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Ep45: EDI 101 for Leaders: Breaking Barriers & Fostering Inclusive Workplaces

Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) – all the questions you might have as a leader (including the ones you may be afraid to ask!)

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We’ve researched the top-asked questions around EDI and our incredible expert guests have answered them for you. 

We’re thrilled to welcome to the podcast:

Sonia Thompson

Sonia is an Inclusive Brand Strategist, Coach & Consultant. and Host of the Inclusion & Marketing Podcast, our sibling show on the HubSpot Podcast Network. She is on a mission to ensure more consumers and employees feel like they belong and helps companies grow by winning the consumers most brands ignore.

Catherine Garrod

Catherine is an EDI consultant, speaker and author. Her debut book ‘Conscious Inclusion’ helps organisations ‘do EDI’ one step at a time. It’s not only the most engaging and practical EDI resource we’ve ever some across, it’s on its way to being a 2023 bestseller. You may well have heard of Catherin before – starting her corporate career with PepsiCo, she progressed to be Head of Inclusion at Sky, a business she transformed to become Number One on the Inclusive Top 50.

So hold on tight – we’re about to answer all your questions about EDI, including:

  • How are EDI, D&I and EDIB different?
  • Why bother beyond ‘dong the right thing?’
  • How can I recruit for diversity, legally?
  • Is a diverse business more profitable?
  • Who’s doing it right?
  • What happens when businesses get it wrong?
  • Where do I even start?


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The Transcript

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

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Sonia Thompson [00:00:00]:

And he looks at me, I had just gotten my hair done and it was in this braided up due. And he’s like, I like your weave. And he just didn’t know that. That’s not something that you ever say to anybody.

Leanne Elliott [00:00:18]:

Hello and welcome to The Truth, Lies, and Workplace Culture Podcast, brought to you by the HubSpot Podcast Network, which is the audio destination for business professionals. My name is Leanne. I’m a business psychologist.

Al Elliott [00:00:31]:

My name is Al. I’m a business owner.

Leanne Elliott [00:00:32]:

And we are here to help you simplify the science of people and create amazing workplace coaches.

Al Elliott [00:00:37]:

Yeah. So I hope you’ve had a good week.

Leanne Elliott [00:00:39]:

Yeah. What you’ve been doing?

Al Elliott [00:00:40]:

Yeah, tell us. We’re on LinkedIn. You see us if you follow us on LinkedIn, you’ll see you’ll see us proper. Yeah, proper. I can’t use that word in the podcast, but yes, we like to throw ourselves around on LinkedIn, but join the conversation because everything’s answered by one of us too. We haven’t got like a panel of people who are community managers and stuff. It’s just us too. So what are we talking about today, Lee?

Leanne Elliott [00:01:02]:

Well, today we are talking about diversity and inclusion. Well, I say that we’re dipping our toe into what is a very vast pool of topics. Yes, I’m a psychologist and I do of course, work to remove bias from organizational processes, from workplace culture. But I am by no means an expert in diversity and inclusion. And even this is an area of expertise, has areas expertise within it like Neurodiversity that we discussed a few episodes ago. So we’re going to take a very similar approach to this episode as we did with our Neurodiversity episode. A bit of an EDI 101, if you will, answering the questions that you might be afraid to ask. And I think as well, just clearing up some of the language around it. We’ve heard of DNI D and I DNIB de I B ABC XYZ what do they all mean? Why do we as leaders need to even think about this? Does it even matter? Or is it just another liberal gen zed WUHA that’s taking time away from actually getting the job done?

Al Elliott [00:01:59]:

Gen z WUHA? I’m going to go register that domain right now, and then I’m going to be coming from the point of view, is there an actual business case working towards a diverse workplace? Will it make or save you money? Now, of course, I’m not saying don’t do it, but we’re always looking at the business case here. We’re always saying, okay, so how will this actually improve our growth, improve our revenue, improve our profits, and improve our profitability? Before we meet our guests, just want to tell you quickly about a podcast that we’re really enjoying right now. Okay, so we got two incredible women as guests today. First one is Sonia Thompson. Sonya is an inclusion brand strategist. She’s a coach, she’s a consultant, and she’s host of the inclusion and marketing podcast as sibling show on the HubSpot Podcast Network. Definitely. Go and check that out.

Leanne Elliott [00:02:40]:

And we’re also joined by Catherine Garrett. Catherine is an author, speaker, and culture change consultant that shows organizations how to do EDI one step at a time. But before we meet, there Mal.

Al Elliott [00:02:51]:

It’s our favorite time of the week news roundup.

Leanne Elliott [00:02:53]:

Here’s a jingle.

Al Elliott [00:02:55]:

Okay, so in this, if you’ve never heard this before, this is basically about eight minutes of Leanne telling us what we’ve missed in the world of workplace culture with usually a little bit of saltiness rubbed in as well, which is.

Leanne Elliott [00:03:06]:

Quite there might be a little bit of saltiness this week. I can’t need to confirm or deny.

Al Elliott [00:03:11]:

We’ll have to find out most weeks. We start off with word of the week. Have you got a word of the week?

Leanne Elliott [00:03:14]:

I do.

Al Elliott [00:03:15]:

New word alert.

Leanne Elliott [00:03:17]:

Loud quitting.

Al Elliott [00:03:19]:

So we’ve had quiet quitting before? In my head, loud quitting is a very flamboyant way of leaving the office.

Leanne Elliott [00:03:25]:

Like a Jerry Maguire type resignation?

Al Elliott [00:03:27]:

Yes, exactly. You snap your laptop in half over your knee, you throw coffee into the printer, and then you go, fuck this shit, I’m out of here.

Leanne Elliott [00:03:38]:

Take the goldfish with you.

Al Elliott [00:03:39]:


Leanne Elliott [00:03:40]:

Jay Maguire. I’ve not seen that film. Dig Lord.

Al Elliott [00:03:44]:

Seriously, I’ve seen that show me the money bit, obviously. Is that Jay Maguire?

Leanne Elliott [00:03:48]:

Yes, it is, but it’s not the bit. I’ll show you later. Okay. Anyway, so yes, loud quitting. So Gallup released their 2023 state the global Workplace report last week that surveys more than 120,000 employees worldwide. And they found that 18% of employees were loud quitting, which means they are taking actions to directly harm the organization, undercut its goals and oppose its leaders. This might sound familiar. It’s what we’ve talked about on the podcast before and actually in our quiet quitting episode, it’s called Active Disengagement and it’s not new. And actually it’s been around for a while and thought that about 20% of workers are actively disengaged, which is what Gallup found. 20%? 18% are loud quitting. But to be fair, credit to Gallup for giving it a more interesting name and one that will probably get the immediate attention that this issue does deserve. Of course. Quite. Quitting is not necessarily the worst thing. It means people are doing the work they’re contracted to do. Doesn’t seem that outrageous, really, but of course, it could mean a bad day away from loud quitting or leaving the company altogether. Al, I will give you one British pound if you can tell me the primary reason employees are loud quitting.

Al Elliott [00:05:00]:

Line managers.

