Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, & Belonging

Announcing the launch of the Global ERG Network

At this point, there should be no question as to whether diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) are important to an organization’s success. Cash flow at companies with diverse teams is 2.3 times higher. Diverse companies are 70% more likely to capture new markets than peers who don’t specifically recruit underrepresented talent. Companies with above-average diversity also have 19% higher innovation revenues. Diversity is important to job-seekers as well, with 7 out of 10 saying that they consider the company’s commitment to diversity when evaluating a potential employer.

Despite all of the evidence to support the business case however, there isn’t a great deal of information readily available on how to actually be successful at DEI. The majority of DEI work occurs in silos inside individual companies, and many employees working to advance DEI within their team or department go unrecognized and unsupported. Perhaps a consultant and/or trainer is brought in a couple times per year, but ultimately, succeeding at DEI requires a sustained and multi-pronged strategy that can’t be achieved through one-off initiatives.

Moreover, for all the talk about DEI, particularly during 2020, there are very few organizations that work across all areas and populations to foster true inclusion for every employee. While there are many organizations that seek to advance women, some that focus on BIPOC and/or LGBTQIA+ folx, and others with even more specialized populations such as veterans, there isn’t a one-stop shop where companies can go to access information that cuts across demographics. This is only the case until 1/1/2021, though. That’s when the Global ERG Network launches.

Why our current approach to DEI can never succeed

Out of all of the employee indicators businesses strive to achieve, true diversity, equity, and inclusion has been one of the most elusive. Want to increase employee productivity? There’s an app for that. Institute more frequent check-ins, entrust your teams with more responsibility, ensure your office environment is optimized or that employees have what they need to make their work from home setups functional, etc. The list of best practices drags on. Want to increase retention? Improve your benefits offerings, offer better work-life balance, etc.; here too, there are myriad software solutions and well-studied best practices.

While the DEI tech solution market is expanding, and while there are patches of best practices consolidated on static websites around the Internet, DEI actually cuts across many of the other employee indicators making it very difficult to ‘solve’ with software. You can’t break down centuries of systemic bias and teach people empathy and instill them with life experiences other than their own through a few lines of code. You can’t do that with unlimited lines of code. DEI requires concerted human-to-human work on a daily basis to truly see change, because it has to happen within each individual in order to drive lasting impact.

DEI also isn’t a job responsibility that can be assigned to just one person. There is a reason that the Chief Diversity Officer role has such high turnover. These individuals join an organization with promises of intensive support and commitment from leadership, and then they’re left to unravel the infinite, complex, very human issues of bias entirely on their own. This is often compounded by the company providing them with only a very limited set of resources, almost always amidst unattainable expectations. Real inclusion cannot be built on the back of one individual, or even one team. It requires the entire organization to get behind it; in other words, it takes a village.

How the Global ERG Network seeks to change all of that

Employee resource groups are effectively the street team for most companies’ DEI efforts. They’re the boots on the ground, the ones in the trenches, doing the work every day. They’re the ones truly making a difference and driving inclusion on the individual employee level in a way that no Chief Diversity Officer or HR team can. Up until now, resource group leaders were largely left to their own devices. After speaking to many ERG, BRG, and Diversity Council leaders and members, we learned that there’s a lot of Googling happening amidst high levels of burnout and minimal support or recognition. Part of the problem is that companies simply don’t know how to do better by their resource groups. Luckily, in partnership with Talent Dimensions, we’ve built a platform to revolutionize all of that.

The Global ERG Network (GEN) is the first constantly evolving, 24/7 community for ERGs, BRGs, and Diversity Councils to network and learn across the globe. It’s packed full of best-in-class resources, exclusive events, and much more. Plus, it comes with real-time analytics so we can finally demonstrate the true value and ROI of DEI at scale. The digital-first experience is highly customizable, empowering every company to build future-proof diversity, equity, and inclusion programs grounded in data and best practices.

GEN launches on 1/1/2021, but in advance of that we’re holding a couple of webinars to enable folx to learn more and see if membership might be a fit for them. If you’ interested in equipping your resource groups with the tools they need to succeed, in order to build real, lasting inclusion for every employee, consider attending during one of the following times:

If you can’t make it, don’t worry; we’ll be posting both the presentation and the question and answer sessions for later reference. If you have questions in the meantime, feel free to check out our brief informational page at or contact us directly at We’re excited to build this movement with you.

Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, & Belonging

Budgeting for diversity and inclusion in 2021

It’s been quite a year, and trying to budget for the next one can seem akin to staring into a crystal ball and anxiously waiting for something to appear. Ultimately, while this next year may seem even more uncertain than most, that doesn’t mean you should back off of critical investments such as those in diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI). While many companies rush to slash their DEI budgets at the first sign of financial uncertainty, this is in actuality a deeply counterproductive decision. Budgeting for diversity and inclusion drives critical initiatives that feed directly into companies’ bottom lines. By immediately jumping to cut that funding, companies show their employees in no uncertain terms where their priorities lie.

