Are You Measuring the Right Things for Your DEI Learning Outcomes?

Measurement is key when it comes to Diversity, Equity, and inclusion (DEI). But you must measure the right things. So what are the valuable metrics to look at to measure DEI learning outcomes? 

It is well documented that leaders struggle to pinpoint the most effective metrics for tracking DEI initiatives. It’s easy to get caught up in high-level demographic percentages whenever they show that a company is “doing it right” or to fall into the trap of thinking that because DEI programs are regularly offered, team members know how to make that part of the company’s value and culture.

Diverse teams and training programs are great starting points. But true DEI is about how much you are investing and bringing to your whole organization. DEI is about fostering a holistic environment where DEI values and culture are a thread that runs through everything you do. Similar to successful employee development, fostering DEI as part of your organization's culture is more "how" than "what”. A culture-focused approach to people development and HR strategy can lead to higher retention rates too.

So how can you actually identify and measure the right things to ensure your DEI learning outcomes are achieved? Below, we offer actionable steps for you to analyze your organization’s current approach to DEI. 

As we move through this guide, remember these key points for your next DEI planning discussion:

  1. Start with your goals

  2. Look for types of outcomes across your organization.

  3. Make an assessment plan that measures the current state and ongoing evaluation of your progress.

  4. Think beyond hiring and policy to find opportunities for change initiatives.

Step 1: Ask Why DEI is Important to Your Organization

Why does DEI matter to your organization? It’s not just about ticking boxes for annual reports. It goes deeper. DEI impacts every employee, client, and the products and services you offer, shaping experiences, perspectives, and outcomes at all levels. 

Diversity fuels creativity and drives innovation. But the benefits go beyond what a diverse team can bring to the table. It can be what draws that talent to your door. Prioritizing programs that promote DEI can also help organizations attract talent by creating an appealing culture and demonstrating a commitment to diversity. 

According to a study at UPenn’s Wharton Business School, there is a harmony of three practice areas that reduce turnover intent for diverse employees: workplace policies, mentorship & sponsorship, and managerial involvement.

Practices that reduce turnover intent: Workplace policies, mentoring and sponsorship and managerial involvement



  • How do your current DEI initiatives uplift your employees? 

  • Do they help in delivering services that speak to a broader audience? 

  • How can setting DEI goals impact your offerings?

  • Are there any hard truths about your current DEI learning outcomes that need to be examined and refined? 

  • What opportunities are you missing?

Step 2: Assess Where You Are Now and Set Goals

Answering the questions above should have given you a start at assessing your current DEI initiatives. This next step isn’t just about learning or employee development. This is where you can set a baseline so you can carve out clear, actionable goals to build a strong foundation for your roadmap.

Identify Who Is Accountable

Accountability is key. Who is driving the DEI bus in your organization? Pinpoint responsible individuals or groups. 

Maybe it’s time to create a dedicated task force or to spotlight change agents within your ranks. These stakeholders need the right tools and backing to lead effectively. They’re your DEI champions, tasked with not just making decisions but living and breathing the changes you aim to implement. They model the way to show what true commitment to DEI looks like in action.

Review and Reflect on Your Policies

Next, audit your policies and DEI learning outcomes. They’re the blueprint of your organization’s culture. Do your current policies reflect the DEI standards you aspire towards? Do your people development, leadership, and ongoing training programs include DEI learning outcomes?

Look beyond the obvious, like codes of conduct and disciplinary practices. Consider each aspect of your organization’s HR approach, including employee benefits, well-being initiatives, or even your office layout. DEI should thread through each element to support and promote your DEI goals. Changes might be necessary, and that’s okay. It’s part of the journey towards a more inclusive and equitable workplace. 

Step 3: Create a Plan of Action for DEI Learning Outcomes

Now that you have a clearer view of where you stand and what you’re aiming for, let’s map out how to get there.

“The key is to recognize that DEI is a long-term journey and that we cannot cram all our goals into one program. Then we become more prepared and confident to affect change because we can focus on this program and the impact it will seek to have.”

Crystal Kadakia via TD Magazine

Hiring and Beyond

Think bigger than just hiring. Ask yourself: What are the attitudes our recruiters give off? Are we just filling trying to hit narrow targets or are we strategically inviting diversity? Consider not only the number of people, but the percentage of your payroll, leadership team, management, mentors, and people development programs that support your DEI goals. 

This step is about scrutinizing your hiring practices and career development opportunities to ensure diversity is not just visible at the entry-level, but flows throughout different career paths. Many companies have solid DEI practices in their hiring strategy, but fail to build an internal diverse pipeline.

Training the Trainers

Now, focus on those shaping your team’s growth. How are you equipping managers and mentors? DEI isn’t a one-off workshop; it’s a skill honed over time through consistent training. Make sure your people developers understand this and are constantly working on it. The transformation of your workplace culture will happen over time.

Thread DEI Learning Outcomes into Every Role

Lastly, look at career paths and succession planning. DEI shouldn’t be a parallel track – it should be the track. From the moment someone joins your team, through every promotion or transition, DEI principles should guide the journey. This creates a workplace where everyone, regardless of background, has the opportunity to grow.

Only 26% of employees strongly agree they receive similar amounts of recognition as other team members at their company with similar performance levels.

Start Measuring the Right Things for Actionable DEI Initiatives

Making impactful changes requires you to assess where you are now, where you want to go, and what changes you expect to be necessary along the way. As you identify goals, look for the metric that will be evidence that change has occurred. Assessing your impact — or missed mark— can help you always be iterating and improving how you take action.

To truly shift the needle of your organization, you must weave DEI learning incomes into the very fabric of your organization. Embed it in every learning program and development opportunity. Make it the heartbeat of your workplace. Watch it transform your organization – and even the future of work itself. 

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