Episode 322: Executive Buy-In For DEIA With Kim Crowder

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Episode 322: Executive Buy-In For DEIA With Kim Crowder

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Welcome to the Workology Podcast, a podcast for the disruptive workplace leader. Join host Jessica Miller-Merrell, founder of Workology.com as she sits down and gets to the bottom of trends, tools, and case studies for the business leader, HR, and recruiting professional who is tired of the status quo. Now here’s Jessica with this episode of Workology.

Episode 322: Executive Buy-In For DEIA With Kim Crowder (@IamKimCrowder)

Jessica Miller-Merrell: [00:00:27.00] Welcome to the Workology Podcast, sponsored by Upskill HR and Ace The HR Exam. This podcast is part of a special series on the Workology podcast focused on DEI and HR. Diversity, equity, and inclusion are not new ideas in the HR and corporate arenas, but in recent months, the importance and significance of DEI in the workplace has gotten leaders throughout corporate America to think about what doing the right thing in our community looks like. For many of us in HR, this means working with our company leadership teams to develop initiatives and operations and anti-racism policies to create a more inclusive workplace culture. This series, the DEI series on the Work Ology podcast, is powered by Align DEI and Ginger.com. Today, I’m joined by Kim Crowder. She’s a diversity, equity inclusion, and anti-racism expert recently listed by Forbes as one of the top seven anti-racism educators you need to know. Kim Crowder Consulting’s work and powers upper-level leadership who are ready to be innovative and transformative in their approach towards diversity, equity, inclusion, and anti-racism within their organization. Kim and her team partner with organizations to use their social, societal industry, and global impact for good. Kim, welcome back to the Workology Podcast.

Kim Crowder: [00:01:51.81] Hi, thanks for having me back!

Jessica Miller-Merrell: [00:01:54.14] I’m excited for us to talk about executive buy-in in this area because I feel like a lot of HR leaders, DEI leaders are, are really grappling with this. But first, before we dive into that, let’s start by talking a bit about your consulting work and how you partner with organizations to help transform their approach to DEIA.

Kim Crowder: [00:02:15.68] Sure. So what is interesting is that oftentimes when organizations come to us, they really want to talk about that interpersonal piece like that one to one micro-aggressions or often want to talk a lot about hiring, which, that is a part of it, but that’s not all of it. And the reason I mention this is because we believe it’s really important that this work is systemic in the workplace, that we are looking at systems and that we are creating equitable systems within the workplace. And also that, that means every single person in the organization is held accountable. And the way that we do that is by looking at processes, looking at the systems that are set up, and then moving that out into processes and how different things within the workplace are done. We can even be talking about project assignment, like how are people receiving project assignments? Is that equitable within your organization? Is that inclusive? You know, what does that look like? So it’s not always this recruiting, hiring, promotions. That’s often how people think about it, but it’s much bigger than that because we know it impacts folks on a day-to-day.

Jessica Miller-Merrell: [00:03:30.66] Thank you for sharing. I think it’s important to kind of level set and just think about the different trainings and support and just advisement and consulting that you provide because there are so many different pieces to this DEIA puzzle.

Kim Crowder: [00:03:48.89] I would agree with that. You know, I want to highlight a conversation we recently had with a group who, who had every best intention and who really wanted to see this work move throughout their organization. And so they came to us and said, we want to do this training and we want to do training for leadership and managers, and we really want this to stay with them forever and we want them to move this forward. And I just had to be really honest and say training is not what is going to make that happen. If that is your measurement for success, then training is not your option or not your best option, it certainly is an option, right? But it’s not your best option and that always brings pause. Well, first of all, because you have someone sitting in front of you who’s willing to tell the truth around that. But also, we never want organizations to have these expectations around success that an avenue can’t get them, and the reason why training just as a one-off doesn’t work when there’s data around this. But if organizations are not willing and ready to move this forward in a way that, as I mentioned around systems around really looking at their day to day practices around operationalizing this, but also around the qualitative piece in hearing back from those people within their organizations to hear how they are experiencing successes, right?

