This podcast is the first in a series of "Ask Me Anything" podcast events featuring Greg Fontus and a special guest. In this premiere episode, Greg is joined by Chelly Conley.
Questions addressed in this series of 'Ask Me Anything' podcast:
- What should you keep in mind when developing a DEI strategy?
- What are questions to ask when tracking your DEI strategy?
- How do you respond to those who don't think DEI initiatives are necessary in the workplace?
- Do you have tips on recruiting diversity to locations where diversity is limited and relocation budgets are non-existent?
- How do you counteract comments from leadership such as "we just hire or promote the best person for the job regardless of race or gender?"
- How do you encourage more robust engagement in newly introduced ERGs?
- Can you offer strategies for inclusion?
Free downloadable resources related to this podcast:
Am I Society's Keeper? Corporate Social Responsibility in the Era of Wokeness
Find more resources here
ABOUT OUR GUEST
Chelly Conley, SPHR, SHRM-CP, CDP
Chelly Conley has 9 years of experience in the Human Resources Industry, currently working as a Director of Global Diversity, Inclusion, and Belonging for KnowBe4. KnowBe4 is the world largest Security Awareness firm with multiple locations globally. Her expertise has developed into DEI, Advocacy, Coaching, Mentoring, Training, and Employee Engagement. Chelly has also been a member of SHRM for as long as her HR career and has served on different committees with the focus currently being Diversity and Inclusion and Education. She is on the Board of Directors for the Florida National Diversity Council and the Advisory Council for the National Coalition for Racial Justice & Equity. Chelly is also HRCI, SHRM, and NDC certified with a bachelor’s in Business Administration from the University of South Florida and is currently in the MBA program at Saint Leo University.
ABOUT OUR HOST
Greg Fontus has over 10 years’ worth of knowledge and experience challenging and empowering others to be inclusively excellent. As a sought-after diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) strategist, trainer, thought leader, and motivator he has made it a mission to inspire and impact others to be positive agents of social change in order to create environments where all people matter and belong regardless of identity.
Greg holds graduate degrees from the University of South Florida in Curriculum Instruction and from Vanderbilt University in Divinity. He also holds DEI certifications as a Cook Ross Unconscious Bias Trainer, a Green Dots Bystander Intervention Trainer, and a National Coalition Building Institute Trainer.
As someone dedicated to the work of inclusion, equity, justice, and advocacy, Greg has accepted as his personal call to action the words of civil rights leader Rev. James Lawson who stated: “We are citizens of a country that does not yet exist. It is our duty to usher that country into existence.”
Greg Fontus (2s):
Hello, Greg Fontus here, lead Consultant of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion at Proactive Talent. Welcome to the first in a series of Ask Me Anything events with a focus on DEI. Today, I share the mic with Chelly Conley and it begins right after this special message.
Proactive Talent (29s):
Proactive Talent is the leading power partner to your recruiting engine. We're a coalition of recruiting and talent brand practitioners who provide the necessary tools and talent to tighten your hiring gaps, most of your retention rates and embolden your company mission, giving you the competitive edge needed in the ever-changing recruiting industry. With a holistic approach, we work alongside clients to help them build a powerful recruiting engine that enables them to efficiently attract, recruit, and retain top talent. We specialize in adding power to your full candidate journey from talent attraction to hiring to retention.
Proactive Talent (1m 16s):
Our clients includes enterprise companies like Uber Postmates, Siemens Energy, Boston Consulting Group, Basic American Foods, and GoDaddy as well as fast growing startups like Calendly, Discord and Gong. Please reach out to us today. We would love to have a conversation. You may contact us at www.ProactiveTalentcom. That's www.ProactiveTalent.com.
