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. So, that’s why it’s ideal to have smart goals for diversity & inclusion.

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. So, 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 Goals for Diversity & Inclusion?

The SMART acronym stands for goals that are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Timely or Time-bound. Also, 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. It can also be 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 Having SMART Goals for Diversity & Inclusion

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

9 Examples of SMART Goals for Diversity & 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 with SMART Goals for Diversity & Inclusion

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. Therefore, 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. So, 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. So, 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 with SMART Goals for Diversity & Inclusion

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. Also, 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. Therefore, 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

So, 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

In addition, the next worthwhile goal you can work towards is to provide mentorship and development for young professionals from underrepresented backgrounds. So, 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. Therefore, 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. 

So, 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 Your SMART Goals for Diversity & Inclusion 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?

Then, it might be time to identify and address these issues. So, differences like these can not only make employees unhappy with their position. But, they can 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

Lastly, 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

How to Identify Your DEI Goals

Encouraging DEI within your organization is an important step toward building a workplace that values different perspectives and embraces various backgrounds. So, to get started on setting your DEI goals, consider the following steps as your roadmap.

1. Define Your Vision:

Begin by understanding what diversity and inclusion mean to your organization. Then, reflect on the different cultures, gender identities, and sexual orientations present among your team members. Also, think about how you want your workplace to look and feel – an inclusive environment where people of all skill sets and backgrounds thrive.

2. Assess Your Current State:

Examine the representation of women, people of color, and individuals with different gender identities in various roles, from managerial positions to senior leadership. So, look at data points related to employee demographics, and consider industry benchmarks to understand where you stand in comparison to other companies in the United States.

3. Conduct Employee Surveys:

Engage your team members through employee surveys to gain insights into their experiences. So, ask about their perceptions of diversity and inclusion within the organization, whether they feel valued, and if they believe the interview process and promotion opportunities are fair. These surveys can provide valuable information to shape your diversity plans and set realistic targets.

4. Collaborate with Different Groups:

Involve employees from different groups in the goal-setting framework. In addition, consider forming a diverse and inclusive task force that includes individuals from various backgrounds, religions, ethnicities, and cultural diversities. This collaborative approach also ensures that your DEI goals are representative of the entire workforce and fosters diversity of thought.

5. Set Specific Diversity Goals:

Whether it’s increasing the number of women in managerial positions, improving the representation of people of color in leadership roles, or enhancing diversity in the talent acquisition process, set concrete and measurable objectives. This will help you track progress and also demonstrate real progress over time.

6. Incorporate Inclusion Performance Goals:

Beyond demographics, focus on inclusion performance goals. So, implement initiatives that foster a sense of belonging, such as employee training programs, celebrating religious holidays, and creating an inclusive environment for individuals with diverse perspectives. These actions also contribute to a diverse workplace where everyone feels valued.

7. Leverage Industry Case Studies:

Look to examples of diversity goals and success stories within your industry. So you can start by learning from the experiences of different organizations that can provide inspiration and guide you in taking a different approach to achieve your DEI goals.

8. Regularly Review and Adjust:

DEI goals are not set in stone. So, regularly review your progress, gather feedback, and adjust your strategies accordingly. Also, ensure that your goals align with the evolving needs of your workforce and the changing landscape of diversity and inclusion in the workplace.

Why is it Necessary to have a Diverse and Inclusive Workforce?

Recently, the importance of having a diverse and inclusive workforce has become clearer than ever. But why is it so crucial? Let’s explore the reasons why creating an inclusive environment is an important step for any organization.

1. Embracing Different Perspectives:

Having team members with different backgrounds, cultures, and experiences brings a variety of perspectives to the table. So, this diversity of thought is a great way to spark creativity, solve problems, and approach tasks from different angles. 

2. Reflecting the Real World:

The United States, like many other countries, is a melting pot of cultures, genders, and ethnicities. Therefore, a workforce that mirrors this diversity is not just a nice idea—it’s a reflection of the real world. So, people of color, individuals with different gender identities, and those from various backgrounds should see themselves represented at all levels, from entry positions to managerial roles and senior leadership.

