Janine Yancey knew there had to be a better way.
So, in 2014, frustrated with how the legal system solved workplace problems, she moved from helping employers defend employment claims to helping them solve the problems that were causing these claims in the first place.
Her instincts were right as currently there are over 3,600 companies using her training including Chevron, Whirlpool and Genetech.
A DE&I Culture is Required
Reformulating a culture is often considered a company initiative, but that perspective must evolve in the current talent environment, says Yancey. “We are moving from a time when DE&I programs had an external focus whose mission was to achieve good corporate citizenship. Now, given the workplace demographics and social issue concerns, DE&I needs to be moved to the business operations side of the organization. If you want to attract and retain talent a DE&I culture is a necessity.”
And with any business operations strategy, what gets measured gets managed. ”In other areas of business --production, sales and marketing -- data is the basis of strategy. The same is true of culture. It needs to be tracked quarter-over-quarter and year-over-year. So, measuring the culture to ensure that it’s where it needs to be is an effective way to help companies attract and retain talent.”
Emtrain's 2020 Culture Report, which consisted of 2.5 million responses from 40,000 employees at 125 companies, shows some of the issues that employees are having with their companies' culture:
- 38% of employees cite in-group/out-group dynamics as the greatest sources of conflict in their organization
- 33% of employees identify power disparity as causing the greatest level of conflict at work
- 33% of participants strongly agree that they can be their authentic selves in the workplace
A company’s workforce takes a general assessment to determine their strengths and weaknesses, through the company’s CultureTech platform. It’s then scored across the Workplace Social Indicators and then benchmarked to a global dataset of clients on Workplace Culture Benchmark. Based on the data a curriculum is identified to build up areas that are weak. The courses fall under three categories; Ethics and Compliance, Respect & Workplace Harassment and Diversity Equity and Inclusion and include topics such as building systemic decision making, leading with empathy and skills in allyship.
One company, Cisco, was so impressed with the results of training they were doing internally, that they announced in June 2022, that would integrate Emtrain’s training modules through WebEx's collaboration solutions. “Emtrain brings a lot of expert content in an innovative manner that helps facilitates discussion around DE&I,” says Jason Copeland, vice president of Product, Webex.
Given the sensitive nature of the content, Yancey notes that explaining things in a common-sense way that provides a business case use, is effective. “For example, when we talk about unconscious bias and inclusivity, we explain that when you use a bigger gear, with more people who have different perspectives, the quality of the decisions becomes better. A smaller gear, which underlies unconscious bias, is not as effective in decision-making.”
In addition to improving the internal culture, Copeland sees this awareness as a valuable tool in attracting employees. “As these types of discussions become natural in our day-to-day workflow, it allows us to stay fresh and do a better job at the core activities that underly our DE&I goal. In turn, we can highlight these efforts when recruiting future employees. Any company is only as good as its people and that starts with recruiting but it’s also important for retention and development. This is how we can develop our talent to drive good organizational outcomes.”