Psychological Safety & Belonging and the impact on Equity, Diversity & Inclusion


Jan Jedlinski: Welcome back everyone and welcome to the World Staffing Summit and another great session today. We have a very special guest. She's the Chief Diversity and Inclusion officer at Randstad and I'm super excited to have you here today, Audra and present. So I'll hand over the stage to you.

Jan Jedlinski: I'll disappear and let you take over. Thank you so much for being here today. 

Audra Jenkins: Great. Thank you, Jan. And thank you World Staffing Summit for having me. I'm so excited to be here. My topic today is psychological safety and belonging and the impact on equity, diversity, and inclusion.

Audra Jenkins: As you can tell by my voice, I'm a little under the weather, but I'm going to do my best to power through this and give you the best nuggets and to take away. And I'm really excited to be here. As you go to the next. So today we're going to talk about a few things. We were talking about safety. What does that mean?

Audra Jenkins: You know, psychological safety in the workplace belongingness and wellbeing and that impact. And then what bottlenecks and barriers exist that are preventing organizations from having a psychologically safe and culturally supportive and belonging. Environment and then, well, what are we doing to take action about that?

Audra Jenkins: And then if we have time left, we'll definitely have some Q/A, but meanwhile, make sure you chat and be involved. This is an interactive session we want to hear from you with our audience polls and pulse checks, and we're excited to get started here. So let's move on to the next. So let's talk about safety.

Audra Jenkins: When I think about safety, especially psychological safety, I'm thinking about a sense of, you know, what happens when you don't feel safe in an environment or work environment. And you know, when you have that layer of safety, you know, you feel like you have some support and some protection. There's a lot of things that's happened to us in the last two years.

Audra Jenkins: That has really significantly impacted our sense of psychological safety, but also wellness and belonging. And I call it the triple pandemic. You know, we of course have the first global pandemic, which is COVID-19. I think when I look back, I was thinking about this when I was prepared for the session. In October of 2019, I was speaking at a conference in London and it was just so freeing, you know, it was right before.

Audra Jenkins: You know anything about COVID we didn't know what was happening at that time. And it was nice to be able to be together and, you know, in a large summit and I think that, you know, it would, it was just one of those things of coming together and that's the last bit coming together that I had before the, before COVID-19 hit then during COVID-19 there's this whole transformation.

Audra Jenkins: So think about it as a three-legged stool. And there was the great resignation. We saw so many people leave their jobs. Due to just re-imagining what's important in their lives. You know, whether it was more so family where they're more doing switching careers just reexamining. I think it was a whole reckoning, you know, during that time it still is going on.

Audra Jenkins: And then in the midst of 2020, we had social justice. We think about social justice. I think we all can remember in May, 2020 with the death of George Floyd in the United States those are those three things was this perfect trifecta, this storm of this great triple pandemic and all of that pressure, you know, coming from the COVID-19 the great resignation.

Audra Jenkins: And social justice, you know, they are all things that really have impacted psychological safety, emotional wellbeing, and wellness in the workplace. So as we go to the next slide, let's go to check out our first audience poll. And this is really quick. It is 15 seconds. So let's see what percent of workers feel psychologically safe at the workplace.

Audra Jenkins: And I've got the lovely Tracey Goldstein from our team who is supporting us and behind the scenes with these polls.

Audra Jenkins: We'll give it 10 seconds.

Audra Jenkins: All right, Tracy, what's the votes on that? That first poll. Wow. Okay. So we've got 46% believes that 45% of workers feel psychologically safe. That's a really good, that's a good number. 26% believe that, you know, it's around 26%. That's interesting. And then to add 20% loses 10%. All right, let's go to the next slide.

Audra Jenkins: All right. So is there a study by WorkHuman that came out last year? That said , 26% feel psychologically safe. I think we went too far there. Yep. So 26% believe workers feel that they're psychologically safe in the workplace. Now that's not a huge number, but less than we anticipated, but that really tells us, tells the story of what's going on.

Audra Jenkins: And this hybrid workforce that we have to. 61% report having elevated stress levels and elevate sense more so than the normal stresses of general work that we have in day to day. But much more elevated due to the COVID-19. I believe so as we go on to the next. Mental health and wellbeing.

Audra Jenkins: Let's switch gears and talk about this a little bit and let's do a deeper dive here. So our Harvard business review did a great study on this topic. And in that it said that 80% of employees. We'll have a mental health issue in their lifetime. This is a taboo topic, right. You know, we talk about mental health and wellbeing.

Audra Jenkins: That's not something you just go up and meet someone and talk about at the water cooler right in the workplace. It is something that's very deeply personal and very deeply impactful, but it also impacts a person's sense of whether or not they feel that they are welcomed and accepted with whatever concerns they have around mental health.

Audra Jenkins: 60% of employees who do have mental health issues. Have you ever discussed it in the workplace? So let's think about that for a second. That let's take a step back and think about how many times have we been in a meeting pre COVID sitting around the table.

Audra Jenkins: And we thought that John was antisocial because he wasn't engaging or interactive with us. We don't know what John's dealing with. Maybe John has anxiety with being in a crowd or group of people, maybe John is an introvert. You know, there's a lot of things that we need to be sensitive about. We're talking about mental health and wellbeing, particularly in the workplace and particularly in this new hybrid workplace that we're all living in today.

Audra Jenkins: Less than 50% of employees in this Harvard business review study felt that their mental health is a priority in their company. Now that was a really disturbing number. You know, I come from working in HR, then working then from HR, moving into diversity equity inclusion, you know, over 20 years in this space.

