Exemplary Diversity and Inclusion Practices from a Culture-Driven Company

StrategyDriven Diversity and Inclusion Article | Bretton Putter | Culture Decks DecodedThe conversation about diversity and inclusion (D&I) has gathered a lot of momentum in the last few years, in the corporate world as well as in society more generally. Thinking about D&I is by and large no longer a tokenistic gesture. We have grown in understanding that we all have unconscious biases and that our companies and society as a whole benefit when we strive to support and empower under-represented groups. We have come to realize, too, that there’s a clear benefit when we utilize people’s skills, creativity and life experiences – particularly of those whose voices, skill sets or perspectives have historically been unheard or marginalized.

In many culture-driven companies, thinking and talking about diversity and inclusion is non-negotiable. Culture-driven leaders recognize the immense value that a diverse team brings. They think about diversity and inclusivity on a number of different levels, including ethnicity, age, nationality, gender, expertise and experience, personality type and neuro-diversity, to name a few.

By paying extremely close attention to making their culture a conscious, tangible asset, these companies are helping to set the precedent for what an exemplary D&I conversation and set of practices looks like. Leaders who want to create companies that thrive commercially while simultaneously supporting their people to thrive, too, can learn a lot from studying these companies.

In my new book, Culture Decks Decoded, I do just that. I review the slides of culture decks from a wide range of culture-driven companies in order to provide inspiring examples of best practice in terms of all aspects of company culture, including D&I. One of the most outstanding companies in this respect is Patreon, which addresses diversity and inclusion with a depth of thought that shows how genuinely important they consider it to be.

Patreon is a membership platform that provides tools for creators and creatives to run a subscription content service and build relationships with subscribers, and it places a very high value on D&I. The company’s overall mission is to fund what it calls “the creative class” — makers and creators from all walks of life. Their opening slide on D&I states that they work hard to fight the “unfair practices and trends” that they see in other tech companies. The following two slides go into comprehensive detail about all the things they are doing to build a diverse, inclusive environment.

Some of the exemplary practices in place at Patreon include:

  • Being direct about the language and messaging: The slide emphasises that there is no such thing as a “diverse person” or “diverse candidate” and clearly requests that Patreon employees do not use that language.
  • Informing employees that if someone slips up and uses improper language, as that person’s colleague, they are encouraged and even expected to provide direct yet kind feedback, given with compassion.
  • Making it clear that employees can and should learn about each other’s pronoun preferences via their Slack bios.Making all restrooms gender neutral at the Patreon offices.
  • Using a D&I census to collect data that report son fairness across areas such as compensation, promotions and other resources.
  • Offering trainings on unconscious bias, ally-ship and active listening skills.
  • Directing teams to set inclusivity-based objectives and key results (OKRs): the company is explicit about aiming to be “champions in this space.”

While not all of these practices are relevant or suitable to every company, the depth of thinking that went into creating them arguably is. The practices at Patreon have been developed with the aim of creating a truly inclusive workplace, and the final point is one that I would encourage leaders of organizations large and small to pay attention to: do not shy away from conversations about diversity and inclusion. As Patreon states, “Frequent discourse and debate are key to making progress.”


About the Author

StrategyDriven Expert Contributor | Bretton Putter | Culture Decks DecodedBretton Putter is a leading expert on startup and high-growth company culture, consulting companies worldwide on how to leverage culture to prepare for and execute at a rapid scale. He is the author of Culture Decks Decoded and the forthcoming The Culture Gene: Leadership and Culture Development Lessons from High-Growth Companies. Connect with Brett on LinkedIn and learn more at culturegene.ai

Tear Down This Wall: 4 Ways to Fix Business and Tech’s ‘Women Problem’

StrategyDriven Diversity and Inclusion ArticleInformation technology (tech) is at the epicenter of the world’s economy. Apple, Microsoft, and Google are the foremost companies in the world. But women in tech, as in other industries, face obstacles from entry-level positions to the C-suite.