Greg Fontus (1m 47s):
Welcome, everybody. I wanna welcome you to this Ask Me Anything Event, Diversity and Inclusion Event hosted by Proactive Talent. My name is Greg Fontus. My pronouns are he, him and his. I serve as the Lead Consultant, sort of overstaying our DEI and retention services at Proactive Talent. I have alongside with me, one of my friends, my colleague, one of my diversity and inclusion buddy, Chelly is with us. Chelly, you wanna go ahead and introduce yourself so we know who you are and where you're coming from.
Chelly Conley (2m 21s):
Thank you, Greg. I'm a Director of Diversity Inclusion and Belonging with KnowBe4. I have about 10 years' experience within the human resources background and adept on different boards for diversity inclusion and racial equity. I'm really happy to be really happy to kind of dive in and answer these questions that you may have as it relates to DNI.
Greg Fontus (2m 43s):
Awesome. Excellent. We are so glad to have you here joining us, joining Proactive and what we have going on as it relates to DEI. So, listen, let's just jump right into our conversation. You know, prior to us actually formally beginning, we started having conversations just about how things are going as it relates to diversity, equity and inclusion. And I don't know about you, Chelly, but the last 18 months really has been eye-opening as it relates to DEI. There have been so many things going on. It's like we're in a DNI boom right now. There's so many jobs being posted for DEI practitioners.
Greg Fontus (3m 23s):
Many organizations are now starting to really put more emphasis and resources behind DEI initiatives. And many of it, one could argue really was sparked by the incident with George Floyd and his murder. And a lot of things have happened since then. And so one of the things, and one of the conversations that you and I even had a conversation about this, you know, not too long ago, was really about how do you know whether or not an organization is really operating with pure intentions as it relates to DEI? Like, how do we, as DEI practitioners come together within our organization, when things are going awry on a global national scale as it relates to DEI, how do we--?
Greg Fontus (4m 8s):
What things do we even think about as it relates to DEI in order to put a strategy in place that is relevant, respectful, as well as responsible? Like what things do we keep in mind, should we be keeping in mind as we begin to put together a DEI strategy?
Chelly Conley (4m 29s):
I mean, there's a lot of different things that you have to keep in mind when creating a strategy and that's first off is establishing. I think even where your organization is at, as it relates to DNI, you have to start with assessment before you can even come up with a strategy and like seeing how your employees actually feel, how are they being heard? Do they feel like their opinions matter? Are they being promoted? Are they getting the same opportunities and assess the actual culture before you can even form a strategy and then also go to your leadership about even a business case? And I mean, and that's a whole another, separate topic as it is because, you know, at the end of the day, we can talk money all day.
Chelly Conley (5m 11s):
DNI does help the bottom line but, you know, that's not always what you wanna go in with because at the end of the day, it's the right thing to do. But at the same time, you're working with the business. So you have to tie in the money factor as well, too. So I think just like starting out with that assessment stage and you have to kind of just meet the organization where they are. And then from there, you can see from the different types of things, you try to implement how serious they are about actually implementing DNI.
Greg Fontus (5m 37s):
I love that. I love that. I think cultural assessment, organizational assessments are critical because it does exactly what you said. It gives us an honest snapshot of where we are on multiple levels, right? Not just, you know, our C-suite level, but really our management, our, you know, entry-level roles. It really gives us that snapshot of not just the quantitative experiences, but the qualitative culture that is actually occurring. And so I love that. And I think that is a true thing to even consider and navigate by doing cultural assessments.
Chelly Conley (6m 13s):
And it's something also that you mentioned as well, too, like the quantitative and qualitative because I mean, that's all on the assessment as well, too. Like I don't think people realize how big the assessment is because if you wanna get into the quantitative, it's like we can get into like talent acquisition stats to see what barriers are through there, promotion stats, equity stats. Like it's a lot to assess. Like this isn't something and I think that's what people need to register, especially with DNI, because people are so quick to jump into it that this isn't a quick fix. This doesn't happen overnight and this doesn't happen because you sent out a survey. Like this takes time. This takes changing mindsets, hearts. Like that's not gonna happen within like a quarter of you assessing.
