A look at the relationship between Data and Diversity, plus a new partnership announcement with Adecco UK and Ireland

Proven impact

Diversity and inclusion is no longer a “nice to have’, but is a key business driver for success and a demonstrable and quantifiable catalyst in productivity, innovation and workplace attractiveness. In response to a growing core of evidence on the tangible benefits of D&I, plus the clear spotlight in recent politics and its importance as a factor for millennials and gen z who are entering the world of work, many companies in 2021 are highly motivated to get to grips with their D&I status.

As much as this is, and often devolves into, an emotional issue, those companies succeeding know that meaningful gains and changes to D&I are made by leveraging information and data analytics. Dean Stoecker in a Forbes article writes:

"Diversity and inclusion needs to be a CEO-level priority. Whether by gender, race, age or any other factor, a diverse group of people brings unique experiences, perspectives and ideas to the table. In a data-driven business world, the insights that come from the discussions around that metaphoric table—be it in the board room, conference room or lab—can lead to the secret sauce that takes products or services from good to great."

This short article will briefly discuss how data analytics can benefit your D&I agenda, why C-level support for D&I leadership is essential for any meaningful impact, then spotlight the company Adecco and how its D&I commitments for 2021 are a strong demonstration of best practice.

What gets measured gets done

A favourite phrase here at Humdex “what gets measured gets done”. Too long has D&I activity been driven by the success of a competitor, or is based or on ‘what feels right’ rather than on data driven analysis. Data analytics should play a big part in establishing D&I milestones and informing how these can be successfully reached. Nebulous targets devoid of a solid understanding of both a company's internal but also external environment [their current status and potential], will effect a company negatively and can cause stagnation, resentment and a lack-lustre response in the business. Conversely clear, data-based, attainable yet aspirational targets will focus efforts, create clear lines for accountability, and offer up the opportunity to celebrate success.

“We need to have an evidence base for D&I. That’s why it’s not just important to set D&I goals and targets but also to measure progress and success."

Olivia McEvoy, Using data for evidence based action on Diversity and Inclusion, Ernst & Young — Ireland, 9 Aug 2019

Often D&I targets are set to a default 50/50 for representation or “better than last year”. Businesses can often find themselves at the mercy of targets like these which have no factual justification for their creation. For example, there may not be the same number of female engineers or IT professionals as males in your geography or business sector, making a 50/50 ratio highly unlikely in the short term, frequently resulting in a cycle of failure to reach goals or aspirations and wasted time and resources. Without good quality data, D&I discussions can often feel quite emotional and personal, making effective conversations difficult and progress slow and painful. Our recent research published in the report "Humdex Next Generation HR" ascertained that the majority of C-level or equivalent leaders would welcome HR ‘as a driver of company strategy” bringing with them that data to help make decisions “based on facts and figures” [see fig.1]. So not only do senior managers want important strategic input from HR but they also need input to be data-driven, which will effectively mitigate some of the emotion from the picture at the core of all D&I initiatives.

The following tables from our recent report show that firstly; business leaders want HR to both focus on D&I and to be able to think both analytically and strategically ( Fig 1) . This is mirrored by the data from HR professionals themselves, who clearly see the need for more data driven thinking ( Fig 2.).


Fig. 2

Data analytics, such as these provided by Humdex, help to provide an unbiased, fact-based foundation from which to understand a company’s “as is”, effectively laying out the market situation, in order to then produce powerful options/pathing for future business strategy.

What is more, building data-analytics into a D&I strategy and fostering this scientific method as a company culture can, in itself, help to produce positive D&I results. Dean Stoecker continues:

"The evolving landscape of the data science and analytics market creates an inherent need for organizations to foster data-driven cultures fuelled by collaboration and diversity, presenting an opportunity for women, and other demographics traditionally underrepresented in the technology workforce, to accelerate their careers by embracing analytic roles. As a business leader, I long ago recognized that true, authentic diversity brings a wealth of insights and is a critical factor in driving global growth and success. As with data, the more sources and points of view that are available, the richer the insights and outcomes will be."

A unifying factor

Effective D&I programmes can only prosper when C-level management co-ordinates and collaborates with its designated D&I leadership. The secret value of a successful D&I initiative is in its power to unify upper management with the business as a whole, for no D&I leader will succeed without C-level guidance and commitment.

