Monday, February 10, 2020

HRComputes is an UltiPro Solution Delivery Partner

As a reminder, HRComputes is an UltiPro Solution Delivery Partners and have completed extensive training and assessment certifications across the UltiPro suite of solutions. Our partner training in HR Core/ Payroll, Business Intelligence, Talent Management, Talent Acquisition, and Learning supplements our many years of experience in human capital software solution selection, implementation, and optimization. If you are looking for UltiPro experts, you have come to the right place.

Tuesday, January 21, 2020

Diversity of Thought Drives Innovation

I recently was a guest speaker at the Ultimate Women in Business Summit in NYC speaking on Building a Socially Responsible Organization. While attending, I had the opportunity to hear Cara Pelletier, Director of Diversity, Equality & Belonging, Ultimate Software speak on Building a Culture of Belonging. Her presentation focused on creating a culture of belonging rather than one of inclusion. As Cara says, “You don’t need an invitation, you already belong” It is about bringing your authentic self to work and feeling like you really belong there. In order to have a diverse workforce, you need to create a culture of belonging.

As we think about diversity and its impact on innovation, we need to think about the many levels of diversity in our organizations. We have identity diversity, which reflect attributes that are more visible (race, gender, etc.) and we have cognitive diversity, which reflects how we see the world and think about things. A recent HBR article adds a third, experiential diversity reflecting how our affinities, hobbies, and abilities shape us.  Each of these types of diversity is impactful in driving innovation.

 When we talk about work, where is most work happening? Work happens in teams and teams have meetings. So, how can we make meetings more effective in creating an environment for a diversity of thought to drive innovation. The following is the list of ideas presented by Cara Pelletier to promote diversity of thought in a team environment:

1.     Set the Stage
2.     Set Expectations
3.     Create Psychological Safety
4.     Encourage Speaking Freely
5.     Speak Up

In setting the stage, think about the physical space such as how the tables and chairs are arranged. Are you unintentionally creating a physical space that suggests some voices matter more than others? Are you creating a collaborative meeting agenda and sharing it in advance? Using sharing document tools and encouraging the team to pose questions in advance encourages participation and hearing from diverse voices .

Establish team participation expectations. If you have been invited to the meeting, you are expected to participate. Set up a practice of taking turns to allow all voices to be heard during a meeting. Create an environment of psychological safety by ensuring that all participants are fully present. Agree that meeting is device free. Encourage listening. Google found that creating psychological safety was the most important attribute of highly successful teams.

If you really want new ideas, you need to encourage all team members to speak freely and to disagree even with the boss. Pose questions to promote thought such as:
1.     What is missing?
2.     What might go wrong?
3.     Why might this blow up?
4.     Who has an alternative idea?
5.     Who is willing to bet $1,000 that the idea will succeed?
6.     What has worked in a similar situation?

Speak up to recognize and acknowledge contributions. Ask if we have heard from everyone in the room. Redirect questions to the most qualified Subject Matter Expert (SME). Speak up if there are interruptions, if someone is consistently asked to perform an administrative task, and  if someone’s voice is being diminished.

Next time you are setting up a meeting, take the time to plan the setting and agenda and begin the process of creating and enforcing group rules. I bet you will begin to get more ideas and new perspectives promoting a diversity of thought to drive innovation.

Friday, November 15, 2019

Moving the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Needle

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion is a hot topic. Despite numerous trainings, programs, and initiatives, organizations continue to struggle to drive significant impact. Research tells us that stand-alone DEI training sessions drive awareness but don’t deliver impact. DEI programs are frequently one-off pilots that aren’t scaled across an organization. Often, I hear leaders say that they want to improve the diversity of their leadership team, but they lack qualified candidates in the pipeline. With so many good intentions, why are so many organizations failing to deliver on diversity? The short answer is that we need to build more inclusive and equitable cultures so that all stakeholders can be authentic, contribute and thrive within their organizations, Creating a culture for diversity requires a Transformational DEI Strategy.

In order to build a Transformational DEI Strategy, it is imperative to identify where your organization is on the DEI Maturity Continuum. Many organizations are in the Compliance Stage with initiatives lead by the Legal Team and HR to meet federal, state, and local compliance and reporting requirement such as EEO, sexual harassment training, and pay equity. Projects and activities in Compliance focus on training, data gathering, reporting, and analysis. It is a good beginning  but initiatives tend to be  siloed and lack strategic alignment so they can quickly wither on the vine.

As an organization moves to the Foundation Stage, the impact begins to impact more broadly. The group of stakeholders expands to include C-suite leadership and dedicated teams such as a DEI group. A key to the change is senior leadership support and focus on goal setting for  identified groups such as female representation and opportunity across the organization. The business case for risk mitigation and opportunity creation begins to be formulated. Metrics to measure progress are introduced. Programs and education on topics such as Unconscious Bias and Social Dominance promote  greater awareness of the prevalence of bias in all of us and the steps to begin to reframe assumptions, decision making, and opportunity identification. Most projects remain siloed or pilots. In terms of culture change, this state represents a significant change in the perception of DEI programs and their value in business strategy from a senior leadership perspective.

