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Insights to find success with DEI from Grace and Courtnie

Diversity, equity, and inclusion champions for companies like Randstad Sourceright, Google, and Stripe share why diversity and inclusion is essential to success and how to get it right. Don't get left behind! Move forward with DEI.

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Employee Experience

Learn why it’s so important to foster diversity in an organization and how it contributes to success for all. Explore the barriers to an inclusive culture and how data can help you earn the support of executives and stakeholders. And discover the core of DEI: valuing each one’s uniqueness and giving every person equal opportunity to grow and bring their authentic self to work.

Don’t miss this truly insightful and inspiring discussion with:

  • Courtnie Barret-Parks JD, CDP,  VP of Equity, Diversity & Inclusion Strategy at Randstad Sourceright, with 10 years of experience in talent sourcing
  • Grace Lim, former Talent Sourcing Lead for Google and Stripe, and champion of DEI

Let’s build happier, more diverse and inclusive workplaces where each and every one can thrive!

Webinar transcript

Janine Ramirez: Hello everyone and welcome to Erudit's ShockwaveTalks. I'm Janine Ramirez. I work for Erudit to empower organizations with employee insights without employee surveys at aerody. We love, love, love learning and this webinar series called Shockwave Docs is our way of learning from experts and sharing insights with all of you. So thank you very much for joining us today to learn about how we can move forward with diversity, equity, and inclusion from two awesome champions of D e I. Before I introduce our guests, I just wanna quickly go through some reminders. One time is precious, so we'll keep everything within an hour. Two, please make use of the chat to ask questions and share your experiences anytime throughout the webinar. If we have extra time, we'll read them out for you. Three, the more the merrier. So please feel free to invite colleagues to join in the conversation right now. And lastly, this is being recorded and we'll be sending you the link to the video and articles and everything again after the event. Okay, let's get to it. Time to welcome our guests and move forward to more inclusive workplaces. I am honored to get to pick the brains of two passionate and experienced champions of inclusive people. First work cultures we have today, Courtney Barrett Parks who is VP of equity, diversity and inclusion strategy at Grandstand Source, right? And has 10 years of experience in talent sourcing, focusing on fostering diversity and inclusion. Thank you for being here Courtney.

Courtnie Barret-Parks: Hi. Thank you so, so much for having me. And as Janine said, my name is Courtney Barrett-Parks. I'm the vice president of equity, diversity, and inclusion strategy for Ranstad source rights. So I lead our global strategic diversity recruitment solutions on behalf of our clients both internally and externally. Some of you all may have heard of of Ronstadt and may think we're just an employment agency, but we are so much more. We are the largest provider of human capital services in the world. So we do everything from contingent direct hire, payrolling consulting, IT consulting, diversity consulting. It runs the gamut. So thank you again. I'm so excited to be here.

Janine Ramirez: Awesome, thank you. Thank you so much for being here Courtney. You guys can also see we have Grace Slim. She's an advocate and champion of D E I, formerly work working and talent sourcing for Google and Stripe after working with Teach for America. And I find this really interesting. She taught English specializing in speakers of other languages. Welcome Grace.

Grace Lim: Thanks so much Janine. Thank you so much for having me as well. So yeah, as Janine mentioned, my name is Grace. I've previously led Google Cloud's diversity recruiting team and then I joined Stripe after six and a half years to build out their first global sourcing organization. But yeah, really excited to be here. But yeah, I did have a slightly non-traditional background at first. I did start off my career as a public school teacher.

Janine Ramirez: Super good, very excited to hear your perspective and to dig into all of the insights today. Thank you both for lending us your time and sharing your experience with us. So we have two very interesting perspectives today to help us understand the importance of championing D E I and to guide us towards the best strategies for our organization. So let's get to it like first is d e i the way forward. We've heard undergrad, it reduces turnover by 50%, increases performance, there's a decrease in sick leave days taken by 75%. There's now like statistics supporting the move to improve d e I in organizations, but it hasn't always been the case to have all these stats. So to kick, to kick us off, in your experience, what have been the best arguments and support of investing in a diverse, equitable and inclusive culture? Let's start with Courtney.

Courtnie Barret-Parks: Yes. So I, I mean I think you kind of started here. I think there is really so much evidence supporting equity, diversity and inclusion and the impact that it has on organizations. You know, it impacts your ability not only to attract and recruit talent but also to retain it. You know, we know that individuals wanna work in an environment where they feel represented and respected and safe to showcase their true selves. It's also important for your organization to reflect the communities that you serve. So you wanna make sure that you're able to authentically relate to and address the needs of your consumer and customer base. And having diverse teams really allows for that. People wanna spend their time and their money with organizations that share the same values and viewpoints that they do. We also know that diversity breeds innovation, right? When you put, you know, people together in a room from different backgrounds, experiences, ideas, industries and perspectives and give them a problem to solve, right? We can imagine the creativity and and and the relevant and impactful solutions and initiatives that would come outta that meeting. And then all of these things together have a positive impact on the success of an organization, right? And so we know studies on top of studies on top of studies have shown a direct relationship and correlation between diversity and increased profitability and performance.

Janine Ramirez: Awesome. Like that's a lot and I hope to like get into all of those details later on as well as like some examples of what we can do. But Grace, do you have anything to add to that?

Grace Lim: Yeah, you know, I'll share more of a personal example that has always stuck with me throughout my career as to like why like GI is so important. So I started at Google in 2015 and in that same exact year Google actually made headline news. The title I remember of the article was Google apologizes for photo apps, racist Blunder And oh essentially was like Google photos image recognition algorithm where classifying black people in pictures as gorillas. And I remember reading this and I was in the thick of, you know, recruiting and got lots of questions from candidates, but it did made me think like would this have happened if there were strong representation of engineers on the photos team? Also, if we tested and received feedback on the product from a diverse group of people, would this have happened as well? So it's always a, you know, an experience and a story that has stuck with me, especially when it happened in the same exact year that I joined the company.

