How Givitas Improves Inclusion and Equity in the Workplace
by Larry Freed
Equity and inclusion at work have never been more important. It's easy to talk the talk, but much harder to walk the walk. Making it easy for ALL employees to exchange help and get equal access to the collective intelligence of your organization is critical.
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Inclusion and Equity is a Movement, Not a Moment
The murder of George Floyd and the subsequent protests have resulted in a national awakening.
Issues of racial inequity in American society are not new, but some seem to be paying attention in a new way.
Corporations are scrambling to demonstrate that they get it. Some companies are really trying to make meaningful changes to improve equity and inclusion at work. Others are just trying to LOOK like they get it with showy and performative social media posts.
Black, indiginous, and people of color (BIPOC) employees are asking for more than a solidarity post on #BlackoutTuesday. They want more than racially diverse advertisements. They want more than recruitment websites with a smiling rainbow of people happily working together.
Companies, allies, and diversity and inclusion professionals can do better. Not only for BIPOC but also for LGBTQ employees, women, religious and ethnic minorities, workers with disabilities, workers of all ages, military veterans, and more.
The vast majority of D&I professionals are working tirelessly to create, manage, support, and advocate for evidence-based diversity and inclusion strategies. Some minorities feel well supported by their companies; many do not.
"Globally, organizations are committing to D&I at higher rates than ever, with 87% of respondents indicating that D&I is a stated value or priority for their organization.
However, despite this commitment, even those who lead and execute their organization’s D&I programs acknowledge there is a long way to go, with nearly half of respondents agreeing or strongly agreeing that diversity is a barrier to employee progression at their organizations.”
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Why Should Companies Focus on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion?
First, it’s worth noting that diversity and inclusion are not the same thing. The Ford Foundation’s definitions are a good place to start:
Diversity is the representation of all our varied identities and differences (race, ethnicity, gender, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, tribe, caste, socio-economic status, thinking and communication styles, etc.), collectively and as individuals.
Inclusion builds a culture of belonging by actively inviting the contribution and participation of all people.
Equity seeks to ensure fair treatment, equality of opportunity, and fairness in access to information and resources for all.
A focus on diversity, equity, and inclusion at work benefits the bottom line and also improves corporate citizenship.
1. Diversity drives creativity, innovation, and disruption.
2. Diversity leads to better profits.
Companies with more culturally and ethnically diverse executive teams were 33% more likely to see better-than-average profits (source: McKinsey).
Gender diversity in management makes companies 21% more likely to see better-than-average profits.
48% of companies in the US with more diversity at senior management level improved their market share the previous year. However, only 33% companies with less diverse management reported similar growth. (source: the Center for Talent Innovation)
Companies with more diverse management teams have 19% higher revenues due to innovation. (source: Boston Consulting Group)
Companies with high levels of gender diversity have lower volatility and a better return on equity (ROE) than companies ranked low in diversity. (source: Morgan Stanley’s Putting Gender Diversity to Work: Better Fundamentals, Less Volatility)
4. Diverse workforces are more productive.
According to Cloverpop, inclusive decision making leads to better business decisions 87% of the time, reaching those decisions twice as fast in half the meeting times.
5. It's the right thing to do!
All the data shows that equity and inclusion at work is profitable, encourages innovation, and supports recruitment and hiring. A focus on diversity, inclusion, and equity in the workplace is ethically right.
Even if there were no business case for diversity (but there is!), people should be treated fairly. Everyone wants to feel valued and respected at their job.
Inclusion and Equity Challenges in the Workplace
D&I leaders tend to share the same common challenges:
- D&I has limited scope. D&I often lives solely in the HR function and needs to be more fully integrated organization-wide. It isn’t just about checking a box. Extensive research shows it makes good business sense AND it’s the right thing to do.
- D&I is about more than just hiring. Many corporate leaders think that their job stops at hiring for diversity. They don’t understand the need for inclusion and equity once those diverse employees start work.
- Efforts are often seen as performative. D&I plans are often criticized by employees for focusing more on optics than on real inclusion. Many D&I leaders report that corporate efforts are often interpreted as giving lip service rather than really moving the equity needle, even when efforts are genuine and made in good faith.
- Diverse employees don’t have equal access to the “in group” at the company. Black people make up 12% of the U.S. population but only 3.2% of executive jobs. Women make up more than half of financial services employees but only 15% of leadership. There is still a very real “old boys’ club.” Offices are social places, and there is evidence that schmoozing with the manager is good for your career. However, schmoozing is harder for minorities when people in power are not in their “group.”
