How to Measure Diversity in the Workplace

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Measuring workplace diversity can be accomplished using a number of methods—simply walking through your office or plant and noticing the many differences between employees, or generating an employee census report sorted by age, race, ethnicity, sex and disability. In some cases, the best way to measure diversity is using a qualitative-centered method, rather than just a head count. Microsoft's Global Diversity and Inclusion manager, Gwen Houston, made the following statement about how important qualitative diversity measurements are: "Building an inclusive organization is not just about the diversity scorecard data we track to measure our progress. It is as much about our attitude and behaviors as leaders and having a sense of empathy for the different experiences that people go through."

Observe your employees by frequent visits to each department. Workplace diversity can create a kind of synergy among your workforce that's difficult to replicate using any other method. The creative, collaborative work styles that come from people from different generations, cultures and perspectives can improve your product and service offerings. You can, therefore, measure diversity by interacting with your energetic workforce and witnessing an increased level of productivity.

Acquaint yourself with employees during employee meetings, social events and recognition ceremonies. If you have a small or close-knit workforce, plan events where employees' families and significant others are welcome to attend. This will give you some insight into the diverse values of your workforce. You will likely notice much more than racial differences and genders. Generational differences account for a lot of the transfer of knowledge and introduction of technological concepts in the workplace. Tap the resources your workforce gains from both experienced workers and employees in the beginning phases of their careers.

Rid your company of attitudes related to affirmative action and equal employment opportunity laws as strict measurements for diversity. As an employer, you must engage in fair employment practices. However, there's more to equal employment than federal, state and local laws mandating anti-discrimination policies. Too often, companies endorse human resources department activities which dedicate an excessive amount of time and energy to filling vacancies because they believe diversity is measured solely by color, race, sex and disability. Focus more on the diversity within instead of physical characteristics of diversity. You will build a more cohesive workforce and encourage even greater diversity among your staff when you embrace a broader definition of diversity.



About the Author

Ruth Mayhew has been writing since the mid-1980s, and she has been an HR subject matter expert since 1995. Her work appears in "The Multi-Generational Workforce in the Health Care Industry," and she has been cited in numerous publications, including journals and textbooks that focus on human resources management practices. She holds a Master of Arts in sociology from the University of Missouri-Kansas City. Ruth resides in North Carolina and works from her office in the nation's capital, Washington, D.C.

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