Too often, smaller companies that are relatively new to the market place a lot of focus on Product-Market fit, raising capital and growing. But they focus very little on developing the work culture.
The latest guest on High Growth Matters, Paul Tucker, is out to change that by enabling small businesses and HR teams to focus on the people side of business by building healthy, equitable culture.
Paul is a Racial Equity Advisor from The Rise Journey, an HR and DEI consulting firm. With over 15 years of experience in diversity, equity, inclusion, belonging and accessibility (DEIBA) work, he is a versatile and well-practiced expert at designing and implementing strategies that enable small businesses to build their best teams and develop sustainable and empowering organizational culture.
This blog has been adapted from our conversation with Paul and covers:
- The difference between DEI and DEIBA
- Top hiring and retention tactics that support DEIBA
- Data as a critical tool for a healthy culture
Don’t miss the full episode: A Strategic Approach to DEIBA
The difference between DEI and DEIBA
Organizations often have their own take on Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) efforts. While some focus solely on one aspect of DEI or another, others may incorporate an alternative focus, such as Justice. However, DEI is often an effort made by businesses that’s more systematic and requires specific boxes to be checked.
Alternatively, DEIBA exists as a holistic approach in which the intersection of all the aspects of diversity, equity, inclusion, belonging and accessibility are considered. Those organizations that embrace DEIBA choose to incorporate each factor as a part of who they are as a company and how they design their culture.
But, ultimately, the name assigned to efforts doesn’t matter as much as the intentionality behind the work.
“It matters less about what you call it and more about your intentions,” Paul says. “What are you really working toward? How is that reflected in the work you're doing?”
Top hiring and retention tactics that support DEIBA
Expressing support for DEIBA is usually simple — but truly designing and implementing DEIBA-supporting practices that align with your mission is much trickier. Fortunately, having worked with organizations across several industries, Paul has unveiled several trends that may help you along the way.
1. Utilize acceptance and belonging in the design and implementation of practices
Over the past several years, there has been a lot of conversation about being authentic in the workplace. But, more needs to be done to support employees in bringing their whole selves into their profession.
“You can take action as an employer by understanding that different perspectives and voices are in your organization,” Paul says. “Give each an equal chance to be heard, valued, supported and nurtured.”
2. Be intentional about qualifications
According to Paul, you must understand the reasons behind qualification requirements. Ask if the position truly requires a certain degree from a specific university, and if it does, ask why.
“People’s aptitude and potential are more important than specific qualifications,” Paul says. “If you can, tailor qualifications to what people can learn and the speed in which they can learn.”
Sometimes, limiting recruitment and sourcing to specific qualifications without reason greatly limits the potential talent pool and often discludes a skilled, diverse group of people. Instead, consider broadening your scope to include experience and adaptability skills.
3. Focus on learning IQ with standardized assessment
Assessments can be a great way to assess the learning capabilities of candidates. But they have to be designed with equity in mind.
“As we're thinking about new ways to engage in the hiring practice, we don't want to introduce biases or let our existing biases play out in those new modes,” says Paul. “But definitely think about assessments, structured interviews, or processes that really get at folks’ learning ability and the speed at which they learn.”
If you’d like to hear more actionable hiring and retention tactics Paul has uncovered over the past 15 years, tune into the latest episode of High Growth Matters.
Data as a critical tool for building a healthy culture
In HR, measuring the connections between strategies and organizational outcomes is vital for growth and success. However, these connections can be difficult to quantify regarding DEIBA.
Analyzing effectiveness begins with data collection and analysis — even if you start small.
“Take an experimental approach,” says Paul. “Collect the demographics of your organization, see where things are from a business perspective, then figure out what actions to take regarding diversity, equity, inclusion, belonging, and accessibility.”
For this reason The Rise Journey recently introduced a new initiative, One-Person Human Resources. “We provide a subscription self-service that helps guide organizations, missions and objectives into alignment with culturally shifting HR initiatives,” Paul says. “The goal is to provide affordable, easy access tools, playbooks and resources needed to build, support and engage workplace culture.”
While it can be easy to fall back on a systematic approach to DEI, it’s important to shape your intention and efforts to align with your organization’s goals, values and mission.
“The journey is yours — make the best of it,” Paul says. “Do something unique and authentic.”
If you enjoyed this post, you’d appreciate our conversation, where we take a deep dive into the topics covered here today and beyond. Take a moment to listen to the full High Growth Matters episode. If you like what you hear, please consider leaving us a rating and bookmarking the podcast to be notified each time we publish a new episode.
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