Greg Fontus (6m 56s):
Absolutely, absolutely. You know, it's both a goal. The goal is always to have an environment of inclusion and belonging. The goal is to have an environment where everyone matters and they feel as though that they are appreciated and they can show up with their genuine self. However, we have to recognize that it's a process to get there and contingent upon the size, the geographical location, the industry that you're a part of, it takes time for us to get to that point where we're truly feeling that sense of belonging. Because we have to also understand that our organizations are always hiring. Like, I don't think I've ever been a part of an organization where all of their positions were filled and no one was transitioning--
Chelly Conley (7m 40s):
If you have <inaudible>.
Greg Fontus (7m 42s):
You're right. If you have, you should--
Chelly Conley (7m 45s):
Greg Fontus (7m 46s):
Hey, listen, it is what it is, but I've never been a part of an organization like that. And simply because-- And that just goes to show that when new people are brought in or when people are leaving the organization, that means the culture is constantly changing because the culture is comprised of people, right? And so when one, when one person is added to the environment, then the entire culture begins to shift a little bit. And so I absolutely love those things. And so there's a question that showed up in the chat asking what are questions to ask when tracking your DEI strategy? What are questions to ask when tracking your DEI strategy? What do you have? What do you think, C Chelly?
Greg Fontus (8m 26s):
What do you have?
Chelly Conley (8m 28s):
I mean, there's so many different things that you can like measure it by. And I think that when you're tracking your strategy, it all depends on what it is that you're putting in. Like, what are your benchmarks? And then those questions kind of form around it. Like, for example, for me, a lot of my initiatives right now is getting like it's focusing on the internal DNI and like setting up different programs. Like I'm working on like a military transition program and like a re-entry program. And then for me, my benchmarks to track to see how my set strategy is doing is, you know, measuring the success of those programs, like how it is for retention, how it is for recruiting because that's another thing as well, too.
Chelly Conley (9m 10s):
And I think that's actually one that I can leave a generic as well is if you're focusing on the recruitment strategy of making your organization more diverse, a question to ask if your strategy is working as the retention aspect because you can't just leave retention. I mean, you can't just leave recruiting by itself. You can recruit all the diverse hires that you want. I put that in quotes because I feel like diverse hires. It's like sometimes, but you can recruit all the diverse hires that you want, but if you're not building a culture that maintains or, you know, has that inclusion aspect, you're gonna lose that. And that's gonna be blatant that your strategy isn't working just by using a retention statistic alone.
Greg Fontus (9m 51s):
Absolutely, absolutely love that. Love that response as well. And I think too, in addition to that, when you're tracking your DEI strategy, you have to track it. In my opinion, when you're tracking it, you have to track it from a holistic level, right? You can't track it by piecemealing things together. You can't track it by only focusing on what one division within your organization is doing. You have to be able to ask the question of how is this holistically impacting the business? Okay. How does it impact the people? How does it impact the constituent base of who we're serving, our client base? How is that impacted by our strategy and on longevity, sustainability plan, all of those things?
Greg Fontus (10m 34s):
We have to ask those questions because when we don't ask those questions, we tend to leave somebody out. And so I wanted to just add that piece of making sure we're asking questions that exists in a holistic lens, okay? Another question that came in is beyond citing the benefit to the corporate bottom line, how do you respond to those who don't think DEI initiatives are necessary in a workplace? That's a good one. That's a good one. How do you respond to those who don't think DEI initiatives are necessary in the workplace? What do you think, Chelly?
Chelly Conley (11m 10s):
So first I pour my glass of wine. No, what you have to understand is that is you're always wearing a coaching hat. And so you're gonna come across resistance. You're gonna come across barriers. And the point is that you have to keep fighting the good fight. Now, though, approach you may have taken, like taking the first time, they may not respond well with that or they rejected it. And you just have to kind of almost-- I feel like being in human resources and working with people like you come across people where you have to guide them to the idea to make it seem like they almost came up with it on their own sometimes. And I feel like that's almost the same approach that you have to take. You have to keep trying from different angles and coach people to that answer.
