The modern business world is changing for the better, at least when it comes to the policies, laws, and regulations around diversity and inclusion. And the importance of D&I for organizational success is being proved time after time.

Businesses in all sectors are being prompted by governments (and evolving societal norms) to create an inclusive workplace, hire diverse employees, and build a company culture to support underrepresented groups.

These expectations are a good step in the right direction, and if you’re here, that means that you’re willing to learn more about D&I practices. And you are probably interested in taking another meaningful step towards a more inclusive culture and building inclusive goals for your biz.

That’s what you’ll learn today, only through the lens of the SMART methodology. So what are SMART diversity and inclusion goals? Here we go.

What are SMART Diversity & Inclusion Goals?

The SMART acronym stands for goals that are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Timely or Time-bound. The SMART methodology has been in use for decades in business, but it’s also a great tool for you to use in your personal life.

When it comes to diversity and inclusion, SMART goals focus on internal and external problems. 

SMART D&I goals can include the specific steps and initiatives to improve your D&I efforts in your work environment and also the steps you take to create an inclusive employer brand and attract diverse candidates. 

First, let’s consider why having SMART inclusion goals is so important in the modern business world. 

The Importance of Putting D&I into the SMART Format

There is a difference between setting arbitrary, though noble, goals and setting goals that will benefit your company and your employees in a specific timeframe. This differentiation is where the SMART methodology comes in.


The SMART format forces accountability and action. When you commit to setting SMART goals for diversity and inclusion, you’re giving your teams detailed steps and strategies to achieve them. 

Every letter in the SMART acronym asks that you give specific parameters to your goals, which will guide your strategy and lay out the steps ahead. A method of procedure template can help you put down your SMART goal ideas in an organized way.

This approach keeps your teams aligned and focused on the right tasks and lets you prioritize your goals based on the available time frame and resources, leading to better cash flow management overall. 

9 Examples of SMART Goals for Diversity and Inclusion

Now that you know what SMART goals are and why they’re so important, let’s take a look at examples of specific goals for diversity and inclusion.

Note: You can also take a look at our examples of awesome diversity goals where we mention the big players like AT&T and Facebook, and how they and many other companies approach these strategies. 

1. Expand Recruitment Efforts To Increase Diversity in New Hires

The first goal you can set for your recruiters is to expand their efforts to achieve higher diversity for new hires and candidates.

It does take time and effort to set up a recruitment system. So it’s vital to have the correct vision of what the company is (and should be looking for) and how to find it. A comprehensive employee onboarding framework will help. Making sure diversity is included in the process is one major goal to set.

Without the SMART format, this goal would be an arbitrary one with no real metrics and KPIs to measure its success. Let’s put it into the SMART scheme:

  • Specific: bring diversity when considering new hires and candidates
  • Measurable: achieve a 30% increase in diverse hires
  • Achievable: use inclusive language in all candidate-facing materials and campaigns
  • Realistic: given the current resources, a 20% increase is a good result, with another 10% derived from new employee referrals and word-of-mouth
  • Time-bound: prepare the new materials and recruitment tactics within three months

This example shows how you can take a granular approach to diversity recruitment and give your teams something concrete to work with. Make sure to work closely with your recruiters to see what’s truly attainable and fine-tune the goal.

2. Create More Inclusive Job Descriptions

One of the most important goals to set for your recruiters and for your employer brand as a whole is to create more inclusive job descriptions. 

Achieving this goal will be one of the most effective changes you make in your recruitment strategy. Plus it will allow you to attract diverse talents and build an inclusive workplace. Luckily, you can set and achieve this goal with ease using Ongig’s Text Analyzer tool.

This tool scans your existing job descriptions and any other copy you want for non-inclusive and exclusionary language. You’ll then get smart recommendations to replace that wording with more inclusive terms, eliminate unconscious bias, and even make your job descriptions more engaging.

Here’s how this goal works with the SMART format:

  • Specific: make job descriptions more inclusive
  • Measurable: eliminate 100% of bias and non-inclusive language
  • Achievable: use a smart tool like Ongig’s Text Analyzer
  • Realistic: with smart recommendations from the software, eliminate bias and introduce inclusive language in every piece of recruitment copy
  • Time-bound: achieve the goal within minutes with the right software

While having the right tool can be a game-changer for some goals, others require a little more manual work, like this next goal.

3. Conduct Surveys To Gauge Employee Perception on D&I

You can’t make meaningful changes in your organization if you don’t involve your employees in your D&I efforts. Your employees will be instrumental in boosting your diversity recruiting strategy along with your existing D&I culture and campaigns.

But to achieve this involvement, you need to know what kind of information you’re gathering, how to gather it, when to do it, and how to use it to boost your D&I strategy. 

In the SMART format, it can look something like this:

  • Specific: gauge employee perception of D&I efforts
  • Measurable: identify pain points, areas of improvement, and positive factors
  • Achievable: conduct anonymous surveys with relevant and specific questions
  • Realistic: gather enough data to support internal and recruitment D&I efforts, increasing your inclusion score within the next 12 months
  • Time-bound: conduct a survey one month before a new recruitment campaign

By working closely with your HR team, you can define the specific questions and parameters of your surveys to unlock their true potential.

Remember that being able to measure your efforts and their results is key to the SMART method. Knowing how to use your DEI analytics can help you make the right decisions later on.