Leanne Elliott [00:05:01]:

Yes, managers. Explains about 70% of the variance in team engagement and has the biggest impact on people loud quitting. Why should we care? Why is this a big issue? Well, the latest numbers show that 59% of employees are quiet quitting. 18% are loud quitting. So that means a frightening 80% of the workforce are disengaged. And that costs the global economy about $8.8 trillion a year, which is about 9% of global GDP. But let’s break it down to numbers we can actually understand. If you are a business owner with a team of 20, that means that you have twelve people doing a day job, four people causing havoc, and four put little going bears on a fast track to burn out because they’re going above and beyond to keep the boat afloat. If you’re listening and thinking now, that’s not me. My employees are different. My question is, how do you know if your answer is, I use a science backed employee engagement and wellbeing model that provides me with actionable insights over six to twelve months, then consider me winding my neck in excellent work. If that isn’t you, give me a call.

Al Elliott [00:06:01]:

Very specific response you’re looking for there, Leah, but absolutely, absolutely bang on. And Leanne is the expert in workplace culture and engagement, so definitely look her up. You’ll find her on LinkedIn and there’ll be a link in the show notes. What else you got?

Leanne Elliott [00:06:14]:

Lee on a bit more positive leadership news. Barrons, which is a sibling publication to the Wall Street Journal, has released its Top CEOs of 2023 list, which includes 25 leaders who found ways to thrive through the economic mayhem over the last twelve months. So the list is chosen by a panel of editors and reporters through a vigorous process of screening, nomination, discussion and debate. And yeah, congratulations to Greg Brown from Motorola Solutions, who took the top sparked. Other famous names on there include Warren Buffett, who came in second, and Tim Cook from Apple, who came in fourth. Personally, I was pleased to see a healthy mix of women in there. Barron’s list doesn’t seem to be a full on bromance, which is good news. So congratulations to Safra Cats from Oracle. Tricia Griffin from Progressive. Vicky Hollab from Occidental Petroleum. How you say that?

Al Elliott [00:07:06]:

Sure. Vicky, if you’re listening, just drop us an email, tell us how we say your company name.

Leanne Elliott [00:07:10]:

Vicky Hollow from Occidental Petroleum and Carol Term from Ups. So four out of 20, 516 percent. Not bad. I suppose when we consider only around 6% of CEO positions at large public companies globally are currently held by women, we’re actually smashing it. 6% in CEO roles. 16% of the best CEOs in the world, and they’re women. Makes you wonder, why aren’t there more women’s leadership?

Al Elliott [00:07:35]:

I think it is slowly changing. It is slowly changing, though. I was interviewing a guest who sneak preview. She’s from Canaries, which is a cool consultancy, which we’ll talk about on another episode, and she was saying there are more people in the top 500 CEOs in America than more people who are called John than there are women. So we are getting there, but we’re nowhere close. Now, what else you got, Leah?

Leanne Elliott [00:08:00]:

And finally, I’m sure we all read about the Titan tragedy this week. I think we’re all gripped over the weekend as we heard of the disappearance of the Titan submersible and its five passengers on a dive to the site of the Titanic. I mean, with a ticking clock of oxygen, it’s not surprising the media were all over it and millions of dollars were spent on rescue efforts. Or is it? So while we can’t take away from the tragedy of the lives lost, a number of high profile people did speak out about the vast amount of resources being used to save five souls. One was Barack Obama, speaking at a conference held by the Stavros Nakaras Foundation in Athens on the struggles asylum seekers seek around the world. The 44th US President said the quiet bit out loud. A great headline from Hofpirst. I thought so. Obama called for people to think about the circumstance which leads desperate people to come here. He said we can’t ignore it. You think about what’s happening this week. There is a potential tragedy unfolding with the submarine that is getting minute to minute coverage all around the world. And it’s understandable because we all want and pray for those folks to be rescued. But the fact that it’s got so much more attention than 700 people who sank, that’s an untenable situation. If you’re unaware, on the 14 June, a boat carrying 750 migrants sank off the coast of Greece with the loss of hundreds of lives. And there is also increasing evidence that European authorities knew the boat was in trouble, but did not intervene. So understandably, the relatives of the Greek shipwreck victims are expressing both disbelief and anger at the millions spent on Titan rescue efforts. So why does this feel taboo? To say the quiet bit out loud that the millions of dollars spent trying and sadly failing to save five lives is hugely disproportionate to the hundreds of people lost last week in Greece? Well, that’s because from a psychology perspective, our feeling systems can’t count. Paul Slovich is a psychologist and expert in risk perception and he talks a lot about the deadly arithmetic of compassion and puts it very clearly, if bluntly, the more who die, the less we care. So what’s basically happening is our minds becoming sensitive to catastrophic losses of human life. Like the recent tragedy in Greece, the data fails to trigger the emotional responses or the action we should be taking. On the flip side, as a global society, we really value individual lives and respond strongly to protect a single person in need. Like the five people on the Titan, the charities know that they can’t bombard you with statistics on global droughts or famine. They need to tell you one story. So that is the deadly arithmetic of compassion in action, which is why Paul suffix work is hugely important to make that shift, that we are taking action for the hundreds of thousands of people that need it in the business world. It may also play a part in the continued inequity that we see business owners and leaders can’t really compute the millions of people that are discriminated against every day, but if it happens to their son of daughter, I’m sure they’ll start some form of charitable foundation.

Al Elliott [00:11:08]:

So I think it’s really important that we start talking about this. And one of the key things when I started the conversation with Sonya was I was saying, I want to know what I can and can’t say, because what I don’t want to do is look like someone who’s going, oh yeah, this is terrible, let’s see if we can fix this. And it’s like, well, hang on a minute, that sounds really quite condescending if you go, well, let’s see if I can fix this, when actual fact, I’m not particularly diverse. And so the whole point of the conversation with Sonya was saying, what can I, as a white, middle class, middle aged man, what can I actually say and what should I be doing and what should I be butting out of? So today we’re inducing with the concept and the importance of diversity and perhaps saying those quiet bits out loud like Leanne just said. What is it? Why bother? What difference does it actually make? Our first guest, let’s learn a little bit more about Katherine Garrett. Katherine is an EDI consultant, she’s a speaker, she’s an author. Her debut book, Conscious Inclusions, which Leanne got the other week, helps organizations to do EDI one step at a time. And don’t worry, we’ll go into EDI in a second. And it’s not only the most engaging and practical EDI resource Leanne’s ever come across, it’s also on its way to being a 2023 bestseller. You may well have heard of Katherine before because she started a corporate career with PepsiCo. She progressed to be Head of Inclusion at sky, a business she transformed to be number one in the inclusive Top 50.

Catherine Garrod [00:12:30]:

Katherine Garrett, the founder of Compelling Culture and the author of Conscious Inclusion. How to do EDI one decision at a time. EDI stands for equity, diversity and inclusion. And essentially I work with organizations to find out whether people from underrepresented groups are having the same good experience as people from overrepresented groups, and if not, what are the actions they need to do to close the gap.

Leanne Elliott [00:12:54]:

Our second guest is Sonya Thompson. Sonya is an inclusive brand strategist, coach and consultant and host of the Inclusion and Marketing Podcast, which is our siblings show on the HubSpot Podcast network. She’s on a mission to ensure more consumers and employees feel like they belong and helps companies grow by winning the consumers that most brands ignore.

Sonia Thompson [00:13:14]:

I spend a lot of time talking, educating, speaking, creating content on belonging and inclusive marketing, and also building an inclusive brand which even is broader than just the marketing aspect of it, and making more people feel like you belong.

Leanne Elliott [00:13:31]:

So let’s start by diving in with a definition. There are a lot of terms around the subject that seem to be used interchangeably, di D and I, EDI, di B. So we wanted to understand what should and shouldn’t we be using. I asked Catherine.