Kim Crowder: [00:05:21.98] And, and losses. In the workplace, particularly how that looks in that specific workplace, then you’re not really empowering those people who have leadership power to move this forward. What you’re giving them is kind of like you’re plugging the dam, right? At some point, it is going to burst. And so we really like organizations to think about this, as I mentioned more on, on a deeper level and to see this engagement with a consultant or this engagement with somebody in DEI within your organization as much bigger than this idea of education. I could go on and we may get into this at some point because I think it’s important, Jessica, to talk about if you’re going to bring someone into your organization specifically for diversity, equity and inclusion, anti-racism, workplace, social justice, then they also need a level of power. I won’t dig deep down into that if you want to hold that for later in the conversation. I’m more than happy to talk about it.

Jessica Miller-Merrell: [00:06:25.04] Great. Great. I do want to kind of shift gears just a little bit and talk about allyship. You talked a little bit about education, but something you really said hit home to me and that you said we should not be putting the burden on people of color to educate us, to help us make sense of what is happening in the world and that we pay for educational classes, our certifications, our personal trainers. So it makes sense that organizations who want to do better and be better paid, they would pay for experts to come to offer the ongoing training. You know, hiring an educator and put maybe somebody on the staff that is an expert in this area. Can you talk a little bit more about this for, for our audience?

Kim Crowder: [00:07:07.37] Yeah. And I was alluding to this actually in the response in the last question. So perfect, right? This is a perfect segue. If organizations, as I mentioned, are really ready to do this work and really want to embed this work into their day to day, if they really want to create a safe environment where their employees can feel like they are heard and seen, not even feel it but know it, that they’re seen and heard and valued, and also for you to get the best of those employees around innovation, around ideation, around sticking around so that it’s not this high retention level, particularly, we know that we see this in corporate America for people of color. Then what organizations need to do is think of this as a daily practice. Think of it as it is a way for your organization to have success and not just success in, in the financial piece that does exist. But I’m talking about success in building those cultures that so many experts write about, right? We see all of these books about how to build company culture, and they’re often written by white men. And they’re not written from a perspective of inclusion and really understanding deeply what that is, not only from a philosophical standpoint but from an experiential standpoint. I’ve experienced this before and also from an, a place of bringing in someone who really understands how to operationalize this, who understands organizational structure, who understands processes and systems who can move this forward. And so when I talked about before, bringing in someone who is in diversity, equity, inclusion, and anti-racism specifically for your organization, oftentimes those folks tend to be women of color.

Kim Crowder: [00:08:58.33] As you bring those people in, they typically do not have support around staffing. They don’t have support staff. They don’t have financial power. They don’t have decision-making power in those spaces. And so it is bigger than just bringing people in is what I’m getting at Jessica, right? Is this, this idea of let’s just hire someone. They have to have ownership of power. They have to. And having that may mean yielding power for those folks in the organization who are used to having power, and not just that. Teaching folks who are used to having power in organizations, and that is at every level who have some sort of societal power, they may have to learn how to even work with someone who they have been taught don’t deserve some of that power. And so all of these are nuances in whether or not an organization is really serious and ready to do this work at a level of moving away from this idea of asking just any person of color in your organization to help you with x, y, z. But finding someone who has opted into that position and you have given them power in order to make this move forward within your organization so that it is not about that, again, that one to one asking people, but about the way that the organization operates in general.

Jessica Miller-Merrell: [00:10:21.80] You’re, you’re so right and I am seeing this happen where they are promoting somebody in the organization and they’re bringing somebody in and you’re correct. I’m finding that they are persons of color that are often women and they don’t have a budget. They don’t have direct audience with the CEO or the executive team to be able to make some decisions. And then six months, 12 months, whatever time frame, maybe the needle hasn’t moved or things haven’t changed. And then they’re placing the blame on this individual who was damned from the beginning because they just didn’t have the support and resources from the executives that they need to, to really drive change.

Kim Crowder: [00:11:07.16] And that’s absolutely right. One of the things I’m just, I want to add this in. One of the things that we do when we talk to partners, particularly partners, who come in and say we do have someone in diversity, equity, inclusion, and anti-racism, we have someone in the organization. And if they say that is, right, you know, right now that is a one-person sort of setup, we ask a lot of questions around that. But, but also we will say we can work with you if you are ready to build a team around this. And if you are ready to engage us so that we build a team and support for this person, then we can come in. But if they are unwilling to do that, they are not the right partners for us. It is that critical.

Jessica Miller-Merrell: [00:11:49.48] So I just want to repeat what you’re saying, because you want to make sure that you’re working with clients that are serious, that they’re successful, and if they don’t have the right, maybe, people in place or the support from the leadership team to make that change, you’re, you’re saying you’re not the right company or you’re not ready to work with us yet.

