Mo: Hello, hello, hello and welcome to this week’s everyday inclusion and belonging where we talk about everything DEI under the sun and boy, it just seems like there’s always so much to talk about.

Starting this year, I am thrilled. Madeline, Borkin and I got introduced and I think our first phone call was supposed to be maybe 1/2 an hour. Like an hour and a half later we were both like we have work to do!

We have to schedule another time to chat and I immediately invited you to be on the series Madeline because I love what you’re up to. Introduce yourself, the work that you’re doing, and then we’re going to dig in on I think an incredibly timely topic right now.

Madeline: Sure, well thank you so much for having me and it was truly a delight when I met you. So, my name is Madeline Borkin, I work for the Institute for Corporate Productivity.

I am the Vice president of membership development as well as the executive sponsor for our Chief Diversity Officer Board.

Our organization is a pure research organization and what we do is we study the people practices that drive high performance for organizations.

And so how we’re defining high performance is just really looking at those organizations that have consistently outperformed their competitors over a five-year period of time in revenue, market share, profitability, and customer satisfaction.

And really saying what are high performance organizations doing differently than low performance organization’s?

Mo: Go through those measures again because I love how holistic in terms of what you’re considering high performance.

People Practices

Madeline: Sure, sure, so what we do is we’re really looking at those people practices that high-performance organizations are doing differently than performance organization and defining it very clearly as those organizations, high performance that is, high performance organizations.

Those organizations that have consistently outperformed their competitors over a five-year period of time in revenue, market share, profitability, and customer satisfaction.

Mo: All right y’all, well there’s your business case for what were about to talk about.

And by the way, I feel like we should note this, we did before the camera started that Madeline and I also showed up twinning today in our outfit choices.

OK, so what are you seeing? What is the data telling us? What are those practices that you’re seeing are sort of these next best practices for DEI?

Madeline: Sure. So, one thing that I do want to call out is, as we’re thinking about what high performance organizations are doing, when we say next practices, we’re actually calling out what those high-performance organizations are doing, but not very many of them are doing it.

Mo: The cutting edge of the best practice of the high performance, awesome, so we’re seeing the really innovative organizations, what they’re doing, how they’re moving forward. Cool.

Madeline: How they’re thinking about it, exactly.

Mo: I’m all about being on the edge, right?

Madeline: What’s fun about it is, to just hear things like we know employee resource groups and business resource groups are just a phenomenal way to make a huge impact within your organization.

But think about as a next practice paying your ERG leaders or BRG leaders.

These are some of the things that high-performance organizations are really thinking about.

Mo: I’m curious because I actually just did some work with a large organization talking about how they were positioning their ERG leaders or leadership pipeline. So, it’s pays, but are they also embedding that in succession planning?

Madeline: Yes, in fact one of the studies that we unveiled, I think it was 2019, was called ERG leaders for development. And so, really looking at your high potential development and thinking about you know, how do we leverage the folks that are participating?

Right, so you think about it from a leader perspective, the executive sponsor, how do we leverage high potentials for those roles in particular? And especially to build cultural competency and if you identify people who don’t identify with that particular group, or ERG or business resource group.

that’s one way of developing them is to give them exposure, have them lead this group. Another thing that was really, really neat is all the other folks that are volunteering for the employee resource groups or business resource groups.

And if you think about it, they are learning everything from how to establish a business plan to how to you know, put together a budget statement, to what’s going to make the biggest impact?

Mo: Yeah, you know it’s interesting, Madeline, because I used to, you know, before the real rise of resource groups, I used to take some people that are underrepresented group, high potential, and have them go work in in a nonprofit.  In an area that maybe you know maybe they come out of marketing, have them sit on that finance committee of a nonprofit. Well now you can do that internally.

Madeline: You can, you can. Especially, if you leverage ERG’s as best true business resource groups. Yeah, and give them the problems of the company to solve.

Whatever that is. Is it product development, is it marketing, is it finance?

And I mean there are so many different ways that you could upskill that population but use experiences that are going to make a huge impact to the organization.

Mo: I want to give a shout out and amplify the work that Jason Patria is doing around this.