Catherine Garrod [00:13:48]:

I love that question. So there’s loads of terms, and I confess to not being up to date with them myself. I personally don’t think it matters which one you choose because it’s the work itself that takes center stage. So I chose Equity. Diversity and inclusion. Diversity and inclusion because that’s what people know and most familiar with. And equity, because equity is really about the shift from one size fits all to what does a person need to be successful or what do we need to provide to create the same experience? Whereas equality is more likely to be one size fits all, which actually doesn’t really work that well for anybody. Inclusion, for me, is the important word. Whether you use EDI or DNI or whatever, inclusion is the important word. So inclusion is human beings. I think it’s universal, right? We want to be valued, we want to be heard, we want to be involved. And that, for me, is the essence of inclusion. Whether you’re with your mates or your family or the local sports club or you’re at work, people want to be included. They don’t want to turn up and feel awkward and feel out of place. So that’s just the universal thing that applies across every demographic. Inclusion is a really important word for me.

Al Elliott [00:15:03]:

Just as a quick aside, that’s a great explanation of the difference between equity and equality, because I have to be honest, until we started doing this, and I think I might even have said the word equality at the top of the show, so I was thinking they’re interchangeable. And obviously, once we’re doing this, and I think that Katherine just explains that.

Leanne Elliott [00:15:17]:

Perfectly, there’s actually a really good picture. I’m not sure if you’ve seen it with the bikes. And it’s like equality is that everybody gets a bike. Equity is everybody gets a bike that fits them in terms of their height, their physical ability, their age. And I thought that was quite a useful, useful thing as well.

Al Elliott [00:15:32]:

That is now, while we’re talking about terms, I hear a lot of people using the word lived experience. So I said to Sonya, what does that actually mean?

Sonia Thompson [00:15:40]:

Lived experience means it’s more so about what’s happened in your life that you can bring to the table. So as a black woman, I have experiences as a black woman that you won’t have as a white man, right? I have experiences as a black woman who is married to an Argentine husband that another black woman who’s married to a black man won’t have. Right. You bring the experiences that you’ve had throughout your life to the table and that can inform how you operate and how you integrate as a team that informs what you know about the people that you’re serving and how you can better serve them without Sonya’s dog snoring.

Al Elliott [00:16:36]:

In the background or husband?

Leanne Elliott [00:16:38]:

I didn’t really want to ask. It’s so sweet. They sound so peaceful.

Al Elliott [00:16:42]:

There’s a lived experience of someone, a black woman who owns a dog that snores on a podcast. So we also wanted to understand if some of these were just buzwords that employers use to tick a box. Because Sonya made it really clear that just because you know what the words mean, it doesn’t mean you can just add a paragraph to your website saying you’re diverse. There’s so much more to it than that.

Sonia Thompson [00:17:01]:

As we are thinking about attracting more diverse talent, don’t focus it on oh, look, we’re so diverse, come work with us because we’re so diverse. What is it that the people need from you that will make it so that, oh yeah, this is the place where I feel like I belong?

Leanne Elliott [00:17:23]:

I think it comes back to kind of what we talked about, the wellness washing, the green washing. Like if there’s no integrity behind this supposed view that you’re putting out into the world of the type of company you are, people are going to see straight through it.

Al Elliott [00:17:37]:

Exactly. You might fool some of the people some of the time, but you’re definitely not going to fool the people to whom this actually really applies to.

Leanne Elliott [00:17:44]:

So now we know what we’re talking about. Let’s dive in to how business leaders can create inclusive organizations and workplace cultures. You might be thinking a lot of this is surely covered by legislation, HR laws and policies. Isn’t it HR’s job to get this stuff in place? Yes, it is. But that is just a start. As Catherine explained, there are three phases of inclusion.

Catherine Garrod [00:18:10]:

There’s kind of three really distinct phases of inclusion. So there’s a compliance piece there. So whether it’s employment law or regulators and all that kind of stuff, and most organizations are beyond that, then in the middle you’ve got kind of real conscious inclusion and we’re wanting to create an environment and everything else that’s good for colleagues, customers, wider community. And then the last bit is around wider world impact, so that moves through to supply chain ESG, so environment and strategy, corporate social responsibility, all that kind of stuff. But really as organizations move up that curve, you do start with employees. And that makes absolute sense, which is why it tends to start off life in the HR world, because if you haven’t kind of got things in order internally, it’s sort of inauthentic or it’s harder to execute externally. And some of the things in terms of policies or even data are the foundational things that you need to put in as the organization kind of evolves their understanding and grows more confidence. It’s things like your building design and your workplace of all customers going into a retail space. It could be, can people get into the building? Is the building overwhelming? Are there lifts? Can people make their own cup of tea if you’re a wheelchair user? One of the things that really sticks in my mind, most kitchen spaces in organizations, if you’re a wheelchair user, you can’t reach the cup because they’re all in a cupboard on the wall. Is there somewhere that people can go and pray? Most buildings, if you come back to being designed one size fits all, depending on who designed and planned the building, if there’s somebody who’s never needed to think about breastfeeding or praying before, perhaps wouldn’t have put that into the blueprint of the design.

Leanne Elliott [00:19:51]:

Yeah, I think we talked about that quite a bit, didn’t we? In our is the office backup. We saw it a couple of weeks ago and I think Katherine just nailed it again there, that if as a business leader, you’re having trouble enticing your employees back to the office, it may well, because they don’t feel included, they don’t feel they have the spaces they need to bring their whole selves to work. And I think as well, what we’re seeing there is Katherine really demonstrating that the policies are the starting point, but we can expand that in a way authentically, that can really go to all the different areas of our business, our supply chain, our customers, which is why we want to include Sonya in this discussion. It really is a whole way of working and a part of your identity as an organization to be inclusive.

Al Elliott [00:20:37]:

So this all kind of makes sense, but I have to ask this. Businesses are kind of struggling at the moment. A lot of people are struggling. We’ve got heading for potentially a recession, inflation is eating our margins, talent is costing us more. So this sounds like, is this just a nice to have or is this something that actually will filter down to the bottom line? I asked Sonya about this and she says there is a direct link between DNI and business growth.

Sonia Thompson [00:21:06]:

It’s attracting and retaining diverse customers and diverse talent because all those things work together on how to build a brand that is not only going to continue to grow, but stay relevant, given the world that we’re living in and the way things are changing. So brands that don’t put time and energy on focusing on how to be inclusive and how to engage a broader group of customers and don’t invest that time building teams who are representative of those customers will find themselves struggling to catch up unsurprisingly.

Al Elliott [00:21:42]:

Katherine agrees.

Catherine Garrod [00:21:43]:

So I guess there’s two answers for this. One is, if you employ human beings or you deliver a product or service for human beings, then you should make that a good experience, right? You want your business to be successful, you want people to come to work and be motivated. You want your product or your service to be successful. So there’s something about it just being the right thing to do, providing things that are good for people, whether it’s environment, experience, or something physical. I think the other thing is about remaining relevant in the future. Society is ever changing. The world’s a much smaller place with the power of technology. So being inclusive is as much about remaining relevant in the future as it is about doing the right thing.

Leanne Elliott [00:22:26]:

There is so much data on diverse teams and performance. More diverse teams, more inclusive workplaces means greater productivity, collaboration, employee engagement, which we know is an expensive problem thanks to our recent research from Gallup, a massive impact on employee retention, profitability and business growth. Being a diverse and inclusive organization is quite simply good for business. So we know why it’s important. But what’s also important to understand is despite your best efforts to do the right thing or your heart being in the right place, you’re probably unconsciously excluding people. Here’s Catherine.