Chelly Conley (11m 53s):
Like if they are rejecting DNI as a whole, most likely people are rejecting something related to DNI because they don't know what they don't know. And so that's why you have to keep like providing more information and approaching at it with different angles in order to finally get through. Because like I said, when people reject it, it's because they don't understand the whole aspect of it. So I think it's just about like re-pitching it and going about it at a different way.
Greg Fontus (12m 19s):
Absolutely. Absolutely. And I think too thinking about the impact on people, right, and not just bottom line, okay. Because when we only focus on how DEI can impact the bottom line, it sort of this ideal of how we're objectifying people, right? Now, I just want you to work towards DEI just so we can have a greater bottom line that could objectify people. However, when we focus on just the holistic person, it changes the game completely because there's studies that show-- There was actually a recent study by Deloitte that simply said that organizations with cultures that are more inclusive, they're three times as likely to be high-performing.
Greg Fontus (13m 3s):
And essentially, what they create is people that are healthier, not just holistically healthier, like you will have a working team where their mindset, their mental health is in a better space to where they will be functioning with their morale would be in a better space, all of those types of things. And so we also have to think about that. Listen, we can't just be so focused on just the bottom line. But when we think about things beyond the bottom line and we start saying, hey, how does this help your people? You'll have employees that are more engaged when you focus on the DEI. You have employees that are more authentically themselves and there'll be healthier. And what better organization do you wanna be in a part of an organization where people are actually healthy and high functioning?
Greg Fontus (13m 47s):
So I think that's also just another thing I think to think about and how to respond to those who don't think DEI initiatives are necessary. And I would also say, if you don't think that DEI is necessary, then you've missed the entire point of where everything is going because DEI is not solely-- DEI is not solely just something that individual that just, you know, people who have of historically marginalized identities have to deal with. No, it's beyond that now. DNI is now a political issue. It was the center of an election cycle. It is the center of everything from women's rights to the LGBT community, to all of these types of things.
Greg Fontus (14m 32s):
It is a central part of what we're doing. And so encourage them to get on board.
Chelly Conley (14m 41s):
And I absolutely a hundred percent agree with that. And I think something else as well, too, especially I think a skill that I've had to pick up being a DNI practitioner is like when you're wanting to pitch DNI to maybe somebody that's not all the way on board, a leader and things like that, that's why it's so important for us to, you know, warriors or champions or practitioners in this field is to be able to speak the business lingo. If they're not looking at it from like, you know, the holistic standpoint of like, this is just simply the right thing to do. And like, you know, you need to treat people like people in order to like let them perform at work because some people they're like, yeah, that's great play. You know, I don't really wanna deal with that financially. I don't know what that looks like. You have to be able to speak to the business because DNI, it, isn't just that as well, too.
Chelly Conley (15m 27s):
It's also, you know, supplier diversity, like help explain like if we expand in our diversity initiative, we can expand the different markets, the different customers we reach like things of that nature as well, too. So it's about taking like a different lens. If you can't get them to understand, like, this is just the right thing to do, also know the business better than them. That's honestly, one of been one of my secret weapons. And that's when you start knowing the business better than those leaders, that's how you'll be able to impact DNI even on a greater level.
Greg Fontus (15m 56s):
Absolutely. Absolutely. So let me ask you this, Chelly, you know, especially, you know, having such an extensive experience in HR and what have you, what are some tips that you may want to suggest for recruiting diversity, right in your company when it's located in a primarily Caucasian city, right? Primarily a city that's not diverse, if you will. Like some tips of recruiting for a company that's located in this type of city and that company doesn't necessarily have the funding to offer relocation and what have you? Like how do you navigate? What are some tips that you would suggest?