He’s doing super cool work and really meaningful high impact work with business resource groups in organizations so check him out and the work that he’s doing. And Jason, I’ll give you a little shout out in the in the comments when we’re done here too.

It is it’s such a ready-made, built in and I love hearing that the data proves that out too right?

That it’s not just, we think this is, but you’re really seeing that. So, they’re paying these folks or embedding it in succession. They’re giving them real business problems to solve. OK, cool.


Madeline: One of my favorite stories was it was for Third Bank and they had a business resource group It was their LGBTQ AI group. I think that group was specifically in Tennessee. And what they did is they were very strategic with their approach. So, when they attended an event in the community, they would send talent acquisition, some private bankers and so forth.

And, within one year they realized huge ROI and not only their applicant pipeline and candidate pipeline, but as well in the private banking, new customers, increase in revenue and so forth attributed specifically to that group.

Mo: OK, so everybody take a look, are you calling the employee resource groups? Are you calling business resource groups? How are you leveraging, how are you paying these folks? Are you seeing what a business driver and not only that, it’s really in keeping this key talent engaged?

I mean, if you just think about that from an ROI standpoint like this is a place where I feel like I’m included, I belong, I’ve got a voice, I’m able to do this work. I see an opportunity because what I’m doing in this BRG is amplified so very cool.

Madeline: And in 2020, ERGS or BRG’s were probably the number one resource that organizations leveraged to really address all of what was happening in 2020.

Mo: Absolutely.

Madeline: So just imagine the impact that these groups can help you to identify you know, everything from employees that feel isolated, employees that are just dealing with a lot of emotional and personal issues.

Parents that had to suddenly become teachers to, you know, after the George Floyd murder and certain consecutive things that were happening as well. And then during the political challenges in our world.

Mo: I will say it, I don’t think anybody came through 2020 unscathed.

And those BRG’s is really being that steady pulse. That’s cool hearing that again, I love you know there are things that we intuitively know and believe to be true, I love that now the data actually tells us that too.

Madeline: Yes, yes, exactly. Yep.

Mo: Awesome, what are some other next practices?

People Practice #2

Madeline: One that I that I’m a huge fan of, and in particular because we just started to develop tools around this as part of you know what we were hearing in the research and that is bias audit checklists or processes. Doing a bias audit on all of your processes from talent acquisition to succession management to total rewards performance management.

Today, I think we released the artificial intelligence how to build or do an audit of bias in all of those processes so.

Mo: All through the talent cycle then right? Are there even best practices around the audit itself, or is it just the price of doing it?

Madeline: I mean really what you’re thinking about is It is literally a checklist you know.

Am I doing the right things? Am I really thinking through each of these processes in a way that is inclusive? And that’s really what we’re trying to answer there.

Mo: Yeah, we talk about having to hack your biased brain and you have to hack your systems, right?

Because it’s not, you know, is biased there? It’s are we interrupting it, right?

You know things like, you know, are all interviews held in the same location, same set of criteria, same questions?

You know all of those things going through and we say sometimes, these things are simple, but not easy.

Madeline: And with bias being a part of who most people are in terms of, especially implicit bias. You know there’s a lot going on there that if we don’t put ourselves in check.

Mo: Have you seen Madeline, this is where I’m going total nuts and bolts on you. Do you do anything in terms of that audit itself is a checklist, but is that, is that a team lead doing that, is that multiple people?

Because I even think having multiple perspectives doing your audit would help you see some things that you wouldn’t be able to see.

Madeline: I agree. When you think about doing a bias audit it should be a team of folks right, that are responsible for whatever the initiative is, or the function might be.

So, if you’re thinking about talent acquisition, we should probably have multiple eyes on that and multiple ways to address where there might be some bias.

Let’s bring in all the different ideas and the unique ideas, so I wouldn’t say that it would be one person necessarily. I just think that depending on what that function is, or that process might be inviting others to the table to provide ideas. And maybe this is another way to leverage ERGS & BRGS.

Mo: Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah.

Internal Networking

Awesome, awesome, but it’s so funny, because I have these conversations battling and then my brain starts like getting…. What are some other things that are happening?

