Talent Talks

EdFuel’s blog on all things talent.

Cortney’s DEI Spotlight:  Designing Inclusive Talent Systems with “Bringing Your Whole Self to Work” in Mind
Cortney Graham
December 18, 2019

Do you remember that time you laughed and joked about the latest meme floating around Instagram with your favorite coworker, letting your hair down and turning your “professional persona” off for a bit? After “getting your life” at lunch, you later transformed back into your “professional” persona for your big pitch to the leadership team?

It’s something that many people do, almost organically, when transitioning between home and work or friend and current/potential colleagues.  But why?  In a work environment, particularly in the education sector, where “bringing your whole self to work” is encouraged, this shouldn’t be necessary. There’s a name for this conscious, sometimes unconscious, shift in behavior: code-switching. Code-switching is defined as the “process of shifting from one linguistic code (a language or dialect) to another, depending on the social context or conversational setting.”  The term code-switching can also be used more broadly to describe subtle shifts in how individuals express themselves in different spaces.

The author of Bring Your Whole Self to Work, Mike Robbins, says: “When we don’t bring our whole selves to work we suffer – lack of engagement, lack of productivity, and our well-being is diminished.  We aren’t able to do our best, most innovative work, and we spend and waste too much time trying to look good, fit in, and do or say the “right” thing. For teams and organizations, this lack of psychological safety makes it difficult for the group or company to thrive and perform at their highest level because people are holding back some of who they really are.”

In the final installment of our DEI series, this month we are exploring the concept and importance of bringing your whole self to work in relation to code-switching, and the potential bias that can emerge as a result. [Read more]

Ben’s DEI Spotlight: Lessons From Ithaca City School District’s Equity Strategic Plan
Ben Crosby
November 21, 2019

This month we are exploring opportunities for system leaders at the beginning stages of creating an “equity strategic plan” for their organization, drawing lessons from Ithaca City School District’s equity strategic plan. First published in 2005, Ithaca’s plan is built around an ambitious yet unambiguous goal – to eliminate race and socioeconomic background as a predictor of student outcomes and success within its schools. The district’s multi-faceted equity plan outlines various focus areas in organizational development, data infrastructure & analysis, strategic professional development for staff, and community partnerships. Given the wide variety of activities and stakeholders named in this particular plan, what general lessons might we draw for creating an equity plan at your school district or organization? 

Ithaca’s Student Equity Goal: Eliminate Race and Class as Predictors of Student Success
Ithaca’s overarching equity goal — eliminating race and class as predictors of student success — is emblematic of equity objectives shared by many school districts and education organizations. Ithaca’s equity plan also names two critical assumptions that make equity work different from other types of strategic initiatives; the fact that this work is fundamentally collaborative in nature (involving stakeholders both inside and outside the organization) and that it rarely progresses according to a “linear, sequential plan”. To this end, Ithaca names a variety of both internal (eg. district staff) and external (eg. families & community organizations) stakeholders as being critical to the success of their plan. They also acknowledge that various elements of their plan will be pursued concurrently, with “different workgroups focusing their efforts on different parts of the plan at the same time”. Finally, they leave many implementation elements of their plan blank or undefined, presumably to be fleshed out later by those stakeholders responsible for bringing this equity work to life inside their district over the years to come. Despite being more than 30 pages long, their plan includes few concrete dates or timelines, instead focusing on “statements of need” and high-level development goals across a wide variety of equity focus areas. [Read more]

Kristina’s DEI Spotlight: Lessons from Google’s Diversity Report

Kristina Campa-Gruca
November 7, 2019

The Google Challenge: A global company’s workforce fails to reflect global diversity  

As the world’s most used search engine, Google has a truly global and diverse client base. While the company serves a global population, their 114,000 employee workforce was not representative of that diversity. In 2014, after conducting an internal analysis of the diversity of their workforce, Google realized their desire to build a representative workforce was not a reality: 83% of Google’s tech workers internationally were male, 79% of global leadership were male, and 72% were white. Recognizing that they could better serve their customers (all of us) by building a more diverse and inclusive organization, Google published an inaugural Annual Diversity Report and committed to holding themselves publicly accountable to building a more diverse and representative workforce.

The Google Solution: Set goals and hold leadership accountable to meaningful change

Since 2014, Google has released an annual update to the report to acknowledge both the shortcomings and successes they’ve achieved. In their most recent Annual Diversity Report, Google reports an increase in the number of Black, Latinx, LGBTQIA+, and women in their tech, non-tech, and leadership positions globally as well as a notable decline in attrition for these groups. [Read more]

Kelly’s DEI Spotlight: Lessons from an Inclusive Innovation Playbook developed by AT&T and SmartCities for All
Kelly Gleischman 
October 9, 2019

Last month, Mary Mason’s DEI Spotlight focused on the work at Salesforce to create an overall vision and focus for DEI.  This month we’re going to explore the importance of intentionality and specificity, drawing on lessons from an Inclusive Innovation Playbook developed by AT&T and SmartCities for All, a global initiative that is working to eliminate the digital divide for persons with disabilities and older persons in cities and urban environments worldwide. 

The society we live in is at times defined by technological advances; however, such innovation often leaves many groups of people behind. SmartCities for All and AT&T have found through their work that “innovations and technology solutions often are not designed to work for the more than one billion persons with disabilities around the world.” Myriad examples of this lack of inclusiveness abound in the world around us, including buildings without elevators or ramps, blocked or not functional accessibility services, crosswalks without auditory indicators…the list goes on. SmartCities for All and AT&T identified the problem as a pressing one that would only increase as cities became more technologically reliant.

Given this issue, AT&T released the Smart Cities Inclusive Innovation Playbook in May 2019 to help close the innovation gap for people with disabilities. The goal of the playbook is “to help cities, their partners, and stakeholders define inclusion as part of the technology innovation process and integrate it into urban innovation ecosystems.” AT&T and SmartCities for All believe that to close the inclusiveness gap within urban innovation, cities must outline specific actions toward these goals along with ways to be held accountable to them. [Read more]

Mary Mason’s DEI Spotlight: DEI Practices at Salesforce
Mary Mason Boaz
September 5, 2019

This month we’re going to explore the importance of a clarified purpose and focus when seeking to move the needle around issues of diversity, equity, and inclusion.  We’ll be drawing on a best practice from Salesforce, a leading CRM platform, that employs 25,000+ people across the world and was voted the World’s #1 Best Place to Work and one of the top 20 Best Workplaces for Diversity in 2018 by Fortune

The Salesforce Challenge: Pay gaps and workplace equality
In 2015, Chief Personnel Officer Cindy Robbins first raised the issue of a pay gap between men and women at Salesforce by bringing it to the attention of CEO Marc Benioff. Upon further analysis, Salesforce also identified compensation discrepancies by race and ethnicity and a gender opportunity gap at the highest levels of leadership. Salesforce identified a need to remedy the pay inequities, but also to focus on workplace equality more broadly.

The Salesforce Solution: Clarified Focus on What Matters
The company curated a special report The Impact of Equality and Values Driven Business which examined their diagnosis and solution, noting , “A new business model for companies is emerging — one that calls for companies to expand their purview beyond profit, adopt a holistic approach to societal impact, and actively work toward achieving workplace equality.”

To create true change, Salesforce recognized that a financial commitment without vision and accountability wouldn’t move the needle. Instead, they have explicitly defined what they mean when they discuss “workplace equality” in their statement on their website: [Read more]

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