There are myriad reasons not to cut your DEI budget leading into 2021, but how do you frugally plan for inclusion initiatives during a year that may or may not be remote, may or may not include substantial policy shifts, and may or may not see your company doing well? There are certainly a lot of factors to consider. While budgeting for things you’ve never done before can be difficult, we’ve got your back with some best practice advice for budgeting for diversity and inclusion and building a robust DEI program in the coming year that drives measurable impact (you can also check out our newer post HERE for more details).

Why you shouldn’t cut your DEI budget as a way to save money

Unfortunately, despite spending $8 billion per year on DEI initiatives, many executives still believe that DEI is a ‘nice to have’ rather than a ‘need to have’. Part of this misconception may stem from the fact that the standard slate of DEI initiatives implemented by most companies is largely ineffective and targeted at box-checking rather than concrete business outcomes. With this line of thinking and little to show for the efforts they have made, it’s unsurprising that DEI programs would seem to be an unnecessary expense. In reality though, that couldn’t be further from the truth.

Organizations that are more diverse and inclusive have been proven to outperform their peers across a number of metrics. For instance, companies with more women in C-suite level positions deliver 34% greater returns to shareholders. Harvard Business Review also found that organizations with higher than average diversity saw 19% greater innovation revenues. McKinsey reports that companies in the top quarter for racial/ethnic diversity are 35% more likely to surpass their peers. Lastly, companies with two-dimensional diversity are 45% more likely to have captured a larger portion of the market and 70% more likely to have moved into a new market in the past year. Clearly there is money to be made by investing in diversity and inclusion, but as with many things, it has to be done correctly in order to be effective.

How to ensure your DEI investments drive impact

The first step towards budgeting effectively for diversity and inclusion is to start treating DEI like any other business imperative. You wouldn’t short your marketing budget and still expect to receive the same results, so why does that expectation exist for DEI? Similarly, what gets measured gets managed. You wouldn’t put your sales people out into the field with no sales targets to just see how they do, so it’s similarly imperative that you put structures around your DEI program including measurable metrics and goals. Don’t assume that since you ran a half-day training, more diverse employees will just start flocking to your organization. You have to put in the work in order to reap the benefits.

It’s not just about counting the number of BIPOC employees at your organization, though. Companies have been tracking the number of underrepresented employees in their ranks for decades at this point; simply counting doesn’t lead to improvement without accompanying focuses on inclusion, promotion, etc. You have to aim higher. Use studies and statistics to inform your goal-setting and budgeting. Increased DEI leads to higher employee engagement, which drives productivity and other measurable outcomes, so you can design quantitative objectives accordingly.

Consider DEI’s impact on your entire company, from the vendors you engage to the philanthropies you support. Set concrete targets for what you want to achieve, then budget out how to get there, just as you would in any other department. Don’t fall prey to the belief that DEI is an amorphous, ‘fluffy’ concept that can’t be quantified beyond basic employee counts. Use employee surveys and other data to track the success of your program and ensure you’re getting your money’s worth. If you’re not, change your tactics.

Making progress on DEI is difficult, but far from impossible. It simply requires strategic focus and effort, just like any other business imperative. If you’re considering how to best use your DEI dollars, consider an integrated solution that supports employee resource groups, provides best practice toolkits and trainings, and integrates surveys and people analytics. Workrowd offers all this and more, so if we can be of help, don’t hesitate to reach out at However you choose to proceed, just don’t back off of DEI at this critical time.

Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, & Belonging

Respecting employees’ intersectional identities

In the U.S. today, approximately 40% of the population identifies as something other than non-Hispanic White. With half of people identifying as female, that means that at the very least, 20% of Americans navigate society everyday with multiple intersecting minority identities. The actual number is obviously much higher than that, considering that identity encompasses everything from disability status to family structure and beyond. Given this fact, and as companies continue to make little to no progress on diversity, equity, and inclusion despite billions of dollars in spending, it’s time to reframe our efforts to focus on intersectional identities rather than just high-level racial and gender categories.

Originally coined by Kimberlé Crenshaw in 1989, at its core, intersectionality is simply the idea that people experience discrimination differently depending on their overlapping identities. While it has become a rather maligned term during our hyper-polarized times, few people actually disagree with the core tenet that a person’s lived experience will vary based on who they are, how they identify, and to which demographic groups they are perceived to belong. If even bitter political rivals can agree that the fundamental concept of intersectional identities is valid, why aren’t we prioritizing it to finally move the needle on inclusion in our workplaces?

