07 March 2021

Q&A Call: Diversity, Equity, Inclusion & Belonging Technology

Stacia Garr
Senior Analyst
Priyanka Mehrotra
Research Lead

TL;DR

  • In this Q&A call Stacia Garr is joined with Priyanka Mehrotra to discuss the DEIB tech market.
  • Learn about the key findings on the DEIB tech market in 2020.
  • Few considerations buyers should keep in mind before buying new DEIB tech.
  • The role of people analytics in DEIB tech.
  • Choosing between selecting a stand alone DEIB tech solution vs an add-on to an existing HR tech platform

Q&A Call Video

TRANSCRIPT

Introduction

Stacia Garr:
All right. So we're going to go ahead and get started. We did have a smaller acceptance for today. So maybe just be us, but that's great. So really for the sake of the recording, cause I know most of you here I'm Stacia Garr, I'm co-founder of RedThread Research were a human capital research advisory membership, and we focus on a range of things, including most relevant for today, diversity, equity, inclusion, belonging, and HR technology. So what we're going to do today is to just give a few of the findings from the research, and then I'm going to let Priyanka do quite a bit of that. And then we're going to answer either the questions that you have here, or we also have a few questions that were submitted in advance. For folks who are maybe new to this conversation, this is a conversation. It is very informal. And the idea is really just to give a chance to to get your questions answered or to have a good discussion about this topic of DEIB technology. Okay. Priyanka, do you want to move on?

Defining DEIB

Priyanka:
Well, okay then I'll move ahead with just setting the stage up. So what I want you to do very quickly was just share a few definitions of how we define our concepts, these concepts of diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging. And I'll just give everybody about 20 seconds to read them because they're slightly longer for me to read them on for everybody. So if you want to just stick a second and then we'll move ahead with this.

DEIB became a bigger priority in 2020

Priyanka Mehrotra:
And moving on. So just setting the stage of why you're talking about DEIB this year, of course we know DEIB became a very crucial topic in 2020 for various reasons. COVID-19, BLM movement, social justice movements, natural disasters, everything just kind of made the DEIB so crucial in 2020, and we have this data here from Glassdoor, which showed us that there's been such an immense rise in DEIB job openings in summer 2020 and 250%. That's crazy. And we can see the lines moving right after social justice movement gained momentum in the summer of 2020. And as we can see, like in December 2020, it's just completely shot up higher than it had ever been before. So when you think about the role of DEIB tech, there are a few things why we think it's so crucial and what is it that it can actually do.

The role and types of DEIB Tech

Priyanka Mehrotra:
So a few things that we wanted to highlight, what is it that it can do for us? And it can uncover bias in policies, practices, and programs. It can help us identify gaps between goals and actions. It can make recommendations on what are the steps that leaders and organizations should do next, and it can analyze data and information for greater insights. So keeping these things in mind and looking at the technology that vendors are offering in this market, there were a few things that we noticed about the types of tech that we typically tend to see in the market. We decided we divided them into three types that we majorly see. We have the DEIB focused vendors where their primary business is focusing on DEIB. That's how they go to market. Then we see the DEIB feature venders their primary business might not be DEIB.

DEIB Tech market in 2021

Priyanka Mehrotra:
They might be going to market with something else, but they do have features and additional capabilities that directly address DEIB. And then we have the DEIB friendly vendors who maybe going through market for totally different reasons, such as the recruiting software, but they, for example, they might have artificial intelligence that can be used for DEIB purposes as well. So looking at the DEIB market in 2020, 2021, what are the major trends that we saw during our study, one we saw an overall growth in the market. We saw a major increase in HR tech vendors in general offering DEIB features that part of the solution. So the DEIB feature vendors that I just mentioned before. We saw a major increase in the number of vendors who are offering these capabilities as opposed to DEIB friendly or DEIB focused vendors.

Priyanka Mehrotra:
We saw greater focus on inclusion and the impact of AI on mitigating bias. So we've traditionally focused on diversity for so long, but inclusion really came into being in 2020 and 2021. Last, we saw evolution of emphasis from gender to race and ethnicity. So during hashtag me too movement, that was a lot of focus on gender. In 2020 we saw that shift towards race and ethnicity really come into its own. And people analytics for DEIB has arrived that's what we saw in a big way in our findings. And so I'm just going to touch on all these points at a very high level.

Stacia Garr:
Sorry. Do we want to ask if anybody has a high level question on any of those five before we dive in?

Priyanka Mehrotra:
Yes. Thank you Staica.

Speaker 1:
Not for me. Very straightforward.

A more steady evolution

Speaker 2:
Question Priyanka. So you say there was a shift from gender to ethnicity and race. You refer to the, me too, as a, as a, let's say a movement or a trend. We have the Black Lives Matter. Is, is this like really sensitive to societal evolutions? Is that what you see and might change again? I mean next year, if another topic comes on the political agenda or is it a more steady evolution?

