Drive DEI Impact With Diversity Assessment and Accreditation

Diversity assessment and accreditations blog

Setting a high standard in diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) is key to commercial success. Not only is this crucial for internal staff engagement, but increasingly consumers and businesses are also looking for assurances that their suppliers are adopting a proactive strategy towards DEI across their organization.

Diverse companies are 36% more profitable than less diverse companies.”

McKinsey, May 2022

Addressing DEI in a systematic way, both strategically and operationally, can completely transform an organization’s culture, enhance its reputation, enable it to recruit and retain talent, and deliver many other positive outcomes. And now, with further digital advancements, the capability to track and monitor diversity data, and progress on initiatives, has given us insights to leverage like never before.

The importance of diversity assessments and accreditations

With so much commendable work being done by many organizations to achieve truly diverse and inclusive workforces, how can the ones that are leading the way be recognized for their efforts and success? And how can organizations understand how they measure up against their industry peers and take their DEI initiatives forward to the next stage?

Diversity assessments are a crucial tool for providing consistent measurement of DEI best practice, whilst diversity accreditations help organizations to publicly demonstrate their commitment to DEI.

“Because it concerns so many business functions, undertaking a diversity assessment is a major root and branch piece of work. Achieving accreditation is a hallmark of DEI best practice, and also a journey that requires commitment.”

Rachael Wilson, Managing Director

However, it is important to understand how robust the DEI assessment process is, what the assessment criterion are, the regularity of reaccreditation and the credentials of the provider.

What to look for in a diversity assessment and accreditation

It is important to choose an accreditation provider who is not only a DEI expert, but one who also has experience in your sector and a proven track record of providing in-depth DEI assessments and practical recommendations.

Systemic inequalities are often embedded into an organization’s processes, policies, practices, and behaviours. They touch on everything from recruitment and retention to procurement and accessibility for service users. A robust diversity accreditation will assess these areas and more.

“An effective diversity assessment should look at the organisation’s DEI performance at a specific point in time, as well as providing recommendations and expert advice on how to embed DEI further across the organizaton and monitor its progress. This may involve training, the implementation of new policies, or guidance on developing new strategic plans.”

Rachael Wilson, Managing Director

As Rachael mentions above, it is also important that your diversity partner has a forward looking, proactive approach and will provide practical recommendations on how you can make further progress on your DEI initiatives and strategy.

You should also find out how often re-assessment and accreditation is required. A quality accreditation will require regular re-assessment to ensure standards are maintained and ongoing initiatives prioritised and progressed.

EW Group’s Diversity Development Standard

As a leading diversity and inclusion consultancy with unparalleled experience in this space, we have been providing diversity assessment and accreditation services for over 15 years to organisations in a broad range of sectors.

The Diversity Development Standard (DDS) is an externally recognised diversity accreditation and a measure of excellence in DEI. The results of our DDS audit, spanning the entire organizational ecosystem, combined with our unique expertise, help to facilitate conversations at a senior level and address systemic disadvantage and inequalities.

“We look at the makeup of the workforce to understand if it is representative of the local community, and review recruitment data to see if people are dropping off at different points. Staff surveys and focus groups are also useful to understand the broader picture and to see if processes and policies are being implemented effectively.” 

Teresa Norman, Diversity Consultant

The DDS framework assesses every aspect of your organization and people-related systems, policies and processes through a DEI lens. In addition to this, we spend time getting to know your organization inside out, what the culture is like, and how policies on paper are implemented and experienced in reality. This thorough analysis covers five key diversity assessment elements:

  1. Diversity and Wellbeing Foundations – the DEI building blocks
  2. Recruitment – making sure that there is equality of opportunity for applicants and candidates
  3. External Relations – ensuring your external engagement reflects the values of diversity and concerns for wellbeing
  4. Career Development, Pay and Other Rewards – are they fair and free of bias?
  5. Inclusive Culture – creating the right environment so that each member of staff can reach their potential

Companies of all sizes and sectors have achieved accreditation with us, including Mears Group, Mercedes F1 and Thales. Undergoing the DDS gives you an official accreditation and ongoing organizational development tool.

