On Wednesday, 12 July, Investing In Ethnicity held an Action Group for DE&I leaders on improving and utilising data. This tied directly to the Data section on the Maturity Matrix and was aimed at discussing best practice for data collection.
When looking at the Matrix scores across all organisations, we saw a few points relating to improving and utilising data:
- 85% of organisations are capturing ethnicity data
- Only 41% of organisations are publicly publishing their Ethnicity Pay Gap figures
- 60% of organisations have a policy to allow holidays for colleagues from different religious/cultural backgrounds
We ran a live poll of Action Group participants asking what their biggest hurdles to data disclosure are and some of the results were:
- Accessing Local Data
- Communication to everyone
- Presentation and analysis
- Leadership Buy In
- Data inaccuracies
Transformation, Inclusion, and Data Strategist and Delivery Leader, Lloyds Banking Group
- Has worked for Lloyds for a couple of decades
- Worked across a variety of roles: Strategy, Business Architecture and Data Teams
- Recently joined the D&I team as the Data Strategy & Insight lead, which is really exciting for her
- Data is one of the spaces that is really important and one we can make a big impact on.
- Has a Masters in Project Management and Delivering Change
- Occasionally lectures at University of South Wales and enjoys how they learn as much from the students and they teach to them
Head of Operations and Employee Engagement, People Team, Channel 4
- Also been at Channel 4 for a couple of decades
- Manages HR systems, governance, compliance, and all diversity reporting
- Channel 4 is required to do a lot of reporting to Ofcom
- The Senior Management team is really keen on understanding the Channel 4 makeup and using that to help share a D&I strategy
The session was divided into three key areas:
- The Business Case for Collecting Data
- Successful Data Capture
DATA: THE BUSINESS CASE
Ethnicity Pay Reporting
Companies are now voluntarily disclosing their ethnicity pay gap in line with gender. This has been prompted by the Government’s consultation in 2018 and speculation to include ethnicity within mandatory reporting.
Measuring Success & Buy in
Whilst organisations are putting in place measures to improve equity within the workplace and change culture, without data it is impossible to measure success of implementing change. Data also helps get buy in from board level.
Data capture ensures that sustained barriers can be identified within the organisation. Improving company data to include different demographics has meant that organisations can monitor progression for different groups, this has proven to help with recruitment, progression and seeing variations in attrition or retention rates across the business.
There is a lack of senior representation across most industries and low retention rates within the middle of the pipeline. Without usable data, companies can only use a visual barometer to measure ethnic representation.
We are now seeing organisations successfully align data to the performance of business lines and making management accountable through KPIs and targets by using live dashboards.
Creating the right categorisation and capturing the correct data has become useful for spotting trends within intersectionality and identifying within particular groups if there are specific needs or barriers to progression.
Insight From Alison
Why is Collecting Ethnicity Data So Important?
Targets – These should be public. Our target for black colleagues at Senior Management level is 3% and across the full company is 13%
Strategy – The data collected informs our goals and objectives (for colleagues and customers alike).
Action – Use data to help shape and prioritising focus – panels, education, mentoring, etc…
Progress – Measuring the impact of actions, comparing year on year data to see if actions are making real change
Insight From Gaynor
Although C4 is a different industry, the strategy is the same:
We want to understand the makeup of our organisation so that we’re making programmes by people that understand the topics our audience want to watch, and can speak from a lived experience to make those programmes.
We have a 20% target across top 100 paid employees to be ethnically diverse.
We’ve always published our pay gap as best practice
Setting Targets: Are they beneficial?
Insight from Gaynor
Targets help set a focus. They define the makeup of your business and force you to ask questions: Where are we based? What’s the makeup of our regions? What proportion of our employees are representative of the world we’re working in?
Channel 4 as very London-centric when we set out target – 20% of the population is of black or minority ethnic origin – so we set those targets accordingly.
Insight from Alison
Setting targets is a great idea. There’s complexity in what targets to set, so make sure you’re looking at the goals that you want – representation, value back to business, diversity of thought.
Setting targets also gives that agenda a shared anchor point and equal voice at the table from many of the other business targets that are being set, making them a business priority.
SUCCESSFUL DATA CAPTURE
1. Get the foundations right
HR Systems can be quite antiquated. And if your organisation is still using one of the older clunky systems, we’ve heard that it’s really hard to change categorisation or add new sections.
Ensure you have the right system to future proof your data collection and ensure that it’s easy to access and fill out for your employees.
We recommend using the UK census categories (which have been updated with a new category for 2021), this way it’s easy to compare your data to local working population. This will also give you a breakdown of the main ethnic demographics within your organisation for internal use. Please note, when voluntarily disclosing pay gap, these figures are usually recorded as white and non-white or in broad ethnic minority groups.
3. Disclosure rates
In the UK, unlike with gender, it is not compulsory to declare your ethnicity. Therefore there should be a ‘prefer not to say’ category, or similar.
Getting reasonable disclosure rates have been the biggest challenge to getting usable data. To ensure the quickest way of getting your employees to disclose ethnicity, and other protected characteristics, it’s important to convey exactly what the data is being used for (see Channel 4’s guide).
