Listen on Apple Podcasts
Yellow Canary Toy

53: DEI Disruption: Mandy Price and the Revolution

In this episode, we are joined by a remarkable guest, Mandy Price, the visionary founder of Kanarys

Like this?

Join 112,000 listeners every month who get expert insights on building amazing workplace cultures!


Welcome back to another insightful episode of “Truth, Lies & Workplace Culture”! In this episode, we are joined by a remarkable guest, Mandy Price, the visionary founder of Kanarys. Get ready for an engaging conversation as we delve deep into the world of diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) with a twist of disruptive innovation.

Meet Mandy Price, the driving force behind Kanarys, a pioneering DEI platform that’s rewriting the rules of workplace inclusion. Discover how Kanarys is transforming traditional approaches to DEI by leveraging data and technology to record, measure, and enhance diversity efforts in companies.

In this candid conversation, we talk to Mandy Price about her vision for a more inclusive future. Discover how Kanarys is becoming a catalyst for leadership transformation, inspiring organizations to embrace DEI at their core and drive lasting change that positively impacts people’s lives.

So, grab your favorite beverage, hit that play button, and join us on this enlightening journey with Mandy Price and the Kanarys revolution. Get ready for eye-opening insights and a new perspective on driving change in the realm of diversity, equity, and inclusion.


Connect with Kanarys:


All the links mentioned in the show.

Connect with your hosts

Related Episodes

Loved this episode? Here are some more you might like:

💬 Want a chat about your workplace culture?

📣 Got feedback/questions/guest suggestions? Email

👍 Like this kinda stuff? Click here to subscribe…

The Transcript

⚠️ NOTE: This is an automated transcript, so it might not always be 100% accurate!

Like this?

Join 112,000 listeners every month who get expert insights on building amazing workplace cultures!


Speaker 1 0:00
But there was an African American partner who would travel through the different offices because I worked with a national law firm both of the firms I worked at were national. She would be mistaken for an assistant. And so even though she was the partner on the deal, people would ask her to get coffee they were asked her to make copies of documents

Speaker 2 0:27
Hello, and welcome to the truth lives and workplace culture podcast brought to you by the HubSpot Podcast Network, the audio destination for business professionals. My name is Leanne. I’m a Business psychologist.

Al Elliott 0:37
My name is Al I’m a business owner.

Speaker 2 0:39
We are here to help you simplify the science of people and create amazing workplace coaches.

Al Elliott 0:44
Yeah, and we as this is a yet another episode in August, which we’ve started to do a little bit liked. I think you described it as the an because the idea is that people are usually on vacation on holiday. You don’t want any sort of like really deep episodes, we’ve tried to keep a little bit lighter this time. And so we’ve got found a story today which we will talk about in a second but let us know where you’re gonna help to just get on if you’re on LinkedIn. Then just jump on find his truth lies and work. Leanne tend to deal with that side of things, but you’ll be talking to her because I’m a bit of a boomer I don’t really know how to work it. But But yeah, just let us know what what you’re up to what you think.

Speaker 2 1:20
So today we are talking to Mandy Price, who is the founder and CEO of canaries. Owl was actually the lucky person that got to speak with Mandy so Alphaville as in who is Mandy, and what does she do?

Al Elliott 1:34
Studying at Harvard Law, Mandy represented multibillion dollar transactions. During her time in corporate law. She co founded canaries in 2018. And as CEO, she continues to provide the tools required for companies to push through their D AI changes and requirements. In 2021, they secured $3 million worth of funding to allow their expansion. And today over 600 companies are represented represented in the index. Also, big fans include the chief diversity officer from coke and also PepsiCo, they dog food. In other words, they embrace diversity at the heart of their culture. Their entire executive team is bi POC, and it’s over 50% representation by women. So before we jump into the interview with Mandy, it’s our favorite time of the week. It’s the new round of

Unknown Speaker 2:25

Al Elliott 2:27
What have you got Leah? knew you weren’t?

Unknown Speaker 2:33
Dead Zone?

Al Elliott 2:34
I think I’ve seen that film. burn burn? No, I don’t think you’d have Backdraft or danger zone or draft. That’s a good films I could film? Well, I say it’s a good film. I’ve not really seen it. I add

Speaker 2 2:48
that to the list of 80s. Classic. So you haven’t watched the 80s 90s?

Al Elliott 2:52
Something like that? I think it’s regular listeners will know there was a big long list of films and movies that I need to see. Because I’ve not seen karate kid I’ve not seen. I’ve seen about six films. Anyway. Sorry. Back zone draft. What was what was the word? Zone? That was it? What have we got? Any ideas? Dead Zone? Is it the part? Is it the hour after your lunch? Where you just don’t want to do anything?

Leanne Elliott 3:20
What’s interesting is that that that’s probably your dead zone, you’re not very good that hour after lunch, are you but for most people, that’s actually when they have a little boost is after lunch. deadzone does refer to exactly what you’re talking about. But at a different time of the day. It is between 4pm and 6pm where bosses is saying they’re not seeing the same levels of productivity as they did pre pandemic pre remote working. So the dead zone has been coined the period between four and 6pm. Where apparently it looks like not much is getting done.

Al Elliott 3:51
Obviously, I’ve not worked in in corporate I know you haven’t really worked in corporate working offices. I can tell you understand that. I can see I think a four o’clock for me. I just get a little bit like bad enough. Yeah, it’s time to start. It’s time to pack up. I don’t understand because should should leaders or should bosses be saying okay, well look, if you’re not gonna get anything done between that time just suck it off and go home? Or should they be pushing to get people to do stuff during that time? What was the solution?