Catherine Garrod [00:23:04]:

I’ve got this quote that’s on the desktop of my laptop to remind me every single day, and it says, unless you’re consciously including people, you are almost certainly accidentally excluding people. It’s just how our brains work.

Al Elliott [00:23:22]:

And Sonya’s got a great analogy around baseball that just kind of like, even if you don’t follow baseball, which I don’t, I was like, oh, I get it.

Sonia Thompson [00:23:29]:

When it comes to building an employer brand that feels inclusive and makes the people that they serve feel like they belong, their actions across their overall employee journey and also the way it trickles down into the consumer journey. Their customer journey. Reiterates that they do believe what they say. That they do and they do back it up with their actions and their policies. I like to use this baseball analogy in terms of because people feel like, oh, is this about a quota? It feels wrong to use these percentages. And I like to focus it on making sure that you hire who you need. Right? If you are a company that serves people who have a variety of differences, if you then understand that there are a number of people with various identities who have this problem that our company solves and we can do a better job of effectively serving them. And then whenever you look at it that way, then you’re going to go ahead and figure out, okay, well, how can we fill those gaps so we we think can strengthen the base of our team? So, of course, as you’re looking at a baseball team, there’s never a full pitching staff that’s all right handers. You’ve got right handers, you’ve got left handers, because that’s what you need. Like, you need that diversity in your pitching staff. You’ve got contact hitters, you’ve got sluggers that are home run hitters. You’ve got people who can run fast and steal bases. You’ve people who are great at bunting. You’ve got people who have got a laser arm and they can throw from the outfield. You’ve got all these different people with different skill sets and types of talent. And because you’ve got a variety of those different types of talent on your team, you have a stronger team, but you’re only able to identify, oh, wait, here’s a hole, we don’t have enough contact hitters. We’ve only got a team full of home run hitters, right? Then they know that we need to go out and find someone who’s got this skill set that we don’t have, and we can use them to strengthen our team and strengthen the chances that we have of reaching our goal. And I think sometimes people shy away from talking about various identities because it feels uncomfortable. Does it feel uncomfortable to say, you know what, we don’t have anybody on our team who speaks Spanish, but in the US. We’re going to be moving to a place where one in three people by the year 2050 speak Span will speak Spanish in the US. So we need to not be shy about saying, you know what, we need more Spanish speakers on our team because more of your customers are going to be Spanish speakers and you need to understand, how can we serve them? And so it’s more so about being very clear and having those conversations about what it is that your team needs so that your team can be representative of the people that you serve, so that you can have those conversations and serve them better.

Leanne Elliott [00:26:34]:

So, as Sonia explains so beautifully, businesses should be actively working and recruiting to be more diverse. But what does that mean for business owners? Can business owners choose to hire people from a minority group to create a more diverse organization? This type of decision will move a leader from taking positive action to using positive discrimination, which is illegal. Catherine explains more so there’s a really.

Catherine Garrod [00:27:00]:

Important distinction here between positive discrimination and positive action. So positive discrimination is illegal. Don’t do it. So you can’t hire somebody purely for a diversity characteristic, right? It’s unfair. It’s not right. The person doesn’t want that job anyway. You’re not going to be setting them up for success. People are going to say horrible things about you only got hired because you’re diverse, and all the rest of it. So don’t do that. What positive action is is saying, I recognize in my team or my department, we’ve got lots of people from this group, so we’ve got a high degree of overrepresentation, actually over the next kind of six to twelve months of hiring. We want to do more to attract more people from this demographic group. It’s all about before the recruitment process. So what that might look like is building relationships with local community groups or having a partnership with somebody who has a more diverse pool of people in their network than you do, because that is something deliberate and intentional that they have built. And so positive action is everything beforehand that says, we. Recognize we would like to build more inclusive teams. We don’t have much talent with these demographics, but we absolutely want to do better. At the point when you then advertise the role, the role needs to be open to everybody. If you’ve done the positive action bit right, you’re going to get much greater mix of applicants applying through your usual routes and through these new routes that you’ve been really deliberate about creating. And then everybody goes through the process of working out who may get the job or not and where. I’ve seen that work really well. It works really well. So positive action is okay, right? But it’s not about, I’m only going to interview women, or I’m only going to interview black people, or I’m only going to interview people with disabilities. It’s about everything before that that makes your organization and the jobs that you have more attractive to the people that you haven’t previously been reaching.

Leanne Elliott [00:29:10]:

Sonya explains it’s all about intention and backed it up by what the business actually needs.

Sonia Thompson [00:29:16]:

So going back to what we were saying before, what’s wrong with saying, we need Spanish speakers on our team, right? There’s nothing because we actually need Spanish speakers on our team because we have people that we want to serve that we can’t do effectively without it. There’s nothing wrong with saying we need more women on our team. We are serving women and we don’t have enough representation on our team. There might be some people who might get upset by it, but that’s okay. You’re never 100% of the time going to please everybody. So focus it and think of it that way of we are hiring based upon who our team needs.

Al Elliott [00:29:56]:

I felt so much better when Sonya and Katherine have said this, because now I’m like, okay, I understand. I can talk about it. I feel like it’s okay to talk about it. I also know that there’s going to be some people. People are always going to be there’s always a critic. Isn’t there’s always going to be someone who’s saying, you’re not doing it right? But the intention is there. So now we know that. I asked Sonya, how do we actually do the nitty gritty of this? What are the tactics here?

Sonia Thompson [00:30:18]:

So that also goes back to whenever you’re putting your job descriptions together. I encourage the people that I coach and work with not to be afraid to be specific, because sometimes people are going out there. We’re giving priority to people of color, we’re giving priority to people from these underrepresented groups, and it makes it so diluted and broad. So I went to a historically black college and university HBCU here in the US. And whenever I was recruited out of business school, I was recruited because there were companies who were coming specifically to our HBCU looking for black talent, right? Whenever I was in corporate and I was looking for a job, I went where to the Black MBA Conference because I wanted to go where there were companies who were specifically looking for Black MBAs to come and work in their company. And they have these for different identities, et cetera. Fish where the fish are. So if you might feel uncomfortable about putting in your job description, we’re looking for a Spanish speaker, go to events, professional associations that are designed for people who are from the Latino or the Hispanic community, where you’re much more likely to find a whole sea of talent who meet your qualifications, who speak Spanish.

Leanne Elliott [00:31:44]:

At the same time, recruitment is an area is really tricky from a legal perspective. And I would absolutely encourage you, if you are looking to recruit, to diversify your organization, to engage a professional like myself, like Catherine, like Sonya, because there are lots of little different nuances that we can and can’t do. So, for example, I worked with a client once who said, we need a native English speaker. And I was like, do we you might be able to say that in your part of the world on a job description, but in the EU, that’s illegal. You can’t do that. You have to ask for a certain standard of English speaking. That person might be native English or they might not. Equally, while you might be really keen to recruit black talent into your organization, people of color, neurodiverse people marginalizing your candidate pool to those groups only is positive discrimination. What Sony is talking about there so brilliantly is you go to the places or you advertise your jobs where this demographic of group is likely to be, whether it’s a certain college. Again, I work with a client who was really keen to recruit older workers, so we advertised on kind of 60 plus job boards. There are so many ways to do it, but I think it really is worth remembering what you’re doing here is diversifying the candidate pool that you have to put through your fair, equitable discrimination, free, science backed recruitment process. We’re not saying positive discrimination is okay. We’re saying diversifying your candidate pool is.