4. Consistent Comms Plan
Get in touch with comms and use every internal platform at your disposal. It’s so important to ensure that you aren’t just launching your data comms, but that you continue to send out reminders. Organisations have held events, had senior speakers explaining the necessity for data and used internal communication platforms. Remember at every opportunity to explain why you are collecting the data
Insight from Alison
What: We want to make sure what we’re capturing is relevant and representative. One of the challenges is that many colleagues want to self identify characteristics to make them very specific and unique we need to balance that against us having meaningful data that we can use and action
Where: Predominantly capture data in HR systems, but sometimes during training. More recently we looked at optimising that journey, so collecting at certain touch-points, such as when colleagues are promoted, etc…
When: Run a campaign about twice a year – no more. Also make sure these campaigns don’t overlap with other campaigns so that they get the attention they deserve.
Why: Whenever these campaigns are active, we make sure to explain the purpose. Clearly articulating what we’re using it for, reassurances as to how it’s stored, who has access to it, etc…
How: Make it as simple as possible. One click prompts is ideal. Discussion on what fields are required and what are optional. Gender is required, ethnicity is not…would it be appropriate to make these all mandatory?
What Does Good Look Like?
Insight from Gaynor
Channel 4 has a 97% completion rate for diversity data. This drives everything – from recruitment onward. At any stage through that recruitment process, we can see that diversity data and report that up to our executives. We have new joiners complete this as part of their onboarding process. We do data drive campaigns once a year to make sure people update their data. We also work very closely with our Employee Resource Groups to make sure everyone is on board, and therefore encourage their members to complete their data.
Insight from Alison
Language is key – We make sure our comms say “sharing information” rather than using the phrase “disclose information.” This makes it more inclusive and less intrusive. We have a campaign that we run across our more informal platforms such as Yammer, Slack, etc., with the Hashtag “#isharebecause” which features colleagues talking about why they share their information and what it means to them.
Ensuring the right people have sight of the data is crucial. Organisations have reported back that while data is being captured, it isn’t being shared and therefore can’t be used to improve inclusion.
2. Getting the right metrics
Useful insights include comparing ethnicity against: – Levels within the organisation – Business lines or departments – Hiring, promotion and attrition rates – Sickness rates – Other well-being areas Also looking into areas of intersectionality, i.e. ethnicity and class, ethnicity and women, etc.
3. Voluntarily disclosing your pay gap
Companies are continuing to join the list of those disclosing their ethnicity pay gap alongside the Government’s mandatory legislation to report on gender. Companies have been commended on their transparency, and although many admit to not having the figures they would like, many have produced a summary action plan to run alongside.
Insight from Alison
In terms of pay gap reporting, we only utilise data where colleagues have disclosed, which means our Pay Gap reporting is only covering 84%. Whereas with some of the other goal setting we will look at the broader population including the full scope of people who haven’t disclosed.
We also make sure our comms address the “So what?” For example, people often come across examples of reporting where there isn’t a link to the action or explanation of what the organisation is doing about it and how is that going to help impact them as a colleague. So at Lloyds there’s a lot of focus internally around the data and how we’re educating colleagues or mentoring or supporting them throughout the recruitment process, etc… There’s a lot of focus on the what we are going to do if we’re potentially not seeing things to be going in the direction we want them to be going.
Insight from Gaynor
It is really key to be transparent with your organisation when it comes to your data practices:
1) Who has access to the data within your people team? Is it everybody or is it just a selective group?
2) How are you using that data? Are you associating it with an individual’s name or is it just the statistical data? Who is then seizing that statistical data?
3) What’s it being used to inform?
We’ve been doing for a couple of years now and found the value in publishing these answers back to our employees that are providing us with that data. Our employees can see on the intranet that this is where we are at this characteristic, etc… We show them this information in detail and then the plans on how to use this information to better the business is alongside it, so we thank the employees for providing us this data so we can continually improve.
We then split the participants into four groups and asked them to introduce themselves, talk about any obstacles they’ve had in collecting and reporting on data, and brainstorm some solutions.
They returned to the full session to give insights and here are the top tips from the session:
- Ensure people understand the WHY
- Demonstrate how this information is helping them in order to motivate them to share their personal information
- Ensure not only is senior leadership on board, but engage a number of teams across the business to garner wider support.
- Review what works and what doesn’t work and update strategy as you go along
- Include difference between confidentiality and anonymity in communications plan
- Ensure the ask for data collection is driven from the top down
- Utilise your ERG groups to get buy in
- Publishing D&I plans externally becomes an extra incentive to increase participation rates and also shows how data disclosure rates have been used positively to solve business problems
- Campaigns should be regular and give deadlines as to when data is needed to incentivise people that it’s a priority
- Creating an element of competition on disclosure rates between departments also helps
- Communicate the importance of Why to the organisation as it particularly helps with long term employees that don’t understand why they’re being suddenly asked for this information
- There are unique challenges to collecting data in Asia and Ireland so consult with local authorities on this
- There may be particular challenges with unions aligning with business goals, so it’s important to address everyone’s concerns when explaining the why
- Having employee networks assist in gaining employee buy-in is crucial.