How to set DEI goals & measure impact for your company

How to set DEI goals & measure impact for your company

Implementing diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) practices in the workplace is critical for maintaining positive company culture, innovation, brand reputation, and high employee retention in today’s corporate landscape. Deciding to use DEI efforts is only half the battle, though. To get the most out of your efforts, you must also set up measurable DEI goals and checkpoints to assess their impact on your organization. 

Here, you’ll learn how to establish clear DEI objectives and discover examples of DEI goals that are achievable. We’re sharing the steps you can take to use DEI data metrics to gauge how effective your initiatives toward creating diversity, equity, and inclusion in your organization are. Finally, we’ll give you tips on seeing positive DEI outcomes — read on if you’re ready to learn about creating successful DEI goals for companies.

The importance of setting DEI goals

Companies that prioritize DEI initiatives can realize significant rewards. Not only does DEI training and efforts cultivate an environment where everyone feels accepted and valued, but research shows that 75% of companies with strong DEI policies surpass their financial goals. One study even suggests that the most diverse companies can financially outperform their industry median by as much as 35%. To maximize the payoff, though, setting, meeting, and measuring inclusion goals for your DEI endeavors is important. When you put goals in place, you can track your DEI progress and more easily drive long-term change.

Examples of DEI goals

You can implement a variety of checkpoints to verify that your DEI efforts are on track. Diversity, equity, and inclusion goals can look like:

  • Increasing representation of underrepresented groups by 15% within 24 months
  • Analyzing and addressing pay inequity until you see 100% base pay equity across genders or ethnicities
  • Designing and promoting bias education tools for every team member and increasing utilization by 15%
  • Encouraging employee resource groups (ERGs) to support diverse populations on your team 
  • Elevating underrepresented voices in leadership roles by 20% in 3 years 
  • Growing representation of minorities and women by 30% within 3 years
  • Mandating that 100% of employees participate in inclusion training

Steps for setting successful DEI goals

You can set and begin working toward DEI objectives with the following steps.  

1. Conduct a baseline assessment

First and foremost, you need to know where you’re starting from before you lay out your DEI strategy. Performing a baseline evaluation helps you understand where you’re at regarding diversity, equity, and inclusion in your company. You can gather DEI data and information on current workforce policies and population composition to do this. 

2. Engage stakeholders

Engaging stakeholders is a crucial part of setting your DEI goals and objectives. Tapping into multiple perspectives will help you craft effective approaches that embrace a wide array of experiences and ideas. Soliciting the diverse voices of individual stakeholders can keep your initiatives well-rounded and encourage broad buy-in across your organization.

3. Form a DEI committee

When you create a diversity, equity, and inclusion committee, you’ll have dedicated attention that drives efforts to expand or increase your DEI aspirations. A DEI committee can help assess your current state, develop new initiatives, and monitor and track your DEI progress as you utilize new DEI policies.

3. Define clear, measurable goals

Like any objectives in your business, DEI goals should be Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound (SMART). SMART goals offer a complete action plan and let you measure progress effectively and efficiently by identifying and quantifying results. 

If you’re looking to improve the gender diversity of the leadership team, your SMART goal might look like this:

  • Specific: Increase the representation of women in senior leadership roles within the organization.
  • Measurable: Achieve a target of 40% women in senior leadership positions.
  • Achievable: Implement mentorship programs, leadership training, and targeted recruitment strategies to support women in leadership roles, ensuring there are qualified candidates ready to step into these positions.
  • Relevant: Enhancing gender diversity at the leadership level aligns with our broader organizational goals of fostering an inclusive culture that values diverse perspectives, which in turn drives innovation and reflects the diversity of our customer base.
  • Time-bound: Achieve this target within the next three years, with interim milestones set at a 15% increase in the first year, an additional 10% in the second year, and reaching the final goal in the third year.

4. Develop DEI initiatives based on your goals

Once you identify your diversity goals, you can develop targeted and specific initiatives to help you achieve them. Every effort you institute to improve DEI in your organization — from refining recruitment strategies and attracting diverse candidates to enhancing educational opportunities — should aim to help you reach your diversity goal and objectives.

7 Metrics to measure the impact of DEI initiatives

As you roll out or improve DEI initiatives, you should use metrics to ensure you get what you want from them. Using metrics to measure how well things are working ensures you’re not wasting time, money, or resources on efforts that don’t effectively increase diversity, equity, or inclusion in your organization. 

