April 22, 2019

The Mistake Companies Make When They Use Data to Plan Diversity Efforts

By Katie Wullert, Shannon Gilmartin and Caroline Simard

You’ve probably seen these headlines: “Tech still doesn’t get diversity”, “Only 1 Fortune 500 company is headed by a woman of color”, “Where are the minority professors?”, “More Latinos needed in corporate executive positions.” In U.S. firms, a lack of diversity and inclusion is a major problem – and there is growing recognition the status quo needs to change. In order to step up diversity efforts, organizations often start with people analytics to pinpoint where to intervene. But as organizations take a data-driven approach to identifying areas of change, many encounter one issue: they have a great deal of data about the experiences of certain groups, but far less on others. In working with companies seeking to improve diversity and inclusion, we have found small numbers can be a big sticking point.