One Solution: Givitas Addresses All These Challenges
Here is one solution that is working for an increasing number of companies:
Give everyone equal access to the collective intelligence of leaders and peers.
Use a digital network that encourages generosity, connection, gratitude, and trust.
Improve equity and inclusion at work in the most fundamental of ways. Include everyone. Give them all an equal chance.
Givitas is a platform that does just that. We were co-founded three years ago by respected social scientists Adam Grant, Wayne Baker, and Cheryl Baker. Givitas is a place where people can easily and quickly exchange help in under 5 minutes a week.
How Givitas Works
- Employees are organized into groups called Givitas “rings.” They can ask for help, provide help, search a repository of institutional knowledge, collaborate, and connect in less than 5 minute a day.
- In our experience, the most effective groups have between 500-5000 members. However, we have had very successful groups as small as 100.
- Givitas makes asking for help is incredibly easy. Givitas reduces stigmas and barriers, and you don’t have to know who to ask. This is especially important for underrepresented groups who may not be in the “in group” or have access to leaders socially or on work projects.
- Providing help is quick and efficient. Givitas offers robust notifications and engagement tools to notify users when there is a need and reduce time spent in the platform; If you don’t come to Givitas, Givitas will come to you.
- Givitas creates and records organizational memory. The result is a valuable asset that captures the expertise of employees even after they leave.
- Givitas’ technology is backed by social science principles. Givitas drives positivity, generosity, gratitude, and other pro-social behaviors. Other general-purpose collaboration tools just can’t do it.
How Givitas Helps Inclusion and Equity
There are a number of ways our corporate customers are using Givitas to increase access and exposure of diverse staff to the collective intelligence. Here are the two most common:
1. To support Employee Resource Groups
Gather employee resource groups (ERGs) into Givitas rings.
For example, depending on the size of your company and ERGs, you could have a group for each ERG.
Similarly, you can invite all employees in ERGs to participate in one together. They are linked by some commonalities of experience in the workplace. In our experience, they will eagerly ask for and offer help to each other.
For example, connect members of a Black ERG with veterans with trans people and employees with disabilities all in one big community. They will be focused on exchanging help. Most importantly, amazing new relationships and connections will develop.
Connecting ERGs will impove equity and inclusion at work.
2. To give diverse staff equal access to the larger group
Create groups for employees who have something else in common OTHER than diversity. Doing so allows your underrepresented employees to get equal access to the collective intelligence of the larger group.
When you give underrepresented groups equal access to the brain trust, you’re improving equity and inclusion at work.
See below for a few examples of the kinds of corporate groups using Givitas.
Tactically, Givitas helps companies engage, engergize, and connect:
- Geographically distributed and virtual teams
- Functionally common groups such as sales, support, customer success, engineering, HR, finance, etc.
- Management and leadership groups
- Cross-functional employees to bridge organizational silos
- Affinity groups for diversity initiatives
- Onboarding and new employee orientation groups
- Post-merger teams
- Employee Resource Groups (ERGs)
Strategically, Givitas helps companies:
- Build a collaborative culture of giving that supports diversity, inclusion, and equity efforts
- Reduce the stigma of asking for help, making it easy for underrepresented groups to feel supported and comfortable
- Engage, energize, and connect underrepresented employees in less than 5 minutes day
- Boost the productivity and efficiency that is already improved by having a diverse work force
- Create a repository of institutional knowledge
- Increase knowledge sharing and collaboration across silos
- Harness the collective intelligence within your organization and give EVERYONE equal access to the collective intelligence of leaders and peers, regardless of race, sexual orientation, gender or gender identity, religion, age, etc.
9 Reasons Your Team Needs Givitas
You may be thinking, “we already have lots of ways for our diverse employees to ask for and offer help. They can use Slack or Teams or email, or even pick up the phone.”
Research shows that people are afraid to ask for help in professional settings. Most people hesitate to go out of their way to help others, and general-purpose platforms like Slack, Yammer, Facebook groups, and message boards have not solved that persistent problem. They may also not know who to ask.
These challenges are especially true for BIPOC employees, women, LGBTQ staff, and others who may feel they have to work harder and look smarter. They may be afraid to ask for help without a specific framework in place to help them.