Janine Ramirez: That's so interesting cuz like our, one of our founders who's like our AI guy, Rick said the same thing about like the news coming out now about like AI kind of, you know, what is it? What was it? Do you remember? Like now there's like an issue about AI and how it's discriminating in in recruitment, right? So he was saying yeah, it's also because of the diversity of teams and some are just not aware of how to program and AI to, you know, to kind of spot these things. But yeah, more on that later, sorry, I'm digressing grace, like you, you worked in in tech and it can be ultra-competitive. Has D D E I helped you in recruitment? This is really make a difference considering the high wages, cool benefits that they're being thrown into the package.

Grace Lim: Yeah, definitely. So, you know, d is such an important factor I think especially for like millennials and Gen Z, right? Like the racial and gender makeup will continue to evolve in the future. So a company's transparency around like d E I and like their commitment really matters to candidates especially, you know, as I was heading up our cloud like diversity recruiting team. Like that is the sole reason as to why like Google decided to have a specialized dedicated team that focused on these efforts because they knew that it mattered and it was important to be ultra-competitive, right? So one that I see very often from candidates externally is that they want to work in an inclusive environment where they can bring their authentic selves to work and have psychological safety, which is what Courtney mentioned a little bit earlier. And two is they do want to see themselves represented in leadership, right? So like knowing there is a pathway for people that look and talk like them is incredibly important. So like candidates know high wages and cool benefits, it, it doesn't keep them at a company long term.

Janine Ramirez: Nice. Do you agree Courtney or is there anything you wanna add? Like how important is D e I for candidates and employees? I

Courtnie Barret-Parks: Mean, a absolutely, I I agree with everything that that Grace is saying and I mean we see that studies have shown that there was a recent survey by Deloitte that found that 80% of workers consider how inclusive an organization is when making a choice to choose employment and 39% would leave their current employer for a more inclusive one. And so, you know, we're in a talent scarce market, candidates have choices right now. It it's extremely important from the candidate perspective, you know, you know, the millennial and Gen Z job seekers are really looking at the values and the social responsibility of the companies that they're, they are interviewing and that they're seeking and it matters from a retention perspective, right? And that goes back to kinda what, what, what Grace was saying, you, it, it costs a lot of money to recruit and to draw people in and it costs even more if they leave, you know, u under a year and having to kind of restart that process. And so all the great work that you're doing on the front end to draw diverse talent in, doesn't matter if you can't retain them, if they don't feel safe, if they don't feel valued and if they don't feel like they align with the mission and the goals of the organization.

Janine Ramirez: So what I'm hearing is this is a long-term thing, like this is not a trend. We've seen it in the new cycle. Like now I feel like there's so much like content about D E I but you're saying that the interest in DEI is for the long haul, right Courtney?

Courtnie Barret-Parks: I hope so. You know, i i i I definitely hope so. I think, you know, we saw in, in, in 2020 after the instances of racial injustice became publicized and we saw protests in support of, of social justice, we saw a huge uptick in of of de n I roles. I saw so many de i program manager and I've been doing this, I I've been in this role since 2018. And so it was, it was, it was like, oh my goodness. And, and what we are also seeing though now with, especially with the recent tech layoffs is that when we're a lot of the d e I departments are, are suffering because of that. And, and so that has been a concern and that was a concern that I had when I saw the influx of roles is do we have the appropriate processes and, and and initiatives in place to support this, to support these individuals? Are they gonna be able to come into the organization and actually be successful and drive initiatives and drive change Ronstadt source site? We, we published a global talent trends report. We, we recently published it and we surveyed over 900 C-suite and human capital leaders across 18 global markets in multiple industries, including IT finance, high value manufacturing, and pharma and life sciences. 78% of respondents believe that their D N I strategy is important to the workforce. The 37% suspect that companies will deprioritize d i in 2023. And so that's concerning when we look at it by industry and industry, the numbers change, but, but that's, that's huge, right? So we know that companies value it and see the impact, but, but the fact that there's a concern that there's gonna be deprioritization is, is something that we really need to look for. I hope, I hope it's here for the moment.

Janine Ramirez: Okay. That's something that we are going to talk about a little bit more later on. But while you men, you mentioned Ronstand, Courtney and I just wanna talk a little bit about your background there because if, like you've started not as a D E I specialist, right? Like how did you come to this position? Was this something that the company already had internally or did this evolve in time?

Courtnie Barret-Parks: So it it, it definitely evolved. One of the things that I, I really love about Ronstadt diversity has always been extremely important for ranstad even before the, the recent events happened or even before it became the, the hot thing to do with, I like to call it. Cause of course we've seen a lot of, a lot of things uptake. You know, we were the first major staffing company to appoint a chief diversity and inclusion officer and that was back in 2017. And we are also the first and only major staffing company to be listed on diversity Inc's top 50 companies for diversity, which is impactful because that's right where our clients are. And so it's something that's always been important for us. The investment and commitment has always been there and we see that not only for our internal workforce, but in the solutions that we design and provide for our clients.

Courtnie Barret-Parks: And so when I started on the team back in 2018, there was one other strategist when our chief diversity officer at the time came in, she built this whole program and so there was one other strategist and that person actually left a few months after I started. And so for a while I was the only strategist that we had and I was supporting a small number of accounts and now, you know, I oversee a team of global strategists and we're able and available to provide support for all of our accounts. And so that, like I said, the investment has always been there for Ronstadt, it's always mattered to us, it's always mattered to our clients. And so these recent things that have happened, I mean it may have bolstered in some areas, but it, it has always been a priority.

Janine Ramirez: Awesome. Great. There's a LinkedIn user and I can't see the name like from our comments, but I wanted to tackle this like it, it's in my questions, but I'll read this aloud because I think it's related to get it out of the way. So the LinkedIn user says d e i is getting a bad rap from a political perspective lately. So how do you think companies can overcome this type of propaganda that some people believe, and like I mentioned this while talking to you guys earlier, like offline, that we are getting like some comments in some of our content about D E I and one of the comments would be like people believing that it's contrary to equal opportunity. So how do you respond to that and how do you respond to the, the propaganda? Maybe Grace can can give us an answer now.