Madeline: I literally just got off of a phone call with Rob Cross who’s a pioneer in organizational network analysis.

And when I think about networks, you know, having diverse networks within the organization, when you first join an organization, do you have the right networks?

And then once you join the organization, do you have the right networks to get up to speed faster, right?

That’s one of the things. But now if I’m a diverse candidate and or individual employee entering into the organization, do I have the right networks now to advance, right?

So, you have the time to full productivity, but then thinking about, how diverse are my networks to advance, how am I going to get that sponsor that’s going to help me move throughout this organization?

Right, and those are the things that we should enable as companies. We should be responsible for helping people in our company have those networks.

Mo: Particularly people from underrepresented groups.

Madeline: Exactly, exactly.

Mo: You’re coming in at a disadvantage, likely for those networks, right? Because of all the unconscious bias and likely bias and natural networks.

Oh, that is fascinating.

Madeline: That I think for me is like one of my most favorite next practices. If organizations aren’t thinking about really understanding the networks that are happening in new organization, it’s always going to be challenging.

It’s going to be difficult to identify diverse talent and where they could be moved throughout the organization, of course you’re going to have a you know retention issue.

I think the second part of that is collaborative overload, well-being, you know helping individuals to minimize that overload and be more effective.

So, it just addresses so many different issues and I think that is the next practice, that if organizations aren’t embracing it, they’re going to miss the mark.

Mo: You know what’s interesting about that is with the organization that I just worked with, we talked about influence mapping.

So, we talked about influence mapping and we talked about understanding, you know, the role of a sponsor because my gosh Madeline, I don’t know about you, but when I started my career I had no idea, no idea, right, and we know all the stats about why people from underrepresented groups don’t have sponsors.

So now, like literally, it is my soapbox. Every person starting their career like, hey, here’s this critical role, here’s how you position yourself.

I can pull a string on my back and I’m going to talk about sponsorship, but what I love about this and we talk about it in our programs about for people that are in a position to sponsor somebody already not like them.

But this gets intentional right from the start about understanding those power networks.

Madeline: And really helps people to thrive, helps you identify your energizers.

So, if you know who your energizers are and you connect that new employee to the energizer, imagine the influence that can go throughout the organization.

You have your connectors that aren’t necessarily energizers, and so there’s just a lot of different ways, but to have that available will just help you to be more effective in terms of moving that diverse talent throughout the organization. And helping themselves, they can help themselves as well.

Mo: Yeah, that’s always a reciprocal.

Madeline: Right, right.

But if I don’t create a space or a way of doing it, and if I don’t know understand as the organization how to do it, then how can I help?

Mo: That’s phenomenal.

And I think that’s chopping down so many barriers, like with that one thing. Oh, that is cool.

Yeah, my mind is blown on that one because we talked about it from the bottom up. And even just you know, individuals understanding but right from the start, access to networks.

Oh great, great, great, great.

Madeline: Yeah, it’s pretty amazing.

Mo: I mean it’s going to be a good conversation.

Madeline: I know.

People Practices #3

Mo: I’m going to keep asking what’s next until you’re like isn’t that enough?

Madeline: Well, well and there’s just so much going on and we did a talent, predictions and priorities report for 2021 to determine across the different functions from a CHRO to a head of talent, head of learning, chief diversity officers, talent acquisition, total rewards and people analytics.

And asking what their priorities are, it was very clear that DE&I was at the top of the list. For all roles.

Mo: You know it’s interesting, Madeline, I mean that that just keeps coming up again and again. I think that in every survey that’s been done, DEI is in a top three.

Madeline: And how do we move though from rhetoric to action, right?

So that’s the thing that we’re all trying to figure out. How do we get to action?

Mo: You know, I mean you know that we have a bias, right? This is everyday inclusion, right?

We have a mind for action here so that that piece is so important. And not to make the mistakes that we’ve made in the past. Where we’re putting one you know where we put a focus on one group of people at the expense of others.

Or focusing only on you know, and again, you and I chatted about this, we’re seeing so much focus on diversity hiring.

In terms of the business resource groups, the networking, the you know, the networks, you know that piece of it that starts to get to that, OK. You spent all that money on finding these people? What are you doing to actually create environments where they thrive?