Priyanka Mehrotra:
I think I would say it's been a more steady evolution. We definitely continue seeing gender as a very important part of what DEIB tech vendors are providing as part of their offerings. But we also started seeing some Venders include race and ethnicity as part of, for example, the service that they're providing for that customer. So race becomes a part of it and intersectionality became quite important and became quite common. We started to see more and more vendors offering that in the way that the customers can slice the data and see how they can create groups. So for example, I know Visier offers a cohort analysis in which you can create any type of groups, right. And you can create groups that have different attributes and you can compare them. So, so we started seeing more and more vendors really bringing those capabilities into their solutions. Stacia, did you want to add anything?

Stacia Garr:
Yeah, so I think I mean gender has been a common focus largely because it's something that is you can focus on globally. There aren't as many differences in terms of what you can study or look at as race. I would say though that this, the movements of this summer, and I wouldn't call them political movements. I mean, I think they're very much social movements, at least in the United States. They were response to what was happening. That doesn't mean that there wasn't already, in there certainly is a deep problem that was existing. But I think, but it was a reaction. I will say though, and I've been kind of contemplating this and I don't have any data to prove it, but I, wonder if there was a greater willingness to focus on race, which has been a very difficult topic, certainly in the United States, a greater willingness to focus on it because it was immediately following the pandemic where we had kind of in, in some ways, softened ourselves up to say, we don't have all the answers and our executives, our leaders were saying we don't have all the answers.

Stacia Garr:
And they'd kind of gotten into a habit of, of saying that for three months. And then we have these massive protests in, in this movement. And so I think that there was just a greater willingness than we've ever seen for people to say, Hey, you know, maybe what we thought was happening, wasn't happening, maybe what we thought, you know, that we were more inclusive and yet it seems like maybe we weren't. And so I think there was that greater openness, but I think, you know, your, your question Speaker 2 kind of says, okay, well you, if we focus on race and ethnicity here in 2020 and 2021 and maybe 2022, is there going to be something else in 2023? I mean, I think potentially, but I think that that opening of the aperture to focus on more diverse groups and folks who haven't had that spotlight, if you will, on their experience is probably a good thing. I think we're going to see in general, more of that opening of the aperture.

Regulation

Speaker 1:
And actually on that topic. Can I ask a quick question in terms of the role that you see regulation playing in this, obviously in the UK with gender pay gap reporting, obviously, you know, drives a requirement and adoption and awareness in the market. We're starting to see, you know, the emergence of regulation taking place in some markets, but specifically in the US do you guys have a particular view on the likelihood of the emergence and proliferation of regulation?

Stacia Garr:
I would say don't have a particular point of view. I may think that we're, we have seen regulation in general it has, we have seen movement. So I think that, you know, that there's one aspect of it that can certainly be positive. Obviously though, you know, regulation can be a very heavy instrument to use for some of this. So I don't know that I have a particularly strong perspective. But I do think that the, the opposite in the regulation or, or, you know, fear of legal repercussions has had a chilling effect for decades on this space. And so I think that there's a way to think about that, that kind of cuts that way, too, in terms of, you know, how could we actually be encouraging these behaviors in a way that isn't, what's the carrot in this, as opposed to just the stick. But all that said, I think that a lot of this is just, is being driven by employees and, and by customer demand, you know, you look at Edelman Trust Barometer, and what they say in terms of what they expect of leaders to do. And, you know, they say, I think it's 67% of America, or maybe I think actually it's 72% of Americans expect their CEOs to take action on societal issues, particularly related to diversity. So I think that that represents just a bigger shift in, in the society.

Speaker 1:
Yeah. And actually you touched upon something which is going to be a follow-up question, which is really about the complexities of the US legal system, about a liability, once you identify a problem, and that is a hurdle or an obstacle to organizations wanting to better understand where they may have bias, let's describe it as that and the risk that, that creates legally around exposure and liability. I didn't know if you guys have a view on that, is that, that as a, stifling factor and adoption.

Stacia Garr:
Yeah, we do. And I'm going to let Speaker 3 go though, because I know he also a strong perspective here

Speaker 3:
I have a perspective, which is sort of changing the piece, which is around what you're suggesting Speaker 1, which is the SEC disclosure regulation change. The SEC disclosure regulation change means that a investor could sue a company if there is any material loss due to some kind of harassment social injustice element coming out. So, you know, we find out that X, Y, Z company has been underrepresenting or underpaying or in any way, shape or form disadvantages, a group their share price goes down. If an investor holds that and that, that hasn't been disclosed, that hasn't been kind of presented, then they can potentially say, you should have known this was a material problem. You didn't, you didn't disclose it. I'm going to sue you for nondisclosure. It hasn't happened yet.

Speaker 1:
It's almost like double stick. Then there's a stick waiting for you. If you identify a problem, there's a stick waiting for your, you died.

Speaker 3:
Yes. Yeah. And people are working at which side of that. They want to be on. It's a good thing.

Speaker 1:
The biggest stick. Okay. Thank you, Speaker 3. I appreciate it.