As organizations reach the Developing Stage, the stakeholder group expands further to include senior and middle managers. DEI is a strategic priority  and it is reflected in leadership goals and tied to their performance compensation. The talent process is redefined in terms of recruitment, development, and promotion to remove barriers and to promote opportunities. Training is provided to all managers to promote and create a more  inclusive culture. Management focus is on creating a more inclusive environment at all levels of the organization.

At the Integrated Stage, the DEI strategy is fully integrated into business strategy.  It is reflected in organizational culture and evident in in their people, process, and policy. Relationships with external stakeholders including, suppliers, partners, industry groups and communities are also evaluated through a DEI lens. All levels of the organization embrace DEI as the norm and model it in their actions and behaviors. Once reaching this stage, an organization should reflect its community and customers. Employees are ambassadors for the organization promoting its values and making it an employer of choice.

Driving impactful DEI change takes time, talent, and resources. At each stage of the DEI Maturity Continuum, an organization bolsters its culture, processes, and policies to better address DEI challenges. If we can be helpful as your organization embarks on its own DEI journey, please reach out to

Tuesday, September 17, 2019

Breaking Through the Diversity Barrier

We have diversity training, “Best of” rankings, legal requirements, and programs galore, but we do not appear to be making progress on the diversity, equity and inclusion front in our organizations. What is keeping us from breaking through the diversity barrier?

This past Sunday, the NY Times Magazine’s Education Issue included an article entitled What College Admissions Offices Really Want, which sheds some light on the complexities of this challenge. The article focuses on the lack of improvement in diversity numbers especially at the most select colleges. Part of the problem is a result of the perverse relationship between diversity goals and tuition funding requirements. Admission officers are tasks with balancing the tipping point between high caliber, socially disadvantaged students and their institutions’ need for tuition dollars to survive.  The issue can be summed up in the following quotation from Jon Boeckenstedt, who spent 17 years in DePaul University enrollment department. “Admissions for us is not a matter of turning down students we’d like to admit. It’s a matter of admitting students we’d like to turn down.” Unfortunately, the current funding requirements of operating higher education institutions allow for only so much support of hard working but economically disadvantaged students. Hence, the diversity numbers have improved only incrementally. It becomes a resource issue.

Even in the Ivy League, where many endowments are sufficiently large to provide greater support to build a more diverse population, there are other factors that impact admissions decisions. The 2020 US News College Rankings were recently released. While those in academia may view the rankings with a level of distain, college bound students and parents view this ranking as a crucial tool in the college decision process. As pointed out in the article, if you rise in the ranking your institution’s application pool improves both in terms of numbers and quality. One of the key components of the ranking is the SAT score which has been shown to favor white males. Often, high SAT scores are used to offset lower grades in the admission process as a proxy for “college readiness.” Research done by Boeckenstedt demonstrates that highly selective institutions admit students with very high SAT scores and consequentially very low number of economically disadvantaged or minority students. If we give up our ranking mania, will this remove this self-fulfilling prophecy and improve diversity percentages. The bottom line is that improving diversity is complex, expensive, and fraught with unintended consequences.

While this story is a reflection of academia, I believe that it has relevance for corporate diversity, equity, and inclusion programs. The fundamental issue remains are we moving the needle in terms of create and supporting a more diverse, equitable, and inclusive workforce. While we have seen a rise in the number Diversity Equity & Inclusion roles along with mandatory training, and minority board representation requirements, the needle hasn’t really moved. According to Women on Boards 2020, women in 2018 represent 21% of Board members for Russell 1000 companies. While this is a slight increase from 2017, it is far below the demographic percentage of women in the US at 51%. Women continue to be significantly underrepresented on IPO boards. While this is just one statistic, it is representative of the baby rather than giant steps that have been made on the DEI journey.

Like in the NY Times article, there are a number of conflicting factors that impact driving improved diversity numbers. First is the issue of training programs. While many organizations provide mandatory training programs, they often lack strategic vision around diversity goals. As a result, the training is a one-off rather than a new model for doing business. In addition, there is a fundamental lack of understanding around bias. People have been programmed to believe that bias is “bad” and that if they are a “good” person they don’t have bias. The reality is that we all have unconscious bias. Understanding our unconscious bias is foundational to improving diversity, equity, and inclusion. Raising awareness and encouraging people to slow down their decision process to question their assumptions drives impact, but committing to these changes is an ongoing process that requires time and money.

What Works Gender Equality by Design by Iris Bohnet is a good resource for both identifying the barriers and for creating solutions. She recommends a tool known as perspective taking.  By walking in your counterpart’s shoes, you begin to get an idea of what it is like to be them. To provide this perspective, I use an online interactive tool in my program that allows you to take the perspective of a young African American women as she experiences micro-aggressions at work and in social settings. In order to make progress, we need to really understand another’s perspective to change behaviors, systems and structures that support certain individuals but not others.

While the numbers demonstrate how challenging this work remains, we can and must change the status quo. Progress requires a significant change in mindset through out organizations. It requires a fundamental change in people, process, and policies. The journey is fraught with competing priorities and unintended consequences. In order to break down the diversity barriers, leadership needs to develop a DEI strategy that is part of leadership’s goals and is supported with time, talent, and resources. 

Our next installment of this blog will focus on what is working in the DEI arena. If you would like to reinvigorate, your DEI program, please contact Kris at

unconscious bias