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A Strategic Approach to DEIBA & Pay Equity

, |By Jason White

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 work culture and pay equity.

The latest guest on High Growth Matters, Paul Tucker, is out to change that by enabling HR teams to focus on the people side of business by building healthy, equitable cultures. 

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 and pay equity
  • Compensation data and pay equity as a critical tool for a healthy culture

To hear the full episode, visit this page, or subscribe on Apple Podcasts or Spotify.

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 work's intentionality.

“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 and pay equity

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 excludes 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


Compensation data and pay equity as critical tools 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 compensation 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 -- and pay equity.”

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.” 

Sign up for OpenComp's compensation software for free here.

To hear this episode, and many more like it, you can subscribe to The High Growth Matters Podcast on our website, Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or just search for The High Growth Matters Podcast in your favorite podcast player.