Stacia Garr:
Yeah. And then I think the other component of this is folks are weighing the reputational risk with the legal risk. So kind of beyond the risks that Speaker 4 was talking about, but, you know, there's so many organizations who have just been on the wrong side of it because consumers are now taking action. You know, we're, we're seeing broader social action against organizations who are not responding to this. So I, you know, I've been, I feel like I've been saying this for a few years, but I feel like there's almost a grace period right now in the eyes of the consumer where it's like, okay, you know, tech's probably not going to have a great balance of men and women. Right. Okay. Like, let's acknowledge that, but let's do something about it. And I mean, my guess is that if in five years, if we haven't done something about it, consumers will hold companies to much greater account. Whereas right now it's kind of an acknowledged reality that I think that maybe the consumer will be, or customer will be a little bit less likely to hold people account for it, if there's action.

Speaker 1:
Okay. Thank you.

Stacia Garr:
All right. Priyanka you want to keep going?

A growing market

Priyanka Mehrotra:
Yeah. Okay. So real quick, we can touch upon all these key findings that we have here? So a growing market, we saw the overall market size grow to over 300 million since 2019, the total number of vendors went up 296 from 106 that we had identified in 2019. Similarly, the compound growth rate grew by almost 60% since 2019. So a significant growth definitely more solutions with DEIB features.

Priyanka Mehrotra:
So like I mentioned, we saw more and more technology, HR tech vendors who had not traditionally been in the space or had been going to market with a different value proposition, adding DEIB features or capabilities to them. So we saw an increase of 10% of DEIB features, right? As DEIB friendly venders, we saw a decrease of almost 9% and similarly DEIB focused vendors, we saw barely a growth of 1%. So definitely there's, there's a shift in mindset of a lot of vendors who traditionally have not had not been thinking about DEIB in a very specific manner, but adding now DEIB specific feature capabilities and going to customers to allow them to meet these needs and challenges.

Priyanka Mehrotra:
So another key finding of course, was the growth the shift in focus towards inclusion. So in 2019, we know intrusion was still a priority for leaders, but very few were actually measuring it. And now as a researcher, I, when I looked back at the Sylvia, I wish that we had asked people how they were actually measuring inclusion, because I'm really curious to find that out, but it's still great to know that it used, the inclusion is the top measure of success. When we asked vendors how customers measure their success from, from using the solution they said that the increase in inclusion is the top measure. And this has gone from being fourth in rank in 2019. So that's, that's a significant shift that you're seeing.

People Analytics for DEIB has arrived

Priyanka Mehrotra:
The next key finding was of course, my favorite one, which is people analytics for DEIB has arrived. You know, we've been talking about analytics for DEIB for such a long time, and it was great to see an increase of almost 20% which as a, as a primary challenge in vendor, among vendors, who we're looking to solve DEIB related challenges to analytics for their customers. Again, I think this is a very significant finding. We saw a number of analytics, people, analytics vendors who have added DEIB features and capabilities. It goes back to our point of seeing a rise in the DEIB feature venders. So really coming into this field of providing analytics and using that for, for DEIB challenges. So with that, we've covered the key findings and we'll move on to the questions. Stacia, Ready?

Stacia Garr:
Yeah, let's do it.

What should users consider before buying new DEIB Tech?

Priyanka Mehrotra:
All right. So the first question we received was what should users consider before buying new DEIB tech?

Stacia Garr:
I think it's like any other tech, right? So, what is your overall goal that you're trying to achieve? What's your overall strategy, that you're working towards and, where does the technology potentially fit within it and how does it reinforce and enable other practices? So, you know, I think that is, that is always question number one. Question number two is around, I think the level of expertise of the vendor instead of supporting this type of work. So there are some vendors who've been focused on DEIB for a long time and can help guide folks through some of the legal intricacies. Like we just discussed in some other aspects. There's some who are relatively new to this and, and, you know, innovation is always welcome. But, but that may be what you're getting more than kind of the expertise.

Stacia Garr:
And so we think there needs to be a match between what the organization needs and the support it needs and what the vendor is able to provide. And then I think, you know, third is always kind of where what's the match between the vendor themselves and in the organization. He knows some organizations are smaller and, and thus, you know, maybe more nimble, other organizations are larger and perhaps it better able to scale. So again, what are your organization's needs? And what's the ability to absorb that type of culture and, really status of the vendor. So those would be my top three.

Benefits & risk of DEIB Tech

Priyanka Mehrotra:
Yeah. And I would add to it. So a few things that we had highlighted in our report is as with any technology, you really have to understand what are some of the benefits of using it, but also some at the same time, what are the risks that come with it? And of course DEIB technology being, being in the space that it plays, and it's really, really important that users before they adopt it, understand some of the benefits of doing that. So just at a very high level, just going through some of the benefits that we see of using DEIB technologies, of course, providing equal opportunities for everybody raising awareness and real time, enabling individual actions, as well as on a broader level, providing insights in critical decision-making moments, creating more consistent processes, measuring and monitoring impacts of efforts to analytics, of course, and signaling importance as well as building trust and confidence.

Priyanka:
So those are things, of course they're not exhaustive, but some of the really important benefits that somebody can reap out of DEIB technology provided it's done correctly and applied in a thoughtful manner. And of course, these come with their own sets of risks, such as legal and reputational risks, like Stacia talked about being seen bias and data. And now of course, people who create those technologies, the biases can creep in from that as well. They maybe don't end up being excused themselves. It may also lead to big brother fears, unintended consequences may in fact, end up damaging employee trust and creating a disconnect between people and processes. And again, similar to benefits, of course, that are additional risks, then I'm sure we haven't listed here, but just some key things to keep in mind before looking at purchasing such tech.

