Why D&I Needs a Technology Upgrade

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Corporate America just can’t stop talking about the “D” word.

By that we mean diversity, of course. Gone are the days when the word was only dropped once or maybe twice a year in a half-day, compliance-driven session; now it’s top-of-mind for both employees and executives. So much so that the vast majority of Fortune 500 companies have appointed a C-level leader to oversee diversity efforts, signifying the importance of diversity and inclusion (D&I) to the company.

And yet, while the significance of diversity is clearly communicated, the role of the Chief Diversity Officer is often nebulous at best. In a perfect world, her responsibility is to create a culture that is both diverse and inclusive. However, the only metrics she has access to—and thus the only metrics by which her effectiveness is often judged—is by workforce demographic composition. The focus, therefore, becomes not on fostering a workplace environment where employees of all identities can be their authentic selves, but rather on recruiting and retaining minority candidates. Any diversity officer (and indeed, many an employee) can tell you how ineffective that is.

We’re arming diversity leaders with actionable data
and real-time tracking tools.

But what if we could measure what truly matters in creating a positive workplace culture? Things like levels of employee empathy, authenticity, and energy; incidents of microaggressions; unconscious biases. These are the metrics that leaders should be tracking—and with the same rigor that CMOs track user growth or CFOs track costs. That’s exactly what we’re doing at Translator: arming diversity leaders with actionable data and real-time tracking tools.

We’re bringing technology into an area of business that’s sorely in need of it. Our ultimate goal is to build the world’s first mobile interactive D&I training and resource center and eliminate the need for those once-a-year, who-knows-if-this-does-anything diversity training sessions. Instead, managers can have their fingers on the pulse of the organization at all times. Think of it as a cultural dashboard.

We’re bringing technology into an area of business
that’s sorely in need of it.

Instead of a bi-annual employee survey, we get a constant data feed through our mobile app and real-time feedback on company culture. That way, there are no nasty surprises.

Of course, it’s not enough to just see where potential problems lie. Diversity leaders also need the tools to proactively address them before they get out of hand. To that end, Translator has created tools both to help employees deal with workplace issues as the arise and to train them to be more empathetic co-workers.

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One tool in our arsenal is a chatbot that employees can go to with questions about all kinds of workplace issues. Think of the chatbot as a source of friendly, compassionate, expert advice - it provides realtime support, helps employees process their emotional reactions to uncomfortable incidents, and offers frameworks for handling challenging workplace scenarios.

Diversity leaders also need the tools to proactively address workplace tensions before they get out of hand.

The chatbot gives employees the tools they need to address an incident that they may have otherwise swept under the rug, until it resurfaced, bigger and badder than before, and certainly in need of HR intervention. We’re flipping the script entirely: Instead of giving managers tools to reprimand employees and tell them what not to do, we’re empowering employees to deal with workplace issues themselves.

Not only does this reduce workflow by diverting questions away from HR and diversity professionals, but it increases the likelihood that these issues get addressed in the first place.

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Another tool we’ve developed is a mobile training app to train employees’ empathy muscles. We start by teaching them about their own identity and then slowly teach them about the identities of others. The end result is a team of people who are comfortable with themselves (enabling them to bring their full selves to work) and comfortable with other’s differences (making them more attuned to how to respect and collaborate with all their colleagues).

These tools are just the tip of the iceberg for how we can streamline D&I workflow. Because the vast majority of existing processes—whether they’re for recruiting or training—are in dire need of automation, there is a world of opportunity for improvement. And that’s precisely the world we at Translator live in.