Why intersectionality is so important to better support employees

The events of 2020 have greatly increased the focus on issues around DEI, employee wellbeing, and employee engagement. Particularly amidst the rapid transition to remote work, many companies are struggling to adapt and deliver in response to new as well as previously unaddressed employee needs. If companies truly want to improve their employee experience though, how can they do so without knowing the composition of their workforce?

While some employees may hesitate to share information about their personal lives and/or how they identify with their employer, if companies don’t ask they will continue to make decisions based on ‘intuition’ rather than data. In order to be strategic, employers need to learn about, respect, and appreciate their team members’ intersectional identities so they know, for instance, how to build a benefits package that actually suits employees’ lifestyles. If the only demographic data you have and are tracking is race and gender with minimal granularity, it will be difficult to truly understand what your employees may be facing, and therefore what you can do to better support them.

How to move your workplace towards intersectionality

The first step in moving your workplace towards greater inclusion grounded in intersectionality is to reframe the way you think about diversity. So much focus has been placed on race (often without much regard for ethnicity) and gender that other important measures of diversity rarely factor in. Your diversity program should seek to truly acknowledge and value your employees as whole people with a variety of different assets and attributes, rather than a member of a monolithic race or gender category.

Consider that diversity can come in the form of cognitive and/or physical disabilities, caregiver status, immigrant background, religion, sexual orientation, and more. With so much to consider, it quickly becomes unreasonable to base your entire program around just two, often visually discernable measures. There is a lot more to your employees, and if you want to optimize your employee experience, you’ll have to start learning about them.

The next step is to reorient your DEI goals. Moving away from tokenism and instead towards intersectionality will enable you to bring more perspectives into your meetings and projects, thereby accelerating innovation and amplifying your competitive advantage. While it is certainly crucial that many companies increase the proportion of BIPOC and womxn employees on their payrolls, it is also essential that these individuals are recognized as more than just token hires once they’ve joined.

If you’re considering ways to increase the focus on intersectionality within your workforce, check out Workrowd. Our platform is a one-stop shop that enables employees to join affinity groups based on their identities and interests, and provides you real-time analytics to see how each group is faring. To learn more, visit us at, or reach out directly to

Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, & Belonging

A new effort to advance diversity, equity, & inclusion

Amidst all of the deeply negative news of 2020, one positive has been the renewed energy around combatting systemic racism. While the events that precipitated this mobilization are both tragic and unacceptable, the drive for change could not wait any longer. The need to build more inclusive environments is especially urgent in our workplaces, where demographic-based disparities and discrimination abound.

Currently, 80% of Fortune 500 senior executives are men, and 72% of them are white. Women still earn just $0.82 for every dollar a man earns, with the burden falling disproportionately on Black, Latinx, and Indigenous womxn, who earn $0.62, $0.54, and $0.57 respectively. Moreover, the Economic Policy Institute reports that the Black-White wage gap has actually increased over the past twenty years, highlighting the enormous amount of work we have to do. Ironically, at the same time estimates suggest that companies are spending $8 billion every year on diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts. Clearly what we’re doing is not working.

And now for something completely different

Here at Workrowd, we believe that part of what is stymieing progress is that every company seems to be designing and executing on their diversity, equity, and inclusion goals in a silo. When we started doing market research for this venture, we were stunned by the lack of data and best practices available to companies looking to start or expand their DEI work. Accordingly, we set out to find (or build) a solution.

In the course of our research, we learned about employee resource groups, or ERGs. Many of you are likely familiar with ERGs, but this idea was actually new to the Workrowd team when we started this journey. We instantly latched on to ERGs as being incredible vehicles to build support and power for underrepresented folx in the workplace, but we ultimately found that these employee-led efforts weren’t nearly living up to their potential.

In many companies, ERG leaders are at extremely high risk of burnout and lack the support they need from the company to enable their groups to thrive. Furthermore, over time, the focus of ERGs can shift to become more social rather than strategic. Given the devastating effects of non-inclusive workplaces, we knew we had to intervene and do our part to expand the set of tools available to ERG members.

A fortuitous partnership

As we started to dig into how we could best equip ERG leaders and members with the resources to supercharge their groups, we reached out to a variety of organizations that were already active in the ERG space. After a pretty disheartening series of strikeouts, we eventually connected with the Association of ERGs and Councils (AEC). Originally launched way back in 2005, the AEC had been taken over in recent years by a new owner who hadn’t had the bandwidth to give it their all. The effort was seriously in need of a refresh, so we set about discussing how we might collaborate to give the AEC a makeover.

