Impact Insights

Accessing Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion with ERP Reporting

The Black Lives Matter and #MeToo movements and more recent attacks on people of Asian descent have focused attention on continued injustice toward vulnerable populations. Employees naturally relate major news coverage to their own lives and surroundings at work.

Diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) has become an even more important topic for employers to address, especially in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) industries such as information technology. Because healthcare organizations invest significant resources in enabling technology platforms such as enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems, employing their ERP system to improve DEI goals and initiatives adds value while maximizing the capabilities of the system.

When addressing DEI in healthcare, consider these points: Diversity positively influences clinical outcomes and patient-centered care. Underrepresented patient populations often have a harder time accessing care. In the case of implicit ethnic and racial bias, patient-provider interactions, treatment decisions, treatment adherence, and patient health outcomes may be negatively impacted.

Provider diversity reduces bias and improves cultural competence, which increases the access to care and quality of care patients receive. Patients are more comfortable with providers who represent them. Patient-provider communication is improved, especially when considering patients with limited English skills. Patient trust is increased. Better access, quality, and communication reduce health disparities.

Many healthcare groups and companies prioritize diversity in their mission, vision, and values. Their organizational goals relate to increasing or supporting diversity, but the lack of a clear and proven plan and enhanced or updated reporting may hinder providing a clear, specific, tangible, and measurable progress communication. These measurements are the basis of a DEI plan that can produce needed results. A clear path, associated action plan, and success metrics should be created and managed by human resources.

This blog will cover important steps to support DEI initiatives using ERP reporting that includes:

  • Retrieving data from an EEO-1 report.
  • Assessing and adjusting data quality.
  • Reviewing demographics.
  • Using the ERP system to build a customized report.
  • Implementing a plan for the customized report related to DEI goals.

Gathering and Assessing Data

The first step in answering a business question such as “How do we increase staffing diversity in our organization?” with reporting is by locating the data and assessing the data quality. Data quality describes how well the data represents reality.

Most organizations need to look to their Employer Information Report EEO-1. The EEO-1 report is collected by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) to investigate charges of discrimination. For large healthcare employers, the report will include information on employment factors such as ethnicity, sex, job categories, workforce snapshot, earnings, and hours worked. Hospitals can leverage this data for their diversity goals.

The ERP system most likely tracks gender, age, sexuality, veteran status, and disability status, which are other metrics useful for DEI. For these metrics from the EEO-1 report and ERP to be useful for DEI, the employer must organize the data into a custom internal report accessible to DEI program administrators. The report should be standardized, easy to run, and compare different time periods.

If data is missing or the data quality is inferior, the sources of these issues should first be investigated and remedied. For example, if applicants or employees are overwhelmingly answering these metrics questions as “prefer not to answer,” the reasons why should be investigated and remedied as well.

Dig into Demographics

Once data quality is satisfactory, analyze the workforce makeup. Conduct a demographics review to look at age, sex, gender, ethnicity, race, disability, veteran, and LGBT staffing levels within the organization. Compare these against the recruiting sourcing region, community in which the employer operates, and industry. Also, representation of historically disadvantaged populations should be reviewed against their representation in management, recruiting/promotional selection, and compensation, turnover, seniority, and employment status. All these summary metrics should be built into the report, so administrators’ time is maximized on action and not on spreadsheet calculations.

The demographics review should be used as a temperature check for the organization to identify areas where bias may exist. Demographic quotas should not be used as diversity goals. Quotas may encourage the business to engage in identity-based business decisions, which can cause employee concerns or resentment. Goals should instead focus on removing barriers to diversity. The goals that are set for the organization should be SMART goals: specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time bound. Dedicating resources to supporting diversity within the organization and following the research and best practices of experts is most likely the best way to achieve diversity.

Report and Check Progress

When creating diversity initiatives, leaders should keep the data they need to measure success in mind and update the organization’s custom internal DEI report as needed. The organizational DEI report should be run on a schedule that is periodically checked against the diversity initiatives and goals.

Knowing what data is required at the beginning of an initiative allows related goals to be tracked and measured as the project progresses. For example, if an organization wanted to know the number of Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) accommodations requested against those accommodated over the past five years, it would be much simpler to run a report through the ERP system than go back through files to compile this data.

DEI can be perplexing. Academic research and case studies in this area have focused on industries with more traditional corporate cultures like retail sales and manufacturing, so the healthcare environment does not yet have a step-by-step guide. Diversity may be oversimplified to surface-level biological factors, but the real goal should be to improve job performance by aligning employee values and attitudes with organizational culture and outcomes.

When this is accomplished, organizational effectiveness is increased, but communicating to managers how diversity improves the bottom line is difficult. Without manager enthusiasm, employees may feel the initiatives are disingenuous. Healthcare organizations often serve diverse populations and have their own unique work climate, so improvement is hard to measure.

Employing the reporting functionality of an existing ERP system will help highlight issues and provide meaningful, concrete statistics. ERP reporting is a powerful tool for accessing DEI information and improving healthcare for disadvantaged populations, while improving organizational performance and results.