Leanne Elliott 4:20
Well, bosses are complaining that they’re having trouble getting hold of people or booking meetings at that time, who in their right mind would book a meeting between four and 6pm? Anyway, I have no idea. Complete psychopaths. What’s interesting is that this has come from research from Microsoft. And what they’ve actually found is that yes, whilst this deadzone does exist, we are now seeing the existence of a triple peak day. So whereas previously, we used to have two periods of time during the day, where performance and productivity seemed to peak and that was typically before and after lunch, we are now seeing a third period, which is the period before bedtime or the hours before bedtime. So what we are Last thing is yes, people are logging off between four and 6pm. But they are logging back on at about eight, nine o’clock and doing those couple of hours before they head to bed, probably because they are trying to prioritize other things in their life. I’m sure childcare plays a big factor in that. Even just just that, that kind of sense of, I don’t know, just that drain that you feel maybe at that point, you have a little break, you come back to it, you feel a bit more, a bit more energized. But yeah, bosses are kind of kicking off about this. And I’ll be honest, I’m bored. I’m really bored of the, the narrative that is happening around this because it it I’m sure it existed to some extent before the pandemic, it’s just you could see them and people get away with it. And they weren’t as inclined to look back on the year though they couldn’t because they didn’t have the technology to do it. It’s almost like employers like dance, dance, monkey dance. And it’s just boring. Now I’m kind of getting over it to be honest, treat people like adults, if they behave like them cool. If they don’t, then that’s a performance management compensation. I don’t see why we’re making such a big deal.

Al Elliott 6:00
Now, and I think we a lot of our a lot of our episodes in the center around this, this idea of like you say, treat them like adults, because they are adults. And I’m sort of what was the outcome you’re looking for here? What’s the worst outcome. And if the work gets done, then who cares what’s done between 1am and 6am, or done between 9am 9am and 5pm. That’s such an archaic way of looking at things. And as we’ll find out in a couple of episodes time we were in. I’ve been preparing it today, and one of our future guests. So I won’t say because it’s going to be surprised when a future guest said that asking people to do eight hours of continuous focused work is just ridiculous. Because we can’t do that. We couldn’t do that with our hobbies. I mean, can you spend money doing spending eight full hours surfing or something? Something which is a really high focus? activity? So why are we expecting people to do the same at work? Let’s just stop. Stop trying to squeeze the maximum we possibly can out of people and just go look, this is the outcome. Can you do it? Yes. Do I care when you do it? No. That’s my thoughts anyway. What else you got there?

Leanne Elliott 7:07
Well, speaking of people potentially getting sacked for lack of work. There was an interesting article in the UK news this week that did it did I’ll be honest, it tickled me and then it concerned me and then it kind of tickled me again when I read it. Six workers from the Royal Mail postal workers post do they deliver the letters, six was sacked because they went to a pub on their tea and coffee break to drink tea and coffee no evidence that alcohol alcohol was consumed. But yet went to a pub to drink tea and coffee on their break therefore got sacked.

Al Elliott 7:42
Wait a minute, they went all they did was go and buy tea and coffee somewhere and they got sacked for it. Yes, fired for those across the pond. I suppose it’s quite apt that postman gets sacked because that’s why they have big sacks of mail Anyway, moving on. So hang on. If I understood this, these boys and girls decided they want a coffee. They went to let’s say Wetherspoons which is a large chain of of pubs in the UK. They’re sat down had a tea and coffee. And then there was sacked for going to the pub.

Speaker 2 8:14
Yeah, so digging a bit deeper. Obviously the unions got involved with this as well. But digging deeper the claim was that up for optics, this wasn’t great because you had several posts, people sat in the same pub at the same time drinking tea and coffee. And there is an issue this was actually at the delivery office in printing on the world. And apparently there are some other operational issues there which does mean that people local residents aren’t getting their mail. So this updates plus the the issues with delivery did lead to these six people being sacked since then, five have been reinstated and one is still waiting to hear their fate but that kind of got me thinking owl what is the oddest reason for people getting sacked? Because that’s a bit weird, isn’t it? Drinking a cup of tea? The poop? Fair enough? I get it but equally like you say, you know, we have lots of pubs that are open during the day and they’re quiet so whatever. So anyway, yes. Got me thinking what’s the weirdest, weirdest reason for being sacked? So I did some research and I’ve got some and I thought I’d ask you as a business owner yourself who has employed people? Would you stop people for these offenses? Would they remain hired? Or would they be fired? Or why like this

Al Elliott 9:28
hired or fired? We need a jingle for this.

Speaker 2 9:33
Cue the jingle Are you ready for the first one? Yes. So this is this. These are apparently they’re from BuzzFeed, mainly, apparently are legitimate, actual reasons why some people did get fired from their roles. So number one owl. I once got fired from a construction crew for banging my hammer to a funky rhythm.

Al Elliott 10:00
I just just want to set the rules this is these are supposedly happened and you’re asking me whether I would hire or fire or whether I would fire someone basically. Absolutely not. No. I think that’s what that’s what the world needs a bit more funk in their life I think could you

Speaker 2 10:14
imagine if you put anyone in what kind of like groove would you want to be here and

Al Elliott 10:19
I’m thinking something motor depends on where you want to be fast. So it I mean maybe you’re thinking about sort of German things maybe if you want work to be done quickly, you certainly don’t want it to be done to like the carpenters which like bomb all of carpenters would be a good good band to choose to bang a hammer to they wouldn’t. Just came to me, I’m a genius. I’m here all week to try the fish.

Speaker 2 10:49
So you just just to be clear, you wouldn’t fire somebody they would remain hired if they decided to, to hit the hammer in a funky rhythm. 100% Excellent. Number two. I got fired for stealing food from the work fridge.

Al Elliott 11:03
See? Well, there’s no context to that. Are we talking about stealing someone’s lunch? Are we talking about spat taking stuff that was gonna go in the bin anyway? I that’s a potential fire just because I don’t know you’re taking something that isn’t yours. If they’d said I got fired for taking food from the work fridge that was gonna go in the bin anyway. Okay. No, that sounds okay to me. I got fired for stealing. I don’t think I had anything else to that. Because yeah, I think fine.