Grace Lim: Yeah, I think one is, you know, d e I actually allows for equal opportunity. I think it's important to note that when we define like the term equal opportunity, it also means equal access and treatment, right? And so di work centers around the fact that we acknowledge and recognize there are historically marginalized communities in certain sectors and companies and we want to have intentional efforts around that so that every single individual, regardless of their background, their race and their gender has opportunity to equally succeed, right? And so more equity means like it's good for all, not necessarily just for a cer certain group of individuals.

Janine Ramirez: Great. Can I get like Courtney's take on this too cuz I think it's really important

Courtnie Barret-Parks: And Absolutely. And you know, we have to be careful that when we think about diversity or diversity initiatives, that we aren't equating that to a lack of quality or decrease in performance, right? And I think that that, that thought process leads to a lot of biases and challenges that we see especially, you know, if we're talking about in the hiring process for instance, you know, sometimes leaders will feel that the diversity conversation needs that the quality of candidates will suffer and that's not the case, right? And so we'll always hire and advance and advocate for the best candidate for the role. The question becomes, you know, who is the best candidate for the role? Now how do you define that? And so if we go back to the benefits of having diverse teams and the importance of different perspectives in the room, because remember diversity just means different at its core. That's what it means, you know, the best candidate can look different every time. And so, you know, you have instances where people may say, oh, I was passed up for this role because I'm not a woman or because I'm not a member of a certain group. By saying that you're implying that the person that did get the role wasn't qualified, wasn't competent and didn't have the skills, right? And that, that just comes from bias, right? How do you know that you were the best candidate? You know? And you can say things like, oh well I, I attended an Ivy League school or you know, I came from a major competitor, my experience is almost identical to everyone else on the team. Like of course I'm, I'm the best fit for the role, right? Well if everyone on the manager's team has that same experience, is that perspective, is that background, is that thought process a good addition and a good add to the team, right? Is that, is that what's missing or what's needed? And so I think we have to really start kind of checking our own biases when we think about things like that and diversity and quality and, and what that ideal candidate profile looks like.

Janine Ramirez: Great. Like I love the talk about biases. That's something that we can talk about I think in a whole new discussion. But we, I have it all the time with the psychologist and the team. Like how do we acknowledge this? How do we like figure this out and kind of, you know, push it aside or, or embrace it, right? But oh, I can see a comment from Cali talking about leadership buy-in. Let's dive into that. Now there are people, stakeholders who are harder to convince to invest in D E I initiatives. So let's talk about how do you convince them or how do you get people on board? Let's start with grace.

Grace Lim: Yeah. So I think the first part of the question is like, you know, who's usually opposing? So I would say in my experience there's three, the three most common one I think is do does just have a very limited working experience with like groups, groups of individuals and truly understanding like the positive business impact that can come out of that. Cuz if you don't live that experience, right, I think it's a little bit difficult to really understand that. I think two is dos that see it as a quota to hit versus actual like long-term ongoing efforts needed to fight against systemic problems. And then the third one is what actually Courtney mentioned is those that believe that hiring underrepresented talent is lowering the bar and it's not top talent. I think for me, when I need to convince these stakeholders, right, to get them on board, it's like number first and foremost I need to understand like what is top priority for that individual or that group, you know, is it increasing revenue quickly since they're a sales leader or is it improving like employee satisfaction around per and promo because their scores have been, you know, really bad year over year.

Grace Lim: And then I tie it to like that business impact when making the case, right? So like, hey, like better promotion, better retention, right? Like looking at like annual employee surveys and seeing certain departments and teams doing actually significantly better and like the reasons why that is the case. And then I think the other thing that's also helpful is like influencing by having like other senior like executive sponsors be able to show that positive impact as well. So not just coming from a diversity leader quote unquote, but someone that they respect and also they see as like a peer or a mentor to be able to really articulate that impact is really important as well.

Janine Ramirez: Okay. Can we get Courtney's stake? Like how do you get people, how do you get buy-in for d e i initiatives from clients and from like we see here in the comments Yeah, buy-in from executives particularly.

Courtnie Barret-Parks: So one thing I learned about engaging with executives, and this is across the board, I'm, it took me a while I had to really kind of understand this, is that they, you have to speak in a language that impacts what they're looking for, what their needs are. If it's not reaching what their bottom line is, they're not gonna get it right. And so it's, it's, and I think Grace kinda started talking about this, it's about really understanding who your audience is and what matters most. You know, talking about is, is it growth? What is it? And and I think really keying into that as a starting point and, and as a conversation open, you know, we always talk about diversity being the right thing to do and the feel good, good thing to do, but as we know it, at the end of the day it impacts the bottom line. And so, you know, sometimes depending on who you're talking to, depending on you know, persons, their own experiences, sometimes you have to kind of just break it down to the bottom line, Hey, this is how this is going to help you. This is how this is gonna help your department, your team, your goals, your product line, your service, whatever it is, and kind of just make it real and align to to their needs.

Janine Ramirez: In your experience, do clients need convincing or like do they proactively want to improve their DA initiatives? Yeah,

Courtnie Barret-Parks: Honestly at this point I really haven't come across any client that's needed to be convinced. One of the things that I talk about, I mean at this point, right? You know, one of the things that I talk about when I conduct training on what makes diversity work is, you know, at the end of the day, organizations that don't embrace equity, diversity and inclusion will be less behind. That's, that's just what it's, and so I think companies are realizing that more and more. Now of course there are definitely levels of maturity within organizations, but as a baseline I think that all of our clients really understand that.

Janine Ramirez: That's great news at least to me to grace too. Grace, you wanted to add something?

Grace Lim: Yeah, I can add, I think for me it, it depends, right? I think there have definitely ran into issues where I had to convince them. So for example, right, like sales, very much revenue generating role. So the bottom line is that they need butts in seats as soon as possible because any day you go without hiring someone that's like lost revenue for a company. So, you know, some of the things we tactically had to do, right? Like to convince that stakeholder is essentially we needed to map out all of the like top talent by representation for like black, Latinx and women in the US and where to do that talent lie. Then we had to gather like essentially data around like where are greenfield territory? So where are untapped like sales, like territories we could still go into and then where is all of our headcount?

