How to Drive Inclusion Through Workplace Social Indicators with Janine Yancey

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4 min read

We all want to build an inclusive workplace. But beyond recruitment and retention, what are the levers that drive better outcomes? Join Janine Yancey, founder and CEO of Emtrain, for a workshop on the social indicators that drive inclusion and how startups can measure, report and increase inclusion outcomes quarter over quarter. 

Diversity and inclusion may be an outcome that every startup aspires to, but they also aren’t easy topics to tackle. Discussions of diversity and inclusions can trigger difficult emotions, particularly in the workplace, and necessitate a methodical approach to ensure everyone is heard, respected and valued. 

“For the people that are feeling underrepresented and marginalized, it’s a super triggering topic,” explains Janine Yancey, founder and CEO of the workplace culture platform Emtrain and a former employment attorney. “But then on the opposite side, It’s triggering for the folks that are well-represented, because they often feel that they’re getting blamed. So net-net, it’s a maelstrom.” 

The key is to create a safe space for discussing D&I, says Yancey, alongside a framework for identifying, measuring and reporting the social indicators that contribute to an inclusive culture — or lack thereof. At a Founders Network leadership curriculum, Yancey shares the indicators that drive inclusion, and how to take action at your startup.

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  • A breakdown of specific social indicators that drive inclusion
  • Ways to measure, report and improve upon workplace social indicators
  • How to incorporate inclusion and allyship into your startup culture
“You can map inclusion back to specific organizational behaviors. If you figure out what the behaviors are, you can start to measure them.” - @JYancey Click To Tweet

“You can map inclusion back to specific organizational behaviors. If you figure out what the behaviors are, you can start to measure them,” she explains. “Just like any other business function, like marketing, sales, or product, there are KPIs to getting to the outcome.”

On the organizational level, the markers of an inclusive culture are valuing differences, allyship and decision-making that reflects those things. On an individual basis, inclusivity can be tied back to demographic experiences — do individuals come from a diversity of backgrounds? — as well as curiosity, empathy and authenticity. 

“A lot of employee conflict stems from people in authority not understanding the implications of their decisions; they forget the people subordinate to them may process their words in a way they may not intend.” - @JYancey Click To Tweet

Although those characteristics might seem subjective at face value, having an anonymized system in place for measuring and reporting social indicators, such as power dynamics, social intelligence and unconscious bias, makes it possible for founders and CEOs to get a handle on what can otherwise feel like a minefield. 

“A lot of employee conflict and friction stems from people in authority not understanding the implications of their decisions; they forget the people subordinate to them may process their words in a way they may not intend,” says Yancey. “You see it a lot in harassment issues; it’s often completely unintentional, but it’s a miss in terms of message given versus message received.”

“Think about these indicators as culture KPIs. Once you have visibility and it's transparent, then you can start to press on the levers.” - @JYancey Click To Tweet

In recent years, many organizations have launching D&I initiatives as a reaction, either to external events, such as the #Metoo movement, or to a cultural problem internally. Part of the advantage of a measurement system like Emtrain’s is that it provides leading, rather than trailing, indicators. Founders and CEOs can see where they stack up versus peer companies, and make adjustments before social cues — in the most extreme scenarios — boil over into a harassment problem, a public relations issue or worse. 

“When all you’re dealing with are trailing indicators, you don’t ever have an opportunity to sit back, blue sky something, and figure out how to get proactive and manage it,” Yancey adds. “Think about these indicators as culture KPIs. Once you have visibility and it’s transparent, then you can start to press on the levers.” 

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Read more by Founders Network

Founded in 2011, Founders Network offers lifelong peer mentorship to over 600 tech startup founders globally. Our platform, programs and high-touch service facilitate authentic experience sharing, warm introductions and long-term professional relationships. Additional benefits include over $1M in startup discounts and mentorship from 50+ Institutional Investors. Members are located in San Francisco, New York City, Los Angeles, Vancouver, Toronto, London and other tech hubs. Each month our Membership Committee admits a new cohort of full-time tech founders who are nominated by an existing member.