Al Elliott [00:33:16]:

Excellent, exactly like Sonya says. Fish where the fish are. So if you regular listeners will know that we like a bit of a joke here. We have a bit of banter, you and me. Probably goes on the verges on the dark side. If you anyone who enjoys dark humor probably knows who Jimmy Carr is. The problem is, when you take this to the workplace, most jokes that are particularly, like, sort of darker side of humor tend to be at the expense of someone. So we know that that’s not cool. And Jimmy Carl almost got canceled for one of his jokes. And I think, to be fair, he did say, I will get canceled for this joke and still told it. So we want to know, can you still enjoy a laugh? Can you still have some banter without making people feel like they’re not included. Do we have to just stop? Do we have to make work just really serious again? Does this mean we can’t even have work banter anymore?

Catherine Garrod [00:34:07]:

I think who does the banter feel good for, right? So for anything with inclusion, whether it’s policy, product, service, who’s benefiting the most and who’s benefiting the least. So if 90% of the group are feeling great about the banter and it’s really fun and jokey and yay, but 10% aren’t, does that still feel okay? And it might be that people are making jokes about somebody in your family that you don’t know because people haven’t necessarily shared what’s happening for their child or their partner or their sister or their parent. Actually, as human beings, we don’t want to go to work and upset people. So for me, it’s not necessarily about coming down really heavy on somebody in the moment. I believe very much in helping people learn and understand. But if that’s being ignored and people are going, yeah, but I find it funny, then it’s not banter anymore. That’s kind of known disrespect and that’s not cool.

Leanne Elliott [00:35:10]:

I think if you think about comedians, and comedians are often the people that will talk quite a lot about banter getting too political. But the thing is, you go and see a comedian, you go and see Jimmy Carr because you know he’s a dark mofo. Like he’s not going to talk there and sit all about Disney, is he? But I think the thing is, business leaders, you’re not Jimmy Carr, you are not there in a business to tell these jokes potentially at the expense of other people to create inadvertent comments, fun environment. The fact is, you’re on a business. Would you say that in front of your mom, your grandmother, your six year old kid? That’s probably just a really basic gauge of how appropriate something is. And also you can absolutely have banter. You can absolutely have fun if you have an environment which is psychologically safe, so that anybody who does feel marginalized by that banter or human humor, they can go to you and say, that’s not cool, and you stop it. You just stop it.

Al Elliott [00:36:06]:

I think Jimmy Carr’s got this great thing where he says, I never tell a joke where I have to look around and see if any of them are around because I’m going to offend them. His jokes are almost inclusive because they just offend everybody, offend everyone. But also they’re not targeted at one particular person even they might more likely they’re targeted at the behavior of a particular type of person than the actual person. But either way, maybe not try and be Jimmy Carr.

Leanne Elliott [00:36:34]:

So moving on, as business owners, we love a good case study. Who’s doing this? Well, Sonya thinks American discount chain Target is doing a pretty good job.

Sonia Thompson [00:36:44]:

You go into a store in Target, what you’ll see is a number of products represented for black history, but also all year long. But what has Target done? They used a lot of their employees who are part of their employee resource group, who are part of the black community, to help them curate those products, to help them participate and figure out what are things that are going to be relevant and important to the community. And we’re able to tap into that knowledge in a manner that translates to the customer. Whenever we saw a lot of what was happening from after the murder of George Floyd and when we had that racial reckoning in the US. And maybe even it kind of reached around the world a little bit. Back in the summer of 2020, there were some things that were happening where target was headquartered in I think it was Minneapolis in Minnesota. And their response to what was happening in the community was just one that was a positive one that showed their commitment not only to the community, but to the team that they had, their employees, and the diversity of their employees, the diversity of their customers. So it just all really felt on brand for who they are. Whenever you show up and you walk in the stores where you feel seen them like you belong. But because of the way that they show up and respond to what’s happening in the world, how they’re communicating about it, what they’re saying, the way they’re interacting with and leveraging their employees in a way that doesn’t feel like icky or like they’re sort of using them like unpaid consultants. Another company that I’ll take note of, and it’s another large company, is Unilever. One of the things that they’ve done is they focus a lot on gender equality. They set very clear goals and targets in terms of this is what we want our workforce to look like by whatever year it was. I believe this was 2022. And they were able to achieve that because they were very specific about saying, we want to make sure that our brand shows up and achieves.

Catherine Garrod [00:38:52]:

These metrics.

Sonia Thompson [00:38:52]:

I believe Unilever also from a best places to work for the LGBTQ plus community. They have, I think it was 1112 years straight, have landed on the top of that list by the metrics that are established by people who are rating that because they’ve got policies in place that are not just saying, hey, we support this community. The policies, the way they show up, the way they support the community are aligned with what they say that they’re about. So it actually is a good place to work. And they’ve got this reputation because they’re focusing their time and energy on it.

Leanne Elliott [00:39:30]:

Conscious inclusion. I think Sonya is summarizing there in her examples of Target and Unilever. I remember being in a business forum once, and there is a leader there, very senior leader, who was very confused about the quite emotional reaction their younger employees were having to the crisis in Ukraine as it started. I guess there are two things there that I would say if you are an employer, thinking, well, everything is Sony used. There the example of George Floyd. We see it in the news all the time of women experiencing violence or people of color, people from the trans community. I guess there’s two things to it. If you are questioning, Why are my people reacting this way? One, you don’t know where that person is from or their friends or family in the groups they represent. You don’t know if they’ve had their own personal experience. I think you remember we were talking about the secrets that we hold with Bonnie a few episodes ago. You don’t know what they’ve been through. You don’t know if their grandparents are Ukrainian. You don’t know if their brother is part of the LGBTQIA plus community. You just don’t know. So never assume just because somebody hasn’t already shared that with you that they’re not personally impacted by this tragedy. Secondly, there’s a psychological phenomena called psychic numbing, which basically means the more we’re exposed to, which typically happens with age, the less we’re sensitive to it. So as a leader in their 50s, probably seen a lot seen a lot of catastrophe, seen a lot of dark shit happen in the world as a 21 year old, maybe they haven’t seen that. And maybe they are impacted because it’s an absolutely normal human emotional reaction to be impacted by something on the scale as the Russian invasion of Ukraine. So I think it’s remembering those two things. One, you never really know what somebody has experienced. And two, was it Oliver who said Oliver Yonchev who said, some of our younger employees haven’t quite been hitting by the life stick yet, so they need a little bit more empathy and sensitivity.

Al Elliott [00:41:38]:

Absolutely. And what I like is, when we do something, what does good look like? We always ask, what does bad look like? So Catherine talks about a program to help women leaders where I don’t know whether it was intentional or not, but I totally missed the mark.

Catherine Garrod [00:41:52]:

I was invited onto a Women in Leadership program, and I was supposed to be lucky that I’d been nominated and I had this potential. And the first session was teaching us to slow down how quickly we spoke, lower the tone of our voices, take up more space in meetings, not offer to get a cup of tea or make the nose. And I realized quite quickly we were being taught and I think wear darker colored clothing as well. And I realized quite quickly, I think within the first few minutes, we were being taught to behave and operate more like men. And I was like just internally, I was like, summer program for men to make the environment more welcoming and inclusive for women, because this feels very OD. And I didn’t continue with the rest of the program. It just felt so off to me that the definition of success had been defined as male, masculine, deep voice, dark suits. And therefore, for women to be successful, we needed to pretend to be more like men.