Chelly Conley (16m 35s):
I mean, first, you can do an analysis to see like what actually is available to you. I think like I could probably post in the chat as well, too. It's like the Census Bureau and like resources like that to actually see what type of candidate pool is available to you in that area and then design a strategy around that. Now that's just saying like, if you don't offer remote positions or anything like that, that it doesn't need to be focused to that as well. But then also my tips would be, I would hope that they would have ERGs, but I would definitely leverage your ERG in those communities you have like within your own internal organization. They should be sitting in on those meetings with recruiting because they're the leaders representing that community.
Chelly Conley (17m 16s):
Now they're not the leaders in like, you know, responsible for everything that that community does and they might not have an opinion on everything that they do, and they shouldn't be responsible for speaking on behalf of their whole entire community. But leveraging those types of networks is how you can tap into those different talent pools. So I would think I would start from at least going there as well, too, and then three, like network. You have to make your talent acquisition people step out of their comfort zone and tap into those different pools and continuing networking. There's always people meeting, like, they're like what we're doing right now. Like, there's always, if there's marketing people, tech, people, engineers, they all meet.
Chelly Conley (17m 57s):
You just got to find out where. So kind of just going from there.
Greg Fontus (18m 1s):
Okay. Okay. No, I love that. I love that. So then with that in mind, how do you counteract, right? How do you counteract some comments from leaderships, you know, hiring managers, when they say things like, oh, we just hire the best person for the job, or we hire or promote just the best person on the job regardless of race, regardless of gender, right? Sort of operating in this, you know, this is kind of the spirit of being colorblind and race and, you know, gender, you know, less mindset. How do you counteract those comments, right? You're trying to increase diversity, but we <inaudible> those types of comments from those who are in hiring positions.
Greg Fontus (18m 41s):
Like how do you counteract that? What do you do in those moments?
Chelly Conley (18m 45s):
And that's where you rely on the quantitative data because you can show them like, hey, you may be like hiring what you think is the best people, but this is where certain people are falling off. And this is where we're at with our diversity stuff. So obviously, there is a disconnect that we need to look into deeper. And, you know, that's where you kind of-- See, this is where you play a fine line, because it's like you can always say that people have unconscious bias, but I'm not-- More my DNI journey, I find that I'm not a huge fan of the word unconscious because it doesn't really hold people accountable and it seem like, you know, it's okay because everyone does it. And it is people do have unconscious bias, but there still needs to be an accountability when people do realize that they have that.
Chelly Conley (19m 31s):
And so I think, you know, addressing it from that aspect of showing the data, showing that, hey, there may be some bias in here, and this is why we need to fix it because it might not always be what you think is the best qualified candidate.
Greg Fontus (19m 45s):
Absolutely. And I think, you know, being able to suggest and to develop when it's developed, you know, sort of professional development programs, job advancement programs for different races and different genders because we all know, you know, studies and statistics show that those, you know, women, people of color are oftentimes slided for these positions. They don't necessarily have those opportunities or they are not, they're none existent in those leadership roles. So being intentional and having those developmental programs for these individuals to be, to create a pipeline so that they can be in those roles, I think is critical.
Greg Fontus (20m 26s):
And then I think it's very important that we lead with a bold audacity to make the choices to say, hey, I'm going to choose diversity. I'm going to choose this. It's not because I am trying to discriminate, quote, unquote, "against another particular group," rather I'm doing this so that we can be an organization that is culturally aware and culturally conscious because when you have more diversity in your leadership, your more diversity in your management, in all of these roles, your organization will be better. You will be able to serve clients and customers that much more effectively. You'll be able to have more creative thoughts that exist that come out and more products, you'd be more high performing, all of those types of things.
Greg Fontus (21m 13s):
And so we have to choose diversity, right? We have to be intentional about it. Okay. We can talk about all the unconscious biases that we do hold, and we do hope, right. We process, you know, 11 million type bits of second and only 40, 56, get that. But at some point, we have to be conscious about the inclusion. We have to choose diversity and say, you know what, I'm going to do whatever I can so that I can have a sense of belonging, but also those around me can have that sense of belonging as one of the advancement and retention and what had you with an organization. So we got to learn and we got to be bold in choosing diversity, right. We got to choose it.
