Bonus Episode: DEI on a Budget

Home Resources Bonus Episode: DEI on a Budget
Podcast bonus episode DEI on a budget with Felicia Jadczak and Rachel Murray
About The Episode Transcript

We know budgets are tight, but there are still so many ways you can continue to promote diversity, equity, and inclusion at your company without spending money. In today's bonus episode, we'll guide you through simple yet powerful steps that can support an inclusive workplace culture. From the way we craft our emails to the structure of our hiring processes, every action counts. Learn how to magnify your DEI efforts through everyday practices like using inclusive language and revising company policies to reflect a more equitable environment. These actionable strategies promise to sustain your commitment to a diverse workplace, all while keeping budgets in mind.

0:00:03 - Rachel Murray

Hi and welcome to the she Geeks Out podcast, where we geek out about workplace inclusion and talk with brilliant humans doing great work, making the world a better and brighter place. I'm Rachel.


0:00:15 - Felicia Jadczak

And I'm Felicia Hi.


0:00:18 - Rachel Murray

And this is a bonus episode.


0:00:21 - Felicia Jadczak

I know it's so exciting.


0:00:24 - Rachel Murray

Where is this going to go? What's happening right now? I think we do know what's happening right now, which is exciting. This is going to be a short one. We're not going to go wild. We're not going to hear from any other incredible humans other than my lovely business partner, us, both of us. What was that?


0:00:44 - Felicia Jadczak

I was trying to come up with a fun way to say just like our credibility. And then I was like I don't know if that's a word, so I was just doing a lot of internal processing.


0:00:55 - Rachel Murray

Incredibility yeah, I was going to say incrediblebility, but that's definitely not a word. So we do have a topic. So, for those of you who are uninitiated, we have these really cool videos that we do, but we're doing this in audio form today because we feel like it and it's our business so we can do it, and it's called Ask SGO and the intention behind it is to answer some of the frequent questions that come up, especially for the DEI facilitators. That certainly run across my screen on occasion, and usually the facilitators one of the facilitators will just sort of straight up answer. But we're going to do a little different today and we're going to answer the question. We think it's very timely because we know that the DEI budgets are getting slashed left and right. So the question we want to answer today is what are some budget friendly ways to keep DEI top of mind at work? And so I know that Felicia has lots of ideas and I might have one or two to chime in on as well.


0:02:05 - Felicia Jadczak

Yeah, no for sure. Feel free to chime in at any point. But yeah, I think this is a great question because the reality is that you don't always have budget. You have best of times. There isn't always budget allocated and when this topic first came up, I was kind of reminded of how I actually got into this work to begin with, which is way back in the day, like literally a decade ago at this point, which is I can't even handle that. But over 10 years ago I was asked to essentially start an ERG for women engineers at my last company and they said please develop this program. And, by the way, there is no budget. So guess what? The company had lots of money. It was a different time, but that's not where they were spending their money and I created a program from scratch. So I have firsthand experience with what it's like to deal with issues around not having spend for some of the initiatives you might want to have. But there's still a lot that you can do. That's the good news.


So first things first is start looking at what you have already done at your organization and there are some easy low hanging wins. So, for example, do you have a section in your email signatures or if you use a platform like Slack or Microsoft Teams, do you have a place where you can put pronouns in? That's one really easy way to keep inclusion top of mind. So make sure that you're practicing and modeling sharing your pronouns, and you can easily go ahead and do that even if your company doesn't have a specific section that's set aside for that. On that note, language is so important, and so that's something that you can also impact without any budget at all. So you can think about how are you talking with each other within the organization? If you have insight or access, look at things like your communications, your policies, your employee handbook, and you can start either changing language to be more inclusive. So, for example, if I were to look at our employee handbook and I've actually done this in the past I would change any place where it says he or she to a gender-neutral pronoun like they. That's something that we've done in the past for SGO.