Priyanka Mehrotra:
I think Stacia already covered this, like really being thoughtful about where you are in your journey. What is your level of understanding of the DEIB issues? What are the specific goals that you're wanting to solve for and how much support will you need from the vendors similar to what Stacia said, whether it's big enough to support your organization needs, do you have international headquarters? Will they be able to provide you support at all hours of the day? So all those things, I just think that to keep in mind when going to the market, and of course, another thing that we really want to highlight is auditing in-house techs or a lot of companies, or a lot of vendors may already have DEIB tech features and capabilities like we mentioned, and your customers may be using them for something totally different. So for example, Workday and SAP, need to be that we piloted all have recently introduced really crucial DEIB features that people, the customers who are already leveraging these technologies for some other purpose, might be able to use for DEIB as well.

Speaker 1:
Well, ask a related question. And it's more about, you know, corporate adoption and who's championing adoption of those technologies within the organizations. So, you know, if you think about the range of DEIB technologies, whether it's a pay equity solution or whether it's a solution that deals with using AI to remove unconscious bias from, you know, the, the talent acquisition process, you know, it can obviously serve specific functions within HR broadly, right? So, you know, you could be serving a solution that takes out bias in the recruitment process to someone in the talent team, you know, pay equity could go to a reward specialist then obviously separately, you've got DNI specialists now come into organizations where we look, when we look at where organizations have truly champion and adopted these technologies, what's that pattern look like? Is it very fragmented based upon, you know, kind of specific functional focus or is it, HR departments taking a more broad view of how these technologies knit together to solve a problem? Does anyone have a view on that?

Stacia Garr:
I'll jump in and then I'd love to hear other folks' perspective as well, but in general, right now, it's still pretty highly fragmented. I would say generally speaking, the exception to that is when you have a CEO who, or, you know, C suite executive, who's very strongly driving this. And then in that instance, you may have, you know a DEIB council or some sort of centralized group, you know, basically often a kind of a tiger team that's been tasked with figuring out how do we solve this problem and what are the, all the different ways that we could approach it. So when that happens and that's when we'll just tend to see a centralized approach, but otherwise right now it does often tend to be, to be centralized. Priyanka and I actually next week are kicking off a report on DEIB and analytics.

Stacia Garr:
And, and one of our key questions there is kind of what does that partnership look like and who should be driving? What part of that focus, because, you know, there certainly is an onus on whoever's leading DEIB, but a lot of times they're just not in the, in the depth, in the weeds enough to kind of know where this tech sits, what it could do and how it could tie back. So I think that there really is a good question around ownership that that needs to be solved, but to your, to your direct questions cut. I think that it, it depends, but is mostly fragmented.

Speaker 1:
Do you know, what's really interesting about that. Of course, it's really about where the money is in the organization. So I asked the question because, you know, we ask ours have you know, an excellent DNI specialist. That's really helping drive awareness and a change in our practices across the organization. But, you know, she doesn't have much budget, right. Yet we've got large talent teams that do hold large budgets because they're out there working with recruiters. And, you know, so it's also about finding where the dollars are to support these initiatives within organizations. And I think that is also fragmented as well, right?

Stacia Garr:
Yeah, it is. Now I think the thing that's interesting is I think that there can be almost a immediate reaction to say, well, we should have kind of some centralized group that's driving this because that would create greater order, et cetera. But, you know, diversity is one of those things where, you know, if not everyone in the organization is participating where everyone is a part of the solution, you know, then, then it's not going to work. So that centralized model that we use in so many other things, I think doesn't necessarily work. So I think that part of the question is, is how do we heighten the overall awareness? So that the talent leaders who do own that budget are saying, Hey, wait, we have a role here. What could we be doing? And taking a lead, what do others think?

Speaker 2:
Yeah. Well, what I see here in the Benelux is that if it's centralized and it's because there's a clear nonfinancial risks for the company. So if the CEO or there's executive takes ownership or wants to be a sponsor, then it's because there's a real threat because there's value in it. And it's like Priyanka said, you know, in five years customers will hold companies accountable for that. And I see in some industries, companies moving faster, banks, I serve a lot of banks. They for instance, are very much aware of their nonfinancial risks and their reputation also due to the financial crisis, etc. So they're sort of heading that movement now quite unexpectedly, I would say. But it really depends on, I think the value they can see from it or the risks they see from not doing it.

Speaker 2:
And then whenever it becomes relevant, then all of a sudden it does get on the agenda of everyone. If I talk with, with companies about, you know, HR and a big serving, all of a sudden in every company, we get the DNI responsible on the table. All of a sudden this is a person with teeth, whereas before it was a person with posters, let's say, now it's become a person on your team. It's like the data protection officer, the DNI person. Yeah. It gets more and more powered.

Stacia Garr:
Think I might borrow that from posters to teeth.

Speaker 4:
I love that.

