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DEI Data: What it is and its impact on your DEI efforts

Author: Cassie Myers

At Lunaria Solutions, a lot of the work we do is around helping people obtain the diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) data they need through surveys. DEI data is a vast topic and a growing priority area for practitioners and organizations alike. 

DEI data is any information related to diversity, equity and inclusion. In an organizational context, this information is usually related to one’s industry, community or stakeholders. We can use the acronym D-E-I to better understand this. 

Diversity data tells us the demographics of an organization’s stakeholders. These stakeholders might include staff, volunteers, board members, customers, suppliers, investors and more. 

Equity data tells us if those stakeholders have equal opportunity to what an organization is offering. This offering might be employment, a volunteer role, services, products or a contract. 

Inclusion data tells us if our stakeholders feel like they are included in their interactions with an organization.

DEI data can be internal and collected within an organization from those directly engaging with it; it can also be external and collected outside of an organization from prospective stakeholders, an industry or region at large. 

There are many reasons why organizations might want to collect DEI data. In this article, we break down just a few. 

Identify Interventions 

There are a multitude of interventions an organization might choose to implement to advance DEI.  DEI data can help practitioners select DEI interventions that are right for their organization. Interventions can include policies, education, coaching, restructuring and more. DEI is unique and should always be informed by the stakeholders’ experiences, needs and concerns. One way to do this is through DEI data. This data can be from the stakeholders themselves through a survey, focus group, or interview; or it can be from the wider industry or region that the organization is a part of. 

Questions practitioners answer through DEI data to select interventions might include: 

  • How do my stakeholders feel about DEI? 
  • What DEI experiences or histories do my stakeholders have? 
  • What barriers to DEI are present in the organization? 
  • How are leaders currently supporting DEI? 

Measure efficacy of efforts 

After implementing a DEI intervention, DEI data can be used to determine if that intervention achieved its intended purpose. This data can be from direct feedback from those engaged or observations in subsequent impacts of the intervention. For example, one might implement a DEI workshop with the goal of educating team members and retaining customers of different backgrounds. The DEI data someone might capture to measure this workshops’ effectiveness could include self-perceived knowledge after the workshop, workshop engagement, and customers retained. By using DEI data to measure the efficacy of efforts, practitioners and organizations can maintain accountability and better determine what efforts are needed in the future to continue on the neverending DEI journey. 

Questions practitioners answer through DEI data to measure the efficacy of interventions might include: 

  • If given the opportunity would you attend/engage with insert intervention again? 
  • Did you attend/engage with insert intervention? 
  • I have applied learnings from insert intervention to my role at insert organization.
  • Did you feel comfortable attending/engaging with insert intervention?

Determine who is in an organization and who is not 

Aspects of an individual’s identity, such as their gender, ethnicity, race, sexuality, role, education and more, impact how someone navigates and interacts with their surroundings. Commonly when identity-specific data is collected it is explored in comparison to insights around DEI experiences. Doing this can help you determine if there are any identity-specific barriers or opportunities that may be impacting who feels safe and who succeeds at your organization. 

Frame efforts in a wider industry or regional context 

Not all DEI data are from individuals directly involved in an organization. Other data can be external and allude to the industry or regional context impacting the organization. This information can be helpful in determining how an organization is doing compared to others in its industry or region. While this data should be used to frame results, it should not be used to stagnant efforts or completely excuse progress. 

Questions practitioners answer through DEI data to frame efforts in a wider industry or regional context might include: 

  • What representation is in our industry? 
  • What kind of DEI interventions have our competitors completed? 
  • What are the employment rates in our region by identity? 

We outlined just a few of the reasons why practitioners would collect DEI data. Managing, collecting and analyzing DEI data is a complex process that should be continuous throughout a DEI strategy. To learn more about how to collect DEI data and make sense of it, check out our DEI Data Management 101 Education Stream or book a meeting with a Lunaria Advisor to learn more. 

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