A lot of times, communications is stuff that just gets copied and pasted year over year from some nebulous origin that no one really knows where it came from, or sometimes it comes from lawyers or folks who are not thinking about TEI, and so it's a great place and an easy place to start working on making some of those changes. You can also look at things like policies. So, again, with that employee handbook, a lot of times there are specific set-out policies around things like family leave, and a lot of times you'll see a lot of language that relates to thinking about who can take leave for becoming a parent, for example, and a lot of times it's really gendered, so it'll say it's feminine language, it's saying she, it's saying implying that people who become parents are just women and, of course, a we know that women are parents and men can be parents too, and so men should also be able to take family leave. And so, looking at that and maybe it's not changing the language, but it's having a conversation with your HR rep and saying, hey, how come we have family leave for people giving birth, but we don't have any pay time off for parents who are not actually physically giving birth but they're still having a child come into their life? What does the family leave look like for people who are adopted parents?


For bereavement leave is also a really important and great place to look at for this kind of inclusivity lens, where a lot of handbooks and a lot of policies have the sort of older approach where it's a little bit more of saying okay, you can take bereavement leave only if the person is directly related to you.


That's really constrictive, especially in today's world where, again, we're still dealing with the impacts of COVID, right? A lot of people have had a lot of loss in the last few years and it doesn't always matter if that person is directly related to you, right? So could it be? You know, maybe you can still take bereavement leave or take time off if that person is an adopted relative, if that person is a step whatever, if that person is found family right or chosen family, which can be just as important in terms of relationships as it is if it was a blood relationship. So policies are a great place to look too, and, again, not everyone has control over what goes into those policies, but you can be raising up concerns or issues or proposed changes without needing to spend any money at all. So those are a couple things I would start off with. I'm going to pause and ask if you have anything to add in, rachel, because I've got a lot more to say. But you know, I just sort of went and said whoosh, here you go, I love it.


0:06:46 - Rachel Murray

I love all of those suggestions. I've been like writing notes to make sure that I have everything that you've included so far. I'll just toss in one of my favorite ideas, this idea of the content club. I think a lot of people are like, oh, it's a book club, it's free which it totally is and that's great but I really feel like book clubs can be a little daunting, especially when we have a lot of other priorities.


So I want to throw out a free option where people and I've seen this happen where it's they don't even necessarily have to get together like finding a time to get together and talk. It can be an asynchronous thing where you have like a Slack channel that's dedicated to it and you may just set aside like a day or a couple hours or whatever. It's just a separate time to have an asynchronous conversation on. It could be an article, it could be a movie, it could be a documentary, it could be something that's fictionalized, it could be TV shows we have, I think, a couple of articles on our website that are TV shows that have passed the Bechtel test, which I can include in the show notes as a way to sort of have that conversation and certainly, of course, books as well, just to have that conversation continue. So it can be something that's top of mind. I wanted to throw that one in there because that's one of my favorites.


0:08:03 - Felicia Jadczak

Yeah, no, I love that podcast, or really great resource too.


0:08:06 - Rachel Murray

Oh, my gosh, of course, thank you.


0:08:09 - Felicia Jadczak

Of course anytime. I will also plug on that note. I've seen some of my clients actually I've seen folks come up with good reads, reading lists, and so if anyone uses good reads or if you don't, it's a website, app, whatever, where you can track what you read and you can tag and put things on different bookshelves and whatnot. And so some of the best books that I've come across were tagged in like a DEI reading list or whatnot. So I love that idea and also that stuff generates so much conversation and so having a dedicated space to talk about these things.


In the early days of COVID, when we were all doing everything at home and it was such a new thing for a lot of us SGO actually hosted a couple documentary watches where we picked, you know, a socially relevant, justice oriented documentary, and it was, I think, before Netflix came out with their party watch the tool. So it would have made it a lot easier, but we kind of all sort of checked in on Slack and said, okay, three, two, one play, and then we would react on Slack in real time as we were watching the documentary. That was super fun.


0:09:17 - Rachel Murray

So that's fun. We should do that again.


0:09:21 - Felicia Jadczak

I will say it's the kind of thing you have to be there to really appreciate, because it's not the sort of slack thread that you can go back and look at it and say this makes sense to me because it makes no sense at all. I just really need to make sure everyone's on the same page as far as timing goes.


0:09:38 - Rachel Murray

That's so true. That's so true. And I just remember being like wow, I had no idea. Oh, my goodness, it was really. It was really we've got some good stuff. So, yeah, great suggestions. Thanks for building on that.


0:09:50 - Felicia Jadczak

Yeah, that's another one. I did have, actually, a couple other thoughts too, just to close out the leave discussion that I was chatting about earlier. So, in addition to the things I already mentioned, a couple other things that you should be looking at or that you could raise up. If it's not covered is insurance. So does your medical insurance cover transition surgery? Does medical insurance cover fertility and egg harvesting?