Madeline: Right, right, that’s exactly it.

When I think about action in general, it really is going to be about accountability. And so, once we’ve determined what are those actions that we’re going to take, then how are we going to be accountable for them?

And I do feel that a lot of organizations do call out some of their commitments, and some of their actions that they plan to take.

And I think that now and moving forward we, I don’t think I know, we’re going to be required to measure and be more transparent and share the data.

Finally, whether you’re private or in the public sector, it doesn’t matter, the boards are asking for it.

Mo: And not only are boards asking for it, employees are asking for it and customers are asking for it.

And I mean literally from every side there is pressure, which I’m thrilled about quite frankly. It does mean that there’s going to have to be a letting go though. Of systems, practices, and anchoring, a lot of this in change management. You know understanding why people are resisting a new way of interviewing.

You know, why should we pay our BRG leaders well? Why should I do that? My budget da, da, da, right?

Being able to walk people very tangibly through that change cycle because I think we forget that this is about behavior change and behavior change is hard.

Madeline: Right it is. It is really hard.

DE&I Governance

An on that specific point, that’s one of the next practices highlighted, especially by CEO’s, is really looking at DE&I governance. And so then really just trying to understand, restructure, right?

Sure, right, but restructure from through the lens of the entire organization, supplier diversity, marketplace.

I mean, just across the board versus thinking about it as oh, it’s the office of DNI that we need to restructure, or we need a new DNI strategy. It’s like, OK, let’s really think about it through all these lenses and ensure that it’s woven.

Mo: It is a part of the fabric of every single thing that you do, Windows needs right.

If you’re looking at as programmatic, or you’re if you’re looking at it like OK, now we’re going to send everybody through training.

You’re missing the boat there.

OK, so what else? Anything else because we just covered?

Madeline: I’m actually going to look at something to see, let’s see here.

The metrics and accountability just going back to really tracking and what are you tracking and what are you planning to disclose? I think from a broader culture perspective you know what type of listening strategy do you have in place? What is that listening strategy?

What are you doing to ensure that it isn’t only about that employee engagement?

Mo: Right engagement and inclusion are different, right?

And you’re measuring engagement, and if you’re not looking at intersectionality in that right, and some of the demographics your engagement numbers might look great because you got majority dominant group right.  And, so that’s showing up in your engagement numbers, but they need to slice and dice that I think.

And I think the other is you know there are those vanity measures that people want to go to right away versus that, a holistic look.

And what are your trends? And then what are different underrepresented groups telling you about what it what it is like to work? You know one of the things too going back to BRG’s, how are you listening?

Boy, that’s a mechanism for listening right to have, you know, to have some of these listening sessions within those groups, right? Where an executive can really hear the voice and take that back to the business.

Madeline: And that I think that’s going to be the absolute crypt, because then I think you can be more laser focused on what’s most important and not make assumptions. And so, having that listening strategy where you’re asking questions regularly, even if it’s one question a day or even if you’re you know, managing it through a platform, a learning platform, however you choose to do that, we do need to deploy that on a regular basis in a variety of ways, yeah.

Mo: Oh my gosh wow, wow, wow. My brain keeps coming back to the networking access and the network access piece and how to how companies can really dig into that, but we’ve covered so much.

Leave me with one last truth bomb.

Madeline: For me, it’s going to be all about action. Right, it’s what can I do? What can I enable my organization to do to really take action and get away from just talking about it?

Yeah, and really, moving the needle and being that responsible person. So, for me, I just I want to be as responsible as I can for my organization, my community, and as a mom.

Mo: Yeah, I love that you know it’s like do the next right thing, and the next right thing, and stay in action and stay in motion an ask yourself the question, you know what did I do today? And what can I do tomorrow?

That keeps us in action, in motion, moving forward so.

Madeline: It really does, it really does.

Mo: Madeline, thank you so much this was so great.

Madeline: Thank you, I enjoyed this, so much fun.

Mo: And more to come, I think that you and I are going to have another one of these six months from now.

Thank you.

Madeline: Thank you, bye.


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