Leanne Elliott [00:42:53]:

This is something we see very frequently and be very mindful of this. If you are a business owner putting in these types of interventions, it’s called the deficit model. It’s when we put the emphasis for the change on the victim or the minority, as Katherine explains here. It’s on her as a woman to change, to fit better into her male dominated world. And we see it a lot as well with people of color. We see it in terms of mental health support, things like resilience, training, which again is putting the emphasis on the individual to be stronger than actually address the toxicity that is around in the work environment. So as you’re looking through your different interventions you might have around diversity, inclusion, around well being, around leadership, development, just bear that in mind. Am I approaching this from a deficit model? Am I putting the emphasis on the minority to change?

Al Elliott [00:43:42]:

I love that. And then, as Sonia is going to point out in a second with her story about Argentinian tango, then there’s just people who just don’t get it, who appropriate language or just try too hard.

Sonia Thompson [00:43:52]:

So I rotated to this gentleman that I had never seen before, I never met before. And so we’re about to get started practicing and he looks at me, I had just gotten my hair done and it was in this braided updo. And he’s like, I like your weave. I’m just like looking at him, like, having this visceral negative reaction. I’m appalled that he just said this. And whatever he was trying to do to try and make me feel good or this compliment that he was trying to give me had the very opposite effect because one, he just didn’t know that that’s not something that you ever say to anybody, right? And it was just taking all these he took a very superficial understanding of what he thought my culture was and like, ways in which my culture engages things that we do with our hair. And he tried to get in and seem cool and he just made me want to run away and never speak to him, talk to him, hear his voice again. And I can never forget. Right.

Leanne Elliott [00:44:56]:

I think I’ve told this story before. I had a teacher in school. I was never very good at spelling. And she said to me, if you don’t know how to spell a word, pick a different one. It’s like, if you don’t know if something’s going to be offensive, say something else. I like your hair. It’s as simple as that. What was this dude thinking?

Al Elliott [00:45:12]:

I don’t know.

Leanne Elliott [00:45:12]:

This isn’t about you, dude.

Al Elliott [00:45:14]:

Fair point. I think you just made a really good point. I hope he’s listening.

Leanne Elliott [00:45:19]:

Welcome. Anyway, so taking blind action, as we’ve seen, can end very badly. So is it better to let nature take its course in some of these situations? Can we not let our already diverse employees be the flagship and the representatives? Sonya explains why this is not a great idea and that instead leaders need to be what intentional.

Sonia Thompson [00:45:42]:

If you’re not a diverse company in terms of what your leadership looks like, what your employee base looks like, the suppliers that you use, you shouldn’t just create messaging that talks about how diverse you are. You really have to put your money where your mouth is and do the work and put the actions in place, the very tangible things that make it true. So I was working on a consulting project last year where there was a brand, as a global brand who wanted to focus on the employer brand messaging so they could attract a more diverse employee base. And as we were working with them, part of the process was to interview their existing employees who were part of underrepresented communities to understand more about what their experiences were, why they came to work with the company. It’s always helpful to actually talk to the people who already are working with you. But there is one thing that for instance, one guy said to me that I’ll never forget. He was like, yeah, I would love to see more black people working at the company. That would be great. But I’m not going out to the recruitment fairs. They don’t pay me to do that. They pay me to do his specific job, his specific function. He’s not paid to be the space of the company to recruit more people like him. The company needs to figure out how to do that without sort of exploiting him and plastering his face everywhere and using him as like the thing to reel other people in. Right?

Leanne Elliott [00:47:26]:

Yeah. And this fits into what I was saying before, around having approaches or strategies that are based on this deficit model. You’re putting the responsibility on the minority to deliver that diversity program that you want. Some leaders also feel that they can use their underrepresented employees as free consultants. Again, as Sonya explains, not cool.

Sonia Thompson [00:47:47]:

They like to go to the people who are already in the company, who have those identities, and then they lean on them to help with recruiting. They lean on them to like, if they want to reach more a more diverse customer base, they lean on these types of people with these various identities. And while it may seem like that’s an okay thing to do, one, that’s not in many instances what this person’s job is, that’s not their functional area. So now you’re asking them to do additional labor that they’re not getting paid for. Two, you’re assuming that they’re automatically going to be an expert in an area that’s not their area of expertise. And three, if you really are serious about building an inclusive employer brand or engaging a particular community, then you have to invest in the resources, whether that’s talent, whether that’s consultants, making sure that you’ve got the support that you need that demonstrates your commitment to this area and that you’re here for the long term. Rather than just saying, hey, can you tell me, is this ad campaign that we’ve done, is it okay? Or, hey, can you go out and recruit and tell them how great we are from an employment standpoint? This is such a great place to work. Not even taking it into account. Like, are we an actual great place to work? Is this a good place to work for black people, for people from different communities, different identities? Is this a good place? And those are the things like, it feels like you might be making progress, it feels like you’re doing the right thing, but you’re actually having you’re perpetuating systems that got us into this place and a society as a whole by treating them like unpaid consultants, but also institutionally, organizationally. You’re not necessarily doing the work that’s needed to demonstrate or to prove that you are an actual inclusive brand that cares about and is a great place for people with differences or people from various identities to want to come to work or to want to come to.

Catherine Garrod [00:50:02]:

Buy from and to want to advance the mission 100%.

Leanne Elliott [00:50:05]:

Systemic change is not going to come from minority groups. They’re going to play a very important role in it. But we need the overrepresented groups to actually stand up and make this change if it is going to be long lasting and sustainable. And also I’ve sat in meetings in various situations with other women leaders who don’t describe themselves as feminists, who couldn’t give a shit about the number of women in leadership. They’re not against it. They’re indifferent. You can’t assume that just because somebody is from an underrepresented group that they care as much to be active in actually driving this change. They might not give a shit. I think it was Nancy and our neurodiverse episode that kind of said, this is a good strategy in terms of employee voice and understanding how we can be more inclusive. But put out an open call, see who’s interested, see whose passion that is. See how it can carve or create an opportunity for them to perhaps move into an area of work that they do want to be in. Make it a voluntary process and engage people. That way you can’t just go, hey, you’re black, you’re gay, come form a committee.

Al Elliott [00:51:11]:

Brilliant. I love that. I love that you made me laugh so much that I coughed and I had to cut that out.

Leanne Elliott [00:51:16]:

Still suffering a little bit, John.

Al Elliott [00:51:18]:

Tiny little bit. So let’s get back to one of your favorite words and let’s round this off because one of your favorite words begins with D and it’s data.

Leanne Elliott [00:51:27]:

Say gin begins with G. No. You know what I just thought about then? I want to do merch. I want to do truth lies, work merch. I want to just have, like, one word on it and T shirts or hoodies. I want to be like Data. Another one be like intentional.

Al Elliott [00:51:41]:

Love it.

Leanne Elliott [00:51:42]:

Psychological Safety.

Al Elliott [00:51:44]:

Love it. Right, we’ll get onto that. Well, it could be a shopify site.

Leanne Elliott [00:51:49]:

Coming to you very soon. I’m a huge fan of data backed interventions. Why? Because we need to measure the impact of our decisions and the changes we make in our business on our employees and on performance to know if it’s actually worked. Otherwise, what are we doing? You wouldn’t have a sales team without targets. You wouldn’t have a marketing team without proving ROI. Why would you not do the same when it comes to people and culture? And Catherine agrees a data led strategy is the only way to make a measurable difference.