Kim Crowder: [00:12:14.80] Absolutely. And that doesn’t mean that every company we work with has to have a person and diversity, equity, inclusion. It is if they have designated somebody for that, that’s how we engage and say that we really need to make sure that we don’t come in doing additional harm for this person by not speaking up about what they need. That is extremely important. It may be, it doesn’t start there, but we do need to be having the conversation and the end goal needs to be that that person is going to have what they need in order to be successful.

Jessica Miller-Merrell: [00:12:50.49] I always learned so much from you and I love our conversations. I hope our audience is really just absorbing all the, all the things that you’re talking about today. Another area I wanted to talk about was lack of diversity and leadership. And let me, let me walk you through some statistics. I know, Kim, these aren’t new to you, but for our audience, they shouldn’t be. But if they are, listen up. Black people account for only 3.2 percent of senior leadership roles at large organizations and hold just 0.8 percent of Fortune 500 positions and all those are men. Latinos hold fewer than 2 percent of Fortune 500 CEO positions. Also, most are men. Asian-Americans comprise of 12 percent of the professional workforce and are more likely than any other group to hold a college degree. But fewer than 1 percent of Fortune 500 CEOs were of East Asian descent in any year, from 2010 to 2017. This is according to a 2020 study by Jackson Lu of MIT, Richard E. Nisbett of the University of Michigan, and Michael W. Morris of Columbia University. So we’ve laid out the stats. What do these statistics say to you about the lack of diversity in leadership? And maybe what can we do about it?

Kim Crowder: [00:14:07.95] Yeah, this is a question that is extremely important, and it’s also something that when we talk to leaders, we talk about this there. So I want to even further this picture for people, right? I want to give you a picture. So what this, there’s a graph out there and I cannot tell you, I should, I have to look and I may actually send this to you afterwards so you all can put this in the notes, where it shows based on race and then across the bottom, you’re looking at leadership level, right? Or organizational level. And what happens is, is for every group except for white, as you move up that leadership level, they disappear, their existence disappears in that space. And then also, when you look at those entry-level, you are seeing less white men in that space than other groups. So other groups have larger amounts of folks that that entry-level and then for white men, it increases as you get to that C-suite space. And so when you talk about what do these statistics say about the lack of diversity in leadership, one of the things, one of the things that it says to me is that there is still an idea around excellence and diversity. And there’s still this idea that diversity does not equal excellence. Because if it did, you will be moving people throughout the organization. And I always, you know, I struggle around this language of excellence in general because it’s a bit, it can be a bit elitist.

Kim Crowder: [00:15:49.56] But what I mean by that is this idea of capability for those who want to hold space for that, and what that does is perpetuate this cycle. So if there are no, no folks there and oftentimes those people are getting there, all kinds of ways, nepotism sometimes, relationships sometimes, you know, people in their same circles. And you, you and I both know, Jessica, that when you are sitting in a space and you’re looking for that next person, many people are hiring based on who they naturally connect with. And then also those leaders are saying what we find is those leaders are saying diversity is really important to us. We really want our team to understand how big of a deal this is. And then you look in the C-suite and you go, show me. Explain to me. What that means if in the C-suite this doesn’t exist? And that is where CEOs and leaders lose connection with this work for their teams because they are not actively supporting nor actively moving that forward in positions that have the highest level of power. And we know society-wise, we have taught everyone that white men are deserving of more power and more decision-making and more space, right? To, to impact environments and cultures and workplaces than anyone else. And so when we see statistics like this, it is perpetuating what is already been seen out in the world.

Kim Crowder: [00:17:29.14] It is a mirror. And so the reason I think this is so important is that because organizations, particularly leaders, need to understand that as you are building a workplace, you are, you are pressing up against societal norms that have benefited a certain group of people, particularly, usually white men. Then next, we have white women and there is a caste system attached to this. And so my, my call is that folks who are in leadership, particularly, the CEO of space, who have those folks who have power are going to need to dismantle their own beliefs and their own way of operating as a leader. They’re going to have to dismantle their own privilege and their own way of thinking around this in order to really move this forward in the organization in a way that your team can say, Oh, we see it, we see it in the way that our senior leadership operates. We’ve seen it. And so now we have a model that we can move down within the organization. And I, you know, move throughout, even with this, you know, moving away from this idea of top-down. But we can move it out because we’ve seen it from those folks who are most invested in this company and who we know have the choice whether or not to, to make this palpable for us.

