UK businesses are failing to measure their impact on diversity and inclusion

73% of businesses in the UK do not have a measurement framework for diversity and inclusion, new research has found.

The survey of UK business leaders from organisational transformation consultancy Watch This Sp_ce found that 44% are assessing the impact of their inclusion efforts informally, and 56% are not measuring impact at all. 19% of the businesses surveyed didn’t have any kind of diversity and inclusion strategy whatsoever.

This is worrying news at a time when 62% of jobseekers would reject a job offer from an organisation without a good track record on diversity and inclusion, and 68% of staff would look for a job elsewhere if their organisation was not prioritising diversity and inclusion.

Diversity and inclusion roles have increased dramatically in the UK in recent years, and 72% of businesses have a dedicated budget for inclusion activities. So why aren’t businesses measuring the impact of all this spending?

According to Allegra Chapman, Co-Creator of Watch This Sp_ce, the answer is fear. “Most businesses are going into diversity and inclusion in panic mode,” Chapman says. “They know that their staff want to see action in this area, or they might very well leave, or at least become disengaged. They also know that their customers and clients are demanding action, or they will take their money elsewhere. So, leaders rush into doing something, anything, without thinking through what actions are really needed, or how they will know if those actions are working.”

The result is often performative activity that generates little result, which in the long run could actually damage the reputation of the business. “Staff and customers are very quick to spot businesses that are all talk and no action,” Mo Kanjilal, Co-Creator of Watch This Sp_ce, explains. “When they see an organisation posting about International Women’s Day, but paying their female staff less than the men, they instantly assume this is a company that doesn’t care about inclusion. Paying lip-service and just wanting to be seen to be doing something can do more harm than good. You need to be prepared to actually do the work.”

When businesses are engaged in diversity and inclusion efforts that aren’t strategic or measured, it can be hugely wasteful in terms of money and resources, and also highly demotivating for the team involved. This was the inspiration for the Watch This Sp_ce team to create their Inclusion Journey Tracker, a tool that enables businesses to benchmark their current situation, identify the actions needed to move forward, and measure and celebrate their progress.

“We want everyone to truly benefit from diversity and inclusion work - individuals and the wider business,” Allegra Chapman says. “By giving businesses the framework they need to assess and measure their efforts, we can ensure that time and resources are well spent, and staff and customers can see the progress being made.”

Level One of the Inclusion Journey Tracker is completely free to access, and businesses earn an accreditation at each level, which enables them to showcase their commitment to real action on diversity and inclusion.

“We hope to see genuine commitment and meaningful impact becoming standard for businesses,” Mo Kanjilal says. “That way, organisations can reap all the benefits for innovation, productivity, engagement and improved results, and individuals can unlock their full potential and excel in their career. It’s a win for everyone.”