Audra Jenkins: And to think that. You know, you know, our people are really the heart of our companies in that fit, less than 50% feel that's a priority, you know, that their own psychological safety and mental health and wellbeing as a party to their company, 75% of gen Z, or is actually left their jobs, you know, over the last two years for concerns of their mental health.

Audra Jenkins: And 86% of employees said they want to work where they have a culture that supports mental health. So this is definitely a trend that we're seeing that mental health and wellbeing is equal as it is critical to your equity, diversity inclusion strategy as bringing in diverse talent as well. All right.

Audra Jenkins: So let's move on to the next slide and let's switch gears and talk a little bit about psychologically psychological safety at work. When I think about psychological safety, you know, what does it mean to be psychologically safe in the workplace? Well, there's a few things I think about transparency. You know, I'm a leader that really believes in transparency.

Audra Jenkins: I think that transparency, when you're transparent with your teams, they understand, you know, the lay of the land. They understand clear expectations. I think it leaves little room for He said, she said misinterpretations of things. So I think transparency is definitely one of the critical factors of having, you know, a psychologically safe environment.

Audra Jenkins: The next thing is the ability to speak without fear and that's really important because you, if you are already on edge and you're not sure you're psychologically safe, you may not speak up to state that, you know, to your leader or state those concerns to your company's human resource department or whatever team, our employee relations group around that.

Audra Jenkins: And that's really concerning there's people that truly are working in fear. And that should not be, you know, when we think about our diverse and inclusive and accessible workplace, you know, it's not one that should be with fear, openness about work-life integration. You know, this is a topic I think that is particularly for working parents or anything caregivers, you know, single parents and caregivers that's so critical years ago, pre COVID, we would never, ever talk about childcare issues or caregiving issues or challenges in the workplace.

Audra Jenkins: We kept very separate, now, it was very personal, private. It was very taboo to discuss. And it wasn't something that, you know, you just talked about generally in the workplace. And I think prior to COVID particularly for a lot of working moms or parents it's always been a challenge.

Audra Jenkins: This balancing act, you know, you're on this type of road and you're trying to balance, you know, the demands of your job and your career and give it all that you have, but also the demands of family and all the things that go along with that. So I've adopted this terminology of work-life integration versus work-life balance.

Audra Jenkins: Several years ago, I decided that, you know, I'm not going to keep beating myself up about, you know, whether or not I am. Good enough because I'm a working parent. I'm not going to beat myself up enough about, Hey, am I doing enough as a parent? Because I work, you know, I'm going to do the best I can and show up a hundred percent in both those spaces.

Audra Jenkins: As much as I can. And sometimes it's a balancing act of trying to figure out where to put that in. I think connectedness. You know, one of the things about connectedness is we lost a little bit of that with COVID-19 a lot of that, you know, going and having those sometimes some of the best conversations happen by chance, chance not planned.

Audra Jenkins: So if you had an event or away from the workplace pre post pre COVID, you could go and have a coffee team building. Bowling, you know, doing activities away from the office brings you together and a little bit more connected and you get to know your coworkers a little bit better on a personal level.

Audra Jenkins: And we lost a little bit of that. I think with COVID and then finally, I think it's when you're psychologically safe at work, you're having meaningful conversations. You're having conversations about, you know, That Tom is, you know, maybe Tom, his wife is having surgery next month and you know, what can we do to support Tom while he's out taking care of his wife during that time or his partner, you know, what are the things that we need to do to have those get back to those meaningful conversations discussions, you know, not just jump right in to work, but have a meaningful connection.

Audra Jenkins: And I think those will all the things that build up this psychologically safe workplace. We got some great chats coming in. Brooke said that, you know, she loves the idea of work life integration. They're very much intertwined. Absolutely. Especially working remotely, Brooke, you know, there's definitely no way to separate.

Audra Jenkins: You're, you if you're a parent, you're a parent all the time, whether you're a parent or executive you're that you might be an executive all the time at the same time, but. The two are not separate. I love that Hans mentioned it's important that mental health at work is getting more, the more attention it deserves especially with stress, the pandemic.

Audra Jenkins: Absolutely. Hans, thank you for that. Really great comments, keep it coming in. I absolutely love the feedback. I love engagements. I like an audience that's participating in the conversation, so let's move on to our next slide.

Audra Jenkins: Yeah. And you need that. Thank you for that. She said also to remember that other people have their own mental health issues, not just parents. Absolutely. I definitely agree with that. This data it's not just working parents. Definitely everybody has a need to have psychological safety and mental health and wellbeing.

Audra Jenkins: So thank you for. All right. So we're going to jump into belonging now. So let's jump into the next slide and we're going to jump into our next poll question. Here we go. Audience Participation time. Has COVID-19 impacted your sense of belonging in the workplace? Yes or No. And we get our magic, the phenomenal Tracy Goldstein behind the scenes, running our polls.

Audra Jenkins: Let's give it 10 more seconds.

Audra Jenkins: Well, we got there, Tracy,

Audra Jenkins: What's the word on the street? Okay. Yeah. 70% of you said, yeah, it hasn't impacted your sense of belonging. 30% of the roughly 30% of you said has not. That's interesting. All right, let's go to the next slide.