That's something that folks are interested in, and leave around holidays because holidays are an issue in this country, not from a standpoint of I think we shouldn't have holidays, but a lot of the federal holidays are tied to Christian holidays, and so that's a problem because there are a lot of other religions out there that are not just Christianity or Catholicism.


So do you offer paid leave for all religious holidays? Do you align with the federal holiday schedule, or is that someplace where maybe you could switch it up a little bit and say, hey, we're not doing Christmas Eve and Christmas Day as a federal paid holiday, but maybe you get a couple of floating holidays per year that you can use on religious holidays that are important to you, right? Even just thinking about language around that standpoint too? I know it's January, so a lot of us are sort of past the holiday season, but thinking about how you talk about that and say, okay, it's not a Christmas break, it's a winter break or it's an end of year break, that sort of thing. And then just again like how much are you just raising up areas of concern in general? Because we've talked about a couple specific instances, but every organization is a little bit different. So what one company is kind of thinking about or dealing with or needing to change is going to be really different than another. So even if you don't have money to spend, you can use your voice internally and you can start talking about stuff that you think needs to be addressed, changed or looked at.


0:11:47 - Rachel Murray

I agree wholeheartedly, and I'm just gonna I'm gonna add I think there's a couple of more that I wanted to, if that's okay.


Another one I wanted to talk about was around recruiting. I mean, it's it's a really interesting time. I think a lot of companies are really thinking about this, and there's a lot of tools that you can pay for for sure around recruiting. I think one thing that you all can do as as teams, when you're hiring, is to think about creating a rubric for your recruiting process, for your interviews in particular. I think it would be really helpful to have that consistency across the board, and if you're like I don't even know how to do a rubric, I gotta tell you, just be honest, Google, just literally Google it. You can find there are so many resources out there to show you how you can really create something that feels a little bit, and that way you can have some more consistency in your feedback, because so much bias creeps up in the recruiting process. I just wanted to note that because that was sort of top of mind as well for me and Fleshin, yeah consistency and standardization.


0:12:49 - Felicia Jadczak

I know a lot of folks are like but that's gonna squash my creativity. But you know what, when it comes to treating people equitably and equally and with an inclusive lens, I always default to consistency and standardization, especially when it comes to recruiting and hiring. So this is one area where you want to come up with a framework and a standard approach that's gonna be the same for everybody. That's a great point too, because hiring oh my gosh, there's just so much that you can look into in the whole hiring process your job descriptions, again, using the language lens there, how are you writing your job descriptions? Are you putting statements about DEI in those descriptions? How are you structuring them? Job descriptions are one area where, again, I feel like everyone wrote a job description or a wreck, like 30 years ago, and then we've just been copying and pasting it since then. Right, so true. Great time to look at it and just be thinking about this from an outside perspective.


Does this make sense? Are we excluding anyone? Are we using acronyms that make no sense to people outside of this company? Are we asking for unrealistic things? Does this? Would this appeal to a broad range of people? I always like to ask my hiring managers when I'm doing work with them. What does somebody need on day one when they walk in the door? And that's a requirement. Everything else is not a requirement.


If it can be learned on the job, if it's a nice to have, if it's a bonus, then treat it as such. But what does that person need on day one? And that's a great way to take a look at how you're thinking about who you're bringing in, because a lot of times we have this very unrealistic expectation of the perfect person and then that ends up excluding a lot of people who could be really good for our organizations. So hiring lots of stuff to dig into.


0:14:41 - Rachel Murray

And one other just little note, and I just had a thought. It's actually a money saving thing for the company Is a lot of companies do referral bonuses. But there's a trap around referrals. When you just sort of stay in your own network, what we find is we just have the same people that we know. So looking outside of our network can be really powerful. So it's not to say that you can't do referral bonuses, but I think it's really being intentional about how you structure them and making sure that what you're not doing is just biasing toward people who have the same background and experiences as the people that you already have within the organization Plus. I don't know if you want to expand on that.


0:15:24 - Felicia Jadczak

Well, I'll expand a little bit because I think it's it's a. Your points are all completely, totally, 100%, right and accurate, and it's one of those areas that I don't tend to tell people. Do away with employee bonuses or referral bonuses if they have that in place already, because it depends.


