when it comes to DEI. Any company can take steps towards an inclusive workplace by using data to inform meaningful DEI efforts. This article first appeared in CompTIA World’s Spring 2022 issue. Technology companies still have a disconnect between diversity and data. Despite our awareness and desire to take action, the data-driven business approach seems lacking.
“For tech SMBs…I don’t think that we’re quite there yet,” Carolyn April, senior director for industry analysis at CompTIA. April stated that companies are more likely to rely on gut-level responses to general observations rather than data. Companies need to do more than just a gut check to reap the benefits from DEI. Trend WatchNeed-to-Know Basis
It is a great place to start working with DEI data. What are your goals? Maybe you want your sales team to better reflect your customers or the customers you wish to win. Perhaps you want to increase the effectiveness of existing employee resource groups, or if it is time to create new ones. You might also be looking to solve basic problems in recruitment, hiring, and retention.
Miranda Ruane, a sales account executive at vCom Solutions in California, was responsible for leading a data-gathering project of the company’s diversity committee. Based on observations, she sought to confirm that the company needed to diversify its customer base. This could lead to more business opportunities.
Some companies may need to gather data in order to determine their DEI goals. April claims that technology companies are more aware of DEI disparities because the industry has been under scrutiny for a longer time. However, it will be necessary to examine data to determine what is needed within a company.
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Most people think about DEI data first when they think about the company’s employee base. These are the most common dimensions to collect data around:
Gender identity and gender
Socioeconomic status

But that’s not all. April anticipates an increase in data analysis tools, such as comparing employee experiences across different stages of their lives or across different pay levels. It is possible to compare the experiences of employees with similar titles and tenures with the company. This information is often available through the HR technology and services that an organization uses every day.
What’s more, there’s no need to limit DEI data analysis to internal relationship.Consider the following:
Data from the supply chain

Because business and being human are complex realities, there can be many data categories that a small company needs to compile. Harvard Business Review suggests that you should focus on what you have control over. If you are primarily interested in DEI within your workforce, then the actions within your control are external (lateral) hiring, internal (lateral), and promotion. These data points are easily accessible.
Externally, you don’t have control over what your partners do. To meet your goals, you might need to request data or create it yourself. However, DEI data can be used to help you choose who to do business. vCom’s diversity committee started by polling their sales team about the demographics and leadership of their customers’ companies to find out if there was any racial or gender diversity. They then began to look at ways to connect with more diverse customers.
Sometimes, the data is not easy to obtain. The laws governing employer requests to personal information can differ from one place. For example, Sophos in the U.K. would not be able use vCom’s data collection method.
Fiona Ho, Sophos’ senior HR director, U.S.A and Latin America, stated that “One of the challenges of being a global company, is being very conscious of understanding local country legislation and what’s legal for our employee base.” “In some countries, we can’t ask.” Instead she says, Sophos c