Speaker 2 11:34
I agree. I think it’s I think those things are kind of sacred anyway, if you know you’ve got some that you looking forward to for your lunch. Plus, you don’t know circumstances you don’t know if people can’t afford to buy lunch with you why they bring it with them? Or you know, it just shows that lack of like said disrespecting if you’re gonna go behind your colleagues back and do that. What else are you gonna do? So yeah, I’m with you. That’s a that’s a firing offense for me. What else you got the two this might be my favorite one. I accidentally pocket dad my boss while venting about him to my wife. I was told the next day I could resign or be fired.

Al Elliott 12:16
got mixed feelings about this? Because to a certain extent, would it not be good for the boss to find out what people actually thought of him or her? Is this not accidentally really good feedback? At the same time? It’s not nice to vent about I mean, to be fair, we have all done it, but it’s not nice to vent about, about people behind their back. I do this all the time, whenever if not I don’t vent all the time, but if I ever do want to just like get off the phone from someone just go off Leann you’re never gonna guess what this person said. I always put my phone up and I always like put it on airplane or if it’s on WhatsApp, I closed the app just in case because I’m paranoid that’s gonna happen. Did you hear about the guy? Recruitment advisor? It was on Radio One recruitment advisor apparently rang This guy wants to be a teacher with with like a trainee next to him and said, Yes, we might have a couple of jobs for you. Would you like to give us give us a ring back please Raul for whatever his name was? Thanks very much. Put the phone down but but left this message, by the way on his answer phone, put the phone down, but didn’t put it back in the cradle, and then turn to his training when it seems like a bit of a pedo to me, like he wants to work with kids not sure about that. And then you could hear like silence the idea the person came back and he went, Oh, and then he put the phone down

Unknown Speaker 13:27
properly. Oh, God, I can feel it. You can feel it.

Al Elliott 13:31
And the worst thing is that you’ll be thinking I’m sure an hour he was thinking, why didn’t I just lift the phone backup, press hash to get the menu and then delete that message. As soon as I put the phone down, the message was gone. It’s like sending an email or not getting it back. Anyway. Anyway, so that’s so for me. That’s a tricky one. What do you think?

Speaker 2 13:50
I agree. I think it depends on the context of it. I think with your recruitment example, I think that might might be a sacking offense there for a number of reasons. But mainly, if you honestly do believe this person might be a pedophile. Why are you trying to offer them a job with kids? You know, that’s just in terms of due diligence in your job, you don’t seem to be doing very well. I think in terms of the venting to your wife thing. I think that’s fair game is not happening in a work situation not happening with a work colleague. It’s happening in your own time, you’ve accidentally phoned somebody so your intention was not for someone to hear that very private, home based conversation. I don’t think it is a heart sacking events and more. So I agree with you. I think that is a really good opportunity for a leader to go. Okay, I wasn’t meant to hear this. I did. We should probably have a conversation about this. And I would also say the really cool it is out there. Mike go. Do you know what I’m gonna do? I’m not gonna bring this up with that individual and make that potentially awkward targeting type scenario. I’m going to take this as my sign to run a 360 feedback survey and get my peers my employees my boss asked my customers to rate me on these behaviors if I’m seeing similar type of feedback, or will be, I’m sure much more constructively presented, then maybe my my employee, having it having a bit of event had a point. And on the opposite side if I didn’t see anything that that would suggest that what that employee was saying was true. Maybe it’s time for that one to one conversation and check in and see how they’re doing.

Al Elliott 15:22
Yeah, true. And also, let’s be honest, if they are venting to their partner at home, perhaps it’s just taking some of the stress out of everything so that when they come back to work, they’re like, Okay, back to work. We’ve all done it. We’ve all vented just just so that we could get off our chest, and then we go back on get back on with our lives. So that’s an interesting one is the instant I liked this game. Yeah, that one, I want to have like cards next time, like hired or fired or whatever. So you need to put a bit more effort into your games early.

Speaker 2 15:49
Okay, I will try for next time. Anything else? No, that’s

Al Elliott 15:53
brilliant. Okay, so let’s get on with the episode. So we have some such an interesting episode here. As I alluded to, in the intro, this lady is very, very busy, because she’s building something pretty incredible. Now canaries is this dei platform, I want to just take a second to talk about the different types of platform, there’s two main types of sort of like, I call them HR apps, because I know that’s, that’s a bit broad. But there’s lots and lots and lots of them out there. If you type in well being app or workplace app or something, there’s lots of pieces of software out there, they tend to fall into two sort of areas or two types. The first one is an algorithmic based app. And that’s something where it’s usually it’s a survey, that all the results come in, and an algorithm will then calculate the report and spit it out. That’s good business for these apps. But because obviously, they don’t have to have someone to do all this. But at the same time, you and I, Lea, we we have the feeling that it’s not necessarily the full solution there. And the second one is expert based analysis. And that’s where you’ll actually have a human who will sit down and look at the results. Now, you might also have an algorithm to work out all the sort of like, you know, the numbers and stuff, but that’s where you have a human to sit down interpret it and and create some actions based on and that’s what our own RX seven is based on? And also what can areas is based on, which we’ll talk about in a second. So, I mean, Lea, do you think there is a place for the sort of algorithm the machine AI only sort of apps?

Speaker 2 17:26
Is there a yeah, there’s a place for that, I’m sure. But I think it’s recognizing their constraints and their limitations as you, as you said, I think the key thing is if you collect any type of data from your employees, you have to make a commitment to accessing that data, because you will do more damage. Even just by asking for feedback, you’re gonna see an uptick in things like morale and employee voice and psychological safety, those things in on, on followed through and actioned or at least responded to those levels of bringing a dip lower than they were when you started. So yeah, I guess it’s a case of it doesn’t really matter where your data comes from, as long as it is reliable and valid. It’s more about acting on said data. And my understanding is, if you have maybe more expert backed or complemented system, that’s much more likely to happen.

Al Elliott 18:14
Brilliant, brilliant. Well, Monday, obviously agrees. Let’s go meet Monday.