Grace Lim: And one of the things that we noticed in Google Cloud was that majority of these roles were in the east coast where had they had the least representation and the least greenfield territories. But then we actually saw a huge opportunity where, hey, when we look at this data, the southeast region has the most greenfield territories where you can like tap customers has the most representative top talent and you don't have any headcount there. So like can you actually shift your headcount to that area? And essentially we could rapidly hire for these roles at a much faster speed. And so that is a way we had to essentially convince a client to be like, hey, like we essentially need you to shift slightly your strategy so that we can deliver in a way that is hitting both velocity and representation at the same time.

Janine Ramirez: Yes, like data to the rescue, right? Like you can't argue with data. So like we're talking about getting buy-in. What do you think is the biggest barrier to the success of A D E I initiative? Is it buy-in or is it something else? Let's talk to Courtney.

Courtnie Barret-Parks: So I think, there are few barriers, right? I think buy-in is, is a huge one and, and and buy-in at the executive level. But also what I found is that you can have buy-in at the executive level but then it doesn't trickle down to kind of that middle management layer. And I think that that's huge because that's where a lot of issues or concerns happen, right? If your executives are are saying one thing, Hey this is our message, you know, we're sending against discrimination, you know, this, this is our, or whatever it is, these are our policies. And then when you get down to that middle management layer and people are experiencing things one-on-one and don't align with the values of the organization, don't align with the message that the executives are, are saying, that's because there's a disconnect somewhere in that chain, right?

Courtnie Barret-Parks: And so I think that that buy-in piece is key. I think another piece, and this goes back to this mindset change, right? And truly understanding what equity, diversity, and inclusion mean, right? And, and, and it, it's, it's not about, and I I like to kind of, it's it's not just about kind of doing the all the same and then just saying, hey let's, let's bring in a woman of color, right? It's, it's, it's so much more than that. You have to widen your thought process about ideal candidate, ideal processes, you know, and and and things like that. So I think a mindset change is huge and then that executive buy-in MS huge, I think another barrier and I kind of talked about this earlier is we, and this goes back to kind of the influx of D N I roles. You hire one person, a program manager or manager or leader or whatever, and you say, Hey you're overall the D N I initiatives for the organization, we need to set strategy, you need to execute and it needs to work and if it doesn't work up we're gonna get rid of you. Right? And you don't have that support, you don't have that buy-in from other parts of the organization. And so you kind of have this person that's set up to fail and then you can say, well hey, we tried it and, and it didn't work. And so definitely you know, having that support from the organization, making sure that your strategy, your diversity strategy aligns with the org strategy and then that mindset change.

Janine Ramirez: Great. I wanna touch on like your point about middle management a bit later, but I wanna get Grace's thoughts on like the biggest barriers to D E I success.

Grace Lim: Yeah, it's similar to what you know Courtney is saying. I think number one is lack of accountability, right? Like how is everyone in the organization held accountable to D E I progress and commitments and are we all centering our work around the same objectives and priorities is one that I commonly see. I think the second one is a checkbox approach, right? So approaching it as a checklist of things that needs to be done. So like this training ha needs to happen by this date, right? And once it's done then then there isn't more work to do that needs to be done around like evaluating and monitoring and adjusting our approach there. So instead of seeing it as like a long-term effort, you see it very much like a short-term checkbox, very like to-do list type of thing. And yeah, and the third thing I think is like lack of awareness around like inherent biases and just like the systemic injustices that we see within like the walls of like the company.

Janine Ramirez: Great. I'm noting accountability down, that's something we wanna touch on later on but let's talk a little bit more about the challenge that Courtney mentioned previously and in an article that she wrote on LinkedIn which is empowering a more diverse management like level. So why should organizations take diversity into consideration for leadership roles? And again, like that whole debate, is it against equal opportunity

Courtnie Barret-Parks: A absolutely. And so you know, really what my article was addressing was organizations that want to increase diversity in leadership and then the first step that they do is try to hire externally, right? And as we know as anyone who works in recruiting, you know, top talent is already hard talent scares market And then to try to find diverse talent is even harder, especially at that leadership level and they are in high demand, right? And so that's usually the first step is to hire e externally as opposed to developing and cultivating their internal workforce for that pipeline or succession plan into leadership that's really gonna help them achieve those goals. Once again, it goes back to that conversation that, that when we talk about diversity, we're not talking about a lack or less than or a decrease in performance or or quality, right? We are always hiring and promoting based on merit and skill and we wanna make sure that everyone in the organization has access and opportunity to develop those skills and competencies needed to advance within the organization. And that's that crux of of equity and that's kind of what Grace was talking about earlier. It's just removing barriers to provide access and opportunity. And so, you know, we are doing that at the individual contributor level and I steadily preparing them for every single step of the way so that when we do have leadership positions open, it's not about you don't over meritocracy or anything like that, right? You have a ready, well-trained, cultivated, diverse workforce ready to advance

Janine Ramirez: And that's connected also to like, we're seeing a lot of like tech layoffs recently and we talked to like some HR professionals and there's like, if you are going to hire leadership positions, try to get them internally because if you are like laying people off and then bringing new people in, it just doesn't make sense. But yeah, like I can imagine that for diversity, if you hire or promote internally then it's a lot easier to like, you know, the person deserves it, they've been there for a while and you've seen how they work and

Courtnie Barret-Parks: They know your organization, right? There's a cost to train, there's a cost to hire, but there's also a cost, a cost to train and to get new individuals to where you need them to be before it becomes profitable for the organization. So, you know, it's it's, it's the save a cost savings all around.

Janine Ramirez: Awesome. Okay, I wanna like shift a little bit and talk about remote working because it's a big shift that we've experienced as we we've experienced in the last years. So how has remote work affected how people perceive the approach to D E I and has a lack of face-to-face interaction made it more difficult to create like a melting pot of cultures for organizations? Let's start with grace.