Unlike all other available solutions, Givitas comes with built-in, thoughtfully-designed features and functionality that inspires people to share knowledge, ask for help, and offer help.
Making Givitas available to employees improves equity and inclusion at work.
Integrating Givitas with existing communication and collaboration platforms makes both stronger and will yield immediate results in terms of improving business performance and boosting culture. Givitas also works just fine as a stand-alone platform.
Here’s are 9 reasons that only Givitas can boost knowledge sharing in a way that improves both engagement, relationships, and results:
1. Givitas is purpose-built to create psychologial safety, reducing the stigma commonly associated with asking for help.
Adopting Givitas goes beyond lip service and sends a clear signal that your organization supports and encourages vulnerability, generosity, and gratitude. It’s a cultural game changer.
2. Givitas is backed by science and decades of academic research.
Unlike collaboration tools that are driven by communication functionality, Givitas technology is evidence based, drawing on research from leading experts and bestselling authors Adam Grant (Wharton) and Wayne Baker (University of Michigan). Their research has proven that connecting employees to ask for and offer help has organizational and individual benefits:
- Organizational benefits include making employees more effective, efficient, innovative, agile, and overall better performers. Customers and members become more loyal and engaged. Givitas boosts your business and improves your culture.
- Individual benefits of asking for and offering help include making employees, customers, and members more fulfilled, happier, engaged, satisfied, and even healthier.
3. Givitas is purpose-built.
The Givitas platform is dedicated to asking for and offering help, while other channels get noisy, crowded, and overwhelming, making it easy for people to miss genuine requests even when they are willing to help.
When a technology platform has a single mission, it’s much easier to ensure that mission is achieved.
4. Givitas spreads the love (and the responsibility!)
Employees shouldn’t have to rely on one or two subject matter experts to answer questions.
In fact, they don’t even have to know who to go to—they can just throw their request out. Often the best answers come from unexpected places.
When you have a whole team at the ready to answer questions, it increases the likelihood of creative solutions and reduces the burden on the few generous experts.
5. Givitas gives everyone equal access to the collective intelligence, knowledge, and experience of the network.
Despite our best efforts to give everyone equal access to advice, mentorship, and information, there are still people who feel shut out (whether that’s because of personality or a minority status).
Givitas gives everyone equal access, regardless of who you know or don’t know.
6. Givitas has built-in content that teaches users about the importance of reciprocity at work.
While we take features and functions seriously and work hard every day to make Givitas easy to use, we also strive to educate users on why they should be willing to ask for help and how generosity impacts their success and happiness.
Using a series of in-app prompts, engagement emails, and other techniques, we’ll teach your team as they use Givitas why it’s so good for them and for the organization!
7. Our features and functionality support our mission.
Being purpose-built allows us to spend time meticulously building out features like gratitude, offer ratings, filtering, search capabilities, tagging, and more.
These features are what prompted some to call Givitas “kinder, gentler social networking.” You just don’t see the negativity and snark on Givitas that is present in other platforms.
That is in large part due to features that inspire and encourage gratitude, connection, trust, generosity, and collaboration. Those cultural norms don’t just happen; you have to create them.
8. Givitas offers analytics and metrics.
Our analytics and metrics provide deeper insight on how generosity impacts a business than anything available in other collaboration tools.
Community administrators can see who’s asking and who’s helping, how much time and money is saved, as well as have access to network energy diagrams that help you identify organizational strengths and weaknesses.
Many of these metrics are being shared as engagement KPIs.
9. Givitas offers a searchable organizational memory.
Givitas allows you to see frequently asked questions with the best answers and offers extensive filtering and notification capabilities.
These features are all designed to make Givitas easy and fun to use—you can search by date, topic, even by which requests haven’t gotten any offer yet, and more.
Companies around the world are struggling to prove a commitment to inclusion and equity in a world that demands it. Offering Givitas to your employees becomes powerful proof that a company is really walking the walk.
When you make Givitas available to employees, you’re sending the signal that you support them, that you want them to ask for help, and that you want them to get the help they need.
When your employees are willing to ask for help when they need it, efficiency, profitability, retention, and loyalty all improve.
About the Author
As founding President and CEO of Give and Take, Inc., Larry Freed works with co-founders Wayne Baker, Cheryl Baker, and Adam Grant to provide solutions that increase efficiency while building better workplaces. He is the author of the bestselling Innovating Analytics and Managing Forward.
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