Episode 103: The Wonderful World of DEI Metrics with Erika Powell

In Blog, Community, The She+ Geeks Out Podcast by Kaelyn Kam

To learn more about goal setting and meaningfully measuring DEI metrics, read Measuring Diversity and Inclusion Meaningfully


Diversity, equity, and inclusion experts Felicia Jadczak, Fatima Dainkeh, and Erika Powell talk about the myriad of ways companies can meaningfully measure the impact of DEI programs, how to move on from initial benchmarking data, destigmatizing DEI data, what metrics are important to track, and how to measure some of the “squishier” parts of inclusion.


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Felicia: Well, this is Felicia speaking, we’re doing a special podcast recording to wrap up our 2020 so I feel like that’s a big task in front of us, but we’ll do our best to send out something into the world before the years over and so I have actually two people with me today really excited to have this conversation with both of you. And so, first I’d like to introduce the team after team. I want to say something.

Fatima: Yeah, thanks for Felicia. It’s so interesting because we’re like looking at each other, virtually, but I feel like we’re in person. Right. I think this is my second time on the amazing podcast, so thanks for giving it to me. I’m 15 if you are. Remember me, or if you listen to that one podcast code rear felicien ratio introduced me but I’m currently the learning and development manager, as she kicks out and is excited to talk about dei metrics today.

Felicia: Right. And then we also are joined by Erica Powell and Erica. Before I introduce you, or before I invite you to come and say hi, I just want to quickly kind of set the stage. So, Erica and I actually went to college together. Back in the day, I won’t say how long ago. And then I guess have just sort of always kind of stayed in touch here and there, over the years, and then recently in the past year or so reconnected on a professional level as well as a personal level. So, Erica super excited to have you here. Joining myself and pretty much today.

Erika: Yeah, yeah. It’s really cool to see things come full circle. I am Erica Powell, and I’ve been in the dei space and on the training space for about 15 plus years I was a cultural anthropology major and it’s just so cool to finally be at a point in time where like, oh, the job market actually wants my skill set right now.

Felicia: I mean, always a good thing, right, always. All I was way back when, when I was a cultural anthropology major

Erika: Was like will work in a path for office. So great to see it all come full circle.

Felicia: I feel like that’s the line that anyone who has gone to a liberal arts college has heard. You can do anything with this. And you’re like, Yeah, but that doesn’t really help me narrow

Erika: Right right at the time that this was before the digital Internet age and there were like we were still looking at newspapers and I think Craigslist was actually a good source to look for jobs at that without dating ourselves too much. But like, you know, there weren’t any there weren’t really a lot of dei jobs back then and there was like a lot of hey, we want cultural anthropologists, we need that skill set. So it’s amazing to see that now in full bloom and really excited it here at she geeks out I play the role of a consultant and a facilitator.

Felicia: Well, what are we didn’t talk about today. I mean, we could talk about college and Craigslist and all sorts of stuff for ages, I’m sure. But Fatima, do you want to sort of set the stage as to what we’re going to be chatting about?

Fatima: Yes. So for those of you who might know Felicia and Erica co facilitator with Eric as well but volition. I do. I would say probably starting in June, because we saw a decrease of people sort of asking us to bring our skill sets to the forefront when coven hit and then we saw that spike in June. Right. And so, Felicia, and I have been independently facilitating workshops virtually. We’ve also been co facilitating which that’s always a pleasure, because you can just sit back for 15 minutes and let the other person facilitate But in those workshops. You know what we found was that we just cut so many questions around planning and goal setting. Right, everyone wanted to know. And this isn’t new. Right, everyone wants to know how do we fix things. How do we make things better within our workplaces, but more specifically and what are some of these metrics and in case some of you might not be familiar, what the acronym D stands for that stands for diversity, equity, and inclusion. So today, it makes sense for us to just talk about what dei metrics are what are some useful metrics are meaningful metrics to use, especially as we get into the new year.  And maybe some tips we can give to folks if and when challenges surface, right. So that’s sort of the gist of our conversation. So I’ll pass it back over to you all, because I’m sort of interested to learn what you all are how you are defined dei right like before we even get into the metric space. How would you define diversity, equity, and inclusion in your own words.

Felicia: Yeah, it’s a sort of a general question. Right, and I think you’re probably gonna laugh at me because I’m going to just try it out. What I say in the training things right because that’s sort of always on the tip of my tongue. But, you know, we talk a lot about diversity as this idea of representation. And I think that really ties very closely to a lot of what we’ll be talking about with metrics. So will certainly get into that a bit further on in a bit, but really representation and then you know the he and I. And we’re also bringing in other acronyms now too. So I’m sure you both have heard Jed I which incorporates justice, along with the diversity, equity inclusion.