Audra Jenkins: So let's talk about the COVID-19 impact a little bit, you know, we've kind of talked about some of the, some of it in psychological safety discussion, but there's been a huge lot of studies, lots of commentary out there. I know this is nothing new or rocket science to you. But just know that, you know, people are feeling a little disconnected now.

Audra Jenkins: They almost isolated me. There's the isolation factor of it. You know, one thing that came out of. The COVID-19, especially with the sheltering in place orders, is that some people are sheltered in place with their abuser. So if there's somebody that's a victim of domestic violence, and there's already the stress of COVID 19 and not being able to leave, you know, that they have been more than likely more abused during that time because they are trapped with their abuser.

Audra Jenkins: I saw an article where one of the ladies had her leg broken. Just because of her, one of her children, the baby was crying and her spouse was upset about that. So there's a lot of different things that's happening related to COVID-19. People are basically missing the connections. It was so heartbreaking.

Audra Jenkins: I think on the news when I saw, you know, the rise in the numbers and hospitalizations, but people passing without being able to, without the comfort of their family members there, you know, that was really, to me, the ultimate heartbreak of you know, of this pandemic is, you know, losing loved ones and not being to be there, be able to be there with them.

Audra Jenkins: And I know you can't be with your loved ones every time when that passes. When you know that it's imminent and you can't hold their hand and be there, you know, give them the last words of encouragement. I think that's been, that was every one that touched me in a meaningful way. All right. So we're going to go to our next slide.

Audra Jenkins: What happens when we belong. This is something that I always say that the ultimate place for equity versus inclusion is belonging. That is what we're trying to get to this sense of belonging, because at the end of the day, guess what we all want to belong. We all want to. Belong in something bigger than ourselves, want to belong to something that's, you know, meaningful, impactful in our life.

Audra Jenkins: You want to make sure that, you know, people always ask me, you know, one question I asked my, I have a podcast about the diversity of my podcasts, and I ask all my guests, you know, what do you want your legacy to be? You know, my legacy is I want my legacy to last outlast me a thousand generations. I want to say that I made a difference.

Audra Jenkins: I got up every day, I made a difference and it encouraged someone and gave a voice to the voiceless. It's something impactful and meaningful. And then when you feel like you belong, then you feel like you've been accepted. You feel like you are included, you are respected. That's so critical that respect.

Audra Jenkins: You're at home. It's almost like a fuzzy blanket on a cold day, a hot cup of coffee. First thing in the morning, you feel safe and secure. And most importantly, you feel that you can be unmasked. You know, there's a lot of masks that people wear every day, know? Whether you don't know what people are dealing with, you know, in, you know, when you're not in front of them, you know, a person could be, Hey, the go-to person on your team always gets things done.

Audra Jenkins: Always, you know, doesn't complain, always does it with a smile on their face, but guess what, maybe they are dealing with some, you know, they'll deal with cancer, you know, they're going through cancer treatment and you don't know that or maybe they're dealing with as a caregiver or maybe they're dealing with just their own mental health issues.

Audra Jenkins: The stress of the uncertainty of what's gonna happen, you know, after we get through this triple pandemic. So there's so many different things that people are dealing with, but we can help by making sure that in all spaces we occupy, we make sure people feel like they belong. And that's so important.

Audra Jenkins: As we go to the next slide,

Audra Jenkins: This is a study by Harvard business review that they did. And I love this study because it really, and this was prior, it was like in mid early 2020 that I think the study came out. But it was talked about when, how belonging is good for business. You know what I feel as though you make sure people belong.

Audra Jenkins: No matter how much diversity whatever your equity, diversity inclusion strategy is, or bringing a more diverse talent, you know? Are you going to keep that talent? I always talk about that. Don't bring in diverse talent, a front door and lose them out the back door because you don't have a culture to sustain them.

Audra Jenkins: You don't have a culture that makes them feel welcome there. You know, I liken it to, if you invite someone to your house, if you invite someone to your house and you tell them, oh, I'm sorry, don't sit there. Oh, I'm sorry. Yeah, no, you can't have that food. Oh, you can't have anything to drink. You're not making them feel very welcomed that they belong there.

Audra Jenkins: So think of it from that perspective. You may have all the good intentions in the world, but good intention does not actually equal good outcome. Action really speaks louder than words. And so really the action of making sure that people feel included really does make a huge difference. And this study by Harvard business review says that it reduced sick days by 75%.

Audra Jenkins: It decreased turnover by 50%. And it also increased our performance. Guess what? When people feel like they are part of something that they're moving, they're part of the vision and they can live out and work in that vision and they can be their best version of themselves. Guess what? They're going to thrive in your business and that in turn, make sure that their performance equals excitement equal that passion equal, that thrive that they are trying to achieve.

Audra Jenkins: When we make sure people belong. We are made, we're saying we're doing something good for all our departments and our culture, but we're making a good business decision to do that. So let's jump into our next slide. I think you have another audience poll. So our next poll question is, would you leave your current job for a more inclusive one?

Audra Jenkins: One where you felt like you belonged? Let's give it 15 seconds.

Audra Jenkins: Would you leave your current job for a more inclusive one? That's a loaded question. Isn't it? Especially in this day and age. All right, Tracy, what are those results?

Audra Jenkins: Wow. 73% of you would leave your current job for a more inclusive one. That, just that right there, just in this small test group just speaks volumes of why. Inclusion and belonging, psychological safety is so critical to our businesses, especially I'm a diversity practitioner. Yes, that is true. And as an ed and I practitioner, you know, we're always looking for ways of how we can attract more diverse talent?

