Advanced DEI Training with Jenn Tardy

Jenn TardyFounder and CEO

Jennifer Tardy is back to discuss how her company, Jennifer Tardy Consulting, is training recruiters to eradicate historical under-representation. You’ll hear all about our guest: why she started her company, why the company stands out from the rest, and who can make use of their services. We also discuss what companies who seek out Jennifer’s help want to achieve, what Jennifer needs to know about them to assist, how she uses shock value to challenge deep bias, and her philosophy of ‘calling people in.’ Jennifer explains how our bias leads to problematic perceptions of who is qualified and who isn’t qualified and tells us why we need to have a more accurate understanding of what a qualification actually is before explaining under-representation and why it is a huge problem when it comes to diversity. She also explains her company’s term Lived Experience Intelligence and tells us why increasing diversity is a long journey that requires commitment from a company as a whole. So, to hear all about how you can become committed to playing an active role in increasing diversity, join us now!

Episode Transcript


[0:00:06] RS: Welcome to Talk Talent to Me, a podcast featuring the most elite talent leaders on the front lines of modern recruitment.

[00:00:12] FEMALE: We actually want to understand the themes of someone’s life. We want to understand how they make decisions, where they’re willing to take risks, and what it looks like when they fail.

[00:00:22] RS: No holds-barred, completely off-the-cuff interviews with directors of recruitment, VPs of global talent, CHROs, and everyone in between.

[00:00:31] FEMALE: Once I went through the classes and the trainings and got the certifications through diversity inclusion, I still felt like something was missing.

[00:00:39] MALE: Talent Acquisition, it’s a fantastic career. You are trusted by the organization. You get to work with the C-suite and the security at the front desk and everybody in between and everybody knows you.

[00:00:52] RS: I’m your host, Rob Stevenson, and you’re about to hear the best in the biz. Talk Talent To Me.


[0:00:59] RS: Here with me today on Talk Talent To Me is a returning champion, multi-time guest, the Founder of Jennifer Tardy Consulting, Jen Tardy herself. Jen, welcome back to the podcast. How are you today?

[0:01:10] JT: I am wonderful. Thank you for inviting me back.

[0:01:14] RS: Of course. Discerning listeners of the podcast will immediately recognize your voice from the intro. You have that distinction of being one of the six-second clips I pulled out to put at the beginning. Maybe today, no pressure, but we’ll get another little intros of it from you. We’ll see.

[0:01:31] JT: Sweet, sweet. Go ahead.

[0:01:33] RS: Now, we’ve had you on multiple times, and that’s usually a sign of great guest. If you haven’t heard Jen’s previous episodes, definitely do that. For the folks who maybe have found the show since I had you on, would you maybe give us a little crash course in your background and your experience and what led you to found this company?

[0:01:50] JT: Yeah. I am a recruiter at heart. I actually grew up in recruiting. I moved all the way up to managing recruiting leaders. I have about what? 18 years now of recruiting experience. About five years ago, I opened Jennifer Tardy Consulting. What’s so funny about that is that we’re just now celebrating our five-year anniversary, so I’m very excited about that. In opening Jennifer Tardy Consulting, one of the biggest reasons that made me get started is I kept looking for training from our recruiters on how to increase diversity, or diversity recruiting. You know what they say, Rob, if you can’t find it, build it.

I had to dive deeply into the world of diversity, equity and inclusion, even history, even social justice and all of those spaces, to really develop what we now use today, by way of training and consulting with the people that we’re working with.

One other quick thing that I’ll share too, is that our organization, we actually work with two different audiences. I think that’s what makes us a little unique. On one end, we’re working with employers, helping them to increase diversity, or develop effective diversity recruiting programs. Then on the other end, we’re working with job seekers, people who are on their job search, and we help them to navigate bias, so that they can land great jobs and later get promotions. We tell people that our vision is to connect the two employers and job seekers when the time is right.

[0:03:24] RS: That’s fantastic. I think the candidate side of operations is new, since I spoke to you. How has that been going?

[0:03:30] JT: That’s so funny, that it’s not new. I actually started with the job seeker side. It just goes to show how 80% of our business is working with employers. What tends to happen is when I’m talking about the business, depending on if I’m talking to an employer audience, or a job seeker audience, I’ll talk about one audience or the other. Yeah, we work with jobseekers first. Then we said, “You know what? In order to really create a level of systemic change, we’re going to have to help employers, too.” We started helping both, so that they can find each other successfully.

