Emtrain Blog

Drive Diversity by Focusing on These Three Company Culture Elements

Drive Diversity by Focusing on These Three Company Culture ElementsIf you’re working on diversity initiatives in the workplace you know it’s equally inspiring and frustrating. Research shows that companies with diverse talent pools achieve greater innovations, more productivity and higher profitability. So companies are spending hundreds of millions on diversity programs, yet getting very little return on their investment. Diversity numbers have increased only a percent or two—and in some cases, diversity is decreasing. As Google, Uber and Starbucks know, it only takes a leaked internal memo, a Medium blog or a YouTube video going viral to show the world the worst. For every two steps forward, we take a step back.

Scandals aside, why is there so little progress being made in recruiting and retaining diverse talent? If diversity is a focus, if talented people are holding dedicated diversity and inclusion roles, if the budget is being applied, why aren’t we seeing positive effects?

It comes down to two things: The Leaky Funnel and corporate culture.

The Leaky Funnel is a concept that explains how bias (conscious and unconscious) affects diverse candidates at three key points in their career: when being recruited, when navigating team dynamics and when in the promotion process. To drive positive change, organizations need to bring daylight to each of these areas, with structured processes and mini-interventions when things go wrong. We’ll share tips on each of these below.

Corporate culture, particularly an organization’s ability to accept, appreciate and admire diversity, is a bigger shift because complex human behavior and legacy tactics have already shaped the politics and power structure. Shifting from the status quo rocks the boat: some people will have to take a step back to let others ahead. 

Leaders can’t just change their organizational culture. Cultures evolve, there’s no top down or bottom up magic to apply. Luckily, there are some good habits and cultural competencies that companies can promote so today’s employees can adopt to start the shift towards embracing diversity. We share some of these below too.

The Leaky Funnel: The Reason Your Talent Diversity Efforts Are Falling Short

‘Tis the season when technology companies publish their diversity numbers. And, despite a concerted effort to increase diversity, women and people of color are still underrepresented across all levels and particularly in senior leadership.

How does this happen? All organizations have three inflection points that can make or break diversity: recruiting and hiring, team dynamics, and career advancement. When unconscious bias kicks in and leaders give opportunities to people they feel “are the best fit for the team,” diverse candidates—like women and people of color—are less likely to get those opportunities

When diverse talent starts falling out of the corporate talent pipeline, we call it “The Leaky Funnel”.


Be Conscious About Bias to Work Better

Be Conscious About Bias to Work BetterOur brain’s ability to make quick assumptions based on limited information is one of the marvels of our evolution. It helps us rapidly process information and protect ourselves in critical moments. We’re so used to relying on first impressions and stereotypes that we do it all the time, even in professional settings. We call this unconscious bias, and it shows up in the workplace in all sorts of ways, from interpersonal relationships to the way office temperatures are set. (Doubt that last one? Are you freezing in your office right now?)

Unconscious bias also influences how we think about our colleagues and our leaders, how we approach projects, and how we get and give opportunities.

Everyone’s Got Biases
Think you don’t have any biases? Check out our video to see if you’re right.


T-Minus Ten Weeks: What Companies with New York-based Employees Must Do to Comply with Sexual Harassment Prevention Training Mandates

The preamble to the NY State legislation aimed at preventing workplace sexual harassment indicates that the bill is comprehensive and multi-faceted. It enacts an approach “to help prevent sexual harassment in the workplace, ensure accountability, and combat the culture of silence that victims face.” It goes on to say, “this bill will help ensure that all employees are provided with a safer work environment.” This language drives home a point that we see surfacing not only in New York, but throughout the country: State legislatures are taking a comprehensive and serious approach to tackle this complex issue. 

Our prediction? This is the beginning of a trend that will include enactment of mandatory harassment prevention training requirements in other parts of the country. But for now, the question is, how do New York employers comply?

4 Interesting Aspects of New York’s New Harassment Prevention Laws

4 Interesting Aspects of New York’s New Harassment Prevention LawsThe new New York State and New York City laws on sexual harassment prevention are the broadest of their kind. Here are some of their unique aspects, and our thoughts on why they matter.

Train Everyone