Community Conversation reveals the state of diversity, equality and inclusion (DEI)

Carin Taylor shares Workday’s best practices in solving DEI.

The workplace is changing rapidly, from the way people communicate, to corporate culture and how jobs are done on a daily basis, new technologies, and the permanent impact of the Covid-19 pandemic. And while diversity, equity and inclusion are on the agenda, they are not necessarily keeping pace with these changes.

In a Community Conversation sponsored by Workday, CHROs heard from Workday’s chief diversity officer, Carin Taylor, about the state of diversity, equality and inclusion (DEI) and Workday’s unique approach, the impact and importance of data, and best practices that have enabled Workday to become a valued thought leader in solving DEI challenges.

Carin said the last 18 months had been challenging, particularly in the DEI space: “DEI in the workplace is evolving and it’s not only the traditional ways in which we used to think about and look at it, but we have more complex layered issues that are coming into this topic as well.

“We all know that women, in particular white women, have benefited from diversity efforts more than any other demographic.” she explained. “So while we are thinking about that, we also need to think about how we can make progress to more groups that are currently not reaping the rewards of what companies are doing from a diversity standpoint.”

Hashtag movements like #MeToo and #BlackLivesMatter, politics, global diversity, racial and ethnic crimes, the impact of the pandemic, inclusion, belonging and equity for all were some of the issues that needed to be viewed through the diversity lens, she said.

Valuing inclusion, belonging and equity
Carin highlighted that companies have been doing the DEI work for a long time but they have not made the progress they need to achieve for black people, women, the LGBTQI community, the disability community and so on.

“At Workday we have been asking ourselves this question: Why are our outcomes not matching our intentions? We have been doing a lot of digging and have found two answers to this question.”

First, she said, diversity does not necessarily lead to inclusion, belonging and equity. “Diversity exists. When you have two different people in a room, it is diverse; but being able to identify diversity does not mean you have the right elements of DEI.

“The way we define diversity at Workday is by one word, ‘difference’. And the reason we do that is because we want people to feel like they are a part of the journey that we are on from a DEI standpoint.

She explained that focusing only on representation and getting diverse talent in, creates what Workday calls a ‘leaky bucket’ – where people join the organisation, but quickly leave because they don’t have a reason to stay.

So Carin and her team started talking about the importance of diversity, inclusion, belonging and equity connected to their diversity efforts and that inspired what they call ‘VIBE ‘(value inclusion, belonging and equity).

Second, they realised people were doing a great job setting goals, but didn’t know how they would get there. “I can set the goal, but if I don’t know how I am going to achieve it, then I haven’t done all of the work I needed to do,” she said, explaining that as you go from goal setting to goal getting, your goal setting has to be backed up with strategy, outcomes, indicators and actions.

For Workday, VIBE means having:

  • Diverse representation, where talent across the organisation is balanced at all levels across key dimensions of diversity.
    Uniqueness, where everyone is appreciated for their unique attributes and diverse perspectives.
  • Inclusion: a healthy environment where everyone is valued, respected and included.
  • Belonging, where everyone feels safe and personally feels like an integral part of Workday.
  • Equity, where everyone has equal opportunity to succeed, advance and excel.
  • Enabling the employee experience

Carin said one of the things that had become critical to Workday was enabling the employee experience. “We do this through our five capabilities and they consist of contributions, capabilities, how you want to grow your career, the connections you make from a company perspective, and compensation.

“We take all of these things into account to make sure that we can align our employees’ work so that they know how it connects to our company’s priorities, and grow their capabilities individually. We also think of how we can provide feedback because we know the more we give feedback, the better you can change the things that are not working.”

Lastly, she said, they always think about how they assess and reward their workforce.

Carin said everyone can play a part in DEI by leading with curiosity, sharing experiences, creating safe spaces for dialogue, asking questions to seek better understanding and educating themselves.

“The power of diversity is that it sheds light on experiences we haven’t personally had and can open our eyes to things we haven’t considered.”