Audra Jenkins: How can we make sure that they are set up for success once they're getting in the door that they're developed, that they feel that they're part of something bigger than themselves and they belong. I mean, at the end of the day, You can have the best ed and I strategy on the planet. But if you don't let people feel like they can belong, then it's never going to be successful.

Audra Jenkins: No matter how much money you throw at it, no matter how many words you put in it. how many executives say the right things, they have to have a sense of true belonging. All right, let's move on. So this is from Deloitte university leaderships center for inclusion. They had a great study. And if you get a chance, I hope you guys look up some of these studies because they're really interesting.

Audra Jenkins: 80% of the respondents say inclusion is important for choosing an employer. Absolutely. You know, it's not, it used to be, you know, I've been in this for a minute now, if you, I mean, I have not to age myself, you know, over 20 something years working in this space and in the human capital industry, everybody knows it.

Audra Jenkins: It's like you get a great candidate. You want to, you're really excited about them, but then you lose that candidate's trust. If you get them to an organization that is toxic. And they feel like, why did I do this? So 80%, like it really does matter how well that company is performing or how well they're rated on inclusion so that when they're choosing for an employer to work with, you want to be that diverse and inclusive employer of choice, focus in on these topics of psychological safety, belonging, and make sure that those things are in place to support your employees.

Audra Jenkins: 39% of these respondents to this survey from Deloitte. So they would leave their current company for a more inclusive one. I know that's low. It's probably higher now. I mean, this was done pre COVID, but this was just one of those things where I imagined that's doubled, you know, with COVID because people are really redefining what success is for them.

Audra Jenkins: What is that for you? It's not what my ideal definition of success is. There's no cookie cutter for. So I really believe that this is essential. If you want to retain a good workforce today, especially during this great resignation, you gotta have this inclusion. You gotta have a sense of belonging.

Audra Jenkins: All right, let's move on to the next slide. Working parents. I promise I won't talk about working parents. I know some of you are saying, Hey, it's not just about parents. It's also about caregivers. Or if you just can't even just self care, you know, you gotta think about it during COVID-19 McKenzie company and lean in and the women in the workplace.

Audra Jenkins: It really is one of those things where, you know, we're looking to find ways to keep women? You know, a lot of women have just left. And what does that do? How does it set back, you know, global gender parentity? You know, there are so many things, you know, the World Economic Forum has started a global parenting Alliance.

Audra Jenkins: And that's something that's really important because as companies are looking to figure out how we are going to improve. Gender parody. We have to make sure we retain women in the workforce. And whether it's around the fact that they're dealing with stress of COVID, or just dealing with the psychological lack of psychological safety, you know, whatever the trigger is.

Audra Jenkins: We have got to find ways as organizations to triage that we've got to find ways in the organization to have real conversations on topics that we've never talked about before. We may never have approached someone in the past asking about their mental health and wellbeing because of fear of lawsuit.

Audra Jenkins: Right. But now. It's one of those things you can't just dance around anymore. We have to look at the whole picture of inclusion and belonging and psychological safety, mental health and wellbeing are very critical to that. So that story to that whole talk track. All right, so let's move on to the next. 

Audra Jenkins: I love this quote by Dr. Brene Brown. And it says because true belonging only happens when we present our authentic and perfect selves to the world. Our sense of belonging can never be greater than our own level of self-acceptance. This is so important. The key words are authentic in perfect selves. I love this because no matter what we do, no matter how you dress it up.

Audra Jenkins: Everybody's imperfect. Everybody has their own backpack full of stuff. It doesn't matter, you know, if you're a CEO or you're a talent advisor, an individual contributor, a business owner, entrepreneur, everyone has something, they've got something they're working on, something they're trying to improve upon.

Audra Jenkins: And I think that once we recognize that, I think that. We could be a little bit more empathetic to everybody else and respect their own journey, respect each other's journey and this, you know, trying to reach this true sense of belonging. And it starts with ourselves. I mean, I think it really does believe if we believe we belong.

Audra Jenkins: I'm not saying that it always is the case, but if we start there and have that strong belief system, I really believe that. You'll find or land in the place where a culture or work environment that you truly do belong. But it starts to, you have to really believe that you deserve that. All right, let's move on to the next.

Audra Jenkins: All right. So next section, we're going to talk about our bottlenecks and barriers. You know, while we're doing that, before we do that, I want to make sure I acknowledge my audience. That ride with me today. Ron said, you know, some feedback they received is that people feel more like independent contractors during COVID and less a permanent part of the fabric of our employment.

Audra Jenkins: That is so powerful. Ron. In some regards, we all are entrepreneurs in our companies, right. We're owning something that we're doing. And it's a different world. I mean, it's definitely a different world and it's hard to get past that, you know, some of that feeling if that's what people are feeling because they don't add load at one location anymore.

Audra Jenkins: And Spencer said 62%. Do not clear their hidden disability at the workplace. These employees want to be labeled by others. Oh, Spencer, that's so powerful. You know, I say labels belong on gifts and products that you're purchasing, not on people. You definitely hit the nail on the head with that one.

Audra Jenkins: Spencer. I appreciate that. Because you're right. You know, people, there is still the stigma around talking about. Mental health or talking about any disability in the workplace. Unfortunately, there is a stigma with that and people don't want to be. You know, I think it's just being different.

Audra Jenkins: I don't think it's anything wrong with being different. I think it's great. I mean, we can't all be the same, you know, that's the whole beauty of equity, diversity, inclusion and accessibility. All right. So thanks guys. Keep the comments coming in. I love it. Bottlenecks and barriers. So we're going to get to the next slide.