Chelly Conley (21m 48s):
I love that. And I think that's also another thing like important to emphasize is that like DNI isn't leaving anybody out. And I think a lot of the times when you come across those barriers like you deal with the what's-in-it-for-me syndrome and things like that. What people need to realize when you're talking about increasing diversity, inclusion, it's not leaving out like white men and women. It's just for everybody. And that's all it is. DNI has never meant to exclude anybody. And I think changing the lens on that or changing the viewpoint on that also would be helpful.
Greg Fontus (22m 22s):
Absolutely. Absolutely. So, Chelly, you mentioned earlier, as we were talking, you mentioned, you know, in particular about the question about how do you recruit diversity, especially in a Caucasian city where, you know, there's not much racial diversity that exists and you mentioned Employee Resource Groups, ERG. And so one of the questions that came in is what are some tips? Do you have any tips for encouraging more robust engagement in newly introduced ERGs? Do you have any tips?
Chelly Conley (22m 50s):
Yeah. So ERG is they're a big project. I'm not going to lie. I've like started them up myself as well, too. And I definitely have been in like the storming forming part as well, too. And I mean, you have to start out with getting buy-in, getting executive sponsors and things like that, especially when you go to set up, because if you have some groups without executive sponsors and, you know, not to sound like crass about it, but what is it that they're really meeting for? Because at that point they don't have anybody there that's gonna help defend them, like, you know, help get them into doors that they might not have even were aware of and be a part of those like leadership discussions that are happening as it pertains to business strategy, recruiting, promotion, whatever it may be.
Chelly Conley (23m 31s):
So, I mean, you definitely to help make it robust, start out with executive sponsors as well, too. And then also, defining an actual budget. I mean, I always base mine on like the pillars of like community, education and professional development and networking, and making that you, at the end of the day, you're always falling back or falling back on those four pillars and going from there because I mean, it's so easy to get overwhelmed with ERGs and setting them up, especially with how many different things that can be done and then getting like the morale in as well too. So I think making sure that you have a decent budget and if you don't have a decent budget, you still can make things happen. So don't get me wrong. I'm not saying that only ERGs can thrive with budget.
Chelly Conley (24m 14s):
I'm just saying it helps, but you can still do things like, you know, getting people, connecting with the community. I'm always going to fall back on networking. Networking is so huge, especially when getting people from the community to come in, to speak to the organization, doing community service like philanthropy, like all of that can be free as well too. And making sure that you have like things that you're doing constantly. So that way people are always talking about it. There's always something to do because it's easy to let it fall to the wayside. What I do at my organization is that we are actually, I just like proposed <inaudible> leaders get like a certain bonus for doing it because it's a lot of work. It's a lot of work. And a lot of the times these ERGs, they're based off people's free time.
Chelly Conley (24m 57s):
And so you're really only tapping into the people who have a passion for doing community service and a passion for people. And you're not gonna get the people who aren't all the way bought in where they're just like I would do that but, you know, I'm not clocking out for that. And so you're working through those things as well, too, especially if you have hourly employees where they're supposed to clock in and clock out, like that's a battle as well, too. So looking into removing some of those barriers as well, like allowing people a certain amount of hours to volunteer a month or allowing people to have like, you know, ERG leaders, job bonuses and things of that nature as well too, the person who asked me that question, because I could-- I've been through it with me ERGs. Like I could definitely connect offline with them as well too if they wanna gain some more in-depth conversation.
Chelly Conley (25m 41s):
But I think focusing on tiny ERG <inaudible> recruiting strategies, having consistent events, and then also doing like quarterly check-ins as well too, because that's the thing as well too because since ERGs they are considered volunteer, they can like fall to the wayside like what I said and doing the quarterly check-ins as well, holds everybody in that group accountable because no one wants their present and say they didn't do nothing on a quarter, stuff like that. So I think those are some ways that you can at least start to build and then it can kind of grow from there.