After months of discussion and buildup, we finally were able to get down work, targeting a mid-October announcement. Our partner organization had decided to combine their annual conference with the University of Southern California’s Center for Effective Organizations’ ERG Leadership Summit Week, which seemed like the perfect time and place to debut our new collaboration. The summit started yesterday, so it is with great excitement that we announce the relaunch of what used to be the Association of ERGs and Councils as a brand new, digital-first experience.

Welcome to the next generation ERG empowerment hub

This new network is the premier community for ERG and diversity council members to connect across the globe. With best-in-class resources, exclusive events, and on-demand analytics, the one-stop platform is building the future of diversity, equity, and inclusion by empowering underrepresented employees with the tools they need to succeed. We’ve got membership options to fit every organization type and budget, including opportunities for individuals to join, so there’s no reason to let your employees get left behind.

We’ll be revealing more in the coming weeks, but for now, if you’d like to learn more please visit Memberships include the 24/7 networking community along with access to best practice resources and trainings, and dashboards to help you track your progress. If you have any questions, feel free to reach out to us directly at We’ll be sharing more soon, so stay tuned!

Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, & Belonging

3 ways to better support family caregivers right now

Do you know which of your employees are family caregivers? Statistically speaking, the majority of them likely are, although fewer than half of employers track this data. Researchers at Harvard Business School found that 73% of U.S. employees are caring for a child, parent, and/or friend. With the novel coronavirus forcing drastic changes to what caretaking requires, and pushing even more people into the caregiver category as their loved ones struggle to recover from COVID-19, it’s crucial that employers recognize the additional strain this can place on employees.

In the same HBS study referenced above, more than 80% of caregivers surveyed admitted that their caregiving responsibilities affected their productivity. Accordingly, beyond just being the right thing to do, taking steps to better support employee caregivers has a strong business case. While some employees may be hesitant to share details about their caregiving relationships at work, it’s important nonetheless that companies put structures and benefits in place to ensure employees can succeed no matter what they may be dealing with in their personal lives.

Considerations when designing a program to support employee caregivers

As mentioned above, the first items to take into account when determining how to support employees who are family caregivers are privacy and equity. Employees should not feel obligated to disclose their caregiving roles, nor should they have to question whether being a caregiver will potentially be used against them in deciding who will receive challenging assignments, promotions, pay raises, etc. While it can be useful to understand exactly which employees are caring for a child, relative, or friend, it’s more important to ensure that all your workers are aware of your company’s available accommodations as anyone’s caregiving status can change at any moment. Accordingly, focus on education and transparency more so than identifying your employees with caregiving responsibilities directly.

As part of your education efforts, it’s also important to ensure that employees know that your company both supports and respects employee caregivers. Build awareness about the challenges that family caregivers face, and how your company helps employees address them. Make sure that your sensitivity training for managers includes content on caregiving so that they can best meet the needs of their team members.

Lastly, don’t forget to factor caregiving into your benefits programs. If you can offer daycare and/or related subsidies, flexible work hours and remote work, and healthcare plans that are inclusive of a variety of family structures to ensure your workers can access coverage for those who need it, it will go a long way towards making your workplace friendly and welcoming to employee caregivers. Don’t forget to ensure that all your employees are aware of the full extent of the benefits you provide!

Recommendations for building inclusion for caregivers in your workplace

While the considerations listed above are crucial to form the basis of your program, these efforts will fall flat if your caregiving employees don’t feel welcomed and included within your workplace. There are a number of approaches you can take to building belonging for these team members, but we’ve listed our favorites below:

  • Connect employees with resources. Beyond offering specific benefits to support caregivers as mentioned above, and especially if that’s not achievable within your budget, simply providing a list of relevant resources can be helpful. Assemble information about the services and supports that are available to different types of caregivers, whether they’re responsible for an elderly relative, have young children, or are the guardian for an adult who is ill and/or disabled. Host these repositories somewhere easily accessible, and remind employees of their existence as needed.
  • Make your events inclusive and accessible. Obviously a lot has changed since the pandemic hit, but if all of your employee events are being held outside of work hours, they’re likely excluding folx whose personal lives include caregiving. Take people’s non-work commitments into account when you’re planning initiatives, opting for lunch and/or workday times rather than nights or weekends. If you do schedule programming during off hours, try to make it family-friendly, so people can bring their children/relatives rather than having to simply skip it.
  • Create a caregiver employee resource group. Caregiving can be extremely isolating and emotionally taxing. By connecting employees with their colleagues who are facing the same struggles, companies can build their employer brand at the same time they’re making something very difficult for their employees a bit easier. Through this group, employees can share recommendations of care providers, exchange supplies (e.g. passing on gently used children’s toys), and commiserate.