DEI budget efficiency

Like all efforts, measuring your DEI spending’s return on investment (ROI) is essential. Track and analyze your investments into DEI vs. the results you see. This will help determine which strategies offer better engagement or a more tangible change in company culture so you understand the true financial rewards of your DEI efforts. From there, you can refine and reallocate funds into the DEI policies that return the most reward by offering the most change.

Diversity in recruitment

Dive into the backgrounds of talent you tend to attract, interview, or offer positions to for insight into how inclusive your scouting and hiring efforts are. Track these metrics over time to see if you’re attracting a broad range of candidates or if it looks like you, perhaps unintentionally, seem to offer privileges to specific demographics. If you notice any trends, you might want to look at how you market opportunities for new positions. Take an unbiased look at your recruiting practices and messaging to determine if you can improve to become more diverse and inclusive.

Leadership diversity index

Assessing your leadership teams' diversity can tell you much about how progressive you are toward creating equitable practices. Much like the recruiting effort, when you monitor this metric over time, you’re more likely to realize if your opportunities for advancement are uniform and equitable or if you’ve been targeting and rewarding a specific type of candidate.

Employee engagement scores

Compiling data on employee satisfaction and engagement scores can be eye-opening. Engagement surveys are an effective tool to measure the impact of your DEI initiatives. While recognizing what’s working is one benefit here, perhaps the most helpful information from this exercise is learning areas where you can improve. 

When you know where to focus your efforts, you can make strides toward creating a diverse and inclusive workplace that translates into other benefits — like higher retention rates, increased productivity levels, and overall improved company morale.

Pay equity audits

Committing to pay equity is a fundamental component of the DEI strategy. Pay inequity has long been a barrier to establishing and promoting inclusive and equitable practices. You should frequently evaluate and scrutinize pay scales as they relate to specific demographic groups in your company. This helps you pinpoint any apparent inequities. Regular checkups on salaries help you improve your strategy and ensure that everyone, regardless of background, is paid what they deserve.

Retention rates by demographic

Taking a deep dive into retention rates can always be insightful, but when you analyze the numbers through a demographic lens, you might be shocked at what you learn. Looking specifically at the demographic trends of “who is leaving” and asking “why” can help identify trends and areas you need to focus on to enhance inclusive and equitable initiatives. 

DEI training participation and impact

Part of any comprehensive DEI effort should include education and training, and tracking participation is a great way to assess the impact on workplace culture and employee behavior. Engagement is a qualified factor that can tell you how well something works. You can — and should — replace trainings that aren’t well-received with new ones that more people are interested in. 

Tips for achieving successful DEI outcomes

Revamping your workplace environment and culture to embrace diversity, equity, and inclusion can feel like a big task, but navigating the path is easier when you have proven tips to use. Ultimately, your commitment and willingness to evolve as a DEI-driven company will pay off.

  • Start with leadership buy-in
  • Prioritize transparency and be open with your efforts and goals
  • Foster an inclusive culture
  • Offer training specifically for leadership on best DEI practices
  • Revise company policy and other materials to highlight inclusive language
  • Offer more inclusive benefits in your benefits packages
  • Revamp your mission statement to communicate DEI goals better
  • Ensure 100% pay equity efforts are in place
  • Look at employees who are departing as an opportunity to survey them to identify gaps you may be overlooking

Creating a more diverse and inclusive workforce

To create an authentic, diverse, and inclusive workforce, you must be willing to do more than just check the boxes. Fostering an environment where everyone feels valued, respected, and supported might start with one DEI effort, but you’ll need to be willing to continue to grow and prioritize diversity, inclusivity, and equity. 

One way to focus on inclusivity is by ensuring all employees have mental health support. DEI and mental health have strong overlaps that impact each other. Partnering with organizations like Talkspace can be vital in bolstering mental well-being by ensuring employees have access to more than just physical healthcare.

Implementing DEI initiatives can take time but can lead to lasting and beneficial change. To create the most impact, remember to set clear, strong, measurable DEI goals that will ultimately pave your way to success.

Contact Talkspace today to learn more about how offering online therapy for employees can be a great starting point in reaching your diversity, equity, and inclusion goals.


  1. Sakpal, Manasi. “Diversity and Inclusion Build High-Performance Teams.” Gartner Information Technology, September 20, 2019.  
  2. Hunt, Vivian, Dennis Layton, and Sara Prince . “Diversity Matters.” McKinsey & Company, February 2, 2015.

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