The Theory Behind the New Diversity Benchmarks

Introduction to the Benchmarking Survey giving an overview of its history of over ten years and the recent changes made to the model and approach, making it practical and robust and a leader among UK Benchmarking.  

I’m Tom Legge, the Benchmarking Development Manager for Diversity at Business in the Community. This is my blog post about the new diversity benchmarks for gender and ethnicity.

For the uninitiated or those keen to read about what the new benchmarks are all about, I’ll start by saying that we have been running benchmarks for over 10 years now and in that time over 550 organisations have participated.

The benchmarks have always been about business improvement and this is still the case – but what has changed is our model and approach. Unfortunately there is no silver bullet that will solve inequality. The complex interplay between processes, policies, management, culture and climate cannot be easily changed. Many elements have to be in place and rarely is the journey linear. Every organisation must simultaneously develop an approach that fits with its culture, but paradoxically attempt to change its culture at the same time.

This is where benchmarking can help: by providing an adaptable framework, clear advice, guidance, support and comparisons to peers and other organisations going through a similar journey. I believe benchmarking is pointless unless the results are interesting and can effect change. Change is, after all, the ultimate output of benchmarking. And this requires a benchmarking survey that is detailed and robust.

Before proceeding on our benchmark, you must be prepared to think carefully about your answers and to engage your colleagues where their input is required. This is not a 5 minute exercise, but we do understand that organisations often have limited time and resource. Therefore, our benchmarking must be intuitive and easy to complete and we have worked hard to find this sweet spot in our new tools.

We have achieved this in a number of ways: by consulting widely with our members on the issues that are most pertinent to them, by being more focused in the supporting statements and evidence we ask for, by aligning the race and gender benchmarks so that both issues can be considered side-by-side and by updating some of the key questions with help from outside experts in equal pay and supplier diversity.

We have more detailed information on how the benchmarking process works in our YouTube video. We are also more than happy to take the time to talk to anyone (member or non-member) about benchmarking. Please contact your account manager or myself.  

Tom Legge


Tel: +44 (0)207 566 8731