"Without your active support and leadership, no D&I leader will succeed. But with an intentional approach from the executive team, you can create the conditions that allow everyone to thrive, starting with the D&I leader"

M. Valentine, C-Suite: Your D&I Leader Is Doomed To Fail (Unless You Step Up), Forbes, Feb 13, 2020

Fig 1. clearly shows that the time is right with ‘C’ suite business leaders calling on HR to support them, by defining a strategy built on good quality data, in their drive for diversity and inclusion.

The D&I leadership, currently, has no authority or access to guarantee that their calculated requirements for progress are favourable or indeed sustainable. This is, in part, an indication of a wider issue HR currently faces. Again the Humdex Next Generation HR [Fig.2] pinpoints the fundamental question, how can HR (and by extension D&I leadership) hope to enact meaningful change with data and experience, when they are not currently seen as a “Driver in defining business strategy” but more as an implementer of the pre-determined. This is the equivalent of having an important scientific debate where the scientist have to wait outside the room whilst the answer is decided.

Fig. 3

D&I leadership needs top down company support and authority, visably at all levels, in order to make a marked impact and effect any form of ROI. D&I leadership can lead efforts, in collaboration with the C-suite, to operationalise desired company values and ensure they are part of everyday people processes and business decisions.

“It is inseparably part of building a successful business. Avoiding it or, worse, offloading it onto a powerless D&I leader is a capitulation of your duty as an entrepreneur, businessperson and human being.
D&I is not a program, a line item or an initiative; it is an outcome of intentional high-integrity work, strong metrics and shared accountability.
D&I leaders truly want to make a difference. It’s up to the C-suite to step up and give them the power, access and tools to help the people and the business thrive."

M. Valentine, C-Suite: Your D&I Leader Is Doomed To Fail (Unless You Step Up), Forbes, Feb 13, 2020

Humdex and Adecco

At Humdex we are proud to announce that, in partnership with Adecco UK/I, we are able to offer an in depth D&I Talent Market Mapping for companies to support the delivery of a quantified and market driven approach to D&I . Our partnership with Adecco grew from the D&I analysis we provided for them, that enabled them to define and publish their own D&I commitments.

Adecco’s commitment to D&I

To prove the value of this approach Adecco is already using this methodology to define their future D&I aspirations and better operate competitively in the market. Alex Fleming Region President of Northern Europe at Adecco writes

“D&I is not only a real focus area for us at Adecco but also with the many clients and candidates we work with and represent. We have a number of external D&I partners working to provide solutions to the talent market, and we are delighted to be able to add the Humdex D&I Talent Market Mapping product to our exciting range of offers. Humdex brings quality analysis to D&I data that can be a big part of both defining strategy initiatives and in delivering clear fact based communication to stakeholders.”

We are extremely excited to be partnering with Adecco UK and Ireland, part of the world’s leading human capital solutions company, the Adecco Group. As a Fortune Global 500 company, the business skills, develops and hires talent in 60 countries, enabling organisations to embrace the future of work.

Read more about what we are doing with D&I Talent Market Mapping by taking a look at our infographic just below:

HUMDEX D & I - infographic
Download ZIP • 394KB

Find out more about how Adecco used our data for their December 2020 Equality, Diversity and inclusion commitments available here:

_ADECCO_Diversity_Equality_& Inclusion_c
Download • 2.02MB

If you want to know more about D&I Talent Market Mapping you can contact the Adecco UK and Ireland team HERE.

"It takes effort to assess employee experience of D&I, devise a strategy and action plan, deliver on its ambitions and then measure the results."

Olivia McEvoy, Using data for evidence based action on Diversity and Inclusion, Ernst & Young — Ireland, 9 Aug 2019

We work hard at keeping up to date and informed on the latest trends and news affecting the world of people analytics, diversity and inclusion & strategic workforce planning. If you would like to know more about the work we do, then please contact us.

Author -Scott Brent

Subscribe to our bi-monthly newsletter for more insights, news, light reads and trends here.


Find out for free in our Humdex Next Generation-HR global study report.

Testing a theory

Many of you will already know that Humdex has recently been very busy gathering information, via a global study, with an aim to help people professionals and leaders with future planning.