Audra Jenkins: I think it's a poll question. Here we go, audience. What barriers impact belongingness in the workplace? I think you've got a few options there. We'll get 15 seconds. Is it leadership awareness working across different time zones? Lack of resources and training or just employee burnout? You know, in general, I tend to loop that all into stress, anxiety, burnout, all in the same category there.

Audra Jenkins: What do you guys think? All right, let me give it 10 more seconds.

Audra Jenkins: And I'm going to keep drinking my tea. All right, Tracy, what do we get?

Audra Jenkins: That's interesting. Wow. More than half of you believe it's leadership awareness. That's amazing because, you know, I keep thinking that I was thinking most people are gonna say stress and employee burnout was going to be the, really the biggest barrier impacting belongingness, but. Wow. So that's just what solidifies me.

Audra Jenkins: What I said earlier, it starts at the top. It really starts at the top of the organization in setting the tone for that belongingness and how critical that is in the organization. 17% of you said lack of resources and training. I agree. There's never enough. There's never enough resources, never enough training on these topics, you know, every ED&I professional.

Audra Jenkins: A professional will tell you that, you know, you know, and then training alone doesn't solve the problem. Right? It's action training plus action. Dina says leaders are ignoring stress and burnout and work-life balance, you know, I think Dina some leaders might be, I think some leaders might just be stressed and worried about themselves.

Audra Jenkins: I mean, that could be one. Jessica said that leadership awareness is difficult to correlate, to, to employ burnout. Okay. That's a great one, Jessica. Thank you for that. All right. Keep it coming guys. I love these comments. These are some great points you guys are sharing. Let's move on and keep it going.

Audra Jenkins: We talked about leadership, you know, awareness. This is another study by WFA global DNI senses. 82% of employees in North America believe that their company is taking impactful action. We're only 60% globally believe that. So there's a whole, there's a little gap, a disconnect between North America and global.

Audra Jenkins: And I think it's just that it's a different focus on ED&I, when you look good, when you get global, it becomes a little bit more. You know, nuance, you know, country to country, region to region. For sure. I think in North America it's very, pretty much cut and dry, you know, the top, the big four, four or five areas that we look to improve on ED&I and our perspective.

Audra Jenkins: So global leader commitment action is really something that, you know, employees are watching, you know, We. People might not remember everything you say, but they do remember everything you did. And I think behaviors inclusive behaviors, particularly of leaders making sure that they're sensitive to burnout and sensitive to stress.

Audra Jenkins: And what can we do to leave those things? I think that makes a difference. I'll give an example myself. Yeah. You know, during the death of George Floyd, we talked about that earlier. In May, 2020 my team and I were working ridiculous amounts of hours. And my CEO sent it to me.

Audra Jenkins: I was on a call with her and she said, you know, what are you doing? I said, I'm eating some. I was trying to move my bag of skinny, pop out the way. And I said, yeah, I'm living on skinny pop and diet Coke right now because we are so busy, we just couldn't walk away to have a meal. And she sent my family some meals for a week to alleviate that stress.

Audra Jenkins: Was that a very expensive thing? I'm sure it was not, but it was so appreciated. I appreciated that you would've thought of her, she gave me a million dollars because it was one less thing I had to think about or worry about that week. You know, what are, what is my family eating? And it forced me to take a step away to have that meal to take that break from work. 

Audra Jenkins: So those are some great examples of how, you know, leaders can demonstrate some of that empathy. And I'm not saying I really need to go on buying our teams, everybody a meal every every week. But it does, if you could find something to alleviate the stress and help them out, even small things, you know, they will remember that and it makes a huge difference.

Audra Jenkins: All right, so move on to the next slide, please. Alright, microaggressions. Let's talk about this because this is one of these topics where every ED&I leader will tell you that it is something that it's sensitive to some people, and that it is a very painful trauma to others. So what are microaggressions?

Audra Jenkins: They're everyday sites and insults, they're kind of hidden messages meant to denigrate. It's like that backhanded compliment, you know, you got, you know, so say for example, you're going to a family event and you know, then you've got that aunt. That's like, oh, wow, Katie. You're so beautiful. Ah, but you still see who is as if something's wrong with you for still being single.

Audra Jenkins: It's a backhand, it's minutes from well-intentioned people. It sounds like a compliment, but it's really a part of the statement. And it's also the biggest piece of microaggressions. It's a warning of larger systemic problems. So when you're talking about creating. Place an environment, the psychologically safe where people feel that they belong, what people can thrive, you know, you can't, you gotta root out these microaggressions.

Audra Jenkins: Because of microaggressions, you know, I did an article for Blavity. Earlier this year that talked about why so many certain groups of diverse people don't want to come back to the workplace because they were dealing with so many microaggressions, pre COVID, you know, then they were dealing with less of those, you know, working remotely and not having to have the direct impact of that.

Audra Jenkins: Microaggressions are definitely something we need to deal with. We need to address and we need to recognize that they exist in every organization. It doesn't matter. You know, we, you know, people are human, right? No one is perfect and there are going to be microaggressions somewhere in your organization.

Audra Jenkins: And if you don't think there is, you have to talk to someone that's not a leader, the individual contributor and let, then you can hear from them how they, those microaggressions are playing out in the Organization. 