Stacia Garr:
Speaker 4, you're going to add something.

Speaker 4:
I love Speaker 1's questions. I think it's quite, it's quite fascinating and sharing something that we were seeing we're in the analytics space. So there's some element of centralized understanding of opportunities, scale challenge. So we have a lot of people, people like leaders working with the DEI leaders that kind of go, well, where are we? What do we need to do? What are the opportunities? And then one of the big things they're looking at is like, what can the CEO say as a forward looking statement, as somewhere we're going to try and hit. So you need analytics, horsepower, you need DEI sponsorship, you need the executive, but to your point, Speaker 1, that the DEI lead doesn't have the money to go and buy a technology that will help tell an acquisition.

Speaker 4:
They kind of need brought into the conversation to say, you know, our funnel is actually our biggest problem, or our attention is our biggest problem. Like the, the analytics is kind of at the hub of that, which problem piece of the problem space to be solved first, but DNI doesn't have the budget without analytics. People are often, you know, fixing different pieces of the bus with different technologies because they're trying to help.

Speaker 1:
And you know what, that's a really interesting point. Now, I, you know, this, this is almost like a, you know, you know, when you get told in school, there's no dumb question, but you know, that there really is. I worry that this is one of those. And I just, whenever I think about this topic, I think about cause and effect, and I think, you know, from what I've encountered, there's lots of solutions that are looking at analyzing the effect, but it's really about how do you then tackle the cause. And actually when you start,

Speaker 1:
And obviously that's a very complex answer because there's, it's multi-dimensional, but, and so of course you, there isn't one solution that helps you to drive that change. It's about culture is about process, about lots of different things. So, you know, the reality is you will probably string together a number of solutions that will help you tackle cores. But again, how do you knit those together? How do you measure the extent of that response as being effective or not effective? And so I just, you know, to me that that's an open area or an open question of how do we tie cause and effect together and how do we help organizations understand that better?

Stacia Garr:
Yeah. I don't think that's a silly question at all. I think, you know that's kinda the question at the, at the heart of all of this, you know when, before anyone implements one of these solutions, you know, one of the things that I talked to them about is, you know, what's success look like? You know, what's the needle you're trying to move. So is it, is it different behaviors? Is it actually representation? I actually tried to discourage the latter because it just takes so long to measure. You know, ultimately of course, that's, that's what most are focused on and hoping for, but but being, you know, clear what, what those measures are, and then you know, to the extent that you can being scientific about it. So, you know, adjusting the job descriptions. Let's say somebody wants to use tech steel or something like that.

Stacia Garr:
You know, do we see any meaningful impact on, on just, you know, the, the number of applicants? Okay, well, let's do it. That's kind of one thing that we, we can measure you know, then interviews, lights, you know, making sure that we have diverse candidates on there as well as diverse interviewers now. Okay. Measuring those behaviors, does that result in any, you know, higher percentage of, of hires, of diverse backgrounds, ect. So I think, you know, being purposeful about the way that you're approaching it, and then being very clear on, on the behavior or the kind of intermediary outcome that you are trying to drive long before you get to representation. I think that can be, can be helpful in understanding that cause and effect much better. But I think, you know, like so many of the things that we do in the analytics space, it's basically a series of ongoing experiments that we're running and trying to see which things are, are impacting what, and then continuing to stick with those things. Once we find some areas of success. But they're great questions, Speaker 1.

Stacia Garr:
Anybody else have questions? I know we've got some other folks on the line who haven't spoken up, want to make sure we give you an opportunity or you can put things in chat too, if you are in a non-talking mood or you know, for whatever reason. All right Priyanka. Why don't we move on? What other questions did we get?

How can analytics be leveraged as part of DEIB Tech?

Priyanka Mehrotra:
Yeah, so I was going to say it almost sounded like a perfect segue to our next question, which is about leveraging analytics as part of DEIB teck and how that can be done.

Stacia Garr:
Oh, well, I feel like I've kind of gave an answer just now. So I'd love to hear, I mean, we've got a couple of folks from analytics vendors on here. So maybe I'd love to hear a little bit of your guys's you know, quick view of how you've seen folks leveraging analytics and most effectively. So Speaker 3, do you want to maybe lead off?

Speaker 3:
I am on mute. My, my little microphone button was not paying attention to me. The thing that we've seen kind of consistently is that that analytics has driven the strategy. Just to share a story of a large food manufacturer you work with. They'd had a diversity program underway on the hiring side of things for a really long time, but their representation wasn't moving. And it was when they engage with the analytics team. They're like, well, that's because we're hiring people and they're leaving as fast. And then they dug underneath the data to find out as a, why are people leaving so fast? I mean, I've had like an, a subsequent question around the tech. I see a lot of focus going into, Oh, diversity is a problem. We just gotta hire differently. It will be fine, which I think is a natural instinctive reaction.