Jessica Miller-Merrell: [00:18:55.81] I think when I think about a lot of CEOs, they, they are in those positions of power and they get a lot of head shaking and yeses and support because of that power. And so what you’re saying is that senior leadership, the executive team needs to really take a look at their own teams, their, their own biases. Like you said, the privilege and do the work. It’s not just something that everyone, but the executive team does or, you know, the, the front line managers or something like that. But it is, it really needs to be the leadership team needs to be reflective of, of an organization’s commitment to this area.

Kim Crowder: [00:19:49.31] Absolutely. And if they are not currently, they need to be creating a, creating plans and strategy around this and communicating that regularly to their team members. Because imagine not seeing that the opportunity within the organization to move up in that space and you’re a person of color and you know that you want to be a CEO, or a COO, or CMO or whatever. And typically, you know, we see the CMO piece and that goes to a woman and typically it goes to a white woman. We know that there are plenty of people of color in organizations who are overly capable of doing this work. One because they have the, the cultural competency piece of it, which is a big part of leadership competencies, right? To, to have some cultural intelligence. We say that all the time. To have that emotional intelligence. If you are a person of color operating at a high level or at any level in an organization, you have in some way had to exercise that competency on a day-to-day basis and not seeing that as a skill set of benefit. And so it really is leadership understanding their piece of it. And they’re why, why? Why is it like this? Questioning themselves first before they can ask that of the rest of their organization.

Jessica Miller-Merrell: [00:21:07.97] Again, I’m just thinking about in my experience, a lot of CEOs don’t like to be put in those positions of being uncomfortable and being vulnerable and really taking some internal stock and evaluation of, of their own biases and, and decisions that they’ve made that have led to the development of the team and the, the growth of the culture in the organization, so this is not going to be easy.

Kim Crowder: [00:21:34.71] No, it really isn’t. And I’m going to be really frank because it is rare to find someone who’s that ready to do that level of work. Sometimes we know, for us, it’s going to take time. We do have to have a baseline, though, right? A baseline understanding of what needs to happen, a baseline commitment around this. And we’re pretty direct about this in organizations because what we can sometimes find is that as much as your team wants to do this, when you get up into that C suite space, your C suite can be a bottleneck for how successful operationalizing diversity, equity, inclusion, and anti-racism into day to day work is, is able to, is able to happen. They can be some real stoppers for that.

Jessica Miller-Merrell: [00:22:26.28] We need more people like you in this world and those who are listening who are willing to have those uncomfortable yet direct conversations with their executives at, at organizations to help move, move this forward.

Break: [00:22:42.27] Let’s take a reset. This is Jessica Miller-Merrell and you were listening to the Workology Podcast sponsored by Upskill HR and Ace the HR Exam. This is part of a special series on DEI, and we are talking about diversity, equity, and inclusion, as well as anti-racism with Kim Crowder, as part of our DEI series. This series is powered by Align DEI and Ginger.com.

Break: [00:23:07.23] Every employee has different mental health needs, from preventive behavioral health coaching to therapy and psychiatry. Ginger offers effective, convenient mental health care for any level of need. All from a smartphone. Learn more. Visit Ginger.com.

Executive Support is Crucial for the Success of DEIA Initiatives


Jessica Miller-Merrell: [00:23:25.44] What advice cam would you offer to HR professionals who are listening that are preparing to present DEIA initiatives to leadership in order to get executive buy-in? What, how should this work? What should they be doing?

Kim Crowder: [00:23:39.00] Yeah, the first thing that stands out to me is to not think about it as initiatives, to really think about it as diversity, equity, inclusion, and anti-racism operations. And the reason I say that is because we don’t want this to be at a starter in level, right where this is like you have a start date, but you don’t ever want this to be an end date. We need this to be so embedded in organizations that every decision is measured up against this. Every decision is based on this and one of the things that we say and then I’ll, I’ll move this forward in digging down into this question is, we often ask our leadership, what data do you use to make decisions on a, on a regular basis, on a fairly regular basis? And they’re able to walk me through that. And then we show them the data for diversity, equity, inclusion, anti-racism. And what that does for a company, and that innovation, and what that does financially for a company. And then we ask, how often are you making your decisions based on these factors? And so that is a strong point for HR professionals to talk about. The challenges that you’re still dealing with beliefs even in those numbers, in any other situation that data or any data that you bring to executives, they can make decisions around that data and say, yes, we’re looking at the financial impact. We’ll make that decision. But there’s something about making decisions around these metrics that still are, are not supported by the, the internal beliefs of some CEOs. And so as your HR professionals are thinking about this, the more that they can show examples of how this has really worked in companies that are like them, particularly companies that your CEO sees as competitors who may get under their skin a little bit because they do things a bit better than you, find that. Find those examples, find those real-world examples where you can lay this out.