Catherine Garrod [00:52:19]:

What I usually find when I turn up to the organizations I work with is they’ve got lots of really passionate people doing lots of wonderful things, but they’re all pointing in different directions and it doesn’t add up to an overall output. So the biggest thing I find with organizations and by the way, that’s a really good problem to have. Because if you’ve already got people who are committed and engaged and wanting to make a difference and actually providing a little bit of framework and guidance around what direction to travel in and how you can track success makes it just much easier for all of those people to be successful. I think it’s really about you have to set out what your ambition is, what is it that you’re trying to do? And I think really simply, it is creating a good experience for everyone. Now, that’s simple to say, but the other bit that organizations quite often I find they don’t have is really good use of data. So whatever your success measures are, whether it is an internal engagement survey for employees, or you’re looking at promotions, or you’re looking at who gets the recognition awards, or if it’s something external and you’re looking at customer satisfaction, or you’re perhaps looking at retention, or you’re looking at who’s accessing your services. Most often what I find is organizations are looking at those things as a kind of holistic overview of the total population. Whereas actually, if you can invest in your data insight capability and break some of those numbers down, you’ll really find out whether or not your organization is inclusive.

Al Elliott [00:53:53]:

So we’ve understood why this is important. We’ve seen companies that are doing it well. We’ve seen companies that aren’t doing it so well. I love examples. I want to hear a story of when someone was authentic or wasn’t well. Luckily, Sony’s got the perfect story about Obama campaign.

Sonia Thompson [00:54:10]:

For Barack Obama’s 2008 campaign, I remember very clearly they talked about, like, his slogan was, yes, we can. And they also had it in Spanish. I heard it over and over again. C sepue. Right. I didn’t speak Spanish at the time, but it was just so ingrained. You heard it? Yes, we can. C se Puerte. Right? And you heard it over and over again. And we know that Barack Obama doesn’t speak Spanish. Like, we know he’s not Latino or he’s not part of this heritage, but it didn’t feel forced. It felt like we’re trying to engage this community. It felt authentic. And we appreciate that you’re making an effort to see us. Now, contrast that to I believe it was 2016 when Hillary Clinton was running for office and she tried to use similar approach. And I believe it was talking about, like, something you’re bula or I think she was, like, using Spanish. She was using a Spanish term and a phrase, but it didn’t come off in the same way because it felt more like this is a tactic, this is a lever that we’re pulling versus we actually care about this community. Now, I’m not trying to say that she didn’t care about the community, but it felt forced. It felt like, oh, I’ve read the playbook, and this is what we need to do to interact and engage this community and get them to come out and vote. People can smell authenticity and inauthentic authenticity from a mile away. Right. We’ve got our crap radar up a lot more because we’ve already been burned. And we’re accustomed to brands saying one thing, saying that they care about us, but actually not doing anything to prove that they care. It’s like you’re just trying to get my vote, you’re trying to get my wallet, like you’re trying to hire me so that you could say that you’re more diverse, but you’re actually really not an inclusive environment at all. Right.

Leanne Elliott [00:56:24]:

I think, as well, there is a small caveat here that I remember talking to another expert in EDI about, and she said to me she was a black woman. And she said to me, optics are important in this industry. They just are. And I wonder whether there is. I think there’s two things. I’m really interested to know your opinion on that Alpha marketing perspective, why that phrase in Spanish worked for Obama, but I also wonder whether Hillary just had an optics problem. Yes, Barack Obama isn’t Spanish, but he is from a mixed heritage background. I just think it’s like, well, you can empathize because you’ve probably experienced similar types of discrimination, oppression that we have as a white privileged woman. Probably not.

Al Elliott [00:57:04]:

Yeah. I mean, in terms of marketing for campaigns and stuff like that, obviously it’s way above, above my skill set. But in terms of any kind of marketing, you look at anything that doesn’t quite feel right. There’s a great Facebook page called Condescending Corporates or something. Or Corporate Condescension. And it’s just where corporates try really hard to be inclusive, to be diverse. To be cool and it just backfires and it’s so cringe worthy. So I think the lesson here is that you need to get an expert in. I mean, perhaps she did have a lot of people who hispanic people who were there giving her advice, and this is what you should say, but didn’t land, did it?

Leanne Elliott [00:57:44]:

It really didn’t land. Speaking of that, actually, Katherine has a really good newsletter called Crown Jewels and Whoopsie Daisies, and it basically does exactly that. It will show kind of examples of people that are really killing it in EDI and people that may have a bit of a misstep. So I’ll leave the link to that in the show notes. It’s well worth signing up to.

Al Elliott [00:58:01]:

Loving this most British term. Whoopsie daisy. I am loving it. All right, so how do we get started? We’ve heard all kinds of things. Let’s just talk about how we get started here’s. Sonya, to talk about the first step, which requires a commitment to change.

Sonia Thompson [00:58:15]:

So one thing that you can do is make a commitment to building a more diverse team that is representative of the people that you want to serve. That’s something that doesn’t happen overnight. Totally understand that. But what you can do is you can set very clear targets and identify, all right, this is where we are today, but this is where we want to be in the future. Salesforce did this really well. They said, all right, our workforce doesn’t look like what we want it to be, but by 2024, right, this is the percentage breakout of what we want our team to look like. And I think that they had based upon underrepresented groups and communities, and they had it broken out. And because they first identified where they were and where they wanted to go and put a time frame on it, they focused on it and I think they actually achieved their goal early, a year early. All right, so that’s the first thing is, first off, making sure that you are clear about what you want your team to look like.

Leanne Elliott [00:59:14]:

Catherine also points out that you’re probably further along than you think and recommends business leaders start by collating what is already being done.

Catherine Garrod [00:59:22]:

People quite often miss that they focus on what they’re not doing. So pull together any initiatives, program or people that you’ve got, pull it all together and map it out and just actually take stock of what you’re doing that’s really good in the first place, because actually it’s quite scary to think about building something from zero. The other thing, I think, is using data as a kind of catalyst to influence change. So if you can show, even depending on the size of the organization, if you’ve got different teams, if you can say, well, in this team, here’s what we’re seeing, and these are the successes we’re learning, and these are the things that have happened to get towards that success. That makes it much simpler and much more straightforward for the next leader, who perhaps hasn’t spent as much time thinking about it. And then the other bit, I would say, is if you’ve got people in your organization who are all on different stages in the journey, that’s really natural and it’s really normal and I find it everywhere, but go where the energy is. Spend less time trying to convert people that perhaps don’t understand it or get it and spend much more time with the people who do get it, but just want to know how and are keen for experimenting and trying and implementing some things and then really give them wings, really and boost their success and celebrate it and talk about it. So you can start to create these tipping points and inspire confidence with some of the other leaders.

Al Elliott [01:00:44]:

This is such an important lesson, I think, for any kind of influence I see. Well, I don’t go on Facebook anymore, but I sometimes see memes where people are going, everyone in the world should be vegetarian. Look at what we’re doing to our planet. And it’s like, well, that’s not really the way you do it. You don’t go up to someone who eats meat five times a week and say, you should be vegetarian. You go up to someone who has meat once a month and you go, have you considered being a vegetarian? Find the people who are ready halfway down that journey and spend your time and energy on those. Don’t just blanket. Go to everyone. Go, we should all start doing X from now on.

Leanne Elliott [01:01:17]:

And the same with disengagement. What we were talking about in the news roundup, if you’ve got people who are actively disengaged, who are causing you a pain in the ass every week, don’t focus on them. Focus on the people that are disengaged, that are just turning up and doing their job. They’re the people that you can change the hearts and minds of, not the poor person who’s out the door with the goldfish.