Erika: rearranging the IBM

Felicia: He with the belonging. So there’s so many letters floating out there. But if we’re going to talk about the E and I, in addition to diversity, equity. You know, really, sort of, how can we support each individual person and give them what they need in order to advance or be supported. From an equitable standpoint, not necessarily an equal standpoint and then inclusion. I mean, it’s so closely tied to belonging. But really, that sense of how do you feel like, what’s that feeling. Do you feel as if you belong? Do you feel like your skills are being used? You feel it can really, you know, bring your whole self to work if it’s in a workplace context. But that’s, like I said, the company. Really hard to separate the two. I mean, they’re really the one on the same, but I would love to hear from your standpoint, Erica, because you’re coming in, you’ve

You know, you’ve worked with us, but you’re also coming in with so much background and your own experience. And so, you know, maybe this is the time where we find out you’re like, y’all are

Erika: Y’all are blazing the trail. So my background. I’ve been in big organizations little organizations played lots of different roles. And what I find in the DEI space is that people often don’t know what exactly it is so it’s great to to start to operationalize it, as we would say in research challenge so well known fact about me. I have my doctorate. And I remember once upon a time sitting in classes and having to like grapple with. Okay, we have this diversity thing. How are we going to measure it, if we have this equity piece. How are we going to measure if we have inclusion, like, what is it, how will we measure it through a question or through a survey or whatever. So I think the timeliness of this is so important. I tend to think of diversity and inclusion as kind of the inputs and equity is kind of the outcomes. And so when I think about diversity and inclusion, I think, okay, diversity. I’m doing, you know, a numbers count right do I have this population represented in my workforce. When I think about inclusion. I think like okay, how, how are they feeling and how are they interacting and how are they able to show up or not show up in a workspace and when you when you say like d plus i. Gives you kind of like an outcome which is your equity right and that’s that idea of if you have people there who feel like they belong, who, who are you know, statistically, or numerically growing, you can start to say something about is the experience equitable across these different groups so I am I like to look for metrics that tell that story. A lot of times I work sometimes with various companies still and it’s really easy for us to just say, oh, let’s, let’s just increase the number of people into a certain position and I often have to say, whoo nally slow down. Because we can actually get those folks it’s will we be able to retain them, will we be able to keep them will be a will we be able to promote them and that’s where we start getting into those conversations about inclusion and equity, which I think are the more interesting metrics.

Felicia: I love that. Idea of input output for sure.

Erika: Yeah.

Fatima: Like that, in my back pocket one day.

Fatima: It’s so funny, because when I first joined the SGO team and you know getting you some

materials and trying to figure out, like, what’s the SGO way to present some of these topics. I remember just sort of like looking at Felicia and be like, Okay, I’m putting that in my back pocket right And so I’m always putting things in my back pocket so appreciate all the sharing that’s happening right now.

Felicia: Thank you Fatima. Anything to add, I know you’re a little bit more in the SGO way I would say you are here full time, but anything sort of to add that we haven’t touched on.

Fatima: I totally disagree with the SGO definitely The truth comes out. As kidding. No, I think it’s, I love the way you know the approach and how SGO defines diversity, equity, and inclusion. You know, usually when I’m doing the training with the content that’s already been developed. I always start off by saying you could Google each of these terms or Google them simultaneously and find yourself sitting in front of a computer close to a month or two months. Right. Because the truth is, every organization or individual or company has their own way of defining the terms right like Felicia, you shared your definition or the actual definition which is your definition right and Erica, you shared yours. And while it was similar. You also had a way of explaining what it means to you on a personal level. And I think the one piece that you mentioned earlier, this justice lens, right, like we often go by the dei acronym. But I think what really helps me and other people understand really what we’re getting at is this justice piece like really understanding that the only reason why we’re talking about diversity, equity, and inclusion is because all of us haven’t started from the same playing field, right. We’re talking about these these topics, because there are injustices. Right. Like, I think it’s so important to sort of to bring those concepts together because if we are to talk about what those metrics might look like, which we’ll get to. Or what it might look like to actually implement some of these goals and intentions and things like that, we first have to do some assessment around what’s not working right. What are some of the historical implications around who hasn’t been represented in our community and society and how our workplaces, a microcosm of that right like if we can’t have that conversation. It’s really hard. For us to achieve goals that were really be sustainable, or that will feel good to your employees in the workplace. So I think that’s probably that one piece that I would add, and always try to bring it with me because it’s very easy to get caught up in definitions and like being headspace and not heart space.

Erika: Love. Love that love that love that I see so many dei positions and I’ve been in various organizations where it just becomes like, Okay, we gotta pull the report, but if I’m disembodied, if you will, from like the whole reason why we’re pulling this report is because hopefully we’re all working towards justice. And I think that’s one thing that’s missing from a lot of having worked with a lot of companies and that’s what’s missing from the conversation is like, all right, the eye on the prize or the bouncing ball that we’re following here is this lens of justice. Yeah, we all hopefully are here for that. That’s why we care so much about it and I think box below the generative conversation that is hopefully emerging in this collective when we think about 2020 what what was, what was life trying to say to us, it was trying to say justice.

Fatima: Yeah, yeah. Oh.

Felicia: Like I feel like there’s just were like pausing here because its

Erika: It’s so true early the poetry snap.

Fatima: Right. Like, what was that sound. I’m glad you said some Erica.

Felicia: Well, I feel like this was maybe a good segue though to, you know, not to have us just be totally pausing forever, but it’s a good segue, I think, and maybe Erica, if you wouldn’t mind telling us a little bit more about the metrics that you’ve seen like I know Fatima, you are asking like, what dei metrics and you just mentioned, Erica like reporting that you’ve seen and you know the numbers and other stuff that we’re looking at. So I wonder if you could maybe start us off by switching gears and talk a little bit more about it. Okay. So we’ve got our big concepts. The D, the AI, the J. The be whatever and like, what do we do with this and what especially from that workplace context, which is, you know, a lot of all we talk and think about, like, what do we do with the heart and how do we combine the head in the heart there.