[0:04:10] RS: That makes sense, because perhaps, you realized, “Oh, we can position folks to go out and get these jobs.” But if the companies themselves aren’t actioned to receive them, then we’re putting these people in an adverse situation.

[0:04:23] JT: Exactly, exactly. One of the things that makes this work challenging, too, is that when job seekers are working with career coaches, who don’t add in that culturally responsive, “Hey, here’s what you need to do as a woman, and here’s what you need to do as a person of color,” then we’re not providing the most effective level of coaching as possible, because the experiences are just going to be different in order to get a job and then later get a promotion.

[0:04:52] RS: Yeah, of course. What do these conversations look like? When you are first sitting down with the employer side to understand where they are, what do you like to learn about companies?

[0:05:05] JT: There are a couple of questions that I’ll ask. If an organization is asking me to come in to do a workshop, like I’m talking to an organization right now, I’ll ask them, what is the transformation you’re looking for? A lot of people haven’t really thought about that. If you want me to come and talk to your recruiters, by the end of the workshop, what do you want to be transformed? By the end of the workshop with hiring managers, what do you want to be transformed? Then from there, then I’ll ask, well, what are some of the pain points that you experience? What are some of those hurdles that you experience already, that’s preventing you from increasing diversity today?

Then from there, we begin to develop learning objectives around the workshop. Because we do so much research, and we talk about so many things around increasing diversity, when we’re building out a workshop, we’re literally pulling from our library. We’re like, okay, they have these pain points, so we’re going to talk about these three things over here, these pain points. Let’s talk about this all to get the audience to the transformation they’re looking for. Most of them are looking for the same thing.

[0:06:07] RS: Which is what? More –

[0:06:08] JT: Do you want to know what that is?

[0:06:08] RS: Yeah, yeah. I’m dying to know. Here’s just more representation?

[0:06:12] JT: They’re looking to shift the mindset of the people who are on the front lines of doing this work. When we talk about the people who are on the front lines, I mean, the recruiters, the hiring managers, the interview teams, this group right here, how do we shift their mindset, so that they’re able to identify when bias is presenting itself, so that they can mitigate it, dismantle it, remove it, so that the most competitive person can get hired.

Okay, here’s something new since you and I last talked. I have been spending a lot of time talking to employers about this idea of who is really qualified. I was standing front of audiences, Rob, and I’ll say, the biggest hurdle that we face on the front lines of increasing diversity is our ineffective perception of who is qualified to do the job. I’ll say it in a different way. It’s our bias-filled perception of who was qualified to do the job. Because if we, as recruiters and hiring managers are supposed to be looking at a person’s knowledge, skills and abilities, at what point that we then start judging that person’s personal effects? Their hair, their makeup, their nails, their clothes. If they look you straight in the eye, or not.

One of the questions that I’ll ask recruiters is, when you get feedback from a hiring manager that appears biased, ask them, well, which qualification does it mean that this person doesn’t meet? When you say that this person wasn’t making eye contact, and therefore, you just don’t want to hire them for this job, “Okay, hiring manager, which qualification are you connecting this to?” The more that we can get back to qualifications, the better we will be. That’s my little 10-second rant.

[0:08:17] RS: It really isn’t just enough to deliberately source from under-represented communities, right? It’s not enough to have someone whose job it is to consider DENI. You have to unpack these implicit biases, sometimes implicit biases that are, in many cases, received, programmed into people from a young age. That’s a pretty tall order for you as a diversity consultant, this unpacking of someone’s deeply believed judgments about other people. How do you do that?

[0:08:50] JT: Sometimes I do little shock-value things. What I just said before about the number one hurdle is our perception of who’s qualified. Another thing that I’ll say, too, is that, “Hey, audience. Did you realize that companies are spending hundreds of thousands, sometimes millions of dollars to funnel money into recruiting, to help, to attract more individuals from historically under-represented groups, these same groups of people that you’re attracting into your organization to apply for positions? Did you realize that they are leaking out of your hiring process, because of all the bias that’s happening?”

You’re spending all of this money to get more people to come to you. Our job, if we’re talking about increasing diversity is not just about how do we get more people to apply, which is where 90% of the mindsets are for employers, when they come to me. But then I’ll say, it’s not just about that. It’s also about what do we have to stop doing, because it’s kicking people out of the process? I’ll just put questions like that on the table. Then we’ll have conversations.

