Crossing Bridges Recap: What gets measured gets done

 By Nicole Fracasso, OSCPA communications intern 

Business leaders should view the integration of diversity, equity and inclusion practices in the workplace as a  journey. 

“On a journey, you should know if you’re making forward progress,” said Florence Holland, EdD, head of consulting at The Diversity Movement. “You should know if we’re actually on a journey or if we’re standing still. The way we will know that is through what we’re measuring and how.” 
Woman smiling for camera.

Holland and Kimberly Ellison-Taylor, CPA, CGMA, executive director at The Oracle spoke on March 10 to conclude OSCPA’s Crossing Bridges Series on DEI. Throughout the session, Holland and Ellison-Taylor discussed inclusiveness metrics and measures within the accounting profession. 

The pair discussed the significance of collecting data to determine where organizations fall on the diversity development continuum. 

“This is a very critical step. And I notice sometimes when people start, they do not have all of the metrics that they need,” Ellison-Taylor said. “Trust me when I tell you when you’re asked to justify the expenditure of time, talent and treasure, you need to have data. And you need to have data to make decisions.” 

This continuum has levels of “compliant,” “conventional,” “purposeful,” “competent” and “advanced.” While advanced is where you want to be, the first step is to determine where your organization falls on the continuum. Organizations in the advanced stage are not necessarily focused on employing diverse individuals, but instead are dedicated to engaging those diverse perspectives, Holland said. 

Woman smiling for camera.
“You cannot get to the next level without realizing that this has to be strategic,” Holland said. “You can’t wake up and say, ‘we want to be advanced.’” 

In addition, the pair discussed what type of data organizations should be collecting, as well as data gathering samples. 

“Listening sessions are a great foundational place to start,” Ellison-Taylor said. 

Other resources they recommend are surveys, DE&I conferences and association data such as the AICPA Trends Report. 

“There are resources,” Holland said. “Use them so you can spend your time on analysis, not creating surveys.” 

The two also discussed pitfalls to avoid and what to do with the data. Some of these pitfalls consist of having inaccurate demographic data, unclear or insincere communication and not sharing the results internally. 

But once the data is collected and measured, Holland and Ellison-Taylor recommend setting benchmark goals. Benchmarking is the process of comparing your own organization, operations or processes against other organizations in the industry, Holland said. 

As Holland and Ellison-Taylor said, what gets measured, gets done, and it is essential to look at the data to determine what’s next. 

“When we know better, we do better,” Holland said. 

Crossing Bridges has concluded, but the work to be done around diversity, equity and inclusion continues. Stay tuned to learn more on how you can help advance the state of DE&I in your organization.