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Want To Build Diversity and Inclusion In The Workplace? There's An App For That

 December 19, 2019 at 10:22 AM PST

Speaker 1: 00:00 There's an app for everything these days. One, to improve your health. There's an app. One is sleep better. There's an app, one to increase diversity and inclusion at work. Now there's an app for that too. There's been a major focus on diversity and inclusion in the workplace and many companies are starting to use technology to reach their goals. One local tech developer called lead inclusively launched an app called the inclusion virtual coach. The app uses neuroscience and artificial intelligence to create behavioral change and encourage best practices in the workplace. It was developed by San Diego consulting firm lead inclusively and its CEO, Denise Hummel joins us now. Denise, welcome. Thanks so much for having me, Jane. So you've spent decades doing diversity and inclusion consulting. What problems are you seeing within companies that led you to create this app? You know, at the end of the day, all companies want to be successful and they know that to do that, they have to do that with an inclusive workforce because if people don't feel that they belong, they're not bringing their best self to work. Speaker 1: 01:03 And when that happens, you're not getting the excellence of innovation, the accelerated rate of innovation. You're not getting investment in the workplace. You just getting people who show up to collect a paycheck. And tell me more about the app. What is the science behind it and how does it use technologies like neuroscience and artificial intelligence to change behavior? Great question. We actually had to do quite a bit of research on neuroscience and on behavior change because we wanted an app that was not going to just be another way to deliver learning or content, but actually had a shot at changing behavior. So for anyone who's out there who is tried to go on a diet or tried to get more exercise or change something else in their life, they know that behavior change is just plain hard, right? And so, um, by doing the research on behavior change, by learning that as, as adults in particular, we have to understand the context for why we're learning. Speaker 1: 01:59 In order to buy into it, we have to have an opportunity to practice that behavior and we have to have the opportunity to reflect on it. By using those three concepts of a behavior change all based on neuroscience, we were able to translate late that to technology so that leaders could practice these inclusive behaviors in real time around real events like meetings or performance evaluations, the things that they do on a daily basis that impact inclusion. So can you give me a couple of examples of these sort of real time nudges that people are given? Absolutely. Um, so I'll take meetings because they're the easiest, right? Leaders are stuck in meetings all day long. They do team meetings, they do one on ones and the app, if they choose the meeting section of the app, the app will immediately ask them when is your next meeting? And at that point the leader will put in the date and time and set it and forget it because a half an hour before that meeting, he or she is going to get a nudge on to run an inclusive meeting is it gets to know the user. Speaker 1: 03:03 And so it's going to give the user more in depth information. Like this time it might say, how about if you focus on the quieter voices? Uh, bring out here's how to bring out the quieter voices in the room. Quieter voices are often women and people of color who have felt historically disenfranchised. So focusing on the people who are not contributing helps to give them a voice. So give me some examples of how this app might tell a manager or a leader in a workplace to be more inclusive. One example that you gave was to reach out to the quieter people in the room. Sometimes there are people who are not quiet, who are always contributing, but overlooked. Right? All right, well let's take another example from another focus area of the app. Um, performance evaluations. If I'm a leader and I'm about to conduct a performance evaluation, wouldn't it be nice a half hour before that actual performance evaluation? Speaker 1: 03:59 If I get a nudge on checking my bias at the door of taking a good minute or so to think about the things that turned me off about people who are not similar to me and making sure that I don't allow that to get in the way of making a good decision about someone's performance evaluation. Same example for hiring. What kind of results have you seen so far from companies that have adopted this technology? We finally got to the point where we have the case studies to show that what we're doing is increasing the number of diverse people in the work for us at every level. We're not just talking about entry now we're talking about middle management and senior leaders. We have the proof that, um, we're able to actually advance, uh, those same people through the talent pipeline, through the sticky middle of middle management, up to senior leadership and keep them there, which is critical. Speaker 1: 04:55 So the app was really solving for the next phase of this, which is the, we know the methodology is good, the learning is good. Now we need to, to make it stick. We needed to be sustainable because you and I, we can learn something. Maybe we can even learn, I don't know, calculus. Um, but after a period of time of not doing calculus, we're going to forget how it's done and how to do those equations. And it's like anything else. If we can create learning that's sustainable, there is no way that we can help leaders to do what they should be doing and, and what many of them really want to do. Frankly. I mean, either diversity and inclusion is a core value of a company and it's practiced every day or it's not. Right. Well, it's interesting that you would say that. Yes. I think a lot of organizations want that. Speaker 1: 05:45 I think a lot of them do see some value in that, but that doesn't mean that every individual feels that way. Uh, first of all, and second of all, those who do, so those managers and leaders who really do feel strongly about it doesn't mean that they actually know what inclusive behaviors look like. So for example, one of one of the things that we were able to improve over time, I don't know if you remember Jade way, way back when people were talking about unconscious bias, right? And we thought, I don't know if you thought this, but I certainly thought that if we could have learning methodology that would elevate awareness, that that was going to solve all the problems. But in effect it didn't because we increased awareness. But what we didn't do was help managers and leaders to understand how to move to inclusive behaviors. What are inclusive behaviors and how do they manifest themselves in the workplace? And where is the opportunity to, you know, to actually embed them on a team. That's what we need to do. So it's not just about having great values, it's about helping and supporting and reinforcing your leaders to practice those values. I've been speaking with Denise homo, CEO of lead inclusively. Denise, thank you so much. Thank you. Speaker 2: 07:04 [inaudible].

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Lead Inclusively, a San Diego-based firm, has launched the Inclusion Virtual Coach application, which uses neuroscience, artificial intelligence and "real-time" nudge messaging to help transform the workplace.
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