Partner Insight: Diversity & Inclusion - "If you can't measure it, you can't manage it"

clock • 3 min read
Partner Insight: Diversity & Inclusion - "If you can't measure it, you can't manage it"

As the “father of management thinking” Peter Drucker famously pointed out, you can’t fix a problem until you understand the size and nature of it.

Diversity & Inclusion is no exception; if you don't have data on the ethnicity, socio-economic background, and gender of the people in your organisation, there's no way to tell how much you need to do to meet internal - and external - targets, or indeed whether existing D&I programmes are working or not. "Quality data is very important to measuring the success of D&I initiatives and launching effective new programmes," says Smera Ashraf, Head of Group and IFA Distribution at HSBC Global Asset management UK. "Without meaningful and accurate data, you cannot have the understanding of your current situation and starting point that you need to help shape your journey."

Gathering D&I data is not always easy, though. In fact, the Investment Association (IA) report "Ethnicity in investment management", published in March 2021, identified a lack of data as one of the main barriers to improving D&I. It found that, while 75% of firms had begun gathering ethnicity data, only a handful had achieved the level of disclosure required to draw meaningful conclusions.

Here, we explore the challenges linked to capturing and storing D&I data and highlight some of the ways asset managers can tackle these to ensure they have enough data to drive tangible change.

Visit D&I Hub

D&I data challenges

Indispensable for everything from identifying D&I risk areas to setting targets and measuring impact, data is the cornerstone of a successful D&I policy. "No company's commitment to diversity and inclusion can be taken seriously until it collects, scrutinises and is transparent with its workforce data," says Baroness McGregor-Smith in her 2017 government review Race in the workplace.

Legal and regulatory frameworks often hinder this process. In the UK, for example, employers must adhere to the Equality Act 2010, the GDPR rules, and the Data Protection Act 2018. And in many parts of the world, there are even stricter regimes.

However, whatever data protection regulations you are grappling with, you can't capture authentic workplace data without your employees' participation. So, the biggest challenge for many employers remains to get their employees on board. "The main barriers to collecting data on D&I include availability of data, privacy, and country specific laws" Ashraf says.

The transparent truth

Gaining your employees' trust and persuading them to engage with D&I data drives requires complete transparency around the data you want and why.

Ways to achieve this, while also communicating D&I targets and policies, include:

• Publishing articles in newsletters and on chat platforms • Diffusing video messages advocating the value of diversity data • Training line managers to capture data sensitively during appraisals • Running Q&A sessions on diversity and data collection • Including D&I questions in employee surveys

"Our leadership teams are driving numerous campaigns promoting the need for meaningful data and explaining what we do with the data and why we need it," Ashraf says.

Strategies that are helping firms understand the impact of their D&I initiatives, meanwhile, include collecting recruitment data showing which candidates progress and measuring retention and promotion statistics to see which employees are taking on more senior roles.

This article is part of a series of articles on diversity and inclusion, produced by Investment Week in association with HSBC Global Asset Management. You can find the full series on a dedicated hub here.

This post was funded by HSBC Asset Management.

More on Partner Insight

Partner insight: Taking on climate change through fixed income

Partner insight: Taking on climate change through fixed income

ESG challenges are complicated and diverse for many asset classes, and fixed income is no exception

Invesco
clock 23 May 2022 • 1 min read
Partner insight: Adapting to a changing interest rate environment

Partner insight: Adapting to a changing interest rate environment

2022 has been a turbulent year but in terms of monetary policy, it has also been a fascinating one

Invesco
clock 06 May 2022 • 1 min read
Partner insight: Tackling inflation - the fixed income view

Partner insight: Tackling inflation - the fixed income view

With real yields negative in many markets, where might you find the returns you need?

Invesco
clock 03 May 2022 • 1 min read

In-depth

The pursuit of (post-acquisition) independence

The pursuit of (post-acquisition) independence

Acquirers 'want investment revenue'

Jon Yarker
clock 07 April 2022 • 8 min read
What should adviser firms do when a SIPP provider goes bust?

What should adviser firms do when a SIPP provider goes bust?

A port in a storm

Hannah Godfrey
clock 09 March 2022 • 7 min read
Return of the Provider: A vertical integration story

Return of the Provider: A vertical integration story

Eight providers and their advice arms

Tom Ellis
clock 02 March 2022 • 7 min read