Speaker 3:
I also don't think it works. So I always think of an organization as an ecosystem. One thing that's true about ecosystem, there are new levers, there are shapes and influences. So the analytics helps by understanding if I move this, what else moves? It's not, I'll move this and only this, cause it's not an engine, it's an ecosystem. If I move this, what else moves do I end up with more exits? Do I end up with mobility? And so, you know, I think the analytics helps by really understanding where are the two or three places to Speaker 1's point? Like where do you put the technology and the dollars to actually move the needle? And that's, that's what we're seeing. And again, we've got a number of customer stories that are, they're doing some good stuff on that. That's, that's our perspective.

Stacia Garr:
Thanks Speaker 3. Anyone else have any other any other thoughts they want to share?

Speaker 4:
Hi, this is Speaker 4. Just a quick question, I guess, to the group. I recently read a report that I thought was really interesting. I've had a lot of conversations with clients about diversity equity inclusion, and oftentimes it's focused on hiring, Oh, we just need to hire more people. And that's probably the hardest way to move the needle. And recently saw a report that talks about internal labor market analysis. So to your point, Ian, looking at the impact that you will have from all three things, so hiring promotion and then, you know, retaining folks as well. Just curious if that's been a part of the conversation. So first doing the analysis of are you hemorrhaging people, are you promoting people and what's the effect there, and then also the impact of hiring so that companies are looking at it across the board, as they seek to have a more diversified workforce, how they're actually going to accomplish that. I feel like technology allows, you know, more companies to kind of pinpoint on each one of those things. And trust me, I understand that within my work, that information lives in four to five different systems. And that's usually the problem that none of these systems talk to each other. But just curious to hear from you all, if, if you've seen that come up now more than often than before?

Stacia Garr:
Yeah. I'll take a first whack and then let others jump in. So I think so as Priyanka had mentioned a little bit ago, the top success measure that we're hearing folks hold vendors accountable to now is inclusion. Whereas two years ago it was the hiring to the diversity of the talent pipeline. And I think that that's a, a reflection, two things. So one is to your point, that recognition and Speaker 3's point as well, that you can't only hire your way out of this problem. You have to actually be able to retain people. And, and that means that you need to be focusing on inclusion. The second thing is I think that with everything that happened in 2020, one, we saw a lot of organizations obviously pull back on hiring. And so it wouldn't have made sense for hiring to be in the pipeline to be the metric that folks were focusing on.

Stacia Garr:
And then too, with the social justice movements, I think the awareness that inclusion was not working for everyone in the way that maybe people thought it was a heightened people's awareness that they needed to be focusing on inclusion. So I think that we're seeing that shift. The question is though, and Priyanka also mentioned this, is how do you measure inclusion? You know, you mentioned internal talent markets, is…you know, people's or access to some of those opportunities and their ability to move within an organization, a measure of inclusion, potentially. You know, there is people's perception of their inclusion as measured by and engaged, you know, maybe on an engagement store or dedicated inclusion and belonging study. Yes. You know, so, I think that right now there's this grand exploration of all the different ways we might measure inclusion and think about holding ourselves accountable for it. And there's certainly no one definition of what it is, but there is a heightened awareness over two years ago, for sure that we need to be focused there. How about others?

Speaker 4:
It's a really interesting perspective because I do, I definitely agree, but working with clients, I'm hearing them talk about inclusion from the perspective of what's happening within our organization and less so as they're thinking about talent acquisition. And so trying to understand how we move the needle to get clients, to think about this from a technology standpoint, from an analytics, because I feel like that's the most positive impact that we can have. To say it's not necessarily for them, it still isn't necessarily about inclusion. It's how does the diversity landscape within the organization, how does our diverse workforce mean that we're actually hitting a marker? So for example, let's say that Dell has a 2030 initiative where they want to hire 40%. They want their workforce to be 40% women in senior leadership. That's still the kind of data points that you're seeing out in the sphere.

Speaker 4:
And so while they're having conversations about inclusion from a workforce perspective, there is still this idea of how do we diversify our workforce. And I feel like, yes, it's hiring, but it's also promotion. And it's also, what's the experience that's happening within your organization. So people aren't leaving because what I'm also hearing from a lot of clients is that their diverse workforce is leaving in droves. And as they are going through the talent acquisition process, they're having more diverse candidates decide to not move forward with the process. So in one case, a client said it's now 50% of their diverse candidates that are declining an offer at that stage.

Speaker 4:
I feel like the analytics is a part of it because I feel like there is a piece of not understanding what's happening in your organization. That then feeds the top of the funnel. Because if you understand how things aren't working for your people, then the way that you're talking to new audiences and how you're adjusting the culture of your organization, not just from a diversity perspective, but the entire culture then begins to shift and I'll get off my soap box.

Stacia Garr:
It's great. It's great. Yeah. I mean, I think that for the most progressive organizations from a DEI perspective I think they've figured this out. So in my head I'm thinking of like a General Mills, right? Like General Mills is kind of an, it isn't a non traditionally diverse location. But they've been focused on diversity for years and years and years. And it is part of their conversation when they're having people go through the interview process and then when they're onboarding new candidates, it's just kind of in, in the water, if you will. And so, you know, the folks like, General Mills understand this connection. I think that you're talking about, you know, we actually have to have an inclusive environment and we have to go talk about it to our candidates.