If industry truly wishes to fix this, it must stop retreating into seemingly noble expressions of sentiment, and instead evaluate and adopt specific procedures and programs. That is particularly true of tech, exhibit “A” in the corporate failure to hire and promote women. Re-allocating burdens, from women who aspire to the companies and industries that would employ them, and adoption by those companies of specific programs, is what my book is all about.

Women can lean in, education can push STEM, states may enact wage gap and family leave legislation. But those developments mask the more fundamental issue. From startups to the largest firms, firms themselves actually hire and promote females. In contrast, many of these companies have gender aversion baked into their DNA. Tech, for example, has been unable to support women at any level. A mere 5 percent of Tech’s senior executives are women. Branches of the industry, such as video gaming, are overtly misogynist in governance, in culture, and in product content.

Can tech and other industries redeem themselves? Here are four steps companies could take:

Change the mindset, reallocate the burdens. Bookshelves are overloaded with advice books for women who aspire in business. Get a mentor, network, don’t be a “bully broad,” be strategic, lean in, lower your voice, don’t be a “queen bee,” dress conservatively, and so on. Now is high time to look at the other side of the equation, what responsibilities companies and industries bear and what sorts of measures they should be considering. The onus shouldn’t be solely upon women anymore.

Adopt specific programs and procedures. Professional advice books emphasize that women should obtain mentors. Women have, and it has not moved the needle at all. Women in business complain, “I have been mentored to death and I am still in same position I was 7 years ago.” Recently, emphasis in Australia has shifted to corporations themselves and to mentoring plus sponsorship. It has moved the needle – significantly. Ideas include comply or explain requirements (“if not, why not?”), certificate programs, pledge regimes, quota laws (Norway, Spain, Italy, France, Germany but probably not for the United States), mandatory disclosure, voluntary disclosure, structured search (Rooney Rule) adoptions, and more.

Cast a wide net. Compared to other countries around the globe, the U.S.’s progress on gender diversity issues has slipped below the global median. Governments, stock exchanges, and industry groups in Australia, Malaysia, Hong Kong, and New Zealand, for example, are very active on gender diversity issues. Surprisingly, promotion of women in business and in governance is hot-button issue of in the Peoples’ Republic of China (not in Japan, however: fewer than one percent of corporate directors are female). On the Atlantic side, proposals and programs proliferate in the countries of the European Union and with the EU itself.

Look to the future: pay attention to the pool problem. We now appreciate that executives must balance maximization of shareholder value with sustainability. Long-term sustainability requires gender diversity. The pool problem speaks to that issue. The pool consists of the women from among whom boards and executives will choose senior managers — not now, not next year, but 10 years, 12 years, or 15 years in the future. Compared with today’s meager pool, the future pool will be markedly inferior, unless companies put in place steps to deal with the deficiency. One vital strategy is to ease the off ramps and ease the on ramps for women as they find it necessary to step aside from their careers, temporarily, often because of childbirth and child rearing issues. Dial up, dial down, alumnae, and welcome back programs, among other things, can ease those on and off ramps. Companies must think about these type of measures.

When it comes to promoting women to leadership roles or positioning them for executive roles in the future, tech is the most backward of major industries. Even lower down the ranks, the number of women tech companies employ has declined – from 37 percent in 1995 to 24 percent in 2016 — and is predicted to decrease further in coming years.

Neither does the future appear as hopeful as we have wished. Yet there are steps and programs that might brighten that future significantly.


About the Author

StrategyDriven Expert ContributorDouglas M. Branson is the W. Edward Sell Chair at the University of Pittsburgh. He has been a visiting professor at Cornell University, the Universities of Washington and Hong Kong, and Melbourne University, among others. He was a State Department–sponsored corporate governance consultant to New Zealand, Indonesia, Ukraine, Slovakia, Serbia, and Bulgaria. He is the author of 23 books on gender and corporate governance. His new book is The Future of Tech Is Female: How to Achieve Gender Diversity (NYU Press, July 2018).