Erika: Right. Um, so I would say, typically in an organization, you’ll see your basic demographic measure measurements. You know, I, II what category do you fall into. Are you male, female, Unfortunately, those are usually given in the binary and when your honor, when I’ve been on project planning teams like even in 2020 it’s a push to say, hey, can we just get out of the male, female, or it could also be, you know, race, anything around anything around that I call it y’all know me y’all know me well you know I love my diversity will alone is diversity wheel. Yes, I know people have added to it, but it’s a wonderful like starting point. You know, really, really just checking to see if we have representation there, but I’m also seeing folks do right now big thing our engagement surveys. So I don’t know if folks are familiar with culture amp and and various competitors not endorsing any one particular tool, but they’ve come up with like DNI inclusion surveys and that will that measures, a lot of the belonging piece, you know, we will ask where you’ll ask people, questions about your sense of belonging and do you feel like you have input into the decision making and and that sort of thing and dependent on, I would say the maturity of the organization. Because let’s be honest, let’s be real, a lot of organizations don’t really have someone person in this base, if you will. So a lot of organizations, maybe you hire a person who focuses on Dei, but the data piece isn’t necessarily their specialty. Sometimes it comes out of the HR shop, but they also have other things that they’re doing. But I think where the metrics really gets interesting is when you start to look at things around like pay equity or when you start to look at career growth, you know, our people are certain groups progressing in the same way that other groups are that’s where you could really get some advanced analytics. So I don’t rattle on too much. I will tell you if I were a dei mechanic and a company came to me and they said, hey, can you can you give us. Do you know what will change or our check engine light isn’t word what would I be looking for? I’d be looking for, you know, representation in terms of who’s in leadership, who’s not represented in leadership, I’d be looking at promotion rates. I’d also be looking at exit and retention data. So maybe that’s quantitative. Again, if you have someone who’s really, you know, like your HR analyst or your DTI position is dedicated to looking at these kind of trends or just qualitative data. And then the last thing I would look at is, is just tenure, you know, our people staying and are certain groups staying in for the long haul, or a certain groups coming in for about, you know, six months of saying I can’t do this. I’m out of here that that will be all my check engine light if any of those were off. That’s when I get very curious.

Felicia: Now, I love that. Thank you for setting us up with that and Starting us off. It’s interesting too because I feel like all of these data points, they have to work together, right, because anyone, doesn’t tell the full story. And I’ve seen organizations that I’ve encountered in the past where you look at one data point. And you’re like, oh, they’re doing amazing like you look at how many women they have right, especially for tech companies or certain industries and you’re like, the numbers look great. And then you pull in the other data point, which is, well, what are their, what are their job titles and job levels and you’re like, Whoa. Actually, it’s only entry level where they’re doing really well. And they’re 5050 split if we’re doing the binary. But then once you get into manager or leadership. There’s no woman there. And so then you’re like, well, and then how much are they getting paid. And so they all kind of fit together and I personally love the metaphor of puzzle pieces when talking about this work, and I think this is such a place where you really see that as a puzzle where, you know, you can’t just have one piece, you have to have all the others and. And to your point, Erica to I think it’s really important because and this is not a ding against anyone or any company, but a lot of times we see people who are just looking at it from like a personal passion standpoint, or it’s like a  mission driven type thing. It’s more like the heart aspect of it which is so important. But the data is really important to you and I think you’re you know the the DTI mechanic like you need the people who can do that, who’ve got the tools to go in and tinker around and can actually make sense of the numbers and can pull the reports and make them you know into something that’s meaningful and I remember working at a really large tech company. And when I started doing this work back in the day. And I was trying to figure out some of these numbers and figure out like how many people do like what’s the the gender breakdown and what’s the breakdown by level and what is pay and I had to work with HR and it was so frustrating because this is of course couple years ago, but a lot of organizations view this this information as secret or they’re scared that it’s going to tell a story that they don’t want to be told, even only happening internally and not externally and it was like pulling teeth to get just basic numbers. And so it’s hard because how can you do the work. If you’re not able to adjust and assess and understand what you’re working with, and I could probably keep talking and talking and talking. But then if we bring a global lens into this to that’s even more complicated because whereas here in the US, we have access to a lot of this data.

Fatima: Yeah.

Felicia: Other countries, you’re legally not allowed to collect it. So then you’re sort of you know, I don’t like to use this phrase, but flying blind and so you’re, you’re just you’re blindfolded. Let’s say like you just don’t have as much information as you could use so you know everything to what you said. As far as metrics, I would probably just also add in the recruiting piece of it. So, you know, not just, who do you actually hire but at all stages of that recruiting funnel. It’s sourcing and interviewing and phone screens and who gets through. And who falls off. There’s so much information to be had there and you know also just, you know, again, bringing in a little bit of that legal aspect of it like discrimination and harassment complaints like that stuff that sometimes seen a little bit separate but as part of that story as well.