Grace Lim: Yeah, I mean I think one of the biggest pros is that it allows you to really diversify your pipeline, right? You can really hire talent from anywhere, which means access to a lot more candidates that you traditionally would not have access to. But I think it also improves the work experience for existing employees and enhancing like retention as well as like bolstering like leadership pipeline like we just talked about. I think there's also a very unique opportunity though and probably one of the key challenges is like bringing people together to share like their perspectives and views. Because I think as remote work happens you have more of a microscopic view of the world that you are surrounding yourself with because now you need to make a more conscious effort to get together with people cause you're not in an office setting. So I think it's a lot more around like the intentionality about like change management, like the policies and the accommodations that are being provided and how you're communicating, right? And as well as like working across different time zones as well need to definitely be mindful of

Janine Ramirez: Great. Like Courtney, how has it changed like from 2018 from when you started to to now thanks to remote working?

Courtnie Barret-Parks: So what's what's what's interesting is at Ronstadt the vast majority of our, our teams actually work virtually and have been well before the pandemic. So when it happened for us kind of just, you know, flowed on. Now we do have field operations and recruiters at city branches and so for that, that was an impact. But a large part of our workforce is, is virtual. And so it's interesting because sometimes there's a concern that when we think about virtual remote work, how does that, how does that support inclusion, right? Individuals aren't face to face, you know, meeting each other and kind of staying engaged. And so, you know, working with Ronstadt we've been able to kind of adapt to that in soft that. So we have, you know, our, our BRGs, so we have other affinity networks and groups and they all find creative ways to engage virtually. So in virtual happy hours, trivia games, things like that, we found a way to definitely connect in that virtual space. But on the flip side, you know, we also know that remote remote work can also positively impact diversity and equity. And when we think about things like access, right? And so remote work can positively affect persons with disabilities both visible and invisible. Those with dealing with housing or location or transportation challenges, caregivers. So there's definitely a equitable piece of kind of that remote work. When you think behind those, those pros and cons,

Janine Ramirez: Like I'm definitely pro remote work, it's just complicated, right? When you're trying to build your culture remotely with so many different people and so many different places. Okay, so we've established, sorry, we've established that enabling the AI culture is good for business. We mentioned accountability, let's plot like next steps forward concrete steps that HR and leadership can take to improve diversity, equity and inclusion in their organization. Courtney, concrete steps, how do we do it?

Courtnie Barret-Parks: So I always say you have to start, and this is with any strategy, the first step is in the data, right? And so you need to understand, and there's so many data points that are important. You need to understand the makeup of your internal workforce. You need to understand the progression of individuals within your ex organization and understand that from a demographic perspective you need to understand what your experience is. Also from a demographic perspective, you should be looking at your hiring funnel both internal and external. You really have to understand where you are and and, and identify what the true issues are before trying to solve. I can't tell you how many times I've done consults with, you know, new clients or prospects and, and the first thing they'll talk about is, oh yeah, you know, so we implemented a blind hiring system or we, you know, we're, we're blinding resumes.

Courtnie Barret-Parks: And I'm like, okay, well that's great but have you identified that bias is the issue within your organization? Because if you're having an attraction issue you could blind all the resumes that you want. If you're only attracting, you know, someone from one demographic, it doesn't matter if if you're, if you're blinding resumes. And so I think understanding that data and understanding your starting point is so, so important. Both from a representation perspective, a process perspective as well as an engagement perspective. And then understanding that there is no one size fits all approach for an organization. So some other things that have come across are some, you know, potential clients and people or or organizations say, hey can you, you know, I'm, I'm looking, I was looking for some strategies online for similar organizations. Can you just kind of, you know, plug and play and and you know, can we just kind of build off of the strategy of of this competitor of someone else in the industry?

Courtnie Barret-Parks: And there is not a one size fits all approach and so everything has to be customized once again going back to and addressing the needs of your organization. The other I mentioned and I talked about this earlier is looking at your existing policies and practices. Do they run counter to your goals of equitable and representative leadership? So things like your pay practices, your perfor, your promotion and performance review process, your flexible benefits, you know, all those types of things. How do they support your goals? And then I also mentioned this earlier, Richard de and I strategy should align and flow seamlessly with your overall organizational strategy. It cannot be separate, it cannot be siloed. And usually the first step some people may say is oh we'll go hire once again go hire ahead of D N I, right? But hire D N I person to drive these initiatives and then underpin that by you know, with an active and impactful executive diversity council. And that's great right? And I'll say this again though, before you hire anyone or bring anyone into to this role, you need to ensure that you have the proper resources and structure and foundation and buy-in from the top to be successful.

Janine Ramirez: Great. Like do you agree grace? Like what are your steps to a successful D e I initiative?

Grace Lim: Yeah, I'll add to what you know Courtney is mentioning, I absolutely agree that first you know, look through the data on representation of hires, retention, promotion and inclusion. But then I think it's being really clear around your commitments and why are they your commitments, right? So is it more representation within leadership? Is it more equitable policies or processes for promotion and like why are these the focus areas so that all the employees of the company understand like this is the direct, the strategic direction we are taking and here's why. I think the other thing is like setting really clear measurable goals around these so that you can hold leaders accountable and you can monitor the progress and see what, how you're trending for inclusive environment, right? Like I think that's always a little bit harder but of course you know like how can employees continue to provide like feedback ongoing outside of those surveys I think is incredibly important.

Grace Lim: And how are managers being held accountable to the actual surveys and scores of those employees and how are you even coaching leaders to be more inclusive, especially in a remote environment. I think trainings is always something that I see a lot of people like commit to. I think one of the biggest, you know I think fallbacks is like, but like what is your follow up to ensure that the trainings are being used and applied and how are you making sure you're just not talking at people during these trainings and they're actually applying what they're learning is I think another critical thing to do.