StrategyDriven Enterprises, LLC

StrategyDriven Enterprises, LLC

StrategyDriven is dedicated to providing executives and managers with the planning and execution advice, tools, and practices needed to create greater organizational alignment and accountability for the achievement of superior results.

We help our clients create and execute a clear, forward-looking strategy – translatable to the day-to-day activities of all organization members – that’s critical to their realizing success in today’s fast paced market environment. Not only does a compelling, well executed strategy align individuals to a common purpose, it ensures that purpose best serves the company’s mission.

The StrategyDriven website provides access to a wide array of best practice business planning and execution tools, streamlined process flows, how-to articles, example-rich podcasts, and customizable ready-to-use program management templates. Premium Members receive access to over 200 members-only articles, whitepapers, models, and tools and templates; providing an in-depth look into critical business performance areas; placing specific focus on the alignment of organizational standards, programs, and behaviors to the optimal achievement of mission goals. Sevian Business Program purchasers receive fully implementable business performance improvement processes out-of-the-box, enabling the acceleration of business growth and heightening of operational efficiency needed to significantly improve bottom line results.

Collectively, our products offer business leaders the opportunity to access the knowledge of a highly educated and experienced staff without the associated overhead expense.

At StrategyDriven, our seasoned business leaders deliver real-world strategic business planning and tactical execution best practice advice – a blending of workplace experience with sound research and academic principles – to business leaders who may not otherwise have access to these resources.

Contact StrategyDriven Enterprises, LLC

Phone: (770) 765-3692

Email: [email protected]

Website: https://www.strategydriven.com

StrategyDriven Service Provider Network Provider Network Disclaimer

5 Strategies, Tactics and Traits to Support Diversity in the Modern Workplace

StrategyDriven Diversity and Inclusion Article
 
Whether it’s embracing differing cultural backgrounds or bringing in workers from abroad, modern businesses are becoming more diverse than ever in terms of talent.

However, bear in mind that today’s companies aren’t adopting a sort of “melting pot” mentality “just because.” In fact, there’s a strong argument to be made that embracing more diverse backgrounds is a net positive for modern businesses.

Think about it. Beyond data that supports that more diverse companies reap higher profits, casting a wider net in terms of backgrounds and culture means dipping into a deeper pool of talent. In other words, hiring the absolute best people possible to meet your business’ needs.

Also consider the need to expand into new markets and connect with other cultures from a business standpoint. The more diverse your team, the easier it is to tap into those markets.

And if nothing else, diversity can ultimately lead to a more connected, open-minded workplace. Fresh ideas and perspective can be powerful motivators, if nothing else.

That said, it takes a thoughtful leader with strong attention to detail to ensure a positive, diverse work environment that products results. Below we’ve broken down a list of strategies and traits necessary to make sure that your team thrives while also supporting workplace diversity.

Conduct Individual Check-In’s

Perhaps one of the most important aspects of creating a stronger team is taking the time to understand your workers on an individual level. This is especially true of workers who are coming from abroad.

According to Gallup’s most recent State of the American Workplace, many employees feel like their concerns, strengths and needs completely go over the heads of higher-ups. On the flip side, having stake in your workers’ personal lives alongside their professional ones ultimately makes you more approachable in the long-run.

In other words, take the time to have one-on-ones to understand the motivations of your employees. Perhaps they could only climb the career ladder in a new country. Maybe they regularly send remittance payments to family back home and therefore have a huge stake in their jobs. Either way, regularly one-on-ones create that ever-so-important bond in the office.

Collect Frequent Anonymous Feedback

Consider that not all workers will be so forthcoming in one-on-one meetings, particularly those who might be nervous about concerns over discrimination or bullying.

To address such concerns, collecting anonymous feedback is a must-do for any office. Providing multiple avenues for feedback gives you a more comprehensive view of your teams’ strengths and weaknesses, while also holding workers accountable.

