Diversity and Inclusion

How to know if your disability inclusion strategy is working (and what to do if it isn’t) — Diversely


At Purple Consulting, our approach to disability inclusion strategy and execution ensures you can answer two questions:


We do this by working with businesses to measure outcomes. 

What are outcome metrics?

Outcome metrics measure the impact a disability inclusion initiative has on people with disabilities. In other words, it measures the data that matters. 

McKinsey and Company estimate that in the USA alone, $10.6 billion is spent annually on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion initiatives [1]. That’s a huge spend; it makes sense to want to measure whether the investment is having any impact. 

At Purple Consulting, we distinguish between outcome measures, and output measures.

Both have a place in measuring disability inclusion programmes and we explain the difference between the two below. 

Note: The concept of using outcome measures should be applied across all DEI strategies, including but not limited to gender, race, ethnicity, LGBTQ+ strategies, as well as those with an intersectional lens. For the purpose of this article, we focus on disability.

How do outputs and outcomes differ?

Understanding the difference between output measures and outcomes is essential to effectively evaluate the impact of a disability inclusion program.

Output measures demonstrate what was delivered.

For example, let’s say you deliver Global Disability Inclusion Training for all leaders. Once the training is rolled out, your output might be something like:

We delivered 20 disability inclusion training workshops, 80% of leaders attended and 80% of leaders rated the training as excellent.

This tells you what you delivered.

Outcomes on the other hand, measure the impact of what was delivered.

When applying this to disability inclusion programmes, we consider outcomes to be measures that show the impact the disability programme had on disabled employees.

For example, you might measure the following outcomes:

  • What impact did the 20 workshops have on the extent to which disabled employees feel confident and psychologically safety to share their disability with their managers and colleagues? 

  • Did the workshops ultimately result in more employees receiving the appropriate accommodations?

  • How many managers advocated for disability needs at their level and above following the workshops?

Disability outcomes may be related to equitable employment and promotion, pay parity with non-disabled employees, the absence of discrimination at work, and feelings of inclusion in the workplace. It’s the stuff that matters to disabled employees. 

Why are disability inclusion outcomes important?

By measuring disability outcomes, you not only determine the effectiveness of your DEI strategy, but also promote strategic alignment in executing disability initiatives. If everyone in your company knows what you want to achieve, it gives a sense of collective purpose and vision behind all initiatives. This way you minimize time wasted on initiatives that don’t align and won’t have any long-term impact.

Clear outcome measures also enable a process of iteration – so you can assess whether or not you have achieved the outcome and adjust future disability strategy efforts accordingly. 

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