How are your employee caregivers doing today? Do you know? If not, the first step is to check in with them, then take steps to address their needs accordingly. If you’re looking for an easy way to aggregate resources for certain groups of workers, connect employees with shared experiences, stand up employee resource groups, and/or easily monitor employee engagement and wellbeing, Workrowd is here for you. Contact us at to see how we can help you better support employee caregivers and make your entire workplace more inclusive.

Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, & Belonging

Building connections within an intergenerational workforce

For more than a decade, a favorite trope of news outlets has been the war between the generations in the workplace. As Millennials began to enter offices, article after article appeared on how ‘Generation Me’ was going to create widespread strife with their need for constant feedback and praise, their obsession with technology, and more. These attitudes and habits, the reporters alleged, would put them completely at odds with their Boomer supervisors.

As we’ve seen, Millennials have deeply impacted their workplaces, but not necessarily at a faster rate than any other generation, and certainly not in a way that’s out of sync with the broader societal forces acting on their companies. Ultimately, having an intergenerational workforce can be of great benefit if it is effectively leveraged. We’ve assembled some suggestions below to help you make the most of the age diversity present in many U.S. workplaces today.

An unprecedented five generations working side-by-side

For the first time in history, there are now five generations active in the U.S. workforce. While there is some dispute as to the actual dates that comprise each generation, the groups are as follows:

  • Silent Generation (born between 1928-1945)
  • Baby Boomers (1946-1964)
  • Generation X (1965-1980)
  • Generation Y/Millennials (1981-1996)
  • Generation Z (1997-2012)

The oldest members of Generation Z are now 23, meaning that some of them have been in the workforce for 5+ years at this point. Meanwhile, the youngest members of the Silent Generation are only 75. These 75+ workers comprise between 5-10% of every state’s workforce, while countrywide, their proportion is expected to exceed 10% within a few years. With more than 50 years’ difference between the lived experiences of these two cohorts, there are bound to be some disagreements and misunderstandings. However, just as with other types of diversity, having such a range of perspectives can also be a great asset to your business.

Strategies for enabling employees of all ages to succeed

Despite their superficial differences, regardless of age or generation, many employees ultimately want a lot of the same things out of their work experience. These include opportunities for learning and growth, camaraderie and community, and to feel valued and respected. Luckily, a number of these can be achieved through the same and/or overlapping initiatives. Below are some ideas for helping employees to bridge the generational divide and drive your organization forward.

  • Provide everyone with streamlined, user-friendly tools. In order to mitigate any issues stemming from varying levels of tech-savvy, design your employee experience with a focus on easy-to-use tools that make everyone feel empowered and fully able to contribute. Particularly with your communications systems, provide clear training to all employees so that no one is at a disadvantage in conversations and meetings due to challenges with technology. While this is applicable to facilitating inclusion across all demographics, it is particularly relevant for an intergenerational workforce as younger people are often more comfortable adapting to new technologies more quickly than older populations. Putting everyone on an even playing field will minimize opportunities for frustration across age gaps.
  • Develop a two-way intergenerational mentoring program. Young people have a lot to learn from their older peers in the workplace, but this sentiment holds true in the opposite direction as well. There is a lot that younger people can teach their colleagues from other generations, and that should be acknowledged and capitalized upon. Establish an intergenerational mentoring program where the exchange of information flows both ways. More seasoned employees should be encouraged to be open to the input and ideas of younger coworkers, and new professionals should be urged to be receptive to the wealth of knowledge that older peers have amassed over the course of their careers. Provide conversation and activity guides to help your pairings make the most of their relationship, and consider holding innovation events such as hackathons to help them put their combined knowledge to optimal use.
  • Start an intergenerational employee resource group. While most frequently focused on race and ethnicity, employee resource groups can also be a useful tool for building productive connections in an intergenerational workforce. Historically, age-based employee resource groups have typically focused on one specific demographic, e.g. young professionals. Ultimately however, companies would likely benefit more from creating opportunities for what is effectively a group-based version of the mentoring program outlined above. By creating a space that’s not explicitly focused on work in which team members from different generations can interact and team up, companies can finally combine and leverage all of the knowledge and skills within their workforce into more than the sum of their parts.

Having an intergenerational workforce can be either a blessing or a curse. For those organizations that operate in opposition to it and pit older and younger workers against one another, they will find that the antagonistic relationship between employees of different age groups can become a significant drag on productivity, engagement, and more. For organizations that view it as an asset however, and seek to build productive relationships between employees of various ages, they may very well find themselves on the forefront of innovation and broader success.