Janine Ramirez: Great. Yeah. Okay. I wanna hear more examples but might be interesting for Grace. Like in a previous panel that we had in one of our shockwave docs in the past we had <unk> from Google's people analytics team and he mentioned that he told us a story that they had these like diversity annual reports with like data on representation objectives, demographics of hired personnel and things like that every year. And this helped like hold management accountable for diversity goals. So what are some examples of how to hold management and leadership accountable for these goals and to make sure that it's not just, you know, like talk.

Grace Lim: Yeah, I think first and foremost is like publishing those external diversity metrics is key, right? I know Google released our first diversity report in 2014 and I saw a huge wave of companies starting to do that and I'm seeing more and more companies do that each and every year, which is great to see. But I think that's first and foremost, right? Like not only do you need to publish anter but also within your like company like being very crystal clear around like what are the commitments. So for example at Google, you know with all of the Black Lives Matter movement, they essentially committed that we are going to increase, you know, representation of our black leaders, which is you know, L eight plus, which are directors and above directors at Google usually have over 250 reports or more by 30%, right? And so, and they're very much clear on like exactly outlining how are we going to get that to happen? We had a task force and then continuously reporting out on a quarterly basis of how we're trending to that goal I think was incredibly important. And yeah, I think also the other thing is like the different programs, right, that you are committing to like what are the success criteria there and what is the cadence of that communication going to look like moving forward of like how we are like progressing to that specific objective.

Janine Ramirez: Nice. Courtney, do you have any examples of like concrete initiatives that help d e I like improve in a company?

Courtnie Barret-Parks: So, so it's interesting cause some of the things that we're starting to see that I think is working is our skilling, skilling and development programs. And so that kind of really goes back to cultivating your internal workforce. At Ronstadt we have a skilling program called Transcend. The focus is from individuals from underrepresented backgrounds and we scale in for custom areas where we can also customize our skilling and and train specifically for whatever our client is looking for. We're seeing some of those types of programs in other, in other corporations as well as well as with some of our clients also internal leadership development programs and sponsorship programs. But the one thing that I will say about all of those programs, they're not going to be successful if you aren't strategic and targeted. So what does that mean? Don't start a leadership development program if you don't anticipate or forecast any leadership roles opening in the next five years, right?

Courtnie Barret-Parks: What you're doing is you're developing these individuals and, and you're training them and then they're just gonna leave because now they have these great new skills and I can take it to another organization. And so it needs to be strategic, right? You need to have positions open and of course forecasting is so hard, right? And so I mean, you know, it's, it's, I, I know that right? And so there's, there's gonna be a guessing component of it but needs to at least have an idea otherwise we have these programs and they're just not successful. So I think anything that's targeted strategic has a goal anticipated outcome and then clear steps that you can take to reach that goal. Those types of programs are the ones that we really see that are most successful. And then from a skilling perspective, something else that we see is that when you bring someone in and skill them and teach 'em a new skill and really pour into that person, they are more likely to wanna stay with your organization. And so it also really supports retention, mentorship opportunities once again are also good, but they need to be strategic, they need to be targeted in order to make an impact.

Janine Ramirez: Okay, we're talking now about like success, but how can you measure like the success of A D E I program? Like what are the metrics that you usually look for and what are your favorite tools to track them as well? I'm sorry, sorry, let's start.

Courtnie Barret-Parks: Funny question time for clients. How can we track, we need to track, you know, how are we tracking and, and I mean there are a few ways that you can track, right? So there are your, your hard concrete numbers of representation. You can look at an increase or a decrease in representation, you know, year over year you can, you can set a timeline and we can kind of get those hard numbers. You can look at numbers of promotions, attrition, all those things. So, so that's, that's one way, but you know, how are you tracking engagement? How are you tracking employee experience, right? And so we have other mechanisms that you can use, surveys and things like that. One of the hardest things to really track, especially when it comes to recruiting is the influence, our impact of outreach. Because a lot of what we're doing when we're sourcing and recruiting for diversity is getting onto the community.

Courtnie Barret-Parks: It's more about sharing initiatives, sharing your mission and value of your client. You may be going into different groups, social media pages, you may literally be going onto the community sharing flyers. I mean there's so many ways engaging, outreach, attending networking events, you know, referrals, all of these different ways. And oftentimes clients are like, well how do I, you know, tie that back directly to a candidate, directly to a hire. And, and that can be challenging. There is and always will be a a little bit of manual tracking and I know we hate to hear that some clients hate the hate the word manual tracking. But you have to, right? You have to be tracking where you're posting, who you're connecting with and in which outreach sources were fruitful and actually returned something. One of the other things from a tool and technology perspective that I'm seeing, RONA has a tool, talent radar, it's like a data analytics tool.

Courtnie Barret-Parks: And so we're able to kind of track all of our metrics. So if we're working with the client account, we can track things like time to fill, we can also align with our applicant tracking system and look at the diversity of the candidate pool, you know, where we are, you know, are we, how, how is that progression? Where are we seeing gaps? And so I love that of course the information is you know, aggregated and anonymized. But I love that because it really kind of gives you a snapshot and an ability from a dashboard perspective to kind of really track that success. So it's gonna be a mixture of some things, some things you can automate, right? But they're that manual tracking and that that human touch is always gonna be.

Janine Ramirez: I wanna get Grace to chime on, chime in here because she's been working with data a lot and job as well. So what are your favorite metrics and your favorite tools? Grace,

Grace Lim: It really depends on like the exact program or initiative you're tracking. But let's start with, you know, one of the ones that Courtney mentioned was like any type of like developmental programs, right? Like making the market type of programs where you're offering certifications or skillset building. I mean like first and foremost for that example I wanna see, you know, the canice you're applying like that you're reaching out to to encouraged to apply and like participate in a skill-based program. Like who are they and how many are you reaching out to? Some of the things that we did at Google is we would research different types of women organizations for example, right? That we can tap into advertise these different private programs and then exactly we would like map them out on LinkedIn based on those key search words, right? So I would wanna see that it would, the other thing I'd wanna see is exactly like the percentage of people that are participating in those programs.

