More than 11,000 professionals and 180,000 data points help establish the first industry-agreed score to measure inclusion at all levels of an organization in an effort to cultivate innovation and drive growth

TM Forum, the industry association driving digital transformation through collaboration, today announces the launch of the world’s first comprehensive assessment aimed at improving diversity and inclusion within companies and across the industry. The Inclusion and Diversity Score (IDS) is a multi-dimensional benchmarking tool co-created by TM Forum members to help digital services companies win the ‘war on talent’ by retaining, nurturing and improving both talent and culture through greater diversity and inclusion.

In addition to providing a clear and test-ready score—a single metric that measures both diversity and inclusion—the IDS methodology uses machine learning-based sentiment analysis to provide unique insights into the factors that influence feelings of inclusion. For Diversity, the score measures how a company’s leadership compares to the diversity of the environment in which they work across a set of self-reported demographics, including gender, LGBTQ+, and ethnic or racial diversity.

IDS was initiated by TM Forum’s Inclusion and Diversity Council, chaired and chaired by Colt Technology Services CEO Kerry Gilder, and piloted by 15 beta companies including Bain, BT, Colt, CSGI, Delta Partners, Infosys and Telia -versions of the trial over the past eight months to define and refine the assessment, data collection and analysis methodology, while ensuring employee anonymity and data confidentiality.

“We know our industry can do a lot more when it comes to inclusion and diversity, and the results of the IDS assessment show just how serious the issue is. Individual companies cannot solve this problem alone, and as a sector we need to be more attractive to the leading talent that will help us navigate our next phase of innovation and transformation,” said Kerry Gilder, CEO of Colt Technology Services.

Feelings are included – defined by IDS as a sense of belonging; to treat fairly; having equal opportunities for success and being your full self at work – a Bain & Company study found to be positively correlated with Net Promoter Score (eNPS), which is well-established as a key performance indicator for employee retention and engagement.

“The successful completion of the beta test shows that the industry can accept the assessment and we can set a baseline and benchmark, which is critical to closing the gap between knowledge and action around inclusion and diversity. I wholeheartedly encourage all leaders to join IDS; come together and make real and lasting change. Because together we can create an inclusive environment and enable businesses, individuals and our industry to thrive.” added Goldsmith.

Findings from the trials included the influence of affinity groups on feelings of belonging, while interestingly, mother tongue played a significant role in supporting inclusivity – with participants identifying language barriers between themselves and their corporate headquarters as problematic.

Daniel Stekelenburg, a partner in Bain & Company’s performance improvement and communications, media and entertainment practice, a key leader in the development of the Inclusion and Diversity Assessment (IDS), explained: “Through our research, we were able to identify a set of common factors. that influence feelings of belonging and explore the effects of different interventions. One factor that stood out as a pain point for people who didn’t feel included was “language” – and this was immediately addressed. Language-based initiatives included changing the language of job postings, distributing CEO news in the local language, and partnering with Duolingo to offer free native language mobile classes. Early indications are that these steps have had a positive impact and they, along with a range of interventions, can be shared to provide evidence-based solutions to businesses facing the same challenges. It’s great to see the real impact of IDS behind the wheel.”

Having identified common pain points, companies participating in the pilot are now co-creating a set of best practices and interventions to help each other positively overcome the challenges identified by the IDS.

Nick Willetts, CEO of TM Forum, commented: “Our industry is at a pivotal moment in its quest for growth, and recruiting, reskilling and upskilling the right talent is now a critical challenge for most companies. Despite clear evidence of the business benefits of building diverse and inclusive teams, our progress in the industry remains very slow. The IDS is the first industry-agreed score of its kind that facilitates the measurement, diagnosis and benchmarking of these complex issues. By doing so, we hope to bring real change to the industry. A big thank you to all the companies and professionals involved so far, and in particular to the Colt and Bain tool management.”

Once the IDS pilot phase is complete, scaling is key and TM Forum is openly inviting companies operating in the TMT sector to participate in the initiative. Broad participation will enhance the benchmarking the tool offers and allow for continued collaboration to provide real answers to recruitment, retention and reskilling challenges. Materials of interest can be made at the address

Beyond IDS, TM Forum members are beginning to collaborate on a broader set of talent-related issues, including: how to attract new talent to the industry; retraining best practices; and a diagnostic tool to help CEOs and leadership teams understand their own transformation needs. Beyond IDS, TM Forum members are now collaborating on a broader set of talent-related issues, including how to attract new talent to the industry; retraining best practices; and a leadership diagnostic tool to help CEOs and leadership teams understand their own transformation needs. The diagnostic tool, which will be piloted in the coming months, was created in collaboration with Russell Reynolds Associates based on TM Forum’s proven digital maturity model and proven Russell Reynolds leadership development methodologies.

About TM Forum

TM Forum is an association of member companies comprising 10 of the world’s 10 largest network and communications providers operating in 180 countries. Our members leverage each other’s shared expertise and capabilities to collaboratively solve complex industry challenges, deploy new services, and create technological breakthroughs to accelerate change.

We help communications service providers (CSPs) and their suppliers digitally transform and thrive in the digital age. We do this by providing an open collaborative environment and hands-on support that enables CSPs and suppliers to rapidly transform their business operations, IT systems and ecosystems to capitalize on the opportunities of a rapidly evolving digital world. Follow us on LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook. Learn more

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TM Forum unveils world’s first industry-agreed score for diversity and inclusion to help win ‘war on talent’

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