Greg Fontus (26m 15s):
Absolutely. Love that. Love it. And I think too, just to add to what you're saying is recognizing what or establishing rather the purpose of your ERGs, okay? Because sometimes ERGs can be considered just as affinity groups, you know, opportunity as a safe space for, you know, particular identities, similar identities to come together and just have a safe space. I think that's limiting the power of that group, recognizing that these ERGs are actually a vehicle for understanding a voice of advocacy for that particular group. And so being able to engage them on a regular, beyond their executive sponsor, they should be able to have access to the leadership and being able to come to the table with their concerns and be vital parts and have a voice at the table of how do we make our organization better, right?
Greg Fontus (27m 11s):
And so not just having them as sure you're just like affinity group for you to come together and socialize and connect with people of your same identities. Yeah, that's one part of it. But also that needs to be a vehicle, a force of advocacy for those groups that has direct access to that C-suite, to those leaders beyond just the executive sponsor. So just wanted to add that component of how do you engage them, right? How do you offer, how do they become more robust? How do you get more robust engagement? We'll bring them to the table. Bring them to the table, not after you thought of something, but at the beginning phases to work and navigate through some things together.
Chelly Conley (27m 52s):
And that'll make people when you have those tight, when you finally have built your ERGs up to that point where it's like they can be at the table, they can be leaders like that'll get people to wanna do ERGs for free because they'll see something else in it for them, from that aspect as well too, is being able to network and meet other people within the organization as well too. They just have to be tied into the business strategy. Otherwise, it's exactly like what you said, Greg. It would just be like a social gathering and things that, which is still great that still has its own benefits, but you're right. Like there's still more to be seen, to be had, to be done when you tie it into the business strategy to actually make an impact.
Greg Fontus (28m 33s):
Yeah, absolutely. Absolutely. So another question has come in, do you have additional strategies for inclusion? Diversity is visible, but inclusion is more difficult to evaluate and create metrics. So what are some additional strategies for inclusion?
Chelly Conley (28m 50s):
I think, you know, it's funny because I always feel like, I think this happened to me as well, too. Usually, a lot, like the beginning of my DNI journey is that people always think about diversity inclusion and they just go like really big and you start to overthink about what it actually means. And, you know, with inclusion, it can literally be something as simple as having your managers like ask how their colleague or team member or employee, how they're doing today, how they wanna contribute to a meeting, how they wanna give it, like having those types of questions is all a part of inclusion and you have to start there. So a lot of the times, like I know for a strategy with inclusion I do is finding common ground, like within your teams because the people that are going to be the most like pushing this message around is gonna be your line managers, your leaders.
Chelly Conley (29m 41s):
And so making sure that they actually are practicing inclusion as well too, that they have that sense of understanding that it doesn't need to be as big as what you're thinking it is. It can be like, just to give an example, you can start with having your line manager, just have a conversation about the mission and values of the company. Now that sounds kind of corny because I know for me as an employee, if I got called into a meeting being like, let's talk about your mission, I'll be like, I got a substitute. I don't wanna-- But the reason why I say this is because the key thing is like is that no matter where someone is that in the organization where they're at in their career, like where they're at on the team, everybody, in theory, should have in common, the mission and values of the organization.
Chelly Conley (30m 25s):
So that is one thing, you know, for sure that you can talk about that somebody should have some type of feeling on. So starting with conversations like that, to get people's ideas and opinions on what the actual mission of the organization means to them, what their values mean to them, and build conversations from there to actually get to know your employees on a different level, because when you start having those conversations and having those minimal conversations and understanding the different backgrounds of your employees, that's when you can eventually have those conversations that you want to have, that you see what's happening on like LinkedIn social media, where people are talking about like courageous conversations or conversations about race or those difficult conversations, you can't have those difficult conversations without establishing inclusion, without establishing those type of conversations.