Stacia Garr:
And that has to be part of why they may want to join. I think, you know they are definitely in kind of the top level of maturity when it comes to this. And so I think that we're starting to see an awareness as I said, of, of the importance of inclusion broadly, I think that we're probably talking about the top 20%, 25% who are making that connection between, okay, we actually now have a much more inclusive culture. We at least can talk about inclusion in our culture in a meaningful way and tie that back to talent acquisition. So that would be my observation is, you know, we're still talking about probably 75% of companies who are not doing it, what do others think or have seen.

Speaker 4:
I have a couple of stories from clients are doing exactly what Speaker 4 is talking about. Again, it was driven by the same notion that Dell is putting out a number that, you know, they're making a public statement to Speaker 1's point around what's different now is that people are having to be transparent about their progress and then sort of validated on that progress. So, you know, the driver was, if we're going to put out a number, how do we know we're going to get there? So they looked at the internal path. They recognized that their representation overall was good, but it was not at managing, you know, supervisor managerial director levels. And so the very first decision they took was actually to change the opportunity for progress inside the business, before they look to do anything external, they recognize that if people coming in we're not seeing team lead supervisors that represented them, that was not likely to be a successful strategy. So they've actually chosen to change. And this is, this was three different organizations I talked to, they, they all focused on that internal mobility aspect first because they saw what was going on in their data. So I actually think there's, you know, potentially a very, very interesting study on like, how do you move the needle?

Stacia Garr:
That'll be after DEIB and analytics. Does anybody else have any questions on this one?

Speaker 5:
I do have a question around, have you done any work on sort of mapping the maturity of organizations, so on the client side, in terms of where they are on that journey and does it influence the type of vendors they're choosing, whether it's those that have got kind of completely focused on DEIB or those that have just got their established elsewhere in their organization, but have features and functionality?

Stacia Garr:
Hmm, that's a great question. We have not, when I was at Berson, I ran a big study on DNI maturity when we did a big maturity model. And did all of the things that you're supposed to do in terms of, you know, testing the impact on financial results in the like. What was kind of interesting at that time though, was that actually was the beginning of my interest in DNI tech, because when I asked people what tech they were using, they're like do you mean e-learning, it's like, no, that's not what I'm talking about. But so at that point, we certainly didn't see it. And I haven't run another maturity study to look at this, but I would say that, and this is just completely off the cuff. So excuse me, be the messiness of the thoughts, but I think that when we first see organizations looking into this, it's often a point solution.

Stacia Garr:
So, for instance, Textio is a, is a good example because it's a very clear use case. It's clear who the owner is. It's a, you know, a recruiter, a talent acquisition organization. Okay. We're going to fix our job descriptions. Okay, this is something we can pretty easily get our head around it's well scoped, etc. I would say that organizations who are newer to this space are more likely to buy something like that because it's very clear and the business case is clear. I think that the more sophisticated organizations, they're probably using that, and they're also, you know, looking at the more sophisticated beginning their, their analytics journey. So they may be looking at some of the more sophisticated analytics tools, like, like a Visier. But you know, they may not be doing some of the more sophisticated analytics.

Stacia Garr:
I think that then assuming that they've been able to use that technology to identify where their real challenges are, then we'll start to see kind of a more nuanced and sophisticated buyer of some of the other technologies. So they might be looking at you know, some things like organizational network analysis. So how are, you know, different populations connected within the organization, and how does that reflect inclusion? So you can kind of see how they would build in terms of their understanding and their willingness to go into some of the more nuanced aspects of the tech and what it can do. That's again, just kind of off the cuff of my thinking on what we would see. But I'm certainly curious to hear what others would think.

Priyanka Mehrotra:
I think maybe I can just add something to that point, is that one of the questions that we did ask in our survey of the vendors was, what is your customer organization size. And what we typically have tended to see, I don't have the numbers here, but I can share it with you later, is that more majority of our vendors reported customers who were smaller, had small number of employees. So under a thousand, I wanna say, so it doesn't necessarily reflect the majority, but of course, I think what it does show is maybe that smaller organizations are more open and willing to try these technologies for DEIB purposes than maybe more established and enterprise size organizations. So that might be something helpful.

Stacia Garr:
Yeah. But I think what's interesting about that. Priyanka is, is we saw an increase in what was it, the organizations that were five to 10,000 over a couple of years ago. And so I think that we're seeing an increase, in certainly size and I think that it reflects the maturity of the solutions and probably a maturity of some of these organizations as well.

Speaker 1:
Would you mind if I ask a related question? Obviously sitting here in the UK I have a little bit of a sort of restricted view generally from effort by country, you know, what are the markets that really adopting this? I get a sense. So US are significant adopters, as well as the UK. Are there other hotspots around the globe where certain markets are really gravitating towards deploying these types of technologies?

Stacia Garr:
Yeah. So I definitely say Canada Australia, New Zealand as well I would say Northern Europe. So Speaker 2 was here from, from Benelux. We're seeing, focus there. I'm just trying to think here.

Speaker 1:
That's a fairly typical pattern actually, isn't it. When we think about technology adoption, Scandinavian countries, Benelux countries, UK, US, and Australia is fairly typical. Okay, thank you.

