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Diversity and Inclusion: Better Conversations Deliver Measurable Results

In episode 88 of HR Break Room®, we sat down with Dickens Auborg, Paycom’s director of client learning, and Jennifer Kraszewski, Paycom’s vice president of human resources, to talk about a new initiative in Paycom’s Diversity and Inclusion programming, Better Conversations.

The importance of diversity in an organization

Diversity is a front-of-mind issue for leadership across a variety of industries. We wanted to participate in this larger discussion with our leadership and get their take on the significance of diversity and inclusion efforts and practical ways to move the needle on this subject.

“The benefits to the organization are huge. It fosters diversity of thought, innovation, collaboration and teamwork — and all of those things ultimately lead to better business results,” Kraszewski said.

This isn’t just anecdotal information, as studies have shown organizations with greater diversity have greater-than-average capabilities when it comes to decision making and innovation.

“It allows (employees) to feel as if they can make mistakes,” Auborg elaborated. “They can be who they are. They can learn, and the output and the outcome of that for the business is not just a more engaged employee but an employee who builds value. You can measure that all day long.”

The inspiration for Better Conversations

The Better Conversations series is a Paycom initiative that seeks to provide a facilitated and inclusive forum for discussions about diversity and inclusion.

“We had a sense that those discussions were occurring, and we wanted to help facilitate them on a larger scale so we can continue those conversations and really weave them into our culture,” Kraszewski explained.

While it’s a new initiative, the early results are already quite positive. Under the guidance of a skilled facilitator, these conversations employ the talking/listening model where participants share their stories in response to each other, creating an empathetic, interactive space.

“People were honest, and there was continual dialogue that went on even after the sessions. That’s the really cool thing; when the sessions were over, people continued those discussions,” Auborg said.

Tips for developing similar initiatives

Paycom’s leadership has already learned a lot from Better Conversations, not least of which is the importance of intentional planning.

“The first thing that needs to occur if someone is considering doing this is to gather together a cross-functional group of individuals and talk about what you’re trying to accomplish,” Kraszewski said.

Another important factor to consider is the facilitator of your conversation. Great care went into choosing the first facilitators for Paycom’s Better Conversations, and the key is emotional intelligence, not job description or corporate rank.

“We have everyone from senior executives to individual contributors who are part of that facilitation process,” Kraszewski explained. “HR, in my opinion, is at the tip of the spear when it comes to creating this type of safe environment where there is continual, open dialogue. It drives business performance when you have a culture of trust where people can be innovative and challenge ideas.”

We’ve just touched on the highlights. To get the full discussion on diversity and inclusion efforts in a corporate setting, tune in to episode 88 of HR Break Room.