3. Enhancing Skill Sets:

A diverse workplace means a mix of skill sets. So, each person brings a unique set of talents, experiences, and strengths. This diversity in skill sets can also elevate the performance of the entire team and contribute to the overall success of the organization.

4. Fostering Inclusion Initiative:

Creating an inclusive environment goes beyond ticking boxes or meeting quotas. It’s about fostering a culture where everyone feels valued, regardless of their gender, race, sexual orientation, or any other characteristic. So, this inclusion initiative ensures that each team member can bring their whole self to work and thrive.

5. Meeting Realistic Targets:

Setting realistic targets for diversity and inclusion isn’t just about compliance; it’s about doing the right thing. So, start by acknowledging that a diverse and inclusive workforce is not only beneficial for the individuals but also for the organization’s success in the long run.

6. Boosting Employee Retention:

Employees are more likely to stay with a company that values diversity and inclusion. Therefore, a workplace that celebrates different cultures and supports employees with diverse needs creates a positive and supportive atmosphere. Thus, contributing to higher employee satisfaction and retention.

7. Strengthening Company Goals:

Having diversity and inclusion as part of your company goals strengthens your vision statement. It sends a clear message to your team, clients, and partners that you are committed to creating an environment where everyone has an equal opportunity to succeed.

8. Achieving Long-term Goals:

While some goals may be short-term, fostering diversity and inclusion is a long-term goal. So, be sure to create lasting change within your organization and contribute to a more inclusive world beyond your walls.

How to Achieve your Diversity and Inclusion Goals?

Setting SMART goals for diversity and inclusion is a great way to start, but how do you turn those goals into real progress? Here are some next steps to help you achieve your diversity and inclusion goals:

1. Start with a Clear Vision:

Begin by defining your vision for a diverse and inclusive workplace. So, consider the different perspectives and skill sets you want to embrace. This vision will guide your next steps and serve as a roadmap for achieving your goals.

2. Get Leadership Buy-In:

Having senior leaders on board is an important step. When leaders champion diversity and inclusion, it sets the tone for the entire organization. Therefore, their support ensures that diversity goals are integrated into company values and practices.

3. Assess Your Current State:

Take a close look at your workforce diversity. Evaluate the representation of women, people of color, and individuals with different gender identities in various roles, from entry positions to management. So, use data points and industry benchmarks to understand where you stand.

4. Set Realistic Targets:

Define specific and realistic targets for diversity and inclusion. So, ensure that these goals align with your overall company goals and vision statement. Also, remember that realistic targets help focus your efforts and measure progress effectively.

5. Implement Employee Training Programs:

Employee training programs can educate team members on the importance of diversity and provide tools for recognizing unconscious biases. They can also promote cultural diversity within the workplace.

6. Foster Inclusive Leadership:

Encourage leaders at all levels to embrace an inclusive leadership style. So, this involves actively seeking different perspectives and creating opportunities for team members with diverse backgrounds. It’s also about promoting a diverse workplace in managerial positions.

7. Utilize Employee Surveys:

Regularly gather feedback from your team through employee surveys. So, this will help you understand the employee experience and identify areas for improvement. And it will also ensure that your diversity and inclusion goals are resonating with your workforce.

8. Promote Talent Acquisition Strategies:

Make diversity a priority in your talent acquisition strategies. So, actively seek candidates from different backgrounds and cultures. This different approach ensures a pool of candidates with varied perspectives and experiences.

9. Celebrate Religious Holidays:

Recognize and celebrate religious holidays to create an inclusive environment. This small yet important step acknowledges the diversity of religious practices within your workforce.

10. Regularly Review and Adjust:

On a regular basis, review your progress, adjust your strategies, and celebrate achievements. So, this ongoing commitment to achieving diversity and inclusion goals ensures that your efforts remain relevant and effective.

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