At Humdex we believe that data is a key part to understanding the present, the past and in planning for the future, but how does this data play a part in the formation of a successful prospective workforce? More information was needed here and an intrinsic part in our search for answers was to test the theory that:

"HR Professionals must be more data-led if they want to be business critical"

The results of the study are now available to download as a report for FREE. This report is packed with insights gathered from over 100 senior HR and business professionals, across 17 countries and multiple company sizes.

Request your copy of the report on our research and studies page HERE

Together with our expert for strategic feedback partner, EUCUSA, the Next Generation-HR study creates a quantitative map of the experience and perspectives of business leaders.

Discussing the findings live

To celebrate the results of this study being made publicly available we sat down with a globally renowned and varied panel of experts to discuss the data implications and participate in a live Q&A.

We were truly humbled to have such an amazing panel use their grey matter to test our theory and results.

Read more about the panel members in an previous article we published here.

We were then humbled for a second time by the level of interest and the positive feedback we are receiving for this data. The live panel discussion was conducted on November 24th and hosted by non-profit organisation LEAD, please enjoy a recording of the event below (we apologise for some of the connection issues some of our panel faced at times, these are thankfully short in duration):

Panel Q&A round 2

We were not able to get round to all the questions asked by the audience in time, however we were able to get some pf the panel to answer a few more after the show.

Q - In terms of diversity and inclusion, the business case has been made. It has been made again and again, and yet, women’s representation in corporate leadership has stalled. Racial wealth disparities are widening. What are the bottlenecks?

Dr. Deb Cohen - The question of why diversity efforts have not been as effective as the positive business case for D & I would suggest is a good one. On the one hand, it is quite encouraging to hear executives and HR leaders talk about their support for D & I, the result of this support; however, has not moved the needle to the degree necessary or desired. One challenge is that while organizations have invested time, effort and funding, it is often done with a generic brush that does not take into account the nuances every organization has with respect to the demographics of their workforce. In addition, requiring employees and managers to take training is not always effective in motivating employees and managers. Bottom line is that leadership buy-in needs to provide genuine guidance and values, not just funding; employee development needs to be implemented carefully and customized to the organizations key levers and be consistently delivered. Organizations can’t command that bias be stopped, they have to understand where bias may come from, why it exists and how best to address it. It’s less of a bottleneck and perhaps more of misplaced efforts and investments.

Q - What is your advice/guidance to a new manager (early career) on how to view HR? How do we in the business function help HR come into the more strategic?

Temi Dalley - In today’s ever-changing world, it is becoming increasingly evident that HR is an enabler. An early career manager, for instance, is in dire need of support on how to balance the needs of the business with the expectations of their teams. HR has a huge role to play in enabling line managers to get the best out of their people as the best strategies can be derailed by a dysfunctional culture.

Today’s strategic HR leaders are demonstrating tremendous leadership and facilitating the change and transformation, we need to see to drive innovation and business results while making workplaces great for all employees. The bedrock of continuous impact for HR then becomes hinged on levels of collaboration and engagement with the business.

Indeed, the realities of work today have further shown that there is no business without people. Simply put, HR is the Business and the need for a seat at the table should be viewed as integral not a privilege.

Alex Fleming - My advice to someone who is a new manager on how to view HR is to see them as both a supporting function and also as a team who can assist with curating and implementing strategy. To support HR professionals in becoming more strategic I recommend that HR managers stay focused on how HR impacts business results, not just in in terms of cost efficiencies but also in driving revenue generation through productivity. It is important HR professionals have strong commercial knowledge of how their work and function impacts the wider business and that they are enablers to success. Base decisions and advice on data and be outcome focused at all times.

Thank you again to our panel for lending us your considerable brain power. If you do care about your future workforce and how data plays a part in its success, we do recommend that you download the Humdex Next Generation-HR report and encourage you to contact us with your questions.

We work hard at keeping up to date and informed on the latest trends and news affecting the world of people analytics, diversity and inclusion & strategic workforce planning. If you would like to know more about the work we do, then please contact us.

Author -Scott Brent

Subscribe to our bi-monthly newsletter for more insights, news, light reads and trends here.


Letter blk.png

Sign up to our bi-monthly newsletter for more insights, news, light reads and trends from the team