Audra Jenkins: All right, the next slide, please. We are, that leads me to the next topic of emotional tax catalyst. I had a great article about a phenomenal piece.

Audra Jenkins: They put out about the emotional tax phenomenon and what it did, what it said was that the intent does not minimize the harm. You can say, Hey, I was just joking. I was just kidding. That intent did not mean it was less harmful to the person who received it. As 60% of people of color have been, you know, dealing with this emotional tax phenomenon.

Audra Jenkins: And it basically is the price you pay for just being you and it has long lasting damage to your physical and mental health. It is detrimental to inclusion and belonging. It definitely increases burnout and anxiety. It is definitely something that. It just deteriorates in tears down any type of ED&I strategy or plans or initiatives of your organization.

Audra Jenkins: It's one of those things, like, it's almost like a rodent infestation. It's like an infestation that grows and grows. And if you don't root it out, it will just continue to contaminate your culture. And you're going to deal with a lot of people that are traumatized as a result of that. And some people leave their jobs because they're traumatized, you know, by what they've done.

Audra Jenkins: So yeah, the price you pay for just being you, that's the emotional tax phenomenon and, you know, kudos to catalysts for coming up with that terminology. It really is. It is taxing. It's just one more thing you have to deal with on top of meeting deadlines, meeting goals, meaning making numbers, getting revenue, your, all the things you have to do in business, and then you have this emotional tax on top of it.

Audra Jenkins: So we need to think about that the next time we're team meetings or in our, you know, we have tight deadlines and, you know, I always, I try to do my best too. You know, it, you know, work through, you know, when someone says, know, oh, this is a microaggression or this is that. We didn't talk through these things.

Audra Jenkins: I mean, you'd have to have an honest dialogue about that, you know, in the workplace, if you really want to have a psychologically safe workplace, whether it's hybrid remote, in-person wherever you exist, people need to feel that they're not paying this emotional tax just by working at your company. That's really important.

Audra Jenkins: All right. So moving on to the next slide, I love this quote I use, I love to quote Malala Yousafzai. If you don't know Malala Yousafzai, you should know by now, but if you do not Google her and I love this quote. It says when the whole world is silent, even one voice becomes powerful. 

Audra Jenkins: When Malala was younger. She lived in Pakistan and she wanted to get an education and she got on a school bus. Well, the Taliban boarded, the school bus shot her in the face for trying to get an education. And I think about, yes, her family had to flee the country. But she kept, she did not stop speaking out for girls around the world.

Audra Jenkins: She just wanted an education. She didn't want to become a world leader. She didn't wanna become this world spokesperson for anything. She just wanted to get an education. Just wanted to get a book, a pen, a piece of paper, that is all she was looking for, but she was shot in the face for wanting that. And I kept thinking to myself as ED&I leader and executive, if a 13 year old girl in an environment that's already set up against them,set up against women, start with, get stand up to a global terror organization.

Audra Jenkins: What more can you and I do? A free world or free economy or free country. What more can you do? You can make a difference. Your one voice can make the difference to change your culture and your organization. Culture is everybody. It is not the chief diversity officer. Yes. I'm a Chief Diversity Inclusion Officer.

Audra Jenkins: That is great. I love my job, but I'm not the one person who shoulders. All of Randstand at diversity equity inclusion. It is every person who works in our company. Every single person who comes in our door, every single person who sits in a leadership role impacts culture. And that is why we need to make sure that everybody is using their collective voice, their collective power to make a difference, especially for psychological safety, belonging inclusion, because those three things, well, you don't have those things.

Audra Jenkins: You do not have ED&I, you do not have a strategy and you do not have an inclusive environment. You have to have those things. So let's move on to the next slide.

Audra Jenkins: Let's talk about taking action. And we talked about safety. We talked about barriers and bottlenecks. What can we do to take action? Because of it, I always talk about, you know, we back to Malala. If she could take action, you and I could take action. So our next audience poll, come on audience. Hang in there with me.

Audra Jenkins: Let's get this. Let's bring this up in the home stretch here. How important is well-being and belonging to your company's equity, diversity inclusion strategy.

Audra Jenkins: And again, I apologize for my voice. I am recovering from COVID, but I've promised to give you my best today.

Audra Jenkins: Thank you. When we have talked about microaggressions for over 50 years, that is true. It definitely is a term that came out after, you know, definitely the civil rights move to the United States. Thank you for bringing that up. I think we're talking about it now because I think. It's more prevalent at ED&I to have a conversation around microaggressions and how it's, and how it is having a negative impact on ED&I for organizations and culture.

Audra Jenkins: All right. So the majority of you says it's somewhat important. I don't know if the numbers didn't show up there. Oh, sorry, Tracy. Thank you. 61% of you say it is extremely important and 23% of you said it is somewhat important. Zero said it was not important, so that's good. And 14% said, you're not sure. I think that, you know, when you think about these topics, you know, for sure around wellbeing and belonging and inclusion, you know, it is so important.

Audra Jenkins: The, you know, that we recognize as leaders, as organizations. We bring all of this to the strategy. This has to be holistic. And it, and I love what Spencer said too. About disability inclusion, still weak. Nothing's changed in a hundred years. You know, Spencer, you know, it is really tough. It is a tough thing.

Audra Jenkins: Especially when the majority of people who have disabilities, don't identify as having a disability, you know, how can we get the people that are intended to help engage into the conversation? About it. A lot of people won't talk about it. You know, people feel like they're calling out something as a stigma.