Speaker 1 18:18
My name is Mandy price. I am the CEO of Canaries, and we help organizations create more inclusive and equitable cultures. We do that by the use of our data and analytics platform. I have been working within a law firm for for many years, and helping them with their diversity, equity, inclusion strategy, and felt that we were really limited when it came to data. We were had demographic data, but we didn’t have the data to really help us have a holistic diversity, equity inclusion strategy. And so what we do at canaries is help organizations measure not only diversity, which is the easiest part to measure, but help them measure inclusion, equity and belonging.

Speaker 2 19:02
I wanted to understand what made canaries so special. So we asked Mandy, what does it do? Exactly?

Speaker 1 19:09
So our name canaries comes from canary in the coal mine. I had a professor actually in law school that had a book. And that’s where I got the name around that. But it’s also around the concept of canaries were taken into coal mines is dealing with workplaces and ensuring workplaces were healthy. The gas was odorless, colorless, tasteless, and the canary was there to be that first alert. And we’re doing the same thing for workplaces where they may not know right, they’re dealing with a lot of things that are invisible to see. And we’re that first alert for them to ensure that they’re maintaining that healthy workplace. So what canaries is, is, it’s a software program, where we do a number of assessment Since, but we combine that with managed services so that you don’t just have the analytics. We you work in tandem with our IO psychologist with our data scientists and with our D IB, professionals and experts. And so they have expertise on change management and workplaces how workplaces work. And so those individuals have trained many, many decades. The ones on our team around this this work. And so they understand how to bring about the kind of transformation that sometimes needed within the workplace.

Al Elliott 20:37
Now, this is the second episode we’ve done on Dei. The first was back in episode 45. And we let loads of things on that. What I wanted to ask Mandy, though, straight from the horse’s mouth, all these terms, do they mean the same thing?

Speaker 1 20:50
No, it’s a great question. They all mean very different things. And so we’ve seen that diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging has changed over time. It really started out with affirmative action programs, and then moved into the kind of current format of what we see now, which is moving away from that compliance based look to see how do we cultivate an environment where all of our employees can belong and thrive within the workplace. So when we think around diversity, we’re looking at demographics, we’re looking at elements of your identity. So I know people traditionally think of gender and race, but it goes much beyond that. We look at things around religion, sexual orientation, disability, neurodiversity. It’s all these elements of of you, what makes you you Right? And how do we ensure that our workplace is representative of society. And when we think around inclusion, we think around all those identity components and say, no matter what my identity is, I feel included within my workplace. As we start to think of equity that goes on, no matter what my identity is, I have the same opportunities within the workplace, I’m able to thrive within that workplace, I’m not limited or kind of subjugated to certain departments or My pay is not equitable, it really is ensuring that I have the same opportunities, no matter what my identity is ever background is. And we’re seeing the evolution now really go to belonging, which is how do we ensure that all employees feel like they belong within that workplace and feel like they can be their true selves and authentic selves within that workplace as well.

Leanne Elliott 22:36
What’s interesting is there are a lot of companies that think diversity and inclusion is a barrier spreadsheet, about tracking the diversity and demographics you have within your organization. But that’s not really measuring anything, as Mandy explains,

Speaker 1 22:50
because what we’ll see is some workplaces, they’re really focused on diversity. Again, because that is the easiest to measure. And so they will want to ensure that there’s different faces different demographics within their workplace. But diversity alone isn’t enough. If we have diversity within the workplace without the inclusion, equity and belonging, we have a workplace. That’s where you hear kind of the phrases of tokenism, or you’ll hear sometimes the diversity revolving door, where we may have talent that comes in, we may be able to recruit them, but we won’t be able to retain them. Because we haven’t properly set forth the foundation in the workplace to cultivate an environment that is inclusive, and where talent all talent can thrive. So when I think of a good workplace, and there’s a lot of research around this, you know, one of the really foundational reasons why I started canaries was that I felt that organizations were very well intentioned, but that they didn’t really understand because they weren’t IO psychologists or they weren’t having those kinds of backgrounds of understanding the decades and decades of research that went into this work that di was hiring. And that was focused only on hiring, and that di was programmatic. And so if your di programs are simply based off celebrating the different months, that’s a start. But that’s not going to really drive transformation within your organization. Because we have to really set up the policies, the practices, the structures, to cultivate an environment that is both diverse, equitable, inclusive, and has that sense that creates that sense of belonging amongst employees.

Leanne Elliott 24:44
It might sound obvious and if you did listen to our previous episode on EDI, you will already know this, that diversity starts with recruitment and expanding the diversity and demographics of your talent pool. I’ve helped company with this type of thing for you is because it can be so easy for bias to creep into a recruitment process, particularly if it’s not evidence lead, if you haven’t conducted a job analysis, if you haven’t conducted any type of evaluation around the person that you need or that traits, competencies experience that you need, even in terms of where you advertise the role, whether you make the point that candidates can apply, if they don’t meet, perhaps meet every single aspect of the criteria, all of these things can prevent certain people certain demographics, from applying for roles. And that in itself reduces the diversity of not only our candidate pool, but also them potentially creates bias in our recruitment processes. Certain psychometrics are biased against certain demographics of people, and they’re well tested, well researched tools, but bias will still exist. For example, if we are conducting a psychometric that is dependent within the context of Western culture. And we are administering, administrating that to somebody who grew up in in a different culture and Eastern Asian culture, they’re going to be disadvantaged from not knowing the these context references, that can create bias, there’s so many different ways to accidentally create bias in your recruitment processes. A Monday recognizes this too.

Speaker 1 26:19
And so when we think around an organization that maybe has the way they’ve done talent acquisition and their processes in place for many, many years, it’s much harder to change that the way people may be used to doing business where if you start to think around, and well, I’ll just talk around talent acquisition, briefly, because I think that’s just the easiest way for people to understand because everyone has usually gone through a hiring process, as we start to think around di, that we know for example, a DI best practice is to have standardized scorecards, to have standardized questions, to ensure you have a diverse interview group. So that you can ensure you have a range of perspectives as well, and you reduce the opportunity for affinity bias.