Erika: Yeah, I feel like we should have a follow up, you know, follow up to the follow up. The After Party is like, how do we do stigmatize dei data because I think that Miri very common precisely for what, for the reasons you spoke about Felicia like this idea of one people are afraid of what the numbers will say, and two, because there are some compliance concerns around like who’s getting access as you were talking to. It reminded me of that book diversity, Inc. I’m not sure if folks have read it, I highly recommend it but it talks about how, you know, we have this wonderful industry, but it hasn’t really moved too far and it’s precisely because people metrics in an organization get you to move. And if you don’t take him seriously and if you don’t have dedicated personnel or staff to actually focus on the metrics. Where are you going? How do you know that you even got there? So it’s, um, they’re really, they’re really important.

Fatima: Yeah, I love that a lot. You all job so many gems. If you’re listening just this is a great time snap. That’s like your applause, even though we can’t hear you. But, you know, to your point is what gets measured gets done right, like if you’re not measuring it. A lot of times, people won’t think about it. Right. There’s so many companies that I’ve worked with or especially nonprofit organizations that I’ve worked with in the past and they’ll go through amazing trainings or workshops that sort of gets the wheels turning and they’ll walk away with something that’s like okay we brainstorm our issues. We did a root root cause analysis, we know the foundation issue. Here the action items, we’re going to do. We have metrics. Boom. And then what happens, all these other things within the company that’s getting measured that’s aligned with either, you know, performance review are aligned with so many other things are strategic goal. Is, you know, those are the things that people were going to focus on first. Right. And what happens is that the dei work gets pushed to the side and before you know it, it’s more of an initiative versus being part of a whole or really embedded within, within the culture of a company. So the only thing I would add about metrics is also just understanding, like what do you, is it going to be sustainable, right, like what resources do you have in place for you to even start thinking about those metrics and how do you hold yourself accountable. When you start setting those goals, right, because you know you all mentioned a few already from like recruiting to who’s represented who’s not and so forth. But then, like, what makes it. What makes us move from one point to the next is really who’s going to be working on this, right, who’s going to be working towards making this happen. So I think that’s a really big piece at sometimes it’s hard to figure out. Because people, they usually people that’s not you know under their role right when you get your position or you start working somewhere you’re not expecting to be part of a dei Council right we usually cheat. Those that work external. So how do we start making that probably you know even part of folks roles to make sure that we understand that this is part of a whole company and not something separate or to the side.

Erika: Amen to that woman. You know that they have the reports. You can get the report. Like it’s that internal infrastructure that’s missing in the metrics conversation, right. Like, how do we make this a part of how we do every part of what we do. So, for example, I think about the AI. There’s this wonderful movie I just watched quoted bias and it’s all about like the bias and the algorithm. And the thing is, I’m watching it. I’m like, you know, in the world. I envision when that product team sits down to like do their magic or whatever it is that they do. They would be reaching out to the dei person if there’s a designated role, but like, there’s that behavioral and that mindset shift of know we can actually go forward with our part of the process until we’ve checked in to see oh, how many folks have been used in this data set that we’re not from the dominant culture or if you think about, you know, performance reviews in my ideal world, when we talk about dei. It would be that the HR team says, all right, we’ve gone through all of our, you know, performance reviews and we’re calibrating now let’s see what the stats are who’s getting promoted who’s not getting promoted who’s getting a salary increase who’s not. And what does that look like because ultimately that’s the mindset like that the metrics only matter if the behavior changes.

Fatima: Mm hmm. I love that a lot. I think we’ve already started getting into the process right but I’m wondering what would it look like for us to share a bit about what that process. And I’m like, so maybe a company is in their beginning stage or they’ve been doing this for the past few years, but they’re trying to maintain or figure out what do we need to adjust because we looked at this report and we got the employee employee engagement survey we did a horrible job our score is really low. What are some. What are some steps we can give to some of those companies or workplaces, they’re like, what do we do, how do we even think about dei or continue doing a better job. What will you all say to that.

Felicia: Well, I would actually say that I actually, I would say there’s companies. I know there’s organizations out there that haven’t even done this survey or they’ve done nothing you know and like every organization.You know, I think it was you. Erica, you were saying organizations are at different levels of maturity and even though, especially for us three because we’re practitioners and we’re in. It might seem like everyone’s talking about it, but there are still organizations out there that need a lot of help and have yet to really address this in the way that we feel it should be addressed. So you know what I’ve heard from some companies that I’ve encountered in the past, is that sometimes there’s a hesitancy to start because they’re afraid of what the story will be or what they will find out and or they want to just start without measuring anything before you know so they just want to leap in without knowing what they’re leaving into

and so they don’t know if there’s alligators in that pond. They don’t know what they’re seaweed. They don’t know if there’s, you know, mermaids. They have no idea what’s going on in this body of water that they’re leaping into sorry for my aquatic metaphor here.