If you’re looking for a straightforward way to seize upon all three of the strategies listed above, check out Workrowd’s platform. We can help you set up and manage mentoring programs and employee resource groups, all while centralizing and streamlining employee communications. You can reach us at

Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, & Belonging

Disability accommodations in the age of COVID-19

According to the CDC, 61 million U.S. adults live with a disability; that’s more than a quarter of the population (26%). The word ‘disability’ spans a wide range of physical and mental challenges across mobility, cognition, mental health, hearing, vision, and more. Some disabilities are readily visible upon meeting a person, but many are not. As businesses struggle to reopen responsibly amid the ongoing pandemic, it’s more important than ever to ensure that your employees with disabilities are supported. Read on for some tips to understand and equip your people with any disability accommodations they may need to remain safe from infection.

Many disabilities increase the risk of severe COVID-19 symptoms

For a variety of reasons, your employees with disabilities may be at increased risk of harm from COVID-19. In terms of physical health, adults with disabilities are three times more likely to have heart disease, stroke, diabetes, or cancer than adults without disabilities. A study released in June found that patients with these and other underlying conditions who contracted the coronavirus were six times more likely to be hospitalized and twelve times more likely to die from it than peers without these compounding issues. Accordingly, while every employee should be maximally protected from COVID-19, employers should take extra care to prevent exposure risks among their employees with disabilities, in order to minimize the potential for dire outcomes.

Similarly, mental health disorders can be deeply exacerbated by the conditions the pandemic has created. Many people without a clinically diagnosable mental health condition are experiencing crippling levels of anxiety and depression from social isolation, financial hardship, and the loss of loved ones from this virus. Simply reading the news on a daily basis is enough to destabilize a person’s mental health.

As we wrote about here, mental illnesses and disorders can deal a crushing blow to metrics like productivity and engagement in the workplace. In fact, depression and anxiety conditions alone are estimated to cost the world economy $1 trillion per year. People with cognitive disabilities are also at increased risk of mental health problems, making it even more imperative that they have resources at their disposal to support themselves during these challenging times, as well as disability accommodations to keep them safe and healthy.

Steps to keep employees with disabilities safe from infection

The first step to protecting employees, whether or not they have a disability, is of course to follow all evidence-based recommendations to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. Facilitate social distancing, require mask wearing, limit use of common spaces and appliances, and sanitize, sanitize, sanitize. Make all signage clear and accessible, using high-contrast, large font and placing it at heights that are visible to those in wheelchairs. Ask employees for suggestions of how to make the workplace even safer, and implement those ideas where possible. Communicate your policies early and often, and require strict adherence in order to prevent situations where employees may feel at risk of exposure or peer-pressured to violate rules.

Another important step is to offer opportunities for employees to request individual accommodations to your policies. Being mindful of privacy guidelines, ask which employees have special circumstances, from having a disability themselves, to having someone in their household who is disabled, to ensure they have an open invitation to voice their needs. Seek to truly listen and understand their situation, so you can be positioned to best help them. Objectively assess their level of risk, whether or not their job is essential and if it can be done with limited in-office time, as well as what disability accommodations you can reasonably grant. Lastly, ensure that whatever decision you ultimately make is in compliance with all regulations, particularly those around EEOC and ADA.

Communicate the outcome of any deliberations clearly and compassionately to your employees. In instances where you were unable to grant accommodation requests, explaining why will go a long way towards ensuring that individual does not feel slighted or unduly denied. As circumstances evolve, encourage an open-door policy around accommodation requests and continue to remain aware of employees’ situations and health in order to provide the best employee experience possible despite the less than ideal circumstances.

Supporting employees with varied and changing needs during the global pandemic isn’t easy. Make it easier by talking to your employees and being transparent with your processes. Consider starting a disability employee resource group to help your team members who may be struggling, including those who may be new to disability as a result of COVID-19 complications. If you could use a tool to assist you in standing up an ERG, providing additional employee support, and streamlining your communications around pandemic safety, check out Workrowd. We can help you help your employees, and measure the results through automated surveys and reports.

Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, & Belonging

Designing your inclusion strategy for the long-term

The recent outcry against systemic racism prompted many companies to scramble to schedule unconscious bias trainings and other one-off initiatives. While in theory this response was better than continuing to turn a blind eye, the centuries-long oppression of BIPOC in this country will not be resolved with a two-hour workplace training. Now that the urgency of the moment has passed for many people who are not directly impacted by this struggle every day, we cannot simply go back to business as usual.

Building truly inclusive workplaces neither starts nor ends with making people aware of their biases; it requires a continuous effort to educate, support, and empower employees, with particular attention towards uplifting those from historically marginalized backgrounds. Most companies don’t currently have a framework for cultivating inclusion on an ongoing basis. Up until recently, executing on an inclusion strategy wasn’t something businesses paid attention to, and when they did, it was rarely addressed from an empirical standpoint. We know now however, that both diversity and inclusion have far-reaching impacts on business outcomes, making it essential for companies to begin prioritizing them. Read on for some ideas on how to design your inclusion strategy to help your company succeed long into the future.

