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We are excited to launch the series with our DEIAB (Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, Accessibility, Belonging) Client Executive Eve Mannix! In part one of “Understanding Employees’ Experiences through Data,” Eve shares where you can get started with your data journey.

Tell us about why DEIAB data is important to organizations.

Data really helps pinpoint where to put your efforts, your resources, and focus, stepping forward—it's all about helping the organization know what is really going on.

An employee’s experience directly impacts performance, innovation, and ultimately trust. DEIAB (Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, Accessibility, Belonging) data is about getting all the facts and a more comprehensive picture, meaning hard data and soft data to better understand how to support employees.

Hard data can mean gathering facts and figures from employee surveys or from representation data. Soft data is qualitative, meaning conversations, quotes, and anecdotal information. Both hard and soft data tell a story about organizational culture to help organizations put together relevant, data-driven strategies.

It is not as easy as a lot of people might think. Data collection takes a lot of forethought, tools and strategies to put in place. Once you have those in place, it is so much easier, you can rinse and repeat with a similar survey year to year to measure progress.

How does data help organizations gain insights about employee experience? What are some of the questions that data can help answer?

The insights we get from the Inclusion Climate Survey tool are incredible. The survey measures to what extent the employee feels like they belong. When we analyze questions about belonging, we ask, “Is everyone having the same experience? or are there meaningful differences based on identities?”

Data replaces the need for assumptions. When you ask employees to tell you about their experiences, their feedback is always enlightening – and often surprising. The positive elements that we often see in data are just as important as the deep-rooted issues employees are talking about.

In analyzing data, trends emerge in areas like experience with inclusion and belonging, employee development and advancement, how well conflict is managed, and the relationship with supervisors and teams. The data helps leaders understand what to prioritize, where resources are needed in the short term, and areas that need focus over the long-term.

What advances have been made in collecting data on employee experiences with inclusion and belonging?

The most crucial advance has been in the analysis of employee engagement and inclusion climate surveys. Before, using a one-factor tool like Excel, we could look at data one variable at a time, such as race and ethnicity or gender or disability. Now, we are able to take an intersectional, or multi-dimensional, approach to data collection and analysis.

We realized that when we are talking about Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, Accessibility, and Belonging (DEIAB), we need to actually bring in more variables. For example, I am an Asian American to identify my race ethnicity, but I also identify as a woman and as bisexual. So all of these elements create an intersectional identity that is important to understand employee experiences. Without the fuller picture, we may not be getting the whole story.

CST moved to analysis through Tableau, a data visualization software that allows us to analyze data through multiple aspects of identity. Basically, you can bring more parts of someone's identity into the picture to see what their experience is like. Clients are able to more precisely define where challenges exist. Better data makes for better strategies to create solutions that better support employees.

Stay tuned for Part II of “Understanding Employees' Experiences through Data” where Eve will discuss the challenges she faces as a DEIAB Data Analyst and Consultant.

CST founders, Ann Gillespie, Marcela Gómez, and Robert L. Wilson at The Lab in Nashville, TN. Their first office space in 2017 was in a shared space. The building where The Lab was housed was destroyed in the 2020 tornado.

Some folks have a business-idea-on-a-napkin moment and others have a carrying-an-oversized-check-on-a-windy-day-in-DC moment. The latter is how Culture Shift Team took flight.

Marcela, our CEO, and Ann, our COO, were business acquaintances turned real-life business besties who wanted to join their professional passions.

Ann, our Chief Operating Officer, a skilled connector of people and ideas, who’d left her small town in North Central Illinois and headed all the way down south to Tennessee and eventually further south to Brazil and back again, knew that culture was the #1 challenge that was subtly creeping up on businesses today. So did her business partner.

Marcela, our Chief Executive Officer, had experienced years of back and forth between her home country of Colombia and the U.S. finishing high school in Charlotte, North Carolina. From first hand experience, she also knew what that #1 challenge to connecting with new markets was: culture.

Entrepreneurs in their own right, Ann and Marcela had been making big waves and deep-rooted changes for the better by bringing people together. And then along came their client-turned-business partner, Robert.

Robert, our Chief Strategy Officer, an engineer by training and shaped by his Jesuit high school education, was the architect and first leader of DEI (Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion) at Nissan North America. Having engaged Ann and Marcela on several projects for Nissan, Robert knew that culture and creating community were core to understanding and tackling business challenges.

After leaving corporate America, Robert reached out to Ann and Marcela asking about the idea they had planted of launching Culture Shift Team as a collaborative. This act solidified their resolve to ignite life into Culture Shift Team as a consultancy. Immediately, opportunities started coming their way.

Starting with the Takata Airbag Recall, the CST partners blended their years of experience and expertise to develop our three-step approach to respond to a complex challenge, where business as usual was getting their clients poor results. Data, to identify where to launch the campaign. Culture, to understand how best to create a response from the target audience. Transcreation, to speak the right language to create action. Metrics, to measure results of the campaign.

It’s no longer just the three founders. With each client and each challenge, the CST team grew, developing tools and processes to position their clients as the superheroes of their own stories. From non-profit executives to clinical researchers to corporate leaders, CST walks with their clients as they break new ground, ask deeper questions and sit with the discomfort that comes with change.

Up Next: CST Goes Deeper

The importance of deepening our understanding of how to support and connect with the people in our organizations and communities has never been greater.

Culture Shift Team (CST) is excited to launch its new blog series– “Deepen Understanding.” Throughout the year, we will have the opportunity to interview and learn from our Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, Accessibility, and Belonging (DEIAB) and Multicultural Marketing & Advertising team members.

This year’s theme is deeply rooted in CST’s core value of Forward Thinking. Our clients and the challenges faced inspire us to innovate. We learn, unlearn, and deepen our understanding of ways to better connect and transform.

Stay tuned to hear about how to go deeper from our team here at CST!

Culture Shift Team at the Tennessee Immigrant and Refugee Rights Coalition for their annual retreat in Nashville. Oct. 2022

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