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How Data & Insights Drive Impact for Your DE&I Initiatives

BrightPlan Team

With diversity, equity and inclusion (DE&I) a major priority for many organizations, there is a perception that an inclusive organization is born exclusively out of hiring, training and other policies implemented by HR teams. The reality is that it comes from a systematic, data-driven understanding of your workforce.

Data is transforming the ways we help and support our people and is key to driving DE&I initiatives in the workplace. By analyzing employee behaviors and needs by gender, age, race, ethnicity, disability or other demographics, employers can uncover disparate experiences and potential areas for improvement that may otherwise go unnoticed. 

Clearly data is crucial for understanding the employee experience, but without the right data, employers struggle to serve the varied needs of a diverse and global workforce. So, how can employers effectively leverage data to draw meaningful insights to better serve underrepresented groups and improve the well-being of their workforce?


Identifying Barriers to Inclusion

Employee data can help companies identify barriers to inclusion. It may reveal disparities in promotions, pay, and leadership representation, for instance. These insights can be used to address structural and systemic barriers that are preventing employees from reaching their full potential. For example, if data shows that employees from underrepresented groups are not being promoted at the same rate as their peers, companies can examine their promotion practices to ensure they are fair and equitable.


The Connection Between DE&I and Wellness

In the workplace, a culture of belonging is a major factor in employee happiness and organizational performance. An inclusive workplace supports employee well-being through its positive effects on employee self-esteem, enhanced career progression, social connectedness and belonging, and reduced discrimination and harassment. According to Achievers Workforce Institute, employees who feel supported on their physical and mental well-being are 2.5 times more likely to feel a strong sense of belonging and more likely to be engaged, productive, and resilient.


The Power of Personalized Support

Employees need access to benefits and programs that help create a sense of safety and security. Data can help you assess whether your current wellness benefits are meeting employee needs and whether you should make changes that target the needs of traditionally marginalized groups. Recognizing employees’ unique needs, and addressing those needs at a personalized level can help improve well-being across the organization and make all employees feel welcome and appreciated. 


Financial Well-being and DE&I

There’s also a strong connection between financial well-being and DE&I. Finances are the number one cause of stress for employees, especially for those from underrepresented backgrounds who have fewer resources and have been disproportionately affected by job losses stemming from the pandemic. Employers have an opportunity to better understand the challenges impacting various employee populations and to make a big impact by acknowledging the relationship between financial wellness and overall well-being when building DE&I initiatives. By gleaning insights into the financial health of their workforce, segmented by demographics, business leaders can surface critical needs and build targeted action plans to improve their workforce’s financial well-being. 

For example, by spotting workforce trends, such as a later than average retirement age or student debt that surpasses the national average for a specific demographic, employers have the knowledge necessary to implement specific and practical solutions that ultimately reduce personal stress and improve employee well-being.


Driving Accountability

By regularly monitoring and reporting on DE&I metrics, companies can demonstrate their commitment to diversity and inclusion, and create a sense of accountability throughout the organization. This can encourage employees to participate in DE&I initiatives, and provide a framework for tracking progress over time.


Progress Through Data

The only way to deliver business results is to know what problem to solve and to have a baseline for measuring progress. By regularly monitoring and reporting on DE&I metrics, companies can demonstrate their commitment to diversity and inclusion, and create a sense of accountability throughout the organization. Using data to paint a picture of the current employee experience provides visibility and a framework to address inequities.