Kim Crowder: [00:25:56.63] And also, as you are operating, you’re talking to your CEOs about how to move this forward, understand that the goal should be to center those who even though we are the global majority who have been historically underrepresented and minoritized. And I’m going to say that again, center the people who are, even though we’re the global majority people of color, are the global majority who have been historically marginalized, minoritized, underrepresented in the workplace. How are you censoring their voices in this work? So presenting it to your, your leadership in that way so that they can understand the perspective from which you’ll be working from. Because the bottom line is is if the workplace is better for those people, then the workplace is better for everyone. It just is. And also, in order to get that buy-in is really understanding what’s important to your leadership. What’s important to your executives and how do you hone that in to what you are considering, you know, what, what, the work that you’re considering doing. How is that directly connected to it? And then again, as much as you can back that up with data, the better, so that they can understand that, you know, this is not just my idea, this is actually what works, and so really make sure that you are doing your homework around this to understand what exactly has worked in the workplace, what is based on research, and so that this is just not some shot in the dark.

Kim Crowder: [00:27:42.62] And then make sure that your leadership talk to your leadership about understanding that this takes time and having some measurements of success that you go back to on a regular basis and that needs to be quantitative and qualitative. And it needs to be, especially the qualitative piece needs to be done in a way that your team members feel safe to even share that information, and that may mean connecting with a consultant outside of yourselves so that your, your team can really feel comfortable. So here’s the highlight to this right? Data. Understand the data. Understand what really works. Be able to connect that to what is most important. What are the core values of your company? And then what’s most important to your executive team? Be able to connect that and also be able to find examples of that in real-world situations for organizations that are like yours, that you know that your leadership either respects or really despites because they do things better than you. Your competition. And bring that into the conversation. Those are four top ways to really move this forward in your organization. And I’ll share with you an article, Jessica, that I did for Authority Magazine, where I really talk about this deep, more deeply. You can add that to the notes because I think that the folks listening would really benefit from seeing that with their eyes and hearing it with their ears, too.

Jessica Miller-Merrell: [00:29:04.77] Absolutely. We’ll link to that article in the show notes over on Workology for this particular episode. I would just want to reiterate what you’re saying. Executive buy-in seems like a must-have for us to be able to make meaningful change in the DEI area for our organizations. It’s not just something that we launch a program and, oh yes, they’re, you know, excited about supporting, but they’re not. This group is not part of the transformation. They have to be involved so that they can support their employees, help understand, and change some of maybe their own personal biases or unconscious things that have been happening that like, like you were saying before, it has to happen. We have to have their buy-in. We can’t just launch an ERG and say, Oh, what kind of, you know, Hey, that sounds good. We’re done. It’s more than that.

Kim Crowder: [00:30:09.65] It is more than that. And also here’s the thing that I would love just to add to this is that, everyone doesn’t have to believe. They don’t have to start from the same place or the same level of belief around whether or not this is the right thing to do. But they can start at the same place around behavior and the expectations for behavior around this. And so I always challenge those who are looking to build out and expand diversity, equity and inclusion, and anti-racism into their day-to-day operations and the way that their companies move this forward in their processes and procedures and systems and their people that there is an expectation around behavior. And I’m not saying in a controlling way. I’m saying to say, here’s what we expect from each level of employment, and that looks differently. What are your expectations for your executives around this? What are your expectations for your mid-level managers around this? What is your expectations for your individual contributors around this? What does that look like and make sure that you can express that in a way that you can tell that story over and over? And then that you can show that, that you have some way so that you can show that as part of this larger plan and strategy within the organization.

Jessica Miller-Merrell: [00:31:36.98] Another area I wanted to focus on, because we’re having this podcast when we first talked, I guess it was about a year ago, and I just want to keep the conversation going because just because it’s not in the news doesn’t mean that DEIA isn’t an important priority for companies. So I wanted to ask you, how can HR leaders or what can they do to keep their DEIA efforts front and center to the organization?