Al Elliott 27:08
Now hold on a minute, man, he just used a term that I’d never heard before affinity bias was that mainly

Speaker 2 27:13
in the simplest way of putting it affinity bias means we like people like us. We liked people, we tend to like people more if we have shared experiences with them in terms of where we grew up, what school we went to our hobbies or interests. And that is what affinity bias is, we’re more likely to perhaps make more favorable decisions, or be more lenient towards people who we feel as affinity with in the workplace. And in the recruitment context, that could mean things like, you know, I went to Harvard, therefore, if I see somebody else who went to Harvard, I’m going to favor them in terms of the selection process. It might be somebody who has experience in welfare work, like I do. It might be somebody who started a hospitality business in their late 20s owl that you would have an affinity with. It’s all of these things that of course, as humans, it’s natural for us to feel these closer connections to people who are more similar to us in a recruitment context. This can very obviously lead to bias and discrimination. What affinity

Al Elliott 28:19
bias also be, for example, if I’m recruiting for two people to work in admin, and then of the two people one person’s got a background in sales is quite salesy, and I quite like sales, and the other person is hasn’t, then would have been it? Would it be affinity bias if I went for the person who liked sales, for example? Or is that just me thinking a bit ahead of myself thinking, Oh, that could start in admin and move into sales?

Speaker 2 28:47
Yeah, I guess it is. It is affinity bias. The thing about affinity bias is it’s only bias if it’s not a required trait, your experiences don’t necessarily if you’ve got, if you’ve got somebody in admin, and you’ve identified it as part of your job analysis, that having somebody with a sales edge is going to be beneficial. I’ve recruited an admin person like that. And I absolutely the best interview that I’ve ever sat in because she just slid over some sales receipts from when she was in return showed how she just smashed it month by month. And for me, that was like brilliant because we’ve identified the job analysis, actually, somebody with a sales type of of background is more likely to have be able to build rapport with people easily and we were very customer, we were in a very customer heavy environment where she customer facing No, but having that trait because she was going to be put in situations where she wouldn’t need to engage with customers would be important. If you’ve identified that some kind of sales experience affinity with sales is important for the role, then that is not affinity bias, and that is when evidence lead recruiting process can save you from any claims of bias or discrimination. What would be an affinity bias if you had two candidates you’d identified as part of the administration while their sales, some sales acumen would be useful. And you had one person who done sales, knocking door to door and one person in sales a call center. And he referred the person doing door to door because that was the sell experience if you have that would be affinity bias.

Al Elliott 30:12
Gotcha. Great example, by the way, I totally get any.

Unknown Speaker 30:15
Mandy also has a really good example.

Speaker 1 30:18
So I went to University of Texas at Austin, I’ve have a candidate, they went to University of Texas at Austin, I’m going to spend the interview talking about UT football because I love UT football, we’re going to talk around our our days around the 40 acres. And then I’m going to in the interview and talk around how great this candidate was. And maybe we didn’t even delve into their expertise or their work history. And so we have to create processes within not just talent acquisition, but every area of the employee lifecycle to try to mitigate against the normal human tendency to have these biases produced. One of the things that I know you asked earlier, what are some of those other best practices, and like they said, there’s so many because there’s been so much research on this is, as we start to pull together job descriptions, right? We know there’s software companies, that all they do is looking at job descriptions for bias. We hear a lot of organizations and companies will say, well, we don’t have diverse talent applying for our positions. But they’re using the same job descriptions that they’ve always used, that is always produced, the kind of talent pipeline that they have, where there’s so much research that shows even the way you pull it together job description will affect who applies for that role. So if your job description is talking about, it’s not just the language you use, right? It’s the language but it’s also other things around how you characterize your organization around happy hours, or, you know, kind of the activities that the organization engages in. If I’m a working mom, I may feel like I don’t fit in there. If I’m an individual of a certain religious background, that does not drink, I may not apply for that position. So it really is from that foundational level thinking around how do we need to structure this to ensure our policies practices are promoting a workplace that is diverse and inclusive?

Al Elliott 32:19
I think if a lot of people listening to this, they’ve not had much experience with EDI EDI, there might be thinking, Oh, my God, this is so complicated. And I might get it all wrong. And I’m really frightened about doing this. What would you say to them? Lee?

Speaker 2 32:35
I would say start with the basics, right there is there is a legal aspect to recruitment and bias and discrimination that we have to make sure we are complying with we can’t ignore that. I think it’s like, you know, finance, you might you know, you need to submit your accounts every year as a business. Are you going to delve into, you know, engaging some tax wizard who’s going to set you up 12 Different companies in 12 different territories to maybe but probably not in your first three years of business. You know, that sounds like an Amazon type problem or solution. So the fact is start with the the basics that the legalities, the legal aspects in recruitment that you need to make sure you are covering. And again, this is where Job analysis and evidence lead recruitment process is going to help with that it’s going to make sure that you have done what you need to do ethically, morally, legally, to reduce bias and discrimination. In your recruitment process. I think there’s two different things. There’s one to try and reduce and prevent bias at one end of the scale. And the other is completely embracing and being proactive in diversifying your candidate pool Will anything change and turn to diversity unless you’re intentional about it? No. But equally, start with the basics, there is a good chance if you don’t have an evidence lead recruitment process. If you haven’t used or Bush job analysis process to structure your roles, and the person criterias you need, there is a good chance that without those things, bias and discrimination will exist within your recruitment processes. Start there. Once that’s all sorted, then we can look at how we can actually broaden our candidate pools and start to embrace diversity and inclusion. Mandy agrees and explains that this really is a learning process,

Speaker 1 34:20
right? There’s certain things that happened during the talent acquisition process that we can put in place to promote best practices and to reduce bias. There’s things we can do during performance management. There’s things that we do during learning and development. So there’s all these different elements as we look at the entire employee lifecycle that we can put in place. And I think it’s important because I know a lot of times organizations may feel overwhelmed by D IB. A lot of times people feel afraid to get it wrong. And you know, I always encourage organizations to understand that this is something that People are constantly evolving, kind of as we started this conversation, it started out as diversity. And now it’s diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging. And so this is something that you will be continually learning, I think one of the things is to realize that it is that journey, that you will continue to mature on your D IB journey, and that you know, the things you can’t be afraid of, of, of that learning.