“Mears is excited to sign up to the Diversity Development Standard. We have worked with EW Group for the past few years to establish and evolve our thinking and approach and how we embed equality, diversity and inclusion into our policy, culture and action. It is now time to seek external validation, from an expert accrediting body, to ensure that we are on the right track, that what we have done has landed well and to understand where we can learn and further develop. This with the ultimate aim to remain an employer of choice where anyone, regardless of background, can thrive.”

Gary Jackson, Director of Marketing Communications and Customer Success at Mears Group

More and more organizations are realising the need and benefits of setting themselves apart and achieving independent, third-party recognition and diversity accreditation. Read on to learn more about the benefits and how to ensure your DEI assessment process is a success.

Introducing the DDS digital platform

Launched in October 2022, the DDS now includes a digital platform which streamlines the assessment process and enables organizations to complete their self-assessment online, revisit their data and KPIs and benchmark against their peers.

The new digital platform offers a user-friendly, holistic approach to achieving success with your DEI initiatives, plus you get matched with an expert diversity consultant, providing human-led guidance throughout the process.

Taking your DEI initiatives further

The diversity assessment process and resulting report should provide you with comprehensive insights and recommendations enabling an organization to take your DEI initiatives forward and track progress on key initiatives and against KPIs.

Our DDS report provides you with the details of the diversity assessment findings as well as strengths and areas for development within your organization. The final output is an action plan detailing our recommended next steps in moving the dial on diversity and inclusion.

We can also create bespoke accreditations designed to meet your unique objectives, as we did recently for the Greater London Authority (GLA) Group. We collaboratively worked with the GLA by conducting in-depth research into the functions governed by the GLA and developed the GLA Diversity and Inclusion Action Standard (DIAS)

The GLA DIAS is a framework that all organizations within the GLA remit (Transport for London, London Fire Commission, Metropolitan Police etc) must adhere to. It was made fit for purpose for each organisation of between 100 to 30,000 staff. Co-created with the Mayor of London’s office, the standard has 89 indicators split across 5 themes. After the creation, there was a period of 2 years for self-assessment and peer review prior to a formal assessment period. Find out more and read the standard here.

Tips for starting your diversity assessment and accreditation journey

Undertaking a diversity assessment and achieving accreditation not only demonstrates a major commitment to addressing systemic inequalities within your organization but also has a positive societal impact in the communities in which you operate.

“Organizations that achieve accreditation are leading the way when it comes to addressing disadvantage and systemic inequality. They are setting out their intention to create a level playing field that gives everyone a fair chance by making this commitment part of their culture and values every day.”

Rachael Wilson, Managing Director

There are a few key considerations for starting out and ensuring your diversity assessment and accreditation process is a success.

Clear internal communications

It is essential from the outset that organisations have a clear understanding of what they want to get out of the process. They need to establish why they are doing it, what the outputs will be, and what impact it will have, as well as how they are going to ensure it happens.

“Recognising that you aren’t where you want to be now, but that you are setting out a clear roadmap for how to get there is incredibly powerful. Incremental change is a powerful message to communicate to staff, especially when it’s balanced with a sense of what is realistic given the resources you have and the context in which you operate.”

Rachael Wilson, EW Group Managing Director

Leadership support

Ensuring the senior leadership team buys into the process from the outset is also key to success. Taking the senior leadership team on the journey with us means that when we go back to present the report and recommendations, they can see where they are on their DEI journey and what they may still need to do to get where they want to be.

“Engage senior leaders so employees recognise the importance of the programme and the audit.”

Rachael Wilson, EW Group Managing Director

We have been providing diversity services for over 35 years, accreditation services for over 10 years and have a team of experienced diversity consultants who bring a practical lens. Our breadth of expertise has seen us train over a million people in over 3,500 companies, spanning more than 85 countries globally.

Get in touch today to start your DDS journey

Get in touch