Kim Crowder: [00:32:09.26] Yeah, a lot of that is being able to track progress and measurements and having measurements of success. That’s a really big one. Because how can your, if your leadership actively denies that this benefits the company, then at least you have that right. At least you have some level of, OK, I’m showing you this works and you are actively choosing not to move this forward. So that is going to be a big one is to make sure that you can in some way measure your success. And that doesn’t have to be a tens of thousands of, you know, like different metrics. Choose three. Choose one. Choose two. And measure that over time. Also around keeping these, these efforts front and center. Listen, I won’t say that that is not challenging because it is. That is really challenging, even because, because what I talked about was this difference between beliefs, even though we’re seeing what the metrics say, we can look at the business case for this and then also look at company morale. And we know this is the right thing to do, period. We know that that exists. So keeping that at the forefront is making sure that in every meeting that you have with your leadership that you’re bringing this up, every single meeting that you are saying, Hey, here’s our expectations.

Kim Crowder: [00:33:33.30] Let’s build this out into how, how many times, or how often your leadership should be examining this information. You know, as much as you are looking at your financials, as much as you are, are looking at, if you all are in change management and have built out a plan for change management, as much as you are looking at those, that should be how much you are looking at diversity, equity, inclusion, and anti-racism within your organization, it should just be regular. And so the more that you can normalize this in the workplace, that’s how you keep it front and center. You measure it and you normalize it. And so, so that your leadership and your team members overall can be connected to it on a regular basis. They’ll roll their eyes at first. That’s fine. You know, some people won’t like it, that’s fine. Some people may leave the organization, that’s fine. But if you all are committed to this, then you’re moving in the right direction and you’re just weeding out the people who no longer fit the company culture.

Jessica Miller-Merrell: [00:34:38.39] I’ve had a lot of conversations with HR leaders about the importance of getting comfortable, being uncomfortable. We’ve been through a lot of change in the last 18 months, and I think this getting comfortable, being uncomfortable is also true, true in the leadership side of things. What is your approach to this when working with business leaders? I know you said front and center, normalizing. Any other thoughts or advice to share?

Kim Crowder: [00:35:06.11] You just, you just acknowledge the elephant in the room. Hey, I know this might be uncomfortable. Like you say that but also give people the space to ask the questions that they wouldn’t normally ask, you know, make yourself available to them and make sure that you honor that everyone is in a different place in their journey around this. And so some people, while some people you know, you’ll really have to balance the level of patience of some of the people who, who feel like they’ve been doing this forever and that this directly impacts them versus someone who this light bulb is just turning on. One of the things that, that we do is we create a baseline. And we, the first thing we try to do is create some ground rules about respect and around, you know, what, what, what this environment needs to be like. How do we create a safe space to have these conversations with, for, for these leaders that we’re looking at? And then we also in that we talk about the fact that, again, it is going to be uncomfortable at times. Some of the leaders say, You know what, I’m still dealing with how to work through the shame and guilt. We don’t do that work, but we say, Well, here’s some resources to consider as you are working through that. And we also in this, we tell leaders. If you need to get professional, some professional counseling around this, we actually encourage that. We don’t often talk about the, the emotional and psychological impacts of doing this work in the workplace. Finding out that maybe you have been a benefactor of this, but also for those people of color who are experiencing this to talk openly about the mental health effects of this work and so encouraging that piece as well.

Kim Crowder: [00:37:06.35] And then you can, you can even create some sort of signal when someone is feeling uncomfortable. Here’s the signal for, you know, I’m feeling some discomfort here and that they’re able to say that. And, and I’m not necessarily sure what to do with that in this moment. But I just want to acknowledge that I’m feeling uncomfortable and so I’m working through it and then provide space for them to ask the questions that they need to ask to become more and more comfortable. That may not happen in a day. You don’t want to center a conversation just because someone is uncomfortable in the moment. But also don’t assume that your employees of color are not uncomfortable being in that space, talking about those things with those folks who may not experience this on a day-to-day. Don’t make assumptions that anyone can’t feel, you know, can’t be uncomfortable. So, yeah, in our approach, we, we just kind of read the room quite a bit, but we lay down framework upfront. That’s the biggest piece is kind of laying, laying down that framework on upfront as you are going to have those conversations and then, you know, you proceed in the way that, that makes the most sense, but you always proceed from a place of kindness, but always from a place of honesty and always being willing to center those folks who are the global majority who have been historically minoritized and underrepresented, always centering their experiences above all else. Even, you know, helping your leaders process what that means, giving them framework for exactly what that looks like. The more clear you can be with your leaders around, you know, what the path is to move forward, the better.