Chelly Conley (31m 13s):
You just can't jump to let's talk about race, let's talk about police brutality and how that makes you feel right now, if you never had a basic conversation with your supervisor about, you know, your day, about what things mean to you to break down those barriers. And I think that's a strategy in itself to do inclusion is to encourage those conversations. So you can get to those more serious conversations.
Greg Fontus (31m 39s):
Absolutely. And I love the fact that you've mentioned the mission and the values because there's one thing that I think is important for us to understand is that when we continue to be programmatically driven, as it relates to inclusion, sometimes that will actually have an impact. It won't have an impact on your coach. Yes, but we're doing a lot more as it relates to inclusion and belonging. We're churning out events for Hispanic Heritage Month. We're churning out events for Women's History Month, and we're educating. We have lots of trainings, all those types of things, which I think are helpful.
Greg Fontus (32m 18s):
But I think thing is that we really need to be value-centric because when we change the values of an organization and the values become real lived principles, that's when the inclusion strategies become easier because that's the strategy. The strategy is to focus on the culture, is to focus on elevating the values, okay. And when we do that, that then grows us, right? Because if we're focusing on what we need to do the program here, the program there, sure we can do that. But all that's doing is really masking the underlying issues of an organization. So I think it's very important that we do that value work, that mission work, and begin to uncover the roots of the problem so that we can begin to grow as an organization.
Greg Fontus (33m 8s):
Okay, listen. We have reached the 30-minute mark, Chelly, and I know that we can go on and on and on.
Chelly Conley (33m 14s):
Yeah, I was like it gets deep. It gets deep.
Greg Fontus (33m 15s):
We can, we can, but here's my last question for you. How can people connect with you? How can we connect with you to learn more about you and all of those types of things? How can we connect with you?
Chelly Conley (33m 27s):
That's actually funny you mentioned that because that's the reason why I turned my face because I was like, oh, let me do my LinkedIn real quick because I wanted to connect with my friend who had just asked about the ERGs and things of that nature. So, please, I use LinkedIn. You can ask Greg. I use LinkedIn so heavily. I'm on there all the time. So please feel free. I'm off of drop my LinkedIn there now. So please feel free to reach out, connect with me, send me a smoke signal, whatever it is. I'm super interested in hearing what, like what you have to say about DNI, the things that you're working on. We're all in this together. We all have the same goal and mission in mind. So please feel free to reach out to me. I'm definitely available through LinkedIn and I'm about to share that right now.
Chelly Conley (34m 8s):
Greg Fontus (34m 8s):
Awesome. Awesome. Thank you. Yes, please feel free to connect with Chelly on LinkedIn. As one of her LinkedIn friends, she is active always on there but in a good way. And so I know that that you're gonna benefit greatly by being connected with her on LinkedIn. You can also connect with me on LinkedIn, Greg Fontus at LinkedIn, or, you know, for those of you who want to use some of Proactive Talent's services, like one of our specialties is to go in and help organizations do their work of diversity, equity and inclusion well, and so I would come in to sort of assess what your organization is doing and then help you build out that strategy so that we can enhance the culture.
Greg Fontus (34m 50s):
We can enhance the retention recruitment as well as your employer brand as it relates to diversity and inclusion. So you can feel free to connect with me at Greg@ProactiveTalent.com. That's Greg@ProactiveTalent.com. And so with that being said, thank you all for joining us on today. We really appreciate it. We value the questions that you all have posed on today. And to go ahead and to hear this, you can go to our website at ProactiveTalent.com and you'll find this recording. You'll be able to view it. We want you to go ahead and share it with other people so that those who aren't here can also benefit from it as well.
Greg Fontus (35m 30s):
Thank you all for joining us on today. Take care and we'll see you later. Thanks, Chelly.
Chelly Conley (35m 50s):
No problem, Greg.
Proactive Talent (35m 51s):
Thank you for listening. If you have not already, please take advantage of the resources cited in the podcast description. They are there to benefit you. Until next time, goodbye.