“It’s as if we can’t ask for nice things. Because historically excluded employees, have been told that it’s not nice, to ask for nice things. And I’m here to tell you, that train has left the station! The entire great resignation is defined by that. And it cuts across gender, race, and ethnicity,” said Daisy Auger Dominguez, Author, Human Resources Executive and Workplace Inclusion and Equity Leader.
Organizations know who’s missing from the leadership table. Yet it’s rare for their employees to tell them why. Overlooked groups, like women and people of color, don’t have psychological safety at work. Which means we’re silent through missed promotions, slights and micro aggressions.
But what if you could change that? Usher in an inclusive and authentic work culture? It’s possible. But it takes commitment. And I had the pleasure of speaking with Daisy about her new book, and best practices to do exactly that.
People Don’t Leave Jobs Based on Pay Alone
“Every time people come to me saying ‘we need to pay people more’ I’m thinking, I don’t disagree with paying people fairly. But here we go again, jumping to the quickest, short-term solutions. Versus stepping back and considering the root causes of why people are leaving,” Daisy explained.
The pandemic has changed everything, including what people will tolerate. She added, “In some cases, there are things that we should restructure. But it’s part of the human condition to just want to be able to check the box and say, ‘we did it’ to feel good about ourselves. Yet from a diversity, equity and inclusion perspective, we have to admit that it’s constant work.”
And the Issues are Intersectional
Daisy said, “People are leaving for different pain points. And my job is to make sure that their reasons for leaving are not systemic or due to poor management.” Pre-pandemic, work wasn’t working for a lot of people. Including Mothers. Many still lack the flexibility, trust, benefits, or supportive manager, they deserve.
Daisy encourages leaders to focus on the underlying issues. “Why is everyone leaving that manager? Is everybody leaving for more money or better opportunities? And if it’s for better opportunities, what are we not doing to grow and develop our teams?”
She pushes for this within her organization. “These are the kinds of questions that we need to ask. And constantly place a lens on intersectionality. So, that the solutions we come up with are not only meeting the needs of certain segments. But that they meet the needs everyone. And that’s the hard work.” Yes! Why do leaders resist it?
The Real Work is Uncomfortable
The pandemic pushed already unsustainable workloads to new levels. So, many leaders continue to seek short-term wins over structural change. Daisy said, “It’s not about staying superficial but digging really deep. And being willing to be uncomfortable with what you discover. Because it should feel uncomfortable to recognize areas where you or your organization has fallen short. Or have not delivered for certain segments of employees.”
Right? Difficult conversations are part of adulting and leadership. She added, “Guess what, we feel uncomfortable about things all the time! But for some reason, these are the ones that we avoid the most so, we don’t do anything. We just kind of wait for something to become an explosion then look around and say, who’s going to fix it?” Can org culture play a role?
So, Make Your Culture, a Healthy One
“I frame everything as culture. Because it’s how we do what we do every day and cultures need to fundamentally shift,” Daisy explained. Many leaders don’t realize how their daily interactions shape culture. Organizations tend to reward, celebrate, and ignore, the same things. Which keeps many people locked out of leadership.
Most organizations focus on diversity recruiting, instead of the harder work of inclusion. Which creates what Daisy described as a “revolving door of talent.” She explained, “I have been hired at some of the world’s most admired companies. And I have found my way out for a host of reasons. Including not being able to breathe or to be me.” How can leaders change this?
Start with Transparency
Daisy said, “When people tell me, ‘This is how you have to navigate the workplace.’ I say, I would like the workplace to help me navigate.” Many leaders share a shorthand. Because they went to the same schools and grew up with similar backgrounds. But that shorthand is often invisible to people with different life experiences.
Hidden expectations damage culture and stifle workers of color. Most of whom lack generational wealth. So, we are unwilling to risk friction that may jeopardize our jobs or promotability. She explained, “It impacts our confidence and decision making. There are systems, structures, processes, and behavioral norms in organizations that have to change. To ensure workplaces work for everyone.”
Champion Your People
“I gave feedback to one of my team members today as part of the annual performance review. And she’s brilliant. I said to her that, ‘I want to hear your voice more because I know that you are powerful and a subject matter expert. Many times, I’m asked to translate your good work and I want that to come directly from you. I want you to have that seat at the table and not to have to wait.’ I will be her cheerleader and coach but she has to take the lead.”
And Use Your Power
Daisy’s experiences, as a Human Resources leader, diversity expert and woman of color, led her to write Inclusion Revolution. It’s a guide for how to get the important work of inclusion right.
She said, “In my book, I have a four-step model. It’s to reflect, vision, act and persist. We can step between the stages, but we have to start with reflection. Who are you? What role do you play now and what role do you want to play in this work? Do you want to be the champion, ally, or the practitioner? We all can play different roles and have different sources of power.” Amen!
“Many of us forget that we have power. Even as Moms. And people who are middle managers, entry level workers or executives, they each have different sources of power to effect change.”
Many thanks to the talented Daisy Auger Dominguez!
- Ready to reclaim space from the never-done list? Take a TimeCheck.
- Have you chimed in yet? Share your pandemic experiences! It’s quick and the results from this study are used to advocate better support for parents.
- Employers, transform your workplace into an environment where caregivers thrive. Learn about Allies @ Work.
Daisy Auger-Domínguez is Chief People Officer at Vice Media Group and author of Inclusion Revolution. Auger-Domínguez kicked off her career at Moody’s Investors Service as a Credit Risk Analyst, Global Manager of Philanthropic Programs and as it’s first head of Diversity, Inclusion and Talent Acquisition. Auger-Domínguez has since designed, led and scaled organizational transformations at The Walt Disney Company, Google, and Viacom, and founded Auger-Domínguez Ventures, a workplace consultancy. Her writing has been published in Harvard Business Review, and IDEAS.TED, and she has been featured in Hispanic Executive, The New York Times, Forbes,and ADWEEK. A dynamic speaker and start up advisor, her professional and civic contributions have earned her recognition, including Hispanic Executive, Top 10 Leaders; 25 Most Powerful Women, People en Espanol, and the New York City Council Leadership in Community Service Award,.
Daisy serves on the boards of Planned Parenthood Federation of America, Brooklyn Children’s Museum, Robert Sterling Clark Foundation, and St. Ann’s Warehouse.
Tags: Book Review, diversity equity and inclusion, Inclusive leadership, Leadership for Moms, workplace equity