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CVM Supplier Diversity Blog

How to Report on Your Supplier Diversity Program to the C-Suite

To continue to improve and expand your supplier diversity program, you need C-suite buy-in on supplier diversity initiatives. If you don’t have the right metrics or reporting strategy on your side, getting those few, but important, votes can feel like an uphill battle.

Earning unanimous approval and support for your supplier diversity program doesn’t have to be a struggle. If you can identify, track, and report on the metrics that matter most to your leadership team, you’ll be able to demonstrate the impact that your supplier diversity program is having on core company objectives. Below, we’ve outlined reporting strategies and tips to help you win over the C-suite and gain the resources and internal support you need to accomplish more.

Reporting on the Right Metrics

As revealed in our 2018 State of Supplier Diversity Report, 38 percent of respondents to our latest survey said they don’t track the ROI of supplier diversity initiatives. Without this type of bottom-line reporting, selling the C-suite on new initiatives that demand additional time or spending can be unnecessarily difficult. Even if stakeholders and C-suite members agree with the premise behind supplier diversity initiatives, they’ll likely be hesitant to sign off on extra spending without objective data.

When you report to the C-suite, highlight key financial metrics such as:

  • Cost savings

  • Revenue impact

  • Market share

  • Deals won

  • Deals lost (due to disqualified or non-diverse suppliers)

All of these metrics will help you demonstrate how supplier diversity initiatives are influencing overarching financial objectives. If you can justify spending and prove return, you’ll find a more captive and responsive audience the next time you propose a new initiative.

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Along with tracking the financial impact of your supplier diversity program, social impact reporting is key. In fact, 72 percent of businesses surveyed indicated that social responsibility was one of the main reasons they adopt a supplier diversity program in the first place.

To understand the local and social impact that your supplier diversity program is having, track and report on:

  • Diverse spend

  • Diverse count

  • Economic impact

  • Type of diverse suppliers represented

  • Tier 2 supplier diversity development

To learn more about each of the key performance metrics mentioned above and to identify their impact on your business, check out this article.

Reporting Frequency

Keeping your leadership team abreast of supplier diversity will make it easier to justify the amount of resources you’ve invested in the maintenance and growth of your program. In addition, reporting more frequently will keep supplier diversity initiatives at the forefront of minds and will give all parties a chance to reflect on new data and tweak their approach accordingly. In our survey, 57 percent of participants indicated that reporting on a quarterly basis (or more frequently) was integral to the ongoing success of their program.

Frequent reporting also presents an opportunity to discuss evolving company goals and expectations and ensure that your supplier diversity program continues to evolve in step. If you learn that the C-suite wants to increase the company’s market share, for instance, you can tailor your supplier diversity efforts to have more of an impact in that particular area.

Structuring Your Report

Metrics may be the key ingredient in your C-suite reports, but they shouldn’t be the only ingredient. If you create a number-heavy document without providing any explanation, you risk losing the attention of your audience and robbing those numbers of their significance. Along with key performance metrics, every C-suite report should include three additional elements:

1. Context

Rather than sharing a spreadsheet of metrics, take the time to explain what each number or change means on both a micro and a macro level. For example, if your diverse count increased by 30 percent, what does that mean for your business as a whole? What does a 30-percent increase actually consist of? How does that number compare to your starting benchmark and your quarterly goal? Helping the C-suite connect the dots between key changes and overall objectives will help ensure that your reports resonate.

While financial metrics tend to have a more direct and objective significance, social metrics may take a little more explaining. If C-suite members are hyperfocused on your company’s bottom line, it’s worth taking the time to demonstrate how metrics such as diverse spend and diverse count influence brand perception and identity—two things that affect company revenue and growth.  

As you structure your report, think back to the concerns and goals that C-suite members raised in previous meetings and figure out how to frame your report to speak to those topics. Each metric has a variety of potential impacts and interpretations—make sure that you’re focusing your report on the ones that matter most to your leadership team.

2. Visuals

To make your reports more compelling, using graphs, tables, and charts to help your audience visualize data. A 2-percent cost-savings increase may not seem like much when it’s embedded in a spreadsheet, but if you can represent that increase on a graph, you’ll make it easier for your audience to understand how that small change fits into a larger uptrend. In other words, using visuals will help you narrate a story and highlight the role of each metric in that narrative.

If you don’t have access to data visualization software, free tools such as ChartBlocks, Charted, Datawrapper, and Google Data Studio can help you transform Excel spreadsheets into captivating charts, graphs, maps, and other visuals to use in C-suite reports. Make sure to keep data in a central, organized, and easy-to-access location to expedite the reporting process.

3. Suggestions

To conclude your C-suite report, take the insights you’ve learned from data and use them to inform your strategy moving forward. You’ve already demonstrated what each metric means for your business, now take that insight one step further to show what those numbers indicate about your strategy.

If you’re not seeing the results you were hoping for, this is the perfect opportunity to show that your efforts haven’t been in vain. If you can help stakeholders and leadership team members understand how you’re using metrics to guide and optimize your approach, they’ll be less focused on subpar results and more invested in the continued learning and improvement process.

The Bottom Line

Gathering data and creating C-suite reports shouldn’t be a full-time job. If you’re manually logging and calculating metrics, you’re wasting valuable time and increasing the risk of human error. The right data-tracking and analytical software will streamline the reporting process and make it easy to locate exactly what you need in order to create more compelling reports.

To learn what specific characteristics and functionality to look for in a supplier diversity development solution, download our free checklist.

What reports does your leadership team find most important?

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For over a decade CVM's mission has remained unchanged: lead the transformation of Supplier Diversity program management and support Supplier Diversity programs. CVM helps corporate supplier diversity programs in every stage of their evolution; from those that are just getting started, to the most advanced, world-class programs. Equipped with unparalleled data intelligence, superior technology and expertise guidance, businesses can effectively establish and advance their Supplier Diversity initiatives.