0:15:44 - Rachel Murray

I love that.


0:15:45 - Felicia Jadczak

That's so much of this work is. I say that it depends. It's contextual, who knows? But you know what if you have somebody who's referring folks in who aren't part of your network already? So you don't want to dissuade people from doing that, but I do think that, yes, though, the reason why a lot of folks want to move away from employee referral bonuses is Because we tend to then stay in network. So I don't think that it's an automatic no if that's something that you already have within your organization. But I think it's an opportunity to take a closer look at who you're bringing in.


And you know, again, this might not be accessible to you, depending on your role or your position in the company, but if you're able to, it can be an interesting time when you're not spending a lot of money and you may have more time to do other things to look at the data and see, okay, if you have an employee referral bonus program in place, who has been referred in, how many of those people ended up getting hired, how many of those people who you hired through that program ended up staying. Of the folks who stayed, how are they doing? Are they your best top employees? Are they your worst? Are they somewhere in between? What value are they bringing? Are they bringing different perspectives right?


There's so much to look at there, and so you might do all that and say this is working really well for us and it's actually bringing in a lot of diversity. We're bringing in people that we would have never found through our traditional recruiting channels. Then keep it. That is great. But if you're finding that it's not beneficial or maybe it's a hit or miss, then think about things like how much is the bonus? How much do you wait it? How does that come into consideration? So there are a lot of questions you can think about with that.


0:17:31 - Rachel Murray

I did want to know you're always welcome.


0:17:35 - Felicia Jadczak

If you can't tell listeners, we get really excited about this. So we just want to tell you all the things I didn't want to share. On that note, I did want to share one other thought that came to mind, and it's it's a really timely point because you know we're talking about what can you do when there's not a lot of money. I actually am on a bunch of different slack teams with you know, different communities out there, and there was one that I want to say. Like a week or two ago, someone had asked okay, international women's day is coming up in a March. Who? What can we do when we have no budget? And Ironically, the theme for this year's International Women's Day is count her in, invest in women.


On the irony say it's like the worst theme for folks who are thinking about this with no money. So this person had asked like okay, I'm all for the theme, I'm obviously here for it, but it feel like it rings a little hollow because I have no money to spend on this. So what can I do? And so there was a lot of great Suggestions people were talking about, you know, mentoring, volunteering. You know Thinking about do you have budget for other kinds of events, but not this, and maybe that's an opportunity to think about what's. You know what's going on?


Screening some documentaries. There's apparently one that just came out called show her the money, which talks about the massive underfunding of women in venture capital, which is a whole other topic. For another, another day. Reviewing benefits and policies a lot of stuff that we talked about already.


And then one question, one thought that I had, which really sort of Reminding me of our early SDO days, was what if you could go in and set up Wikipedia pages for each of your women staff members? Because we know that a lot of people, especially women, do not have the same kind of recognition or Support in that kind of public sense as their male counterparts. And so we actually had an amazing speaker in our very early days of SDO who that was her whole thing is. She was doing a lot of Efforts to set up and write Wikipedia pages for women and important women out there. So that's another thing. But again, there's so much opportunity to get creative with this, even when you don't have any money, so I wanted to throw that out there as well and plug folks if you're, if you do have money, and you can start thinking now about International Women's Day coming up.


0:19:53 - Rachel Murray

Felicia, that was fantastic. I'm excited. Who even needs money? Who?


0:19:58 - Felicia Jadczak

needs money. I mean, we are living in a capitalistic society, but you know it's so hard.


0:20:06 - Rachel Murray

No, this is. I think this is really wonderful. Thank you so much for sharing. I really hope that you lovely listeners got a lot out of this as well. We really want to encourage you to give us feedback if you like this episode, if you like what we're doing, please rate, subscribe, review us, say nice things about us if you don't like us don't like this.


No, I was gonna say no, I was gonna say radical candor, tell us, but also radical candor, you don't have to like, say it to the world, you could just like you know us, you can tell us that privately or public, honestly, whatever, just I guess it's true.


I guess it's true. Yeah, we're always here for it, but you know this in the spirit of radical candor. You know there's calling in and calling out. Well, we hope that you have a wonderful rest of your day or evening, wherever you are in the world, and we will see you on the internet soon. Bye.