Speaker 2 35:28
Nobody expects you to get it right straight away. And even canaries got it wrong at one point,

Speaker 1 35:34
because we have advisors on our board as well, that represent a variety of different expertise levels. So individuals that have expertise in LGBT issues, individuals that have expertise in disability. And within some of our assessments early on, we were using terminology around differently abled, and one of our advisors is on the board of the American Association with people with disabilities. And he told us don’t use that phrase that’s actually offensive to disabled individuals. And we took that as a learning, right, we weren’t afraid and saying, oh, no, we’re afraid that we’re may offend disabled people. So we’re not going to do any work around that. And I think that’s a lot of what we’re seeing now is that people are so afraid that they’re going to get things wrong, that they kind of just avoid it altogether. And I think it’s important to lean into the work to realize that it’s going to be a continuous learning journey. And to realize that your employees aren’t seeking perfection, what they’re seeking is your commitment to this work, and your commitment to helping to create a workplace that is inclusive for all individuals. And you’re realizing that you’re not going to be perfect, but that you’re committed to continuing to improve.

Leanne Elliott 36:55
Obviously, I am a huge advocate for diversity and inclusion and equity. In the workplace. I am not saying that you do not need to worry about these things, or shouldn’t want these things in your business. Research continues to show us. It’s not just building human centered workplaces or responsible businesses. It’s also really good commercially, we know that diverse teams typically are higher performing, they have lower turnover rates, they have higher engagement, high levels of innovation, creativity, problem solving speeds, market revenue, profitability, the list goes on diversity, and inclusion is very, very good for business

Al Elliott 37:35
owners. This is all lovely and good. But what I really wanted to find out from Mandy was what I mean, with the economy, with everything that’s tightening at the moment business becoming tough businesses are going out of business. Nobody’s quite got the same disposable income as they had maybe five years ago in the height of everything. So I wanted to find out from Mandy, is this something that businesses should be investing in? And how much do they need to set aside

Speaker 1 38:01
as a startup, there’s nothing more important than your team, and ensuring that you are attracting the best team to your to your startup. And so I think that people have a skewed perception of the costs. When I think of even have our own platform, you know, of how much it costs, that I know that it’s it’s a cost is is very much manageable for most organizations. And so I think it’s a matter of kind of not trying to boil the ocean either. In thinking of how do we embed Dei, in a way that makes sense. And again, I would say it should be from that foundational level, as opposed to thinking of I need to hire and I don’t talk down on executive recruiters because we’ve hired him as well. Around I need to hire some executive recruiters to source diverse talent for me, when really you probably need to start thinking around the policies, practices, procedures that you need to be putting in place that are going to stay with your organization over time that you’re creating that right infrastructure.

Al Elliott 39:14
So warning, this is cynical owl coming. It’s like LOL, who’s a marketer? I was thinking, Do you think that some businesses just do this just to say they’ve done it? Is what Mandy said?

Speaker 1 39:26
I think it’s both. I think that there’s some organizations that do it for marketing. And I think that there’s some organizations that really understand because they’ve read the research over decades on the correlation of di to all kinds of business outcomes and to ensuring that their employees have the support and resources they need. When we look at di it’s not something where the research is only a couple of years old. This research has been going on since the 70s around D eyes impact to businesses and how it increases innovation, how it increases employee engagement, how it increases customer service, any kind of surveys they do with organizations that are more have ingrained di within their business strategies have better customer service satisfaction and better scores from consumers. We also see it lowers absenteeism in those organizations have higher retention rates, we also see the correlations to financial performance. So you

Speaker 2 40:34
may well be thinking why is di so much in the limelight right now it must be down to those darn Gen Zed is and you wouldn’t be wrong. The reason Gen Zed is so interested in this is because they are the first minority and majority generation, which is a really stupid phrase because that just the majority, but what it means is it where we had previous minority groups that might have been around race, ethnicity, sexuality, gender identification, those minorities and now a majority in the Gen Zed generation. So of course, as a diverse generation, they’re gonna care about diversity. And the research shows that to 62% of Gen Z, see increased diversity as good for society. 80% think it’s important for businesses and brands to be inclusive, and 53% Want to see more diversity in senior leadership. And as I said, it’s not just around race and ethnicity that Gen Z want to see this diversity, they want to see diversity in gender identification in sexual orientation in neuro diversity, it really is a much broader topic of conversation than it ever has been before. All the data shows is that businesses that fail to embrace the intersection of these minorities or diversities, and this can be anything from race and ethnicity to neurodiversity, and disability will struggle in the fight to retain talent.

Al Elliott 42:03
So I wanted to find out how would we know as business leaders, business owners, how do we know there is a D AI problem in our company? Who better to ask them Monday, so ask them,

Speaker 1 42:14
for example, when I was working within a workplace previously, at this point, I wasn’t a partner at the law firm. But there was an African American partner who which which travels through the different offices, because I worked with a national law firm, both of the firms I worked at were national, she would be mistaken for an assistant. And so even though she was the partner on the deal, people would ask her to get coffee, they were asked her to make copies of documents. And so that’s an example of a microaggression, where someone is assuming that she’s not the partner in charge on the matter, even though she was in the conference room. But they assume she was in the conference room for another reason. And so when we have workplaces, right, even though that is a diverse workplace, and someone is met with those micro aggressions, every day, it will affect your ability to retain that talent. Because then they don’t feel included. They don’t feel like they are having the same type of credibility as their peers. And usually people start to look for employment elsewhere.