Recognize that inclusion affects all areas of your business

As the twelve-step saying goes, ‘the first step is admitting you have a problem’. While it’s easy to think that inclusion can just occur organically under the right conditions, the fact is that most people aren’t naturally inclined towards inclusion. Most features of American society, in fact, are oriented around exclusion. Think about how we glorify being invited to ‘exclusive’ clubs and events, or buying luxury items that are in limited supply. The traditional idea of romantic relationships is founded upon exclusivity, and we even see children from very young ages assembling into friend groups frequently to the exclusion of others. We’re not taught to value inclusion, nor trained in how to be inclusive, so why would our workplaces naturally trend towards inclusiveness?

Ironically, while inclusion is not the norm for most people or workplaces, failing to cultivate it can result in deeply negative business outcomes. Exclusion impacts your retention rate, your employer brand, employee productivity and engagement, and more. Recognizing that investing in inclusion will deliver a significant return on investment similar to other business requirements, such as marketing and sales, is a necessary reframe before starting to design an inclusion strategy that can drive measurable impact over the long-term.

Bring in an expert (and pay them!)

Once you’ve shifted your perception to recognize that inclusion is just as important to your business success as other key performance indicators, it’s time to bring in rockstar strategists and executors to help your company succeed just as you would across any other area of the organization. If you were building a new product you wouldn’t hesitate to engage relevant subject matter experts, and the same goes for inclusion. Ideally, it’s advisable to bring on at least one full-time employee to orchestrate your inclusion planning and implementation, but for smaller companies, starting out with a consultant may be your best bet. Do what’s right for you but don’t downplay the need for expertise in this arena.

Moreover, if increasing inclusion is going to improve your bottom line, you shouldn’t hesitate to pay for the expertise you need. Many diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging professionals have noted in recent months that people have tried to engage them or gain access to their resources for free.  There are few other industries that see such egregious disrespect of their time and experience, so treat inclusion specialists the same as you would treat any other consultant or new hire. Give them the tools to succeed, trust their knowledge and ability, and pay them for their work.

Stay on it

Building inclusion is not something that can be checked off a to-do list or crossed off on your roadmap. Similar to any skill, it requires ongoing practice and commitment to be successful. Everyone in your organization must strive to practice inclusion at all times, on every project, and with every colleague. In order to root out the insidious processes that preclude equity in our workplaces, inclusion must be made a company value and be infused throughout all aspects of the day-to-day operations.

At Workrowd, we’ve been working hard to walk the talk from day one, and we still regularly step back to take inventory and improve our processes to be more inclusive. If we can help you on your journey, don’t hesitate to reach out. We strive to make the process of building inclusion easier and more data-driven, and we’d love to have you join the movement. You can always reach us at

Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, & Belonging

Metrics for measuring inclusion & belonging

As a followup to last week’s post about measuring inclusion, we wanted to dive a bit deeper into some important metrics you should consider tracking to build a more welcoming and supportive workplace for all employees. Inclusion, belonging and even engagement can seem like nebulous and tricky concepts to measure, but as the saying goes, ‘what gets measured, gets managed’. The reverse is certainly true, so if we want to see legitimate progress on inclusion in our workplaces, we have to start by assessing where we are today, and setting concrete, measurable goals for where we want to go.

We’re going to focus on four key metrics in this post, but keep in mind that these may or may not be the right indicators for your organization. While the items below are pretty broad-based measures that should apply across most industries, a truly successful approach to inclusion and belonging will always be tailored specifically to your company. As we covered in our post last week, the best first step you can take towards making your company more inclusive is to talk to your employees. Armed with their input, consider tracking some version of the categories below to ensure your program is driving impact.


Engagement is a critical measure that many companies already assess via annual or bi-annual surveys, as it has far-reaching effects on productivity and revenue. Ultimately though, if you’re not digging sufficiently into your data to determine how engagement varies across demographic groups, you’re missing 90% of the picture. Feeling included is a big factor in engagement, so while there are a number of reasons why engagement might vary, if you’re finding that underrepresented folx have significantly lower scores, exclusionary experiences may be partially to blame.


A significant piece of the puzzle as to why we haven’t been able to move the needle on building more diverse organizations is that while companies have made efforts to diversify their hires, many folx from underrepresented groups elect not to stay after coming onboard. If you examine your retention data and find that you’re losing folx from underrepresented groups at a higher rate than their peers with more prevalent identities, focus on designing your exit interviews to truly find out why. Odds are, exclusion and discrimination are contributors.


Employee happiness is often viewed as unscientific, but the numbers don’t lie: ” One study found that happy employees are up to 20% more productive than unhappy employees. When it comes to salespeople, happiness has an even greater impact, raising sales by 37%.” Measuring employee happiness as part of regular surveying efforts can help expose which segments of your workforce may be struggling with exclusion.