Al Elliott [01:01:36]:

The goldfish. You have to watch that movie. Okay, so the final kind of thing we want to talk about is not to rush this, because one problem with ambitious leaders is they tend to underestimate how long this process will take. Now, what Kathleen’s book is really cool because it’s built down into 99 things you can make, 99 decisions you can make to create an inclusive organization. This isn’t going to be something you can bash out in a few weeks.

Catherine Garrod [01:02:00]:

So one of the big messages in the book is do one thing brilliantly at a time. So if you’re reading through the book, there’s 99 things. There’s a cool checklist at the back. I encourage people to get a pen out and scribble all over the book and tick things off, but basically, I encourage people to recognize the things you’re already doing. She may well have done a bunch of them already and that’s great. Celebrate that and then just mark the things that you think, actually I could do that in the next six to twelve months. It’s in my gift, it’s in my influence. It wouldn’t be too hard to do. We’re perhaps doing some work in that stuff anyway, so we can just tie this in when we do that. And then some of the other things that might need a slightly longer term investment or a bit more thinking, or you might need to collaborate with more people in your organization. If you can create an environment where people can speak up, share a different opinion, respectfully disagree, essentially one of the decisions is encourage respectful disagreement. That goes a long way to achieving everything else. And then just coming back to the data point, like measure what you’re doing. There’s some really specific things in there about recruitment, about career progression, about engagement, about boardroom diversity. There’s lots that speak to data, but I think if you’ve got listening, you’ve got good culture and you’ve got data, but there’s loads of other things in between as well. But I think if you’ve got those two things, everything else is probably a lot easier.

Leanne Elliott [01:03:26]:

I’m not sure I can communicate clearly enough how brilliant a resource Catherine’s book is. It crosses from people and culture to operations, to policy, to how to hold a meeting that encourages respectful disagreement. It’s got checklists, it’s got reflection points. It is just everything you need to get started in EDI and make your organization more inclusive before you get to that point where you need to engage a specialist like Catherine or Sonya. I can’t even describe how practical this book is. It’s just something that I tell you what, if this isn’t winning awards this time next year, then people are just crazy.

Al Elliott [01:04:11]:

I remember when Leanne, you came off the interview with Katherine and you were just buzzing, you were absolutely buzzing. I think if I remember, you did the interview and then the book arrived the next day or something. Or maybe you got the book first.

Leanne Elliott [01:04:22]:

No, I had the book first. I was such a nerd. I was on there with Catherine going, I’ve got your book and I’m writing things in it. I’m doing this. But yeah, I loved it. I’ve loved speaking to her. And you know what’s cool about Katherine is, yes, she is smashing it now as an independent consultant, as a consultancy owner, but she has worked for some of the biggest corporations out there, sky and Pepsi, and has some brilliant advice for leaders about to embark on this tough but rewarding journey.

Catherine Garrod [01:04:46]:

I don’t think people wake up in the morning go, how can I exclude some people today? I just don’t think that’s what happens. But there’s bias and there’s history and there’s all those sorts of things in that unconscious space that influence some of those choices. Which is why I talk much more about the conscious inclusion because that’s where the magic is. When I first kind of took on the inclusion role at Sky, I was terrified. How can I do a really good job of advocating for and creating change for all of these brilliant people? I wasn’t the first person at sky that cared about inclusion. Loads of people cared about inclusion way before I rocked up. And I find that in every organization I work with. So I’m constantly learning. Like constantly, constantly learning. Go, I didn’t know that that’s helpful. And genuinely, that’s what keeps me going. It makes my work better, and I like to think I’m doing the same back for people as well. So we’re all sort of inspiring and elevating each other and to close off.

Al Elliott [01:05:42]:

With some fantastic advice from Sony, she’s saying, the worst thing you can do is try to fake it. This all has to be authentic, to.

Sonia Thompson [01:05:49]:

Thrive and to be successful. Or can they show up as they are, as themselves, bring their lived experiences, and those experiences are welcomed and valued as a way to make the company and the work that you do better versus, like, we’re all one this melting pot and everybody just kind of blends into each other whenever you’re here. Those are some very practical, tangible things that you can do to make it clear to the people that you serve or that you want to serve, that this is a place, that this is where our commitments are. And it’s more than just a statement that we’re going to put out or a photo that we’re going to stage. This is actually a value that we live.

Leanne Elliott [01:06:32]:

If you want to find out more from our incredible guests, find out more about their opinions, their insights, their services, we’ve got everything you need. First of all, Sonya, Sonia has a great podcast called Inclusion and Marketing.

Sonia Thompson [01:06:46]:

Can find me at Inclusivemarketing Co, and then you can find me on Social. I’m at Sonya ethompson in most places. You can also listen to my podcast, the Inclusion and Marketing Podcast.

Leanne Elliott [01:06:57]:

Katherine has also developed a great diagnostic tool that organizations can use to find out where they are along the journey to EDI.

Catherine Garrod [01:07:04]:

I have an inclusion diagnostic and I’ll work with clients initially for four to eight weeks, and then I pull out your actions for progress and then weave that all into a one page plan that everybody I met in your organization gets to help me refine and validate and make sure it makes sense for your organization. And then I’ll help you prioritize and say, this is where I think you need to focus your energy. For the next twelve to 18 months.

Leanne Elliott [01:07:31]:

Catherine also offers her services as a speaker to organizations. We will leave all the details to both Sonya and Catherine’s podcast, books and services in the show notes.

Al Elliott [01:07:41]:

Thank you again to our guests for educating us. I hope that you’ve learned a fair bit as a listener. If there’s anything you think that we’ve got wrong, let us know. Get onto LinkedIn, find us on LinkedIn and let us know, because as we said at the top of the show, we’re not experts at this. We’re learning every single day and it’s with fantastic guests like Sonya and Catherine that we can learn and hopefully pass on our knowledge to you. I think that’s everything for this weekly. And what do you think?

Leanne Elliott [01:08:06]:

I think we’ve covered the basics. I think that’s the kind of the one on one session. I’m sure we will dive more into EDI, the little nuances of EDI, as we have previously. With joint diversity. There is so much to cover. Yeah, we will definitely be talking about this world again.

Al Elliott [01:08:21]:

Now, if you’ve enjoyed this and you’ve enjoyed the previous episodes, we have a little bit of a favorite to ask. Would you just mind sharing it with one or two people? It really helps us to be noticed in the charts on Apple and all that kind of stuff. We are getting some fantastic numbers at the moment, but we just think we can reach more people. So with your help, if you have enjoyed it, help us out, will you?

Leanne Elliott [01:08:44]:

And thank you to all those people on LinkedIn who are sharing our posts in our episodes. We see you, we chat to you, we engage with you and we thank you. So big thank you to Claire McGee, to Soma Seed House, to Tony Fairy and to Pavlay Grieich, who was kind enough to leave us a very kind review.

Al Elliott [01:09:02]:

And thank you, Pavlay, we really do appreciate it. So we see you next week and oh, my God, I’m excited. I’m excited. We’re talking to the ladies behind MKG, which is a pretty big deal in America. It’s a New York experiential advertising agency, I think, and they’re just brilliant about inclusion, diversity. I think it’s a fully woman led company and they are just so touch, cool women. I love talking to my laugh so much on the interview, so I’m really looking forward to putting that together and we will see you next week for that.

Leanne Elliott [01:09:34]:

Bye. Our.

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