Whether through anonymous email surveys, engagement surveys (think: a employee net promoter score) or a digital suggestion box, you’d be surprised at what you can by asking the right questions. Feedback received from workers serves as valuable insight as you strive to continuously improve your company’s working environment.

Encourage Group Collaboration

Allowing employees to frequently work in groups, whether through an open office setting or on their own terms, is a smart move. This does double duty of helping people from different backgrounds assimilate while also driving home a “team” mentality. Rather than allow departments to become siloed, collaboration can be the catalyst your company needs for fresh ideas.

Be Aware of Bias

The epidemic of unconscious bias in the workplace is a serious issue that is overlooked simply by nature. In short, people don’t realize that they might have biases against someone’s background until it becomes an outright problem. This not only opens companies up to legal trouble, but could ultimately lead to improper treatment of workers which is unacceptable.

Acknowledging bias is a must-do, and anyone found to display bias should be held accountable. A company culture of empathy and open-mindedness is a good starting point, yet also think about biases that occur during hiring such as disregarding someone for their background or perceived lack of experience.

Rethink Your Onboarding Process

A huge factor in making any team member feel welcome and comfortable is how you onboard them. There is no “right” way to onboard employees, but there are ways to ease people into your company without overwhelming them, all the while celebrating their diversity. For example:

  • Introduce your new hires to current team members in “waves,” ideally allowing them to mentor or be shadowed by someone who they can form a working relationship with
  • Convey your company culture of acceptance from the word “go”
  • Make their success a priority, with frequent check-in’s as per usual in addition to giving them multiple points of contact for questions and concerns

While the concept of diversity in the workplace is nothing new, many companies struggle when it comes to adapting to new backgrounds, cultures and experiences. By emphasizing these tactics and traits, you can manage your team with more peace of mind while also embracing diversity.

How To Attract Top Talent To Your Business

StrategyDriven Talent Management ArticleIf you want to be successful in the long-term, then you’re going to have to hire a team of people who are skilled and committed to helping you grow your business. You’re not going to get far if you’re closed-minded and behind the curve when it comes to technology and treating your employees fairly.

Be glad to know there are specific ways for how you can attract top talent to your business and help guarantee a bright future for your operation. You’ll thank yourself down the road when you have a strong team of people behind you who know what they’re doing and are loyal to your company.

Show that You’re Innovative & Cutting Edge

Employees want to work for a company that’s ahead of the game when it comes to technology and innovation. They’re looking to join businesses that are willing to take calculated risks and try new approaches. Attract top talent to your business by showing that you’re on the cutting edge of some interesting and intriguing projects. Prove to potential candidates that you’re problem solvers and aren’t people who take no for an answer.

Be Accepting of Everyone

You’ll be able to build a more stable and diverse workforce when you’re accepting of everyone, no matter their race, disability or gender. Investing in Custom Braille Stickers is a great example for how you can show that you’re a business that doesn’t discriminate. Your goal should always be to keep an open mind and hire the right person for the particular position you’re trying to fill.

Offer an Attractive Compensation & Benefits Package

You’ll attract top talent to your business when you prove that you’re willing to go the extra mile and invest in your employees. You can do this by offering attractive compensation and benefits packages to anyone who you bring onboard at your company. Cutting corners will get you into hot water, and eventually, you’ll start to lose your most skilled workers, and people won’t be interested in even interviewing with your business.

Promote Work-Life Balance

These days’ people seeking an available position are not only interested in learning more about the specific job duties, but also the company culture. Promoting an environment of work-life balance will help you catch the attention of talented workers who are looking to have a family life in addition to giving it their all in their career. Be prepared to provide examples of how you offer flexibility at your workplace during interviews and let it be a selling point for why someone would want to work for you.

Conclusion

You’ll find you’re able to grow a stable and thriving business when you have the right staff on your side. Use these tips to help you attract top talent to your business so you can continue to move forward and achieve your goals. Start the process by taking a look around and seeing where the gaps exist and then work hard to find people who are a good fit for each specific job opening.