Blog Post

Accountability: How To Measure Change In Your Organization

By Bridgette Scales
February 12, 2021

At our most recent member conference, Driving D&I Through Metrics and Accountability, we explored the idea of how accountability and diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) go hand in hand. Accountability has always been critical, but it is more so than ever before.

Organizations continue to make public commitments to address racism and diversify their workforces in light of COVID-19 business disruption and the Black Lives Matter movement. But in order to truly embed DEI into an organization’s culture, companies need meaningful metrics and the willingness (and courage) to use the data to hold leaders accountable for their diversity goals and results.

Transparency is essential to achieve significant change because without it, there can be no accountability. But it also requires a certain kind of leader to champion DEI while ensuring accountability.

Once a leader makes a public, personal commitment to diversity and inclusion business results, the alignment of the external and internal strategies is most critical. Authenticity is at risk, and it would be damaging for a leader to externally present a commitment to DEI that is not backed up by personal actions, as well as those of the organization.

To put it another way, a leader must “walk the talk” and be held accountable. Through intentional commitment, leaders are able to instill high levels of trust within their organizations, which garners the needed support from managers to create a culture of inclusion and belonging.

They take bold action to integrate DEI into their systems, people and processes to ensure it becomes second nature. And when done right, the collection, analysis and disclosure of data holds the promise of being a powerful lever for progress. But it takes a bold leader to put these wheels in motion.

Here are our suggestions on how to hold your leaders, and yourself, accountable:

  • Establish a list of DEI priorities and how best to measure results. Define your DEI goals and establish metrics that matter, including representation rates of women and people of color. Do you know what your turnover rate is for these populations? Are they being promoted at the same rate? Give yourself a timeline with key milestones to track progress along the way. Be specific about what you want to achieve. Make sure your organization’s talent life cycle is equitable and provides a feeling of inclusion.
  • Provide transparency. Share your KPIs and the pace of progress with key stakeholders via internal or external platforms.
  • In order to hold leaders accountable, you must provide a way to assess their impact. How are they developing themselves? Do they possess cultural competencies and emotional intelligence? Leaders will need to behave and show up differently so that lasting changes are made.
  • Create leadership accountability for DEI with meaningful rewards, and use mechanisms that ensure that accountability.
  • Metrics and numbers are great, but context is needed. How are you delivering on DEI metrics that can impact the culture of your organization?

About the Author

Bridgette Scales
Managing Director, Advisory