Inclusion & Belonging

Last but certainly not least, you can actually measure inclusion and belonging directly. Ask your employees to rate how strongly they agree with statements such as:

  • I feel like I belong at my company.
  • Perspectives like mine are included in decision-making.
  • I can voice honest feedback and be taken seriously without fear of backlash.

Do this regularly and monitor how changes to your programming correlate with changes to employee responses. As with the other metrics, be sure that you’re segmenting the data in order to surface all of the insights from different groups within your company.

Inclusion can be a difficult thing to influence, especially when your company may not have actively paid attention to it in the past. It can help to have a proven partner to align and guide your process. Workrowd automates ongoing surveys while also providing tailored recommendations and programming support to help you launch initiatives that actually drive change within your organization. If you’d like more information on the content of this post, or about Workrowd, reach out to us at

Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, & Belonging

Quick tips for measuring diversity and inclusion

As the current uprising against systemic racism in America continues to unfold, many companies find themselves either questioning how to proceed, or questioning how to deliver on new commitments to diversity and inclusion. All of this questioning is justified; unlearning and undoing centuries of oppression is complex and difficult work, albeit urgently needed. Some companies have a dedicated staff member(s) to work on parsing through these deep challenges, while others have largely foisted this onto the plate of HR teams that are already stretched thin with adapting to COVID-19 on top of their typical workloads. Particularly for those in the second bucket, we wanted to share some of what we’ve learned about managing and measuring diversity and inclusion to help jumpstart your progress.

The first step for those just starting out is to ensure you fully understand the difference between diversity and inclusion. While often paired together, they are distinct issues that must be addressed separately. Diversity refers to the composition of your workforce. Companies today measure diversity by tracking the number of employees who identify as members of various demographic groups based on race, gender, age, sexual orientation, disability, etc. There is a trend in the tech community of reporting these numbers publicly each year, and tellingly, there hasn’t been much change over the period since this practice began. That is the danger of focusing on diversity without putting in as much if not more effort to foster true inclusion. While workplaces can be inclusive without being diverse, it is the rare organization that can retain a diverse workforce without a strong commitment to inclusion. It’s crucial to ensure that your company is measuring both diversity and inclusion, individually.

Once an organization has committed to going beyond simply counting workers who meet predefined demographic criteria, the next step is to establish a baseline for how employees experience inclusion at the company. While out-of-the-box surveys can give you a sense, if you really want to understand how your company is doing today, it’s imperative that you speak with employees. Hold focus groups to learn about employees’ experiences, collect feedback from your employee resource groups, find out what sorts of exclusionary experiences your people are having so that you know what questions to ask when you put out the call to the larger group. If you don’t assemble your survey with an eye towards what your employees actually experience on a daily basis, you won’t get a complete picture from the data. Distribute the questions you assemble to all employees, and consider offering a raffle or other prize opportunity in order to maximize your response rate.

Now that your employees have completed the survey, it’s time to analyze the data with a focus on intersectionality. Just examining the data at face value may show you that one group experiences more exclusionary incidents than others, but all of the detail within each group will be lost. This will drastically reduce the effectiveness of any intervention you design in response. For instance, while women overall score one way, and Black employees score another, what is the experience like in your workplace for Black women, and how is that impacting your retention rate? Your results may initially indicate that LGBTQ+ employees feel included, but without cutting into the data, you might miss that your workplace in fact feels deeply exclusionary to trans folx. In order to actually make progress on inclusion, you have to stop looking at team members as checkboxes and begin focusing on whole people with many diverse identities and experiences.

Once you have your inclusion snapshot, it’s time to devise a strategy to improve your scores. Odds are strong that your employees are going to report varying levels of inclusion, so you have to be prepared to potentially face some difficult facts. After determining your course of action, you’ll similarly need a plan to measure your progress. Many companies have taken to conducting point-in-time engagement surveys every year or every two years. If you truly want to change the inclusion landscape within your organization, a much more agile process needs to be in place with check-in surveys delivering data at least once per quarter. Armed with these updates, organizations can shift their programming accordingly in order to maximize results.

We know this is a lot to manage, so consider leveraging technology as a resource to help you reach your goals. There is a growing market of inclusion software providers, from bots that will monitor Slack for exclusionary language to platforms like ours here at Workrowd, designed to streamline the surveying process, make data-based recommendations for policy and programming changes, and which offers template initiatives to help shorten your time-to-launch for new inclusion efforts. We hope this article helps as you look towards building a more inclusive workplace for all employees, where you’re measuring not just diversity but also inclusion. As always, if you’d like to learn more you can visit us at or reach out directly at