4. Increase the Number of Partnerships with Minority-Owned Businesses

Another great goal to work towards is to increase the number of minority-owned businesses you work with and have as your business partners. These businesses can include any outsourcing firms you work with, vendors and suppliers, and contractors.

Achieving this goal of collaboration is a little more difficult because it requires you to roll off existing partners slowly and then find and take on new partnerships that also make financial sense. Sometimes, even though you may like a minority-owned company for its D&I culture, it might not make financial sense to do business with them.

Here’s what this process could look like using the SMART format so that you don’t end up in the wrong partnerships:

  • Specific: add a minority-owned business as a partner
  • Measurable: create criteria to qualify potential partners
  • Achievable: research potential partners and conduct interviews
  • Realistic: enter a trial partnership and monitor performance KPIs
  • Time-bound: enter a new partnership within 12 months

5. Offer Career Development Opportunities to Underrepresented Youth

The next worthwhile goal you can work towards is to provide mentorship and development for young professionals from underrepresented backgrounds. Focus on underrepresented groups and the younger generation looking for an opportunity in the competitive business world.

These are the people who need your help now more than ever. If you are working with a recruitment agency to source talent, use their skills and expertise now to find these diverse groups and invite them into your mentorship programs.

Alternatively, work with underrepresented organizations first, and keep your recruitment agency in the loop so that they can focus on these talented groups during your next recruitment period. You don’t want to lose them once the mentorship program is over. 

To put things into a concrete action plan, use the SMART format:

  • Specific: choose an underrepresented group
  • Measurable: identify their pain points and goals
  • Achievable: identify the organizations you can work with to provide mentorship
  • Realistic: set a realistic number of young students you can take on
  • Time-bound: complete your mentorship program in a specific timeframe, like six to twelve months

A good goal, if you have the right organizations at your side, could be to have as many as 300 successful mentorships in a year.

6. Bring Diversity to Your Board of Directors

There’s no denying that every board of directors in the modern business world should be built on the tenets of diversity and inclusion. This intentionality is how you can ensure that these values will permeate all the levels of your organization and will be the cornerstone of your (internal and external) brand activity.

source: JUST Capital

This process is long and complex, so here’s an example of a SMART approach:

  • Specific: bring people from underrepresented and diverse groups to your board of directors
  • Measurable: identify the key traits and qualities of these positions
  • Achievable: create a leadership team and identify the top talent 
  • Realistic: strive to open enough positions to ensure diversity and proper representation
  • Time-bound: bring new directors in within the next three years

7. Identify and Address Disparities in Promotion Rates 

Are you promoting some of your employees from specific backgrounds more frequently than others? Is there a promotion disparity between diverse teams in terms of rewards, ranks, and compensation?

It might be time to identify and address these issues. Differences like these can not only make employees unhappy with their position, but also create an uncomfortable working environment, which can end up affecting the overall results of the company.

Here’s how you can approach equality and equal opportunities with the SMART method:

  • Specific: equalize promotion opportunities between different backgrounds, races, and ethnicities 
  • Measurable: identify which groups your organization represents and favors more
  • Achievable: identify the ways you can represent different teams 
  • Realistic: bring promotion equality up to boost your employer brand and engage a diverse workforce
  • Time-bound: resolve promotion disparity within 12 months

8. Bolster Your Leadership with Underrepresented Employees

If there aren’t enough people from diverse backgrounds in your leadership positions, you need to set a goal to involve more leaders from underrepresented minorities. You can do this by promoting existing employees to leadership positions or by hiring new, talented leaders from the job market.

Here’s how you can put it into the SMART perspective:

  • Specific: bring a certain number of new leaders into your organization to form a diverse group
  • Measurable: identify the open leadership roles and the new leadership positions you should open
  • Achievable: identify the diverse backgrounds and the channels where you can source leadership talent 
  • Realistic: Increase the percentage of underrepresented people in leadership positions by 20%
  • Time-bound: achieve the target percentage and achieve meaningful change within two years

9. Establish Employee Resource Groups for LGBTQ+ Employees

Last but not least, one of your most important goals should be to increase the representation of LGBTQ+ folks in your workplace. 

The best way to effectively accomplish this goal is to establish employee resource groups led by these diverse employees, which will help to foster a sense of belonging in your organization. This approach will have a major positive impact on your brand as a whole.

Let’s put this goal into the SMART format:

  • Specific: create employee resource groups that consist of a diverse team of LGBTQ+ representatives 
  • Measurable: identify how underrepresented this community is in your organization and what you need to improve
  • Achievable: identify the best candidates for your employee resource groups along with concrete initiatives
  • Realistic: achieve a 20% participation rate from your LGBTQ+ community
  • Time-bound: make it a goal to get these groups up and running by the end of the year or sooner

Why I Wrote This:

Diversity and inclusivity are important cornerstones of business success, but more importantly, they’re the foundational pillars of what makes us human.

Using the SMART format to create diversity and inclusion goals for your company is a better way to ensure accountability and success. It’s a way to create a concrete plan of action and achieve your goals in a timeframe that will allow you to capitalize on new opportunities and strengthen your employer brand.

With these best practices in mind, build better D&I goals . If you need software to support you along the way, please request a demo to learn more.

by in Diversity and Inclusion