Al Elliott 43:22
The Mondays experiences clearly skewed towards law, but she’s been a campaigner. For this for a long, long time, even going back to university days,

Speaker 1 43:30
we were really excited. We were one of the first universities outside of Atlanta to have a MLK statute. And the statute was asked all the time. And so the president of the university put in place a racial respect and fairness Task Force, and I was one of the individuals appointed. And so that’s really where I started to be first involved with diversity, equity inclusion work around really thinking about it from a systemic standpoint and institutional standpoint of how do we ensure that the organization from that foundational level is set up to promote diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging. I then went on to Harvard Law School and did a lot of research on these issues at the Harvard Civil Rights Project. And then when I was practicing law, I practiced law for 12 years, I was deeply involved within my law firms, di strategy. So it was on the Diversity Committee, the women’s Task Force, and lead up the Blackie or Jean, and that’s where I saw were organizations, again, very well intentioned, wanting to do the right thing, but struggling to really have the data that they need to drive their strategy. So as I I went from that law firm and started to work at another law firm and saw the same challenges there. And that’s where I really started to explore this idea of creating the company. I of course, being a lawyer and a little risk adverse did a lot of research. So I started to reach out to individuals that I know that had been kind of in the corporate sphere doing this work and were chief diversity officers for large organizations. So reached out to the chief diversity officer, they had recently retired of PepsiCo, same thing of Coca Cola and talk to them around the idea started to do whiteboard, whiteboard design sessions with them, and saw that there was really a market for this, there wasn’t anything that existed currently around, really delving into the data and the analytics in the way that we were,

Leanne Elliott 45:39
this isn’t just nice to have. This is our eye, when you collect data properly, and you analyze it in a way that is robust. And there is science sat behind the model that you have used to create your survey to collect that data, it is what we call a predictive model of x, whether that be coach and employee engagement, like our x seven, or whether it be diversity and inclusion, as it was, as it is with canaries. So what we mean by that is that that data is collected and is translated into insights. And those insights can be used to predict future performance, both in terms of individuals and organizations. So we know if we’re seeing certain data points, we can predict whether people are going to leave in the next six months time, whether people are going to go off sick, where they’re going to go, where they’re going to burn out, whether they are more likely to quiet quit, there are so many different things that we can predict when we have reliable and valid data that comes from using these types of tools. And I really think this is the evolution we need to see in terms of technology applied to people and culture. Technology is is not really the solution. It’s it’s part of the solution, or it’s an enabler of the solution. You know, it’s like any good CRM system isn’t a it’s not a case of I have a CRM is a case where I have a high functioning, reliable, effective CRM. I know I’m losing myself here, I’ll explain CRMs.

Al Elliott 47:09
Well, it stands for No, that’s a really good analogy. It is a really good analogy. And I think there’s like, we’re worried at the moment about AI taking over the world. And I don’t think we should be because the whole point is, is supposed to augment our lives, not like replace us. And like with anything, when you used to do if you do if you ever did like accounts, and you wrote in Ledger’s, then Excel was probably both frightening, but also amazing, because then you could do it all so much simpler with fewer, fewer mistakes. So technology is there to help us. And we’re not saying don’t go out and use any kind of workplace culture app was saying, just try and balance the idea of technology helping you augmenting this process with having an expert who’s looking over it, like they’ve got Canaries, with all of their data scientists and business psychologists looking over it ensuring that what’s being spat out as the as the data from the app is actually been is actually correct and right and is driving the right insights, insights and actions. In short, by using a technology platform that has got experts who are overseeing that, you’re going to take the guesswork out of everything.

Speaker 1 48:16
So some of the things that we’ve seen with clients is obviously lower time to higher ratios. We’ve seen organizations increase the diverse representation within their workplace. But we’ve also seen a lot of things where they’ve changed their structures and put those kind of foundational things we’ve talked about earlier around those best practices. And then our program is really meant to be targeted, so that we’re not guessing. We’re not saying we’re going to do an unconscious bias training, when that’s not what our organization needs. It’s understanding where the gaps and deficiencies so that we can ensure whatever we’re putting in place is going to meet the needs of our employees and be successful. So we’ve had learning and development that’s really tailored to that organization where they understand this particular hiring manager needs to be trained. As we look at this department, or division, these are the things we need to put in place. As we look at mental health. Within our workplace. We’ve seen that we were able to spot that for a lot of our customers before all the things we’ve started to see around burnout more recently, so they were then able to train their hiring managers to look for signs of burnout to be able to provide additional mental health support and resources to their organization, again, around how do we ensure that the programs and initiatives are what our team needs as opposed to kind of just guessing and doing initiatives and that’s where I think it becomes really costly. And people say, Well, I don’t see how we’ve benefited or we haven’t seen the effects of di is because they they didn’t know what di programs and initiatives they needed. They were just kind of guessing around What to implement within the organization.

Al Elliott 50:01
This comes back to what Leanne says all the time, if you collect the right data, if you analyze it properly, and if you come up with some logical actions, then you will see an ROI on what you do on anything you invest in, you will definitely see an ROI ROI 100% of the time. So, for example, if your recruitment process is not robust, is not good, then you run the risk of taking a hiring someone who’s not right, how much is a bad hire costly?

Speaker 2 50:30
It’s about three times salary in terms of kind of Recruitment Training, productivity costs, so yeah, if you’ve got a 50,000 pound a year, person salary that’s gonna cost you about 150 grand,

Al Elliott 50:42
just because you’re not doing the recruitment, right? You’re just you’re perhaps using those those affirmation bias, what was it not a fit affiliate? But what was the loyalty by affinity buyers before? Because you got oh, well, I liked them. They also support my new, for example, maybe not a great example with with Leann being a Liverpool fan. Same with disengagement. So if you have a team who are disengaged, or just coasting, how much is that costing you, Lee?

Speaker 2 51:07
Well, it’s estimated about about a day a week per employee. So what that’s gonna manage your worth 20% of annual salary. So again, 50, grand employee, it’s about 10 grand a year, not an

Al Elliott 51:19
inconsiderate amount of money. And then the last part of this, we talked about, on our personal framework, we’ve talked about recruitment, engagement and management. If you have a bad manager, what does that costly?

Speaker 2 51:30
Well, apart from being completely soul destroying for your employees, we know that a bad manager costs a business about 25 pounds per day. That’s per manager. So even if you’re a small business, and you’ve got two managers, you’re probably looking at about 1213 grand a year.

