Beyond Good Intentions: Creating Lasting Change with Data-Driven DEI Programs

September 28, 2023
4 minutes

Despite companies increasingly feeling the pressure to invest in more equitable and inclusive workplaces, research shows that 76% of employers have struggled to set any diversity goals at all. This has had a direct impact on companies' ability to attract and retain top talent, as 80% of candidates want to work for an employer that’s committed to building diverse teams, and a study from Deloitte shows employees are more actively engaged when their workplace has an inclusive culture.

Why DEI Programs Can Struggle and Fail 

Although well-intentioned, many diversity and inclusion programs end up either underperforming or lacking sustainability in the long run. Oftentimes, a single DEI practitioner is brought in to turn the entire company around, but, without shared accountability, they quickly find themselves either working in a silo or burnt out. This can also result in DEI budgets being limited, with few resources available to help implement the needed initiatives. Lack of proper data and tools can also be a limiting factor. While the methodology for measuring and tracking functions such as sales and marketing has long existed, many feel DEI can be more ambiguous. This not only makes it difficult to establish KPIs and track progress, but leaders can also struggle with not knowing what it is they should be measuring or where they should even start.

Insight Partners with Mathison to Leverage Data-backed Technology 

To bridge this gap, Insight Partners and Mathison have collaborated to foster transformative and measurable DEI change for Insight’s portfolio companies. This includes leveraging Mathison’s platform to help companies create tailored roadmaps and action plans for their DEI initiatives, measure progress backed by real data, and share accountability throughout the organization.

This transformation was primarily facilitated by Mathison's Equity Index™, a comprehensive 37-point assessment that analyzes a company’s systems and policies at every stage of the employee lifecycle. The gaps and biases uncovered from the assessment are then cross-referenced with Mathison’s database, which contains research on over 100 companies and the proven steps they took for measurable and systematic improvement. The outcome is a series of recommended goals and supporting resources that are tailored to each company’s unique needs, regardless of how far along they may be on their DEI journey. 

“The Equity Index gives us a data-driven opportunity to evaluate what we have achieved from a DEI perspective. This tool lets us know at what stage we are in our journey and continuously track our progress,” said Suzie Anthony, Chief People Officer at Lakeside Software, one of Insight Partners’ participating portfolio companies.
“It helped guide us in defining our DEI initiatives from visionary goals to tactical action,” continued Paige Charbonneau, Sr. People Success Partner at Lakeside. 

The Mathison Assessment in Action

The inaugural cohort of companies that took the assessment also received a variety of metrics for how they scored in each category of the employee lifecycle. This allows companies to gauge how equitable and inclusive their systems and policies are in each category, allowing for better prioritization and benchmarking of DEI initiatives. Each recommended goal was also supplemented with a variety of training resources and guided materials to help facilitate immediate action.

This resulted in the cohort launching more than 30 DEI initiatives over the last 4 months, ranging from accessibility improvements and pay equity audits to systematically removing biased language. Employees also attended expert-led training sessions on topics such as Accessibility & Accommodations, Unconscious Bias, and Inclusive Leadership, to help share accountability across the organization.

Insight Partners and Mathison believe DEI goals should be measurable in order to be successful, something that Kristin Lewandowski, VP of Global Talent, Diversity, & Engagement at Quantum Metric also attests to:

“We needed a baseline number, so people could see the progress,” she said. “Everyone wants to do everything but where do you start? We’ve done some things, and all the things we didn’t do, Mathison helps us catch up on.”

Because Mathison additionally provided metrics in sub-categories that mirror the employee lifecycle, companies were able to better prioritize their initiatives, something that also resonated with Lewandowski:

“This helped us decide what was important enough to actually do - without this direction, it’s an endless list that just gets longer every day.”

Creating data-backed goals is only the beginning 

While leveraging data to measure and create DEI goals is vital, long-term success also hinges on transparency and accountability across the organization.

“We wanted to help create visibility around efforts that were relatively unseen but super important and long-term impactful,” Lewandowski added. 

This helps DEI live outside of just the People or HR team, and make more systematic, long-term changes. As for the partnership overall, Anthony shared it’s been successful, thus far:

“It’s been transformational for us…from where we were 12 months ago, we have made massive strides in defining, achieving, and tracking our goals for this year, informed by Mathison’s data and recommendations resulting from the Equity Index Assessment. Without the partnership with Insight Partners and Mathison, we wouldn’t be nearly as far along.”

This data-driven approach from Mathison, supported by informed consultation from Insight, helped launch scalable DEI initiatives, enabling organizations to embark on a measurable and impactful journey toward diversity, equity, and inclusion. We hope to use this successful model as a template for scaling the program and facilitating DEI investments in additional organizations across the Insight Partners portfolio.

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