Felicia: But, you know, and so I would say a lot of times to even if it’s, it doesn’t have to be a Oh you’re gonna find something bad out or you should be afraid of, you’re gonna find out. But you may think that you know what your employees need or what the problems are, or even you think you know what’s going well and until you actually put a data point to that you don’t know and so starting with a survey a focus group something to give you some sort of starting line and then you can build off of there. So I would say, you know, I think there’s sort of two avenues here. There’s the organization. Where you’ve done something already. So you have some sense of what’s going on. But then there’s also the organizations where you need to actually do something and so personally, I love that employee engagement survey. And I think that either with or followed by focus groups is a great way to start to collect information and it gets that what you were saying, Erica that quantitative as well as qualitative because you really want both you know, a lot of times people get really overwhelmed because they’re like, well, you know, we just rattled off you know recruitment, retention and pay equity. Representation, like we rattle off a lot of stuff here and people are like, Oh my gosh. Well, how do I even I we haven’t been doing this, how do we start and you just have to start again. You have to start somewhere. So maybe you say, Okay, we’re going to focus on recruiting first because that’s really tangible. It’s a clear process, we can look at each step and you just start collecting that information and there’s, you know, certainly a lot of great tools out there. You’re, you may have internal departments and people that are already collecting this data. So it might be more of a matter of pulling that information together or sharing it, but for my standpoint, I really think it’s just, you know, putting your starting point in place and then taking it step by step and not feeling like you have to attack it all in one fell swoop, but you have to have that roadmap of where are you going and where did you start and where do you want to go eventually

Fatima: But that’s just my standpoint. Love that.

Felicia: Either of you have anything to add into that.

Fatima: So good Felicia. Erica. Do you wanna, you want to kick us off?

Erika: Jumped into the double batch rope. I think the best advice is what you said. Felicia honestly is like start somewhere and collect the data. If you are going to take action. Like if you are not going to take action, then you need to have an internal conversation about why you don’t want to take action because once you start to show movement in that area of, like, hey, we want to have this card. Well, I’ll even backup employees are hungry to have this conversation and a lot of companies that I work with, I get tons of, like, thank you so much for letting us have this conversation. So if folks. Who are listening at a later date and time are wondering like, I don’t know if our folks are ready like press me. They are waiting for you to open up that door. And I would say if you are going to open up that door. Make sure that you take action where I see a lot of organizations spin out is that to your point for Felicia like there are so many areas to focus on, like, where do you, where do you focus, do you just focus on recruitment, do you focus on you know, the, the, the pay equity stuff like Pete people really that really starts to freak them out when it’s like, well, what should be our goal. And when I’m working with clients like that I typically tell them like you get to set where you want to go, you can start with the fun part about data, but the hard part about the secret is getting a doctorate. Is that you really can start whatever you want. It’s like a blank canvas. You really can say like, it’s really important for our company to focus on pay equity. So that’s what we’re going to focus on this quarter or this next six months or the, the whole year. You just have to start somewhere. The other thing that I was thinking about in regards to this question is wherever you start and wherever you decide to act really try to link data points that tell the diversity, equity, and inclusion story. So it’s easy for us to focus on. I just had a client, I was working with and they were saying, Oh, well, you know, we want to increase leadership. The diversity in our leadership. And I was like, that’s great. And how will you know that they actually feel included because look at the type of company that you are in your current state right now. You’re actually not a company. I know you’re trying to do that. But you’re actually like you’re actually going to have to put some things in place so that this person will want to stay and so that these people feel like they’re more than just a checkbox on your leadership team or on your board. So that’s what I would say, overlay that wider story of diversity, equity, and inclusion into your metrics and I would just like to amplify and echo that idea of get out there and collect the qualitative data as well. Do a listening session with your folks because the numbers don’t tell everything. Sometimes the numbers say like nothing’s wrong here. And it’s the qualitative data that will help you really see like, what this particular groups experience at your organization.

Felicia: Like being a detective almost right. And you know, it’s so interesting and I appreciate you sharing that story about your client right now. Erica, because what popped into my head as you were saying. You know, it’s not just about getting more diverse leadership. It’s about the inclusion piece. And I was thinking, another way to also or something to add into that would also be what is the current path to promotion into leadership internally are although like basically where are you getting your leadership from right so as an internal is the external is it both and then that ties back in again is that puzzle piece or it’s that linkage where you’re like, Okay. Are people getting promoted internally at rates that they should be are we seeing people stalled out and that’s where you can see both from a numbers perspective and that qualitative feedback and people will say, Well, hey at middle management. We’ve got tons of representation. But guess what, none of us have been promoted in five years, and we want to get into senior leadership, but we just they’re stuck here. And then they only go outside and when they go outside for new leadership roles. It’s all the old boys club. And so that’s a big crowd. So it just like it’s you sort of uncover one rock and then you kind of keep offering stuff. And of course, I’m not saying that’s what’s happening with this client, but that’s Other ways of adding into that were just, I feel like you have to be so inquisitive when you’re thinking about metrics and doing this work because again, like we’re coming with our own assumptions or our own experiences or thoughts, but that doesn’t mean that we’re correct, it means that we have ways of knowing where to look and what to ask, but then the answer is might be coming from different places that we don’t know.

Erika: Speaking to my data driven. So right there. Reverend. When I was in grad school. That’s what they said they remember them saying that your data is only good as the question that you want to ask on the problem that you want to solve. So if you’re out there saying we know we need to measure this, we need to measure that. That’s great. And you have to come back to that core question of what ultimately are we trying to answer what question are we trying to answer to the data that we’re collecting and what problem are we trying to solve for.