Audra Jenkins: And it's really important that we try to create a safe space where we can have those conversations. So good point, Spencer. All right, let's move on to our next slide. All right. So take action. So what do we need to do first? I think first and foremost, we got all knowledge, the elephant in the room, the big elephant in the room that's sitting there just blowing, you know, making the know all the noise is that we have to really just accept that equity, diversity inclusion and belonging are really critical to every single organization.

Audra Jenkins: And there are systemic issues that exist in every single organization, society and community. I mean, if you ignore those two facts, Then we are never going to make any traction or move the needle around ED&I in organizations or in our communities. Training's important. I agree with training, but training alone will not get this done.

Audra Jenkins: You have to have executable plans in place that you're measuring that you're reporting on executable plans is how we make traction in this space. And then more importantly we need everyone to solve the problem. It's not just that their Chief Diversity Officers, not your CRO, Chief People Officer, or your CEO, your senior leaders, VPs, and above it is every person in your organization, collectively creating a culture, whether it's an inclusive one or not.

Audra Jenkins: And it's, everybody's everyday actions in what they do that create that culture. So acknowledge the elephant. I think that's the first thing. The next thing, if we move to the next.

Audra Jenkins: We got to support accessibility in Hybrid work. You know, one of the things that is one of the benefits of COVID, I'll say, I know it's hard to say there's any benefits, but the biggest benefit of COVID was this rapid digitalization, it fueled.

Audra Jenkins: You know, the need to get people set up to work. I know at Randstad, we had to put 38,000 people globally into remote work when there was the heat of the lockdown and a very short timeframe. That was an amazing task and kudos to everybody at our Randstad teams around the world who did that and made that happen.

Audra Jenkins: And we also help our clients. We had staff onsite working at client sites.

Audra Jenkins: So hybrid work and accessibility, that's important. One of the things that came out of COVID too, I think a lot of people are focused, especially in North America, more on the employees. This is program,

Audra Jenkins: Maybe some connecting connection issues. Apologies. I don't know. Hope,you guys can still hear me, if you can hear make sure. If he can respond and chat, that'd be great.

Audra Jenkins: Okay, thanks guys. All right. Yep. Alright. Assessability, digital accessibility, making sure that people have access. I mean, that was another thing. It really brought to light people you might work with every day. You thought they had reliable internet at home. They may not have access to the internet. You know, there's a whole group of working people working in poverty, you know, that don't have those things.

Audra Jenkins: There were kids that were. You know, going remote for digital learning. And they're having to find places that they can park in a car or sit outside a building to get access to the internet so they can get their work done or completed. So there's a lot of disparities we found with COVID, but the good positive thing is I think that it really forced a lot of organizations to address some of these accessibility issues needed in the workplace.

Audra Jenkins: 15% Curry stipends for home office. You know, not everybody was set up to work at home. If you were working a nine to five and you were working in an office. You may not have had a computer at home, like a monitor at home and another digital camera that you didn't have access to previously. I mean, there's a lot of people who have to go and get additional expenses to set themselves up in an actual home office.

Audra Jenkins: What if you lived in a studio apartment? You'd have any space to set up an actual office. You had to find out and carve out a corner in your and your studio. So there's a lot of different things and I think it really forces organizations to address. But I think this clean the company trends report really highlighted these really well.

Audra Jenkins: All right. Next slide.

Audra Jenkins: Oh, this is so important. There's a difference between deployment perception and leader perceptions. I get this all the time as a Chief Diversity & Inclusion Officer, I'll think that I'll talk to leaders and say leaders, Hey X, Y, and Z leaders. This is something that's coming down the pike. We need to talk about, you know, this trauma that's occurring.

Audra Jenkins: We need to get people safe, place a space to talk about it. Oh, I'm a great Audra. I'm a hundred percent support for that. But then I get to the individual contributor. And they're saying, I don't know what you're talking about. I'm like, okay. So there's a different person. There's a gap in perception. And sometimes perception is people's reality.

Audra Jenkins: So we gotta make sure we're looking for counseling, looking at that gap to find out what things we're not getting past, what we call the frozen middle, that middle management layer. You know, we might say that things have cascaded down from senior leadership, but we don't know that it's getting to the individual contributor.

Audra Jenkins: And I think that's important in your ED&I strategy. So that's another action step too.

Audra Jenkins: Next slide, please, Tracy. And thank you. When things are getting lost in translation from leaders to employees, I agree with that wholeheartedly. Review and measure, you know, one of the things I always say, you know, if you're not, if you don't have a dashboard on something, you know, people are not looking at that.

Audra Jenkins: So if you're not measuring something don't measure just to measure, but measure things, that's impactful, that's going to help.

Audra Jenkins: All right, Tracy, can you guys hear me now? Okay. Thanks Angie. I have.

Audra Jenkins: All right. We are back, guys, let's get this into the home stretch here. All right. So leadership feedback was supported. I think that's important. We talked about that. Look at your employee net promoter scores. You know, one of the things we have is a global engagement survey and every leader has a certain threshold which we have to meet to be deemed to be inclusive. So I think those employee net promoter scores are important. Regrettable attrition. Sometimes it's an area that people don't go and look at. I like to exit interviews. Yeah. Why is someone leaving an organization? Because you, if you don't know why someone is the cause of why they left, you can't fix that for the next group of people.

Audra Jenkins: And then what are the gaps in perception? We talked about the leader's perception and the employee's perception. What is not getting to the individual contributor? I think that's so important from a communication perspective. So as we go to the next slide.