Al Elliott 51:45
All of this is a lot of money. And the bottom line is, if you don’t invest in your people, then he’s gonna cost you financially. Talking of growth, can areas have seen some pretty big growth numbers recently?

Speaker 2 51:58
Yeah, canaries have just raised funding. And as we know, from our previous episodes, when it comes to women founders, raising capital being invested in by VCs, it is why is a minority, what Mandy explains that when, when it comes to being a black woman, that percentage is even smaller.

Speaker 1 52:19
So as we think around the disparities that we see, within the VC ecosystem, they’re there, they’re quite large, right? When we look at women entrepreneurs, and the amount of funding that they’re receiving, compared to not only their percentage within society, but the amount of women entrepreneurs there are. But then also, when we look at black women, the disparities are quite, quite vast. So when we look at the most recent numbers, black women received 2.06% of venture capital funding, that’s nought point 6.06. So it is very limited. As far as the capital being deployed to those group because of some of the same structural barriers that we’re talking about today, right? We’re talking around? How do we need to think around ways where our structures could be producing these unintended outcomes is the same. When we look at venture capital, you usually have to have a warm introductions. When we look at most venture capitalists, they come from usually two schools. There’s a couple others, but primarily Harvard and Stanford. And so when it’s working off of this warm introduction system, right, it’s not a, you submit your idea in your pitch deck here, and they analyze it, it’s much more you have to be connected within those networks already, and be able to get a warm introduction to those individuals. And so that is producing a lot of disparities that we see. And also the research around how even pitch meetings are conducted, we see that there’s been a lot of research that women are asked more questions around risk, and around how they’re going to handle potential challenges. And the research has showed that men are asked more questions around opportunity. And so if you come out of a pitch, where you’re kind of asked around how you’re going to handle everything that’s could potentially go wrong with your business versus a meeting where you’re able to talk about on the market opportunities and the ways you’re going to capture the market, the meeting is going to feel very different. Right. And so those are the types of disparities that exists and the venture capital community is aware of it right. Just kind of the reckoning we saw and 2020 with George Floyd caused a lot of organizations and industries to really start to be more introspective and think around, how do we tackle these issues? And so we’re seeing more organizations start to I have that kind of process that I talked around where I submit your pitch deck here. But we still see a lot using the old kind of warm introduction process. We’ve seen more organizations as well as we start to think around the lack of diversity that exists around VC fund managers, where we start to see things called diversity writers where some of the funds have a pledge to start to work with diverse fund managers to ensure they’re brought in to those deals, because a lot of times people are forming usually, with any kind of venture deal. There’s not just one investor, there’s usually a syndicate. So how do we start to ensure that we’re bringing in those diverse fund managers into the syndicates and you know, ensuring that those processes are more equitable as well, if you

Al Elliott 55:52
head back to Episode 27, and 28, you’ll hear a two parter on VC funding. And one of the key things that come out of that is that VCs are now taking into account your workplace culture as like a kind of a value on the actual deal sheet, rather than just looking at your bottom line. So if you’re looking to grow, raise funds, you’re looking to do to at some point, sell your business, you need to be thinking about this stuff now. Because if you don’t, it will cost you

Leanne Elliott 56:21
in the long run. Yeah, we learned that from our VC experts in those episodes. We’ve also learned it from talking to various non exec directors and business owners, who have recently been through due diligence, due diligence do easy for you to say, it’s not easy for me to say, or have recently been through due diligence processes, and have been asked for these people and culture metrics, things like What’s your average time to hire? What’s your average tenure? What’s your your current employee engagement rate, retention rate attrition rate, and those you know that those that are able to demonstrate levels of well being within the organization are also going to have a much, much better chance of selling their business for a higher price because they are showing that their people are engaged and that people have been prioritized. The thing to remember as well you know, if you’re going to try and accelerate your business find investor, they’re not just going to want to see one year’s worth of accounts, they’re gonna want to see several. So it’s a table same for employee insights. There’s not an activity to do 12 months before you decide you want to sell your business. It’s an activity to do now, with the view that you might well sell your business in the next two 520 years.

Al Elliott 57:31
Very smart advice of yours, Dan Canarias the platform, we asked Mandy where the best place was people to go, sure the

Speaker 1 57:36
best place for them to go is WWW dot Canary’s dot com. Or you can go find us on any social media, which is Canaries, Inc. and canaries is K nary s.

Al Elliott 57:50
If you’re interested in the RX seven method, which is the method that Leanne has created the seven foundations of an amazing workplace culture, it is in invite only mode at the moment. So check the link, check the show notes for a link or just send us a LinkedIn message or an email.

Leanne Elliott 58:06
Thank you so much to Mandy, for sharing your incredible story, your insights, your very fierce entrepreneurial drive and what you’re trying to achieve in this world. It is really awesome. If you want even more inspiration from women in leadership, I would encourage you to check out our very first found episode with stellar Smith from perks. And also our more recent episode with incredible women from MK G. I will leave a link to both of those in the show notes.

Al Elliott 58:32
Right so I think that’s it Lee. So as ever value packed, I hope I hope anyway,

Speaker 2 58:39
I hope so. I think I think with a guest like Mandy it’s hard not to to be be value packed, I think

Al Elliott 58:46
so next week is the final episode of our kind of slightly lighter, smoother August editions before we get right back into the saddle in September. And we got a we got some really, really great people booked on for the rest of the year. So make sure if you’re not subscribed, and you like this stuff,

Speaker 2 59:04
you know. And while you’re there, leave us a review. That’d be nice.

Al Elliott 59:08
And if you’re watching this on YouTube, then as as I’m pretty sure about six or the people are at this point, then leave us a comment. Say hello. We’d love to hear from you next week

Like this?

Join 112,000 listeners every month who get expert insights on building amazing workplace cultures!


💬 Want a chat about your workplace culture?

📣 Got feedback/questions/guest suggestions? Email

👍 Like this kinda stuff? Click here to subscribe…