Fatima: Love that y’all are just drop. Just keep dropped the magenta. So, so much so much to take in. Right. And I heard both of us just being like, a lot of times, people were like, where do we start where I don’t even know because it can it can feel scary, right, especially in the spaces that we’re in now and as you mentioned it earlier like we’re afraid people are afraid to do and say the wrong thing. And something we talked about at least in some of our trainings, is that perfectionism is a myth. Right. It doesn’t mean we can’t hold ourselves accountable when we make mistakes. Right. But recognizing that you will make mistakes. And the question is what do you do after those mistakes are made, but something that Felicia and I have been using, like, as a framework is something that I really love it’s caught. Well, we call it the five P’s and courtesy of western states center. If you’re not familiar with their materials. They’re an awesome organization that just really talks about historical implications, social justice issues and give a lot of frameworks on how we can sort of conceptualize what it means to do dei work in the workplace and beyond. But the five P’s are sort of ways that they think about just our organizations in general. Right. Very often we might have different parts of our companies organizations, but for the most part we have people. We have what we practice aka culture. So what does that look like. And many times that said unsaid so really going back to that qualitative piece that those numbers aren’t always going to get you what you need. And maybe you are at a company organization that does internal, external programs. Right. And so what is the program. What are some of the questions that you’re asking and are if you’re working with the next journal community. Are you always centering their needs, right, or is it sort of like, Oh, we’re just going to do whatever we need to do and how are you making sure you’re measuring your effectiveness and making sure you’re accomplishing goals. This just not fitting for the company, but also the complete the community you’re working with in serving and then power, who’s in power, who’s not empower How do our decisions impact those and leadership role, all the way down the frontline staff and are we considering everyone sort of perspective. If not, how do we make adjustments. And lastly, the probably the hardest one is policies right how explicit. Can we be around our policies as it relates to dei. And not only right in it. But going back to the culture piece. Are we embodying it right so that framework has been really helpful. At least with our clients and trying to think about where, where do we start we give them that framework and then they start thinking about, okay, what are the questions we need to ask ourselves where our strengths. Where do we need up you know how opportunities for growth, which then helps them. Think about the action items and how they might be able to measure it in the future.

Felicia: Yeah, I love the five P’s.

Fatima: So good.

Felicia: It’s so funny though because we usually say culture versus practices because I understand that I think a little bit easier than practices. And so then people are like, wait, you said five P’s. There’s a line for it. But yeah, I mean, I would say, you know, and again, I think this really depends on where organizations are coming into the conversation from but if you like really never done anything and this also will depend on how large organization is so some companies. It’s really easy to know some of this information, you look around and you’re like, All right, I got the representation down. I mean, she gets we had five full time staff and not like we know what the numbers are.There was written data hiding somewhere. But, you know, on the other hand, like we’re actually we do hire from time to time. We’re in the middle of hiring right now. And so that’s actually a place that if I really wanted to dig into numbers. I could go look at our funnel. And say, Here’s all the people were getting and, you know, start breaking it down by all sorts of pieces of information and then see who’s making it through to phone screen and who is making it through to the next step and then you know, and then we could take a look at that, historically, and say that’s this job. But what about the last jobs and who will be hired in the past and so even for a small organization like ours, like there’s a lot of information that we could pull out if we really wanted to and, you know, anything to a lot of times people are like, well, that’s not my job. Like, I’m not a data analyst and you know, and sometimes there are going to be organizations where you are assigned to crunch the numbers and do that. But a lot of times it’s going to be someone in HR, it’s going to be a dei program manager, it’s going to be someone who’s an engineer who’s just really interested in this work. And so you know there’s always going to be some place to start. And I think a lot of it has to go back to you know, access to information and I think the biggest piece for me as well as communication. And I’m really interested to hear from you. Erica. What you’re seeing and your experiences around this kind of work and metrics and measurement with regards to how its communicated out because I think that’s another piece where sometimes companies are like we got to do the survey and then they don’t tell people why or they’re a lot of work and then they never share the results or they’re like, oh, we know exactly how everything breaks down and we know what’s going on with the turnover rate and promotion. Hey, equity, but then it feels like all that information is gone to a black hole. And so this is where you see a lot of sort of distressed within organizations where the employees who are passionate or who want to know, or who want to help. move the needle towards greater change feel like they could help if they were asked, or if they were if they had information, but they just feel like they’re not being that they’re being used sort of held separate from that. And so where I’ve seen you know companies be more successful is where they’re more transparent. And, of course, that brings up a lot of issues like some stuff you’re not able to share some things you don’t want to share. But if you can sort of have a level of transparency. That can help a lot, especially if people, they just want to know, right. So if you’re like, here’s what we have, which we’re not going to fix this tomorrow. But here’s the data. We’re working on it. That’s a huge step towards greater inclusion and all the work. So anyway, I’m rambling here but that’s the other big piece. I was really thinking about. And as I said, Erica. I would love to hear from you have used like have you seen like stuff that’s gone. Well, things that haven’t gone well have. It has been a factor for you and your past work with your

