Gathering Diversity data

Tech NationTech Nation 3 min read

D&I data provides valuable information to guide long-term decisions and may make your business more appealing to prospective candidates. Data helps to ground a D&I strategy which is specific to your business, and provides ways to benchmark progress. 

Established tech companies, such as Monzo and Slack, have undertaken D&I audits, and have published this data externally to help increase accountability and transparency. 

This might seem impossible when scaling your business, but changes to regulation, coupled with shifting cultural norms and expectations, means gathering D&I data is no longer a ‘nice to have’.

The YSYS initiative #KnowYourData puts forward a powerful argument on the importance of collecting, tracking and monitoring meaningful and comparable diversity data to drive fundamental change, and level the playing field for underrepresented and underserved communities. 

YSYS’ Diversity Help Centre provides a good starting point, with a number of helpful resources such as the Lloyds Data Collection Toolkit and Wellcome’s survey question guidance

Data collection can feel daunting, so we have broken down the different types to help you on your way: 

  1. Equality Monitoring is the understanding of who people are within the organisation; their demographics and characteristics. It can either be identified (i.e. attached to the employees’ profile, but be aware of your obligations under GDPR and any privacy policy that you may have in place or later introduce) or anonymous. Equality monitoring became more commonplace following the Equality Act 2010, and it is one of the easiest ways to get started in formalising a D&I audit for your organisation. Often this data is gathered at the pre-selection stage to be able to monitor the diversity of candidates that you are attracting, but it is important that the diversity data is detached from the application form which will be used to select those to be called for interview. Upon an employee joining the organisation, this data should also be gathered, and should be consistently updated depending on employee tenure (again however being aware of your obligations under GDPR and any privacy policy that you may have in place or later introduce).
  2. Inclusion Data is about how included people feel within workplace culture. It’s important to avoid simplification by considering the experience of different identities . For example, the experiences of a Black woman will differ from that of a Black man or a disabled woman in the workplace. Gathering meaningful inclusion data can be done through regularly conducting repeated surveys, as well as through organising workshops and listening exercises. Follow the steps here for guidance
  3. Life Cycle Monitoring helps you to understand who joins your organisation and how they progress. It looks at talent attraction, recruitment and selection, internal progression and exit data to identify trends, patterns, blind spots and opportunities. This provides you with the data needed to identify the barriers that certain groups or team members (both existing and prospective) face. Consider a service such as CultureAmp to support
  4. Industry Monitoring, which means staying informed about news and thought leadership within your industry. Understanding specific data about certain underrepresented groups within your industry will help you consider areas for improvement within your own company. 

An infographic table showing the four pillars of Diversity and Inclusion data collection: equality monitoring; inclusion data; lifecycles monitoring; industry data.

There are also several companies who are able to help you respectfully gather internal data to inform your D&I strategy, including Culture Amp and The Unmistakables.  

Gathering Diversity data checklist

Undertaking an audit starts to get easier as the company grows and you start collecting more data about those who have applied for roles and your employees. Recognising that not everyone will have the budget to access external resources, here are some steps you can take to undertake the audit yourself:

  • Understand what diversity data you are currently capturing (if any).
  • Visit YSYS’s Diversity Data Help Centre for helpful resources around capturing data. 
  • Start gathering data by sending out a questionnaire. ScreenSkills has a questionnaire that can be a starting point for your own, or you could use this example from Bethnal Green Ventures.
  • Thinking longer term, introduce onboarding forms to capture equality monitoring securely and consider integrating a HR platform as your business grows. At Tech Nation, we have used these questions to gather diversity data.
  • Include qualitative data. Supplement the questionnaire with listening sessions for your team to share their experiences and for you to gather additional feedback. Consider bringing in an external company to help create an impartial and safe environment for employees to voice their opinions. 
  • Analyse the data you’ve captured and use it to start informing your decisions and working out which KPIs you want to hit longer term, as part of setting a D&I strategy.

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