Why it’s important to make evidence-based decisions for diversity and inclusion initiatives

Evidence-based decision making for D&I

As an organisation that offers services to employers to improve their gender diversity, the team at CM Talent are keen to promote our fabulous solutions to enable you to attract, retain and develop gender-diverse teams.

However, we will always ensure our services are tailored to your specific organisational needs and fit with your culture. We won’t provide a service unless it’s the right fit for your organisation and what you want to achieve.  And we will only work with organisations where there is commonality in our values and vision.

Over the last decade or so, millions have been spent on diversity and inclusion initiatives, but most employers woefully lack diversity and offer little inclusion of the ‘others’. There’s a lot of misleading, confusing and contradictory information out there about what works and what doesn’t.  Any investment in solutions aimed at improving your diversity and inclusion need to guarantee benefits to your organisation – benefits that can be measured, monitored and celebrated over time.

In making decisions about how to spend your diversity and inclusion budget, or to put together an investment proposal, it is helpful for your decisions to be based on good quality evidence.  This will enable you to do stuff that addresses important business problems and do stuff that is likely to work.

Evidence-based decision making for D&I

Evidence-based decision-making is common in most professions and is gaining traction within the HR profession (and central to the CIPD’s new profession map).

In the absence of quality evidence on which to apply your critical thinking, poor decisions are made, typically on a whim, based on what others are doing or the latest fad.  These are unlikely to produce the results that you intend.

Here are four sources of evidence that can be collated to aid good quality decision-making:

1. Scientific research – findings from broad-based research undertaken using commonly-used empirical research methods, suggesting generally applicable facts about the world, people and/or organisational practices

2. Organisational context – insights from within your industry and organisation, including data and metrics

3. Professional experience – information from your professional training, expertise and networks

4. Stakeholders – an assessment of the values and concerns of the key parties involved.

For more information on evidence-based decision making visit cebma.org.

When multiple sources of evidence are combined they can lead to more informed decision-making as to what is likely to work best for your organisation.

 

Let’s take the example of flexible working.  Flexible working is known to make a significant difference to gender diversity, it’s often cited as an action on gender pay gap reports but can vary in many ways.  So here are our recommendations for the type of evidence to collate to help you review your specific commitments to improving flexible working provision in your organisation:

  1. 1. Scientific research 

Numerous studies point to the desire from employees for greater access to flexible working arrangements – such as research conducted by Timewise concluding 87% of UK employees (male and female) want flexible working arrangements whilst only 15% of recruitment adverts offer flexibility.  

2. Organisational context

What flexible working arrangements do you currently have in your organisation? Which levels and which functions? Review recent requests for flexible working – which have been accepted and which rejected?  How is performance measured?  What value is placed on presenteeism? Dig deep into your employee data.

3. Professional expertise

What are the current trends relating to flexible working?  How can the benefits of increasing flexibility meet your organisational goals? What insights do you have from your networks? Review your own experiences and bias. What’s your own sense of the right thing to do?

4. Stakeholders

Who are the key decision-makers and what are their current views on creating greater flexibility?  What are their objections and who will be in favour? Who is likely to gain from greater flexibility and what are likely benefits to the organisation? Gather feedback and encourage input from all stakeholders.

 

So, the next time you need to make a decision relating to your diversity and inclusion goals, we recommend gathering evidence from each of these four sources to help you reach your decision.  Using broad-ranging evidence to choose the right solution for your business will aid you in meeting your goals and making a difference.

Talk to us if you would like some input into making evidence-based decisions or to find out more about our range of services to help you attract, retain and develop more gender-diverse teams.