Erika: Greatest Hits are when the leaders are on board. Right, so when leaders are saying, hey, it’s really important for us to do this. And they’re either communicating it out via email or they’re holding a special you know all hands meeting to say on a quarterly basis or on a yearly basis and they really get into a cadence, so that it communicates that message to the entire company. This is really important to us. Greatest Hits from a communication standpoint, is it definitely goes with that thread of transparency, but like if the numbers aren’t good that the leaders on that to that and they say, we know the numbers aren’t good and we want to make that different moving forward and also on the greatest hits list is not not just that performative life will do better. But when they actually set a concrete goal and they say, hey, by such a date or by such a quarter we want to increase this to you. Sometimes it’s a wrong number or sometimes it’s the percentage I Where I think the worst hits MTV, or was it being to one habit like best and worst show that used to come on when I had a TV, but we will need Erica and her geeky so does not have a great. It hasn’t had one for five years and don’t want them, but any worse hits our when those numbers get clouded and secrecy. And worst hits are when you know leadership says, hey, we want to do better. But they kind of like keep it quiet. I really think this is where leaders at all levels, whether they be, you know, from supervisor to middle manager. To director to senior director to VP and beyond. Whatever your organization, however it structured or tears. They have the biggest voice in the room to say, hey, we want to change this, we want to push this and I think it’s really important for leaders to communicate how important diversity, equity, and inclusion is to the organization. And I think it’s really important for them to just make it a natural part of their communications. Like, why not start your weekly meeting if your director of recruiting with, Hey, let’s take a look at our pipeline, you know, let’s look at our candidate. I forget what they call it. I call it the stack, but I don’t think that’s the word they use, let’s take a look at that. Because ultimately, that’s it. We got to focus on like those macro and communications that the feel good messaging on the ship, but also the individual orders that get communicated down to different teams. Those are important, like a leader has to be able to say to their team. You know what I know this might really shake your tail feathers. But I want you to revamp your whole product. Process, so that it includes a diversity, equity, and inclusion and sure you can spend a quarter thinking about how you might even spend a quarter assessing that, but by second quarter 2021 I want us to start pilot in that

Fatima: Accountability as but to say

Erika: You know, real Pat, we are taking a lot of time. Just spending those in the D ization in actual companies around getting stuff done. And if you are a leader you can communicate that to your folks and say, hey, we need to look at, I applaud those leaders that you know, are the engineering leaders that say, hey, I want us to look at our language that we use and let’s make sure we’re using inclusive leadership. We got to take certain terms off and replace it with something else.

Fatima: Right on. Yes.

Erika: Because we’ve just been at this since the 80s nine if you reduce the ink. I read, I did a fast read and I was, I was just at the end of it, I was like, you know, these same questions are what I’m grappling with. Yes, people, you know, aren’t I don’t want to say we’re not moving fast enough. But we’re not using the power of our voice and communication to really hold people accountable to doing something different.

Fatima: That’s so powerful, right, and even just thinking about, well, why are we making the same mistakes. We’ve already made. Right. And I guess that’s like your, your anthropology background. Right. But, as you said, accountability and another word Felicia use that I loved earlier is transparency, those are two words we’re going into 2021 with but it’s also making me think about what we’ve learned. Right. And like you said earlier you were like 2020 the screaming justice. Right. And we’re in the space where everyone is like, we need to be anti oppressive, we need to be anti racist, anti all things. And we literally made that shift within five, five months. Right. And we’ve talked about metrics we talked about diversity, equity inclusion. We talked about recruiting, hiring representation and when we’re talking about that deep justice work. Do you feel like that’s different, or those metrics different. If not, how do we combine the two or what’s better language to use instead of cheating it separately. Right. Because Felicia and I have talked about like how, in many ways, if we think about a dei work should incorporate justice work. It shouldn’t be separate. What’s your take on that.

Erika: One, because I think, I think it’s a must.  And I know developmentally if you think about how people develop a concept of anti racism. I know a lot of people aren’t there. And so, in some cases, we’re asking folks to be at, you know, a college level when they still may be an elementary school. That said, as a leader. And if you think about your educational experiences we’ve all had teachers that are demanding and who have said things like, yeah, I know you’re a first grader but you read a college level.

Fatima: Sure.

Erika: It all and

Fatima: You get there. Yeah.

Erika: That’s so easy.

Felicia: Right.

Erika: Yeah.

Felicia: Yeah, your manager, it can be internal just, you know, sort of, like, I guess, for lack of a better word, cultural leaders internally. You know those people who like set the tone right and just be like, we got to push ourselves. And again, you know, for Team ever going to tie it back to the question around data and metrics like you have to know what you’re dealing with. Right, like you know what is like, like how would you know if you did well or how would you know if you were successful. If you didn’t know where you started. Yeah, if I were to, if I were to get up out of this room and then like run back in huffing and tell you, I just ran a five K race, like, Well, you know, do we have the whole story. When did I start running this race was five weeks ago and I’ve just put been putting steps in my Fitbit like you know like you have to know where we started to be able to say, yeah, like you did this amazing thing or we almost got there, or we didn’t get there. And yeah, sorry to hijack your, your comment. Erica, but she like I’ve got like a minute bash inside me.