Audra Jenkins: Let's talk really quickly on act allyship. You know, when we're talking about taking action, the biggest piece I think everyone could do is be an active ally.

Audra Jenkins: And that means you're being intentional and publicly supportive. You know, when I, my biggest pet peeve is don't tell me one-on-one that you're supportive of. I'm sorry guys. I think my video is going in and out, but don't tell me what, a one that you're supportive of ED&I, and assess equity, diversity inclusion, assessability, and then publicly you don't stand up and support that, you know, so if you truly are.

Audra Jenkins: And ally, you'll be intentional about it and you'll be public with that support, you know, listen without judgment. I think that's important. Everybody needs to have their opinion, their voice in there needs to be heard. You know, sometimes you need to be able to listen and and withhold judgment, you know, just someone just wants you to listen to hear them.

Audra Jenkins: Don't ignore inappropriate or offensive comments and jokes and slurs. I mean, I think that's, you know, these are the things we should have learned in kindergarten. Yeah. Yeah, kind of like the golden rules, but I feel like if you just get the basics of respectfulness, I think that's important. And then sometimes people, you know, I had a conversation recently with someone in the end.

Audra Jenkins: He said, you know, people come to their opinions, honestly, you know, they've gotten it. Their parents or whoever, you know, regardless of how they came to an opinion, try to ask open-ended questions, to try to understand why they believe what they're saying, and then talk about why it's maybe offensive or hurtful.

Audra Jenkins: And then at the end of the day, you got prepared to walk away. If you don't, if it gets too aggressive of a conversation, then just walk away instead of, you know, causing an argument because. Some people, you know, you're not going to change their mind. You know, it's hard to think about equity, diversity, inclusion, accessibility.

Audra Jenkins: All right, next slide please. All right guys, we're coming to a close here. I do like to close with a couple of things. One, I love this quote by Kofi Annan the late Kofi Annan and he said we may have different religions, different languages, different color skin, but we all belong to one human race. If we could just get to the one common bond we have which is our human bond, get to our humanity. The basics of humanity. That to me, is a great start to creating a psychologically safe and inclusive and a place where people feel they can belong. Get back to the basics of humanity. I think that's really where we need to be as an organization, if you guys can go to the next slide I would love to stay in touch with you.

Audra Jenkins: Make sure you guys follow me on Twitter at the Audre Jenkins. LinkedIn, I'm just Audra Jenkins. I have a podcast which is about diversity, deep dive. It's on all mediums and it is love for you to check it out. It's been streamed in 80 countries, globally, a great podcast, great speakers bringing their truth and their thrive around the topics of diversity.

Audra Jenkins: I'm really excited about it. And now we have a couple of minutes left, just a couple of minutes. If there's any quick questions I love to answer. You guys have been great to hang in there with us, even with the technical difficulties of today's phenomenal audience. It's always great to be around great people.

Audra Jenkins: Like-minded people.

Audra Jenkins: Any quick questions. Thank you, minnow. I love that. I appreciate that. Appreciate the love there. Thanks Jessica. Thanks for your support. Any questions or comments?

Audra Jenkins: All right, Brooke. Thank you. I appreciate that. Thanks Catherine.

Audra Jenkins: Thanks Sarah. Okay. How do you be an ally without just saying I'm an ally? 

Audra Jenkins: Oh, that's a great question, Sarah. Thank you for that. I think the first thing is to find out where they were in that group or that person needs to help the most. It could be, Hey, talking about equity, diversity inclusion, it could be you know, going out and bringing forth great programs like the World Staffing Summit on these topics of psychological safety and belonging.

Audra Jenkins: You know, these are great ways to be an ally. I think it's being an ally is really truly meeting the need of wear and being active about it. Position is not passive. It continuously brings forth these topics and pushes the envelope a little bit. You know, you may have to bring it up a little bit.

Audra Jenkins: Like, Hey, we, you know, we're hiring X number of candidates in this location and we didn't have diversity top of mind. Why is that? You know, we need to refocus on these things, love that. But definitely, you know, the main thing is to be public about it. And three ask where you can add value, use your power and position to make a difference.

Audra Jenkins: Let's see, try to connect to LinkedIn. Ask for email. Oh, no worries, Jennifer. Just send me a note. Thank you. I appreciate it. Jennifer for your following. Thanks keith. All right, Keith, my radio crew on the call today. All right. You're not, I guess I'm turning it back over to you don't think there's any more questions.

Audra Jenkins: I really appreciate everyone joining and hanging in there with us for this session. And thank you World Staffing Summit and for having me. 

Jan Jedlinski: Thank you so much Audra. Thank you so much for these great insights. It was great having you today, a really great presentation and I hope everybody was able to enjoy it.

Jan Jedlinski: And so now we are off to a break for the next 35 minutes. Take the chance to network with your peers. Join a networking table, join our partners, take a look at their booths and what services and technologies they are providing and give us feedback messages. And I know that we have some issues with people not being able to register because they are emails still lost in spam from the platform. So if you have peers that were not able to join in, let them know to check their spam folders and make sure we can solve that issue. And again, apologies for the closed caption issue that we have with airmeet.

Jan Jedlinski: We were trying to solve it right now and hopefully this will be resolved very shortly. So thanks Audra for joining us today. Really great to have you hope we can do something again together in the future and yeah, in the meantime, see you later and enjoy the rest of the summit. 

Audra Jenkins: Thanks everyone. Thanks Jan.


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