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Hetal Sheth 11/28/22 2:00 AM 4 min read

5 Ways Corporate Inequity can be Disrupted Through Data

From a business standpoint, equity and inclusion are good for a company’s bottom line. Companies that have made efforts towards diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) have financially outperformed DEI laggards by 11% on average. From a social standpoint, equity and inclusion address justice and fairness in society. Disrupting inequity means prioritizing a better workplace, economy, and society. Let’s look at how corporates can leverage data to disrupt inequity.

What do we mean by disrupting inequity?
1. By Increasing Stakeholder Impact
2. With Clear Visualizations
3. Using DEI as Business Intelligence
4. With Accountability
5. By Changing the Narrative


What do we mean by disrupting corporate inequity?

Diversity, equity, and inclusion are a reaction to the inequity and exclusion status quo. Inequity and exclusion lead to the marginalization of people within organizations and systems.

Power is acquired and maintained by privileged social groups, perhaps without their awareness. This means exclusion from political processes, social spheres, and economic participation in society. A lack of equity and inclusion in the workplace causes employees to disengage from work. From a purely financial standpoint, this is costly. The global economy loses US $7 trillion per year to workplace disengagement.

Corporations often have dual priorities: to serve stakeholders receiving their products or services; and serve local employees who often come from the same population. For corporates to make the biggest impact, they need to meet the needs of their stakeholders and employees.

Data is an opportunity for corporates to focus on diversity, equity, and inclusion inside and outside the organization. Here are five ways corporates can use data to disrupt inequality.

Read More: Can impact data improve our health and wellbeing?

1. By Increasing Stakeholder Impact

Corporations exist to make a difference in their stakeholders' lives. To do that, they must listen to stakeholders. The best technology companies collect constant feedback from users. This improves the product for the best product-market fit. Likewise, corporates must collect data from their stakeholders to learn their needs, behaviors, and experiences.

For example, imagine your corporate’s CSR program goal is to provide digital access to rural Black and Latinx youth. Collecting data from rural Black and Latinx youth ensures you’re targeting and reaching the right population. If your data shows otherwise, you need to make program changes.

Read More: The Art Of Actionable Impact Storytelling

2. With Clear Visualizations

Collecting data on diversity, equity and inclusion is one thing. Understanding the data is another. It doesn't help a corporate to have data sitting in a database or spreadsheet. Presenting that data in clear and compelling visualizations is critical to making this information actionable. Having dashboards that display diversity, equity, and inclusion indicators and goals is the easiest way to address issues. Dashboards make this data transparent and accessible rather than something that gets overlooked.

Read More: How Impact Data Pipeline Can Simplify Impact Management?

3. Using DEI as Business Intelligence

From procurement to finance, using data is how smart businesses make decisions. Employees understand how their decisions within the company affect strategic planning. It’s important to frame diversity, equity, and inclusion data as a normal part of business intelligence (BI) in which all employees play a part. DEI initiatives are sometimes corralled within human resources (HR): hiring, retention, promotion, and performance. Giving individual employees access to DEI data allows them to take responsibility for how DEI affects the bottom line.

Read More: What do equity and inclusion have to do with impact measurement?

4. With Accountability

Data alone doesn’t make a change.  Setting DEI goals, determining DEI indicators, and developing DEI program activities helps to keep leadership and employees accountable for these goals. Organizations should understand a Theory of Change for DEI program initiatives. Once the goals and indicators are set, and activities are implemented, we must continually collect and analyze data.  If things are progressing, well done. If not, it’s time to return to the Theory of Change and revise it.

Read More: Theory behind social impact experiments

5. By Changing the Narrative

Equity-centered data help change the narrative of solutions. Working harder or picking oneself up by the bootstraps are not solutions to systemic inequity. By collecting the right diversity, equity, and inclusion data, corporates can better frame the problem to make the best impact.

Read More: How social procurement saves corporations from underdevelopment?

Data drives Equity and Inclusion.
Corporations can create solutions to inequalities and exclusions. It’s important that corporates use the right kind of impact measurement to ensure they are addressing equity and inclusion for their employees and their stakeholders. By leveraging data, corporates can center equity and inclusion in their social impact. To learn more about diversity, equity and inclusion, visit Sopact’s blog or check out our webinar about a ground-breaking platform for impact data dashboards.

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Hetal Sheth

The founder of Ektta, and co-founder of SoPact, Hetal holds a deep passion for establishing enduring impact management practices in the social sector to have built-in learning and accountability.