Erika: And it will. We’ve got to be in this may sound like over the edge for some folks, but I’ll say it like we have to be rianna level up on apologetic. About the game of anti racism and the game of justice. Because if not, what are we here for. I didn’t come to a party to not like really dance and get down on the dance. No. And like I think again what what’s missing from a lot of these conversations around metrics is that generally piece of we are doing this because we envision a certain thing about our organization, right, we have this people will call it a goal, but I would say, like, go to that why we have this goal because ulltimately we want everybody to feel like they can contribute and be their best in this organization and for, you know, my hardcore folks that are like, why would we want that so that you can make more money right for my heart center. Folks, why because it feels good. But I think we need to be. We kind of skirt, at least inside companies. We kind of skirt around the fact that, like, we’re actually doing this because we want adjust world like we want to be anti racist because we want equity and there’s nothing wrong with wanting equity. As a matter of fact, we’re long overdue. Put that on your Christmas.

Felicia: Santa.

Erika: Or your you celebrate a holiday or, you know, we’re long overdue here this

Felicia: Is yeah you know and I just had this thought while you were speaking, which is going back to your question Fatima. So I think that these two things in terms of, you know, diversity work anti racism, anti oppressive work. I do really feel like we’re moving more towards that language and incorporating that into this work and it is so tied together because it’s the next step because what I think we’ve seen in a lot of organizations, up until really and a lot of ways was a lot of work in certain industries and companies around diversity work, but for a lot of people, including practitioners we were still limiting ourselves to structures of oppression. And so that’s a different conversation to say how can I be successful within a patriarchal structure or within an oppressive structure that’s built to put people down and then once you get to that point where you collect your data and you have your understanding and your training, you’re naturally always going to get to a point where you start to realize, you know, I’m sorry. I’m like, going there. But like with the matrix, right. We’re Neo Neo realizes the world around. That’s where we are right now we’re starting to realize it’s not about gender parity or pay or promotional stuff. Maybe it’s about completely restructuring what we built and that is a really, really hard conversation for a lot of organizations like I literally had a conversation with the organization to summer. smaller nonprofit, you know, five, six people all white woman who work there and they’re like, we’re so fired up about anti racism and even candies book and blah, blah, blah. But, you know, honestly, like at the end of the day, we’re going to be a truly anti racist organization like we all are out of the job because we’re all white women like a diverse team. We’re not supporting this and who’s gonna say, yeah. Thanks so much, especially in a pandemic. Like, let’s just quit and then have new people come in like it’s just, it’s a really big challenge for a lot of people. So I feel like we’re in that moment where Neo has realized the you know the world around him. And it’s really up to us at this point to say like, do we decide to stay within the oppressive structures. And that’s still good work. Right. Like, that’s not bad work or it doesn’t. It’s not that it doesn’t have meaning or do we take that next leap and say, we’re just going to completely change everything.

Erika: Oh man, I’m getting that one fully. Yeah. That is how you create a new world. Yeah, and like, that is, the harder road to be on and like there’s like all these bands and that is that’s kinda like the yellow brick road that we need to be trying to make our way to maybe you in a different role right now and that’s okay. But remember, you got to find that yellow path through the other ones. Otherwise, what we know from like systems theory is the system will just keep replicating itself. And over again.

Fatima: To talk about to the piece power and people. Right, very often when we think about metrics or we think about systems, we think about them separately. Right. And to bug them your points. You know, people make up systems and it’s scary. It’s so scary to know that it’s our responsibility. And if we were to be as revolutionary as we think we could be or wanting to be. Yeah. None of us, we would not none of us would be working we would be thinking about a different world that we haven’t experienced yet maybe we’ve experienced snippets of it right and we’re like, imagine if every day could be like this. Right. How do we, how do we actually embody that in the real world.

Erika: Which is, I think, a really good question for listeners to sit with is like what is the world and the workplace that you want to create I mean, that, that, that just has so much hope and so much possibility and creatively overwhelming for anyone who’s an artist, like when I look at that blank white canvas. I’m like, I don’t know what’s going to emerge. How is this going to turn into something beautiful for, for those of you who don’t know me, which probably let me down because you’re you don’t know me from a can of paint, but that said that I love to paint and people. So how do you come up with those ideas and like it really is emergent you know it’s it’s allowing ourselves to sink into what is arising and seeing it as the highest like what is the highest potential and the highest outcome for all maybe we don’t lose all our jobs, like maybe something even better comes through and that’s that’s the place that we gotta, we gotta sit with that would be a fun workshop to create just by you. It gets a little futuristic but like

Felicia: That’s what we’re working towards

Erika: Yeah.

Felicia: And I think that’s such a great sort of way to kind of CAP up our discussion is to leave. Listeners with that question like what is, what is the goal. What is the world that you want to live and work in and work towards. And what does that look like and what does that feel like? I feel like we went around the block. I ran that okay and

Fatima: So good. You know, as we’re slowly saying our goodbyes. When you were talking, Erika, I automatically thought about Adrian Murray Brown’s book. Merging strategies. If you haven’t read that book if you already read it, read it again because this is one of those books where it’s like you have to sort of have the emotional and spiritual connection to this work in order for it to feel worthwhile and in order for you to feel like you could keep on going and people like that or bell hooks are just amazing. You have given us words. Grab one of them during break if you have a break or if you’re celebrating holidays and let that feed you into the new year, because I know I’ll be doing that.

Felicia: Thank you both so much  for being in community and conversation and wish you all a restful close your 2020.