Stacia Garr:
Yeah, I will say though, when we did a DEIB strategy report in one thing I was surprised in that research was the extent to which some Asian countries have been focused here. So you know, that is an area where I think that there is potential to their concerns are different. But there was more traction there than I would've guessed. Just kind of thinking about it without having done the research.

Stacia Garr:
I see, we've got just a couple of couple minutes left. Any other questions on this one? And Priyanka, do we have another question?

Priyanka Mehrotra:
Yeah, actually we did receive an interesting one. This is the final one.

Stacia Garr:

Okay.

Stand alone solution vs add-on to an existing HR Tech platform?

Priyanka Mehrotra:
So is it better to integrate a standalone solution with others, such as learning, ATS, etc. or find an add-on to an existing HR tech platform?

Stacia Garr:
We had the answer to this one. We could just call it a day and be all good.

Priyanka Mehrotra:
My instinct as a researcher is to say it depends.

Stacia Garr:
Yup. I agree. So do you want to give your thoughts Priyanka and then I can add on?

Priyanka Mehrotra:
Yeah, I think like touching on what I had said earlier, you know, you already may have DEIB technology in solutions that you're using for something else. So it very well depends on what your use cases, what are the challenges that you're specifically looking to solve for? And what technologies already exist in your ecosystem. So if you're a Workday user, you already have that in your organization, it probably makes sense to go ahead and use their DEIB features and capabilities similarly with ADP. So I think versus like, if you have something very specific, it was just like, we've been talking more Texio for a bit. If that's something that you need to add to your recruiting efforts, then you need to look at a point solution that meets those very, very specific niche needs that your organization might have. What do you think Stacia?

Stacia Garr:
Yeah, no, I completely agree. I think it just depends on where you are. And the other thing is you also may try something and find that it doesn't work. You know, you may try the, the Workday solution and find that that's not meeting your needs, and then you go and you find something else. So I think it just kinda depends on what those needs are and what you have available and the extent to which it meets,

Speaker 2:
If I may, I don't know how the situation is west, but here it looks, we don't even document more than gender. So I have these organizations now asking whether we can map, you know, all the different dimensions, necessity, sexual orientation, religion, etc., outside of an HCM, also due to GDPR issues. Because in the existing solutions, the best you get is a binary gender indication, even just binary. So there is nothing about the gender spectrum or whatever. So there is clearly a need, but I see organizations really being puzzled with finding solutions on how to satisfy the needs, because they were assuming that they had the data, but actually they don't

Stacia Garr:
Yeah, I think what we tend to see here in the US is, is folks asking for voluntarily, and if it's voluntarily given, then then being able to include it. But to be honest, I think that this is an area I need to understand more for, for GDPR, because I don't actually, I mean, to me, my gut, when I hear about mapping outside of the HRS, it's like, Ooh, I'm not sure, but I think that that is completely rooted in gut. Does anybody else know kind of about the legal implications of that?

Speaker 4:
Wherever you're, if you're holding it, you're holding it. It's like, if you're the owner, you're the owner a hundred GDPR, that's more a case of what's your standing relative to the data. So if, if you can't, you'd have to, yeah. You can't really hand off that to a third party and say like, Oh, we're no longer the owner that third party is acting as an owner for you. You would, you would have to, like, I don't really see loopholes in terms of a business not being designated the owner of that data, if it's about their people. What I have seen some people do is try and do aggregation. So it's not a record on the employee. It's a, it's a extrapolation from the data. So we get a percentage, female, a percentage of race, but I'm not putting female against this specific employee. So I'm not, it's not on the person, therefore you're not got that same level of liability for it. But it's awkward. It's just awkward. And then typically your right Speaker 2, typically in Europe they don't track race and ethnicity for many, many strong reasons, which is different in the US. In the US you have to categorize somebody into five different standardized buckets of, of race for EOC reporting. So there's actually really different reporting frameworks in both places.

Stacia Garr:
Cool. Well, I see we are at time. So I want to just say thank you all for a robust discussion. Really appreciate everybody's participation and thoughts, and obviously, you know, this is area, that we're continuing to research and to work on. And so, you know, if you have other areas of interest or things that you think, Hey, this is something that, that is really I'm hearing a lot from my clients or my customers, or whereas just top of mind for us as an organization we definitely would love to hear about it. So you can drop me an emali at stacia@redthreadresearch.com or Priyanka, just Priyanka at the same place, or if you can't remember either of those hello@redthreadresearch.com. And and we would love to hear from you. So with that gonna say, thank you so much. And until the next time that we all come together, we hope that you do well and stay safe.

 

Written by

Stacia Garr Redthread Research
Stacia Garr
Co-Founder & Principal Analyst

Stacia is a Co-founder and Principal Analyst for RedThread Research and focuses on employee engagement/experience, leadership, DE&I, people analytics, and HR technology. A frequent speaker and writer, her work has been featured in Fortune, Forbes, The New York Times, and The Wall Street Journal as well as in numerous HR trade publications. She has been listed as a Top 100 influencer in HR Technology and in D&I. Stacia has an MBA from the University of California, Berkeley, and a master’s degree from the London School of Economics.

Share This