What actions can we take to create inclusive environments?

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Lauren Mecca
Lauren Mecca Member Posts: 29 Expert
edited November 2020 in CS Org Conversations
This week's Leadership Office Hours opened an ongoing conversation in this community about what we can do to make Customer Success and the broader tech community more divers, equitable and inclusive. 

@Emily Campos shared that a survey at her company produced surprising results when some respondents shared that they don't feel comfortable "bringing their whole selves to work." This, I think, is a core element of being inclusive, and it raises questions about how we can act as leaders to be welcoming of differences and ideas. 

I want to share a story from my own experience below. 

Male members of a business development team in a company I worked for conducted outreach using sales videos recorded by female team members. This product is sold to a male-dominated industry, and the data showed that videos featuring females had better response rates. A non-inclusive way of thinking about this situation: "Whatever works, right? It our job to maximize sales." The real impact of this behavior though is the women felt objectified. Objectification is the opposite of intellectual respect, which is what we all deserve in our workplace. In addition to being disrespectful, it's driving up employee churn, and those who remain tend to be those who tolerate sexism. The inclusive way to handle this is to value the perspectives and boundaries of all team members and very clearly forbid toxic, unwelcoming behaviors ESPECIALLY when they may produce short-term results for your business. That's how you send the right signal. 

Who else has faced scenarios and decisions that impact inclusivity?



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Lauren Mecca
Boston, MA
LM Startup Advisory
lauren@laurenmecca.com
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Comments

  • Nicholas Ousley
    Nicholas Ousley Member Posts: 2 Navigator
    edited November 2020
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    Does anyone have a link to the speaker's website or LinkedIn profile? I really enjoyed his insight on inclusion, specifically how leadership sets the tone.
  • Brian Hartley
    Brian Hartley Member Posts: 185 Expert
    First Comment First Anniversary
    edited November 2020
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    At our organization, when we conducted our first DEI survey - we found a big difference in how females viewed DEI topics vs. males.  It was very eye opening.  This has led us down a path of offering more training and education around inclusion and micro-aggressions among many things.
  • Russell Bourne
    Russell Bourne Member Posts: 61 Expert
    GGR Blogger 2023 GGR Blogger 2021 First Anniversary
    edited November 2020
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    @Lauren Mecca and @Emily Campos it's existentially exhausting to spend your professional life suppressing who you are and/or pretending to be someone you're not.  In fact, there's increasing evidence that burnout has more to do with maintaining one's "work mask" than their workload.  

    Unfortunately, burnout is just about universal now.  Lauren, you're 100% right when you say it's driving employee churn, which badly hurts business productivity.  In addition, let's remember that leading up to the churn, a burned-out employee isn't productive.

    So, if we foster a situation where everyone feels free to ditch the work mask, then we a) do our part to care for our collective mental health, and b) help our companies thrive in business.  It's that simple.  

    Is there anyone who doesn't think DEI initiatives are urgently important?
  • Yanira "Janita" Sesniak
    Yanira "Janita" Sesniak Member Posts: 53 Expert
    edited November 2020
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    Hi Lauren ?? - an act of inclusivity to me looks like saying, "what can we learn from this experience?" when something goes wrong.
  • Emily Campos
    Emily Campos Member Posts: 1 Navigator
    edited November 2020
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    Couldn't agree more @Russell Bourne! Maintaining that facade day in/day out requires a huge amount of energy and takes a mental toll. Can we really afford yet another factor contributing to burnout?! We want employees to bring their true selves to work...the challenge is in creating that environment where they feel safe to do so.

    At my company, we feel that diversifying our employee base will help our employees feel more comfortable and supported to remove that "work mask". Please message me directly if you'd like to learn more about our program...it's scrappy but we're landing on some good ideas!
  • Russell Bourne
    Russell Bourne Member Posts: 61 Expert
    GGR Blogger 2023 GGR Blogger 2021 First Anniversary
    edited November 2020
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    Emily, that's absolutely right.  If employees look around and see diversity, and acceptance, then they become free to be themselves.  Also, potential applicants see an employer that will give them a fair shot.  I'll message you!