Jessica Miller-Merrell: [00:38:44.58] Well, Kim, this has been a great conversation. Again, I always love learning and talking with you. Where can people go to learn more about you and the work that you do?

Kim Crowder: [00:38:55.53] Yeah. So we absolutely love, love, love connecting with folks. The first thing I would say is sign up for our newsletter. That is where you can really get once a week. Amazing content in your mailbox, in your email box. Your mailbox, I just told you, you know, a bit about where the generation I grew up in, but in your email box, where you get some real resources and information and we, we not only provide our information, but we sometimes connect to other great resources as well to, to studies and research so that you can see this to really help move this forward in your organization. So sign up for that newsletter at KimCrowderConsulting.com. You can find that several places on our website and then also LinkedIn is a really great place. You can find Kim Crowder Consulting on LinkedIn. You can also find me on LinkedIn, Kim Crowder, and follow there. And we are, I am also on Instagram. @IamKimCrowder. I’m also on Twitter under the same handle. @IamKimCrowder. We are everywhere, but I really encourage people that, in that big first thing is to sign up for the newsletter because it’s such valuable information. And we, I want to say this, Jessica, thank you for allowing me to come back on because we know that HR holds so much of the, the, the starting the introduction in workplaces for this work. And we also know that sometimes HR professionals feel very ill-equipped to even start those conversations. And if that’s the case, sometimes they don’t get started. So the work that you’re doing here by introducing this over and over and over to HR executives is so important. And I just want to highlight your, highlight the work that you’re doing to amplify this work. It is extremely important. We need as many allies as possible, and we also need to realize that we are all standing side by side to make workplaces better and to see that as such. And this is a major part in making sure that a workplace truly is safe for every employee there.

Jessica Miller-Merrell: [00:41:06.67] Well, thank you, I just feel really strongly that I want, I want people to feel comfortable and excited and, and happy to, to, to be themselves and to come to work or to live their lives. That’s, I feel like it’s one of the most important things and as an HR, we have such a huge opportunity and responsibility to help make that happen. So I appreciate you coming back and go on over to the show notes and you’ll get access to all Kim’s socials, resources, and that authority article. I want to make sure we get that on the show notes as well, too. So thanks again, Kim, for your time.

Kim Crowder: [00:41:43.75] My absolute pleasure, Jessica. You take care.

Closing: [00:41:46.81] Conversations about leadership and culture are extremely important, and we need to be having more of them because these conversations, especially those hard ones, the uncomfortable ones, spark change. As HR leaders, we can support our company leaders with resources and training that can open up your DEIA initiatives or operations, as Kim says, in a way that sets your company up for long term success, while also setting an example of what doing the right thing looks like in your local community, in your industry, wherever you are. I appreciate Kim for sharing her expertise. As always, I love her. She’s so fantastic with us on today’s podcast. This podcast is part of our DEI series. We’re focused on a series of interviews just looking at diversity, equity and inclusion, accessibility, and anti-racism here on the Workology Podcast. This series is powered by Align DEI and Ginger.com. I want to thank you for joining the Workology Podcast, which is sponsored overall by Upskill HR and Ace the HR Exam. This podcast you’re listening to is for the disruptive workplace leader who’s tired of the status quo. My name is Jessica Miller-Merrell. Until next time, you can visit Workology.com to listen to all our previous podcast episodes.

Closing: [00:43:05.04] Personal and professional development is essential for successful HR leaders. Join Upskill HR to access live training, community, and over one hundred on-demand courses for the dynamic leader. HR recert credits available. Visit UpskillHR.com For more.

Connect with Kim Crowder.



– Kim Crowder on LinkedIn

– Kim Crowder on Twitter

– Kim Crowder Consulting

– 5 Steps We Must Take To Truly Create An Inclusive, Representative, and Equitable Society

– Diversity Wins: How inclusion matters

– Representation by corporate role, by gender and race in 2020

– Episode 318: Building a DEI Team With Nadine Augusta, Chief DEI Officer at Cushman & Wakefield

– Episode 314: DEI and Preparing Students for the Workforce with Ariana González Stokas

– Episode 310:  Measuring DEI and Systemic Change With Traci Dunn

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