Grace Lim: Like how many are actually just starting to interview for roles and then getting the role at the end of the day. So yes I agree like I think the headcount piece is incredibly important in terms of like for pipeline representation, like at Stripe we use Gem, that was like our source of truth when it comes to that. But I would say whichever tool that you do use and the tracking mechanism that you use, especially when it comes to any type of diversity reporting, a lot of it you'll see shows proportional representation. So it'll be very much like a percentage, right? I think the biggest important thing is that make sure that it also differentiates the end count of that so that you can see like the impact and the volume. It is a little bit sometimes a little tricky when it only shows the proportional representation. You'd also wanna look at like okay, what is a denominator to like actual number as well?

Janine Ramirez: You mentioned impact, how, like how do you measure impact of A D E I initiative? Like what are your favorite metrics to see Grace?

Grace Lim: Yeah, I mean I think number one is the representation of the hires and the pipeline, right? That like you're actually putting in, I think of course, you know what Courtney was mentioning is like retention and like progression within that company too. Because as we know, if you just look at representation of the hires and the pipeline, what you might see is you might see like a leaky bucket syndrome, right? Where you bring in exceptional talent but they are leaving rapidly like in the company and like leaving. And so essentially it's not a effective like long-term strategy there. And then of course at the end we'd wanna look at inclusion as well. Like how are the employees feeling about like bringing their authentic self to work? Like do they feel like they belonged? Can they, do they have psychological safety to voice, like concerns in their ideas?

Janine Ramirez: So the employee sentiment as well about like the culture and how they're feeling in the company. Great. Do you wanna add anything to that Courtney?

Courtnie Barret-Parks: No, I mean I, I I, like I said, I, I completely agree I'm there with regards to looking at those, that number of representation, looking at the movement, you know, and then of course any qualitative data that you can get. So going back to your engagement surveys, not just looking at from an merit perspective, but what are people saying? Are people filling out that extra part where they have to add their additional thoughts and what are they saying and and really leaning into that,

Janine Ramirez: We we're talking now about like employee sentiment and how employees feel about the company. So let's take the perspective of an individual contributor. So like as an ic, why should they care to support the EI initiatives? Cuz this is about like culture, you know, you need to get everyone on board. So just like three questions like from the IC perspective and I'll ask like Grace and Courtney to answer it. Why should I care about D E I initiatives? How can I contribute to this movement in my day-to-day work and what are the science that my organization is actually really prioritizing and investing in D e I? So let's start with Grace.

Grace Lim: Yeah, well I think in this talk alone we talk so much about like the positive business outcomes and economic benefits of D E I. So I'll steer away from that. But you know, we spend a significant amount of time at work, right? Our, and we all have a responsibility to create an equitable and inclusive work environment where all individuals can thrive and truly like bring the best ideas to the table. The other question of like how can I contribute to like D E I in my day-to-day, I think for me it's speak up when you see an opportunity to create a environment, whether it's in meetings, the way that your team communicates and collaborates with one another, the processes that you all are using and even the language that is being used on a daily basis. I still remember when my first manager at Google called out that I don't speak up in large team meetings, but then I have great ideas during my one-on-one and he asked me directly like how can he best support? And I shared with him, hey, like if you've noticed like the meetings are, a lot of it is like rapid-fire questions. Like we do not have an agenda, it's not set in advance. And I told him it would be helpful if he sends out some of these questions and discussion topics ahead of time so that I have time to think, right? And so that is nice essentially enables me to bring like my best ideas forward. And I think the signs that I like tell when an organization or company is truly prioritizing d e i, not just talk is like number one, is it very clear what the leadership commitment is? I look at also the board and executive team like makeup. I also look at the programs and initiatives that they have invested in and I also wanna talk to multiple people at the company to see like how is the company defining like progress and success and are they all very crystal clear on like what that strategy and objective is? Because if everyone is saying the a different thing, to me that is a red flag.

Janine Ramirez: That's such an interesting story that you said about like, oh, I need more time to think cuz I'm like similar. And it's just when people, when you hear d e i, you think, you know, like race where you're from, like culture, but really it's also how we work differently. Like, right, like being inclusive in oh, they're like introverts and ex extroverts and they're people that they're comfortable in a smaller group environment, bigger group environment. So yeah, that was like a, just an interesting insight that they had. Okay. Courtney, I see perspective, like how can they contribute and what are the signs that their, their company really is supporting the ei.

Courtnie Barret-Parks: And I, I agree with everything that Grace said, but you know, the first thing when she said that, because that was exactly my thought. You spend the majority of your day at work. If you're commuting, you're spending even more time on your way or at you home, but you, you spend the majority of your, of your day at work. So you want to be in an environment where you can contribute authentically. And then when we think about contributing de and I kind of your day to day, I always like to say empathy is so key and it's not something that's innate. You know, sympathy is something I feel like may be more innate, but empathy is not. And sometimes you oftentimes have to work on it being empathetic, listening to understand and not just to hear, you know, I think some of the issues that we have can just really purely be solved by a better communication and fostering and having that open, open communication and dialogue between one another.

Courtnie Barret-Parks: And then of course when we think about science, that your organization is truly prioritizing. D e i, does their walk match their talk? Did they just hire chief diversity officer here in 2020 and now they got rid of him or her? You know, did they not come out with any initiatives or any any outcomes? You know, are, are they talking a lot about representation but the organization is not representative of the communities that they're working in? And so I think that walk matching that talk is, is huge and you can always, you can always see it and you can always tell when it's genuine

Janine Ramirez: And I guess like hold them accountable, right? Like how, but how an IC for example, hold the company accountable for, for their d e I talk

Courtnie Barret-Parks: You, you, you have to speak up. I think sometimes we think we have this idea, oh, I'm a contributor. I can't, I can't be transparent with management, but you are the greatest asset to your organization. Leaders don't want to lose people and have to continue to hire and, and, and, and lose great people. Like they don't want. They want individuals to come to work to feel good and then to contribute to innovation and creativity. And to do that you have to provide a sense of belonging. And so speaking up, oftentimes organizations have, if you don't feel comfortable, they have like a anonymous ways that you can speak up within our organization. You know, you obviously have the HR channels, but we also have an ask the Executive Adversity council where you can anonymously submit a question to the executives and leaders and in lines of business leaders within the organization.

