February 19, 2017

It’s the day something big happened.

Something that seemed small at the time, but resulted in a tidal wave of conversations, heated debates and change.

It’s the day Susan Fowler, a former Uber software engineer, released a blog post that would become a battle cry for change.

In 2,928 words, Susan brought to light her experience as a female engineer at one of the world’s most valuable startups. She illuminated the bro-culture that exists in many technology companies in the Bay Area and beyond. And she helped other women (of all industries) come forward on a topic that many were once ashamed to ever mention.

Inequality.

Actually, I should say the post that started with gender inequality evolved into a national conversation about biased practices, unfair treatment, and the lack of representation by women and other minorities (race, religion, sexual orientation, ability, etc.) in business today. That post shined a light on diversity in the workplace.

It forced everyone from board members and CEOs to HR departments, managers and every employee to reflect on what was going on in their organization. To take stock of the work culture that was created and reinforced. To question the values of companies where we work and of those whose products and services we purchase.

The cat is now out of the bag.

It’s been out for a year. 

What have companies done to make their organizations more equitable, diverse and inclusive?

It seems many companies continue to struggle with this diversity and inclusion in the workplace “thing.”  To be fair, it’s not for lack of a commitment or wanting to change. But you and I both know how hard it is for companies to change. In the face of public scrutiny, it’s easy for companies to say they are going to do something. Making it actually happen though? Well, companies are recognizing how big of a problem this truly is.

There is no magic bullet or easy fix.

Diversity and inclusion is a company wide strategy that takes time, resources, money, commitment and a whole lot of patience. It’s overwhelming, but companies cannot put this on the shelf or push it off on HR so they can “figure it out.”

The days of diversity being a checkbox or report that human resources sends to the Bureau of Labor Statistics is over. The risks are far too great for it to be an initiative that’s driven solely by one department. CEOs must take ownership of diversity and inclusion in the workplace and drive it throughout the organization.

Or risk a Travis Kalanick.

OK. I’m officially off my soapbox for the day.

Everyone talks until they’re blue in the face on “why” it’s important.  Let’s start talking about how you can actually make it work.

Inside the Episode

On this episode of the podcast, I brought in someone who understands the why and the how.

Jessica Jones is the Vice President of People and Brand for Clearlink.  They are a marketing, sales and technology services company based in Salt Lake City, UT. According to Jessica and their website, their culture and their people are their advantage.

Jessica has significant experience running HR and Talent teams for technology companies. And she has seen first hand what works and what doesn’t when it comes to creating a diversity program for a large company.

While Clearlink is still a work in progress, with Jessica’s leadership and ingenuity, they have made a lot of headway. And she wants to tell you what they’ve learned, what has worked, and what failed miserably.

All with the hope that you will take action in your own company.

On This Episode You’ll Hear

  • Start the conversation
  • Where to start with employee education
  • Where to look for diverse talent
  • Why you need structured interviews & a good recruiting process

Listen to this episode to hear Jessica’s tips on taking action on your diversity and inclusion plans. 

About Jessica

Jessica Jones is the Vice President of People & Brand at Clearlink, an award-winning digital marketing, technology, and sales company serving some of America’s top brands. With over 15 years of experience in strategic marketing and HR, and a passion for human strategy, Jessica leads the communications, employee development, and recruiting teams at Clearlink.

Additionally, Jessica also oversees Clearlink’s new company-wide inclusion program, with special focus on developing and integrating inclusion practices across the organization and its multiple locations.

Headquartered in Salt Lake City, Clearlink—a SYKES company—has 1,700+ employees throughout Utah, Arizona, North Carolina, and Washington and is consistently recognized for being one of the best places to work.

Resources

Create a more diverse and inclusive workforce

Jessica’s Tips to hire & promote more diversity

  • Hire or promote someone who’s priority is diversity & inclusion
  • Start with intrinsic bias training
  • Create structured interviews to limit bias
  • Promote your jobs in places where diverse audiences will see them