CST’s Deepen Understanding series continues with our DEIAB (Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, Accessibility, Belonging) Client Executive Eve Mannix! In part two of “Understanding Employees’ Experiences through Data” Eve discusses the challenges she faces as a DEIAB Data Analyst and Consultant. She also provides the solutions used to resolve these challenges.
What challenges have you faced as a DEIAB Data Analyst and Consultant? What were the solutions used to resolve these challenges?
Scoping the data: One challenge is that a client might have a limited scope or view to data. That’s not going to give someone the full story. If you want the whole perspective, you have to get data from lots of different sources and via different methods to help create a more holistic picture. Your strategy can only be as good as your data, so you don’t want to start by limiting what you can learn.
Data collection tools: The second challenge is oversimplification. Quantitative data is a way to simplify the understanding of the employee experience, which is multi-layered and complex in nature. So rather than asking employees, “What is your experience, give it a number”, at Culture Shift Team we dive deeper to collect both qualitative and quantitative data. Numbers help us quantify and give us an idea of what is important, and the qualitative brings the numbers to life, telling us about the impact. We need both to deepen our understanding.
Delivering findings: One of the hardest parts of my job is not the actual data analysis, it is the communication of the findings of the analysis – especially when clients are not ready to hear the truth based on the data. We are humans and it can be easy for people to take the results very personally and get defensive, which is not the best posture for listening to understand.
Unresolved conflict shows up in data: Oftentimes something is brought to the surface regarding past harms that have occurred in the organization that is really hard to hear or perhaps is not a surprise. Attempts to bring the workplace community back together to a place of trust have been unsuccessful. There is frustration on all sides. People may say, “We’ve been over that 100 times, I thought we resolved that.” The question then becomes: the situation was resolved for whom? What we have found is that clients are often unprepared to handle conflict, especially identity-related conflict in the workplace. We encourage clients to anticipate this conflict and to proactively discuss and train employees on how to call in and how to be called in. The goal is to keep the workplace in community.
Stay tuned for Part III of “Understanding Employees' Experiences through Data” where Eve will explain what organizations should measure on their DEIAB journey.