Courtnie Barret-Parks: And so speak up, you know, if there's a join, join the B R G or an affinity network or an opportunity where it gives you kind of that, that, that, that, that opportunity to kind of speak. We have in, in, in conjunction with our bgs, we also have a radio ambassador program and their goal is to kind of be an extension of the office of D N I. And so that's another avenue where you can get involved and, and, and, and speak up and, and, and even contribute to the success of the organization. So, you know, don't, don't think so much because you're in a, in an individual contributor level. And one of the things that I learned well before I became a manager was leadership is just about influence. You do not have to be a manager to be a leader anytime that you're influencing someone, you're leading them. And so you have that influence. Everyone does

Janine Ramirez: Inspiring words. Thank you Courtney. Okay, like sorry time, seven minutes left. I wanna get some AI thoughts cuz we are an AI company so I wanna get your perspective on how you think AI can, can be an inclusive technology and how it can empower D E I instead of being a barrier to d e i. Sorry, grace.

Grace Lim: Yeah, I mean definitely think it can empower because it leverages algorithm to like make decisions based on like fac and evidence, right? Instead of, and like really reducing that like human bias and subjectivity. I think for me, like at Google we had a job description tool that was built out and like that tool essentially automatically reviews all of our job descriptions for masculine language and keywords that we knew that based on research that it deters underrepresented groups, specifically women for applying to jobs. And just even we ran studies around how the job titles and the conciseness of the description also deterred a certain groups. And so, you know, that was really cool to like be able to leverage that. I mean I think barrier first year is something that I always think about is, you know, the data set itself needs to be representative and of course like the actual engineers working on it. But other thing that's top of mind for me too is just like the displacement of jobs, right? So like if AI starts to automate, I think we should closely evaluate like the types of jobs that are being replaced and who is it disproportionately impacting.

Janine Ramirez: That's a really interesting point and the whole AI debate. Courtney, your thoughts and AI and d e i

Courtnie Barret-Parks: And I think you kind of started talking about this earlier, Janine, is I think it's, it's interesting cuz we're like, okay, let's use AI to kind of combat bias. But if you have bias coming into the development of the AI that it's not really working out in the way that you want. And I think that's the biggest challenge when it comes to AI is are the systems inherently biased? Who is developing and this technology, the World Economic Forum estimates that 78% of global professionals with AI skills are male, right? And so I think that it's important that we have, and this goes back to the importance of diverse teams, right? It's important that we have diversity within these development teams. It's important that these teams are representative of the individuals and the communities that they're targeting.

Janine Ramirez: Awesome. Yes, exactly. LinkedIn user that I cannot see your name, who is creating the AI algorithms. We need the AI initiatives in AI companies. I'm gonna say that we're gonna do that initially internally as well. Okay. We have like five minutes left so I wanna get like your final words, like please include just a message on why d e I is still important to invest in, even in light of a recession or a crisis in the company. Like why should it be a priority? Let's start with grace.

Grace Lim: Yeah, I mean I think it's even more so important during like a crisis because of two aspects. One is like the employee itself, right? Like the morale and the environment needs to be even more inclusive during those times. And then two of course is, you know, the customer itself. There will be evolving needs during that time and you need to have as many diverse perspectives at the table in order to adjust your business strategy and be very nimble to that. But you know, I think the DI is such a journey and I think there's so much passion around, DI always comes from such a deeply personal place. And my thing is also like be patient as you're dismantling like deeply rooted like bias and prejudice and structural barrier that have existed first centuries.

Janine Ramirez: Nice. Courtney, final words.

Courtnie Barret-Parks: Yeah, I was gonna say I love, but Grace said about it's actually even the, the better time, right? Because in times of downturn, if we're not hiring, that's an opportunity to engage your existing workforce. That's an opportunity to, to do some upskilling, some developing, some pipeline kind of building so that when you know, roles are opening back up or the the economy turns around, you have a ready, diverse enable and willing workforce. And you know, we, we talk about bias and we've talked about it a lot and I, we all know that we all experience bias and that's kind of been this undercurrent for some of the issues that we're seeing. And so I always say, you know, address bias head on, don't hide it. It's something that we all have. Don't try to, you know, run it from it. I say embrace it and, and the best way to kind of deal with that is to value uniqueness, value diversity, value difference.

Courtnie Barret-Parks: Not just tolerate, but value it. You know, hey, I I wanna learn more about you, you know, being open and wanting to learn more about other people's cultures and differences and backgrounds. That's the way that you're really gonna foster that true inclusive environment. And that's the way that you're gonna make sure that every single person feels heard. And the only thing I wanna leave with is diversity once again just means different, right? And so oftentimes in the employment industry or in hiring, we think about diversity of, of, you know, gender, ethnicity, or race or other protected classes. And that's because there are regulations and statutes and guidelines and laws that companies have to abide by when it comes to reporting and outreach. But everyone is diverse. Diversity is just, it's different. It's just something that differentiates you and makes you unique. So every single person is a part of these diversity conversations. No one should feel excluded. It's about inclusion and not about exclusion.

Janine Ramirez: Thank you so much, Courtney and Grace, like honestly, I'm leaving with a really full heart, like it was such a good discussion. So thank you so much. Courtney Barrett Parks Vice President of equity, diversity and inclusion strategy at Randstand Source, right? And Grace Limb, former sourcing lead, Stripe and Google. We learned so, so, so much from you both. I I wish we had more time. I also wanna give a big, big thank you to our production team who is one person behind the scenes. Thank you Justin for being our director today. And thank you to all the participants for joining us. All the insights, all the questions that you send in. We hope you've come away with some new ideas and strategies for building a happier, more productive workforce. So don't forget to follow us cuz we're gonna be sending you the videos, making articles from all of these awesome insights that we got today. So that's a wrap on Adits Shockwave talks moving forward with d e i thank you so much for tuning in. I'm Janine and we'll see you in the next one. Thank you everyone.

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