Or, another example of shock value is probably towards the end of a workshop, I’ll say something like, can you believe at one point in history, and it’s probably still highly prevalent today that there are people who still, will get rejected for job opportunities because their hair is locked, locked just like mine? Now what sense, now that I’ve been in front of you for an hour, what sense does it make? What is it about my hair being locked, that makes you believe that I cannot successfully do this job? It’s like, “Whoa, wait a minute. Wait a minute.” It’s those moments where we begin to have those conversations that people then begin to understand, “Wow, I have been conditioned in this way.” That being a good person is not enough. Having good intentions is not enough. We actually have to take actions. We have to take specific actions in order to remove the bias, so that we can hire more people into our company. Can I say one more thing?

[0:10:58] RS: Say as many things as you want, Jen.

[0:11:02] JT: Per usual, you have me on my soapbox here. I was delivering this one workshop. We took a break, and someone came up to me on the break. They said, “Hey, Jen. One of the co-founders is here. She wants to make sure that in your message, we don’t lose the idea of hiring full potential to increase diversity.” In their mind, in order to increase diversity, we need to make sure that everyone understands we need to hire full potential.

[0:11:36] RS: The assumption. Can I finish the assumption? Is that no one is qualified to do this job. No one from an under-represented background is qualified to this job.

[0:11:43] JT: Yes. It leads to that perception, right? One of the things that I now proactively put into workshops is, I’ll put on the table this topic of hiring for potential in order to increase diversity. I always say, let’s put a pin in this idea of hiring for potential in a second because there are places for that in recruiting in general. What we first have to do is understand who’s qualified and who’s not qualified. Because too often, we’re saying that people are unqualified for things that have nothing to do with the job.

This same group of individuals could probably come in and run circles around those who you believe are actually qualified. We have to first clean up this idea of who’s qualified and who isn’t qualified first. We have a lot of work to do there first. Then later, we can have the conversation in a grander recruiting context, not diversity recruiting, but in a grander recruiting context, that this idea of hiring for potential. We’re not even there yet. We’re nowhere near that. We don’t even have to hire for potential if we can truly understand and unpack who’s really qualified or not.

[0:12:57] RS: That notion of hiring for potential versus who isn’t, isn’t qualified to do this job. There’s a delicate thing here that I’d like to hear you attack, which is under-represented talent is under-represented. People from minority populations, there are less of them, which is why they have minority attached to it. In tech, for example, it’s always competitive, no matter what. When you think of under-represented groups, there are just less of them. Does the math work out that there are less people who are necessarily qualified by virtue of there being less of them to begin with, and by virtue of having been excluded from hiring for a long time?

[0:13:38] JT: Let me share a couple of things. One of the things that I’ll say when I’m giving workshops, we do this crash course in diversity recruiting. One of the first things that I’ll say is, diversity includes everyone. Diversity includes everyone, including, yes, white, heterosexual, cisgender men. I tend to prefer to talk in terms of representation versus under-representation. The easiest way to understand under-representation for anyone in your audience who’s listening is this. Under-representation is when the workforce supply of individuals is greater than the representation in our workplaces.

There are organizations where there are certain populations that aren’t under-represented. They are well represented. Now, when we begin to talk at JTC, we talk in terms of historical under-representation and the under-representation in our workplaces isn’t because of the lack of availability in the workforce. It has more to do with all of the hurdles to get into a workplace. What I tend to ask organizations to do, or what I recommend that they do is find out first, one of the steps into an effective diversity recruiting program is to find out, where exactly are you under-represented and why?

To your point, Rob, some organizations may get to the ‘and why,’ and they may discover, because in this specific industry, or in this region, that in the workforce, the availability isn’t there. I tend to find that that’s less of a reason. More of the reasons have to do with the hiring process, that that’s why they’re under-represented in the workplace. I’ll have some organizations, for example, that will say – they will say, “Hey, Jen. We don’t have an issue with attracting people from historically under-represented groups to apply to our positions.” I’m like, “Okay. So number one, why are we here? Then why are we having this conversation?” Which is always fun to me.

Then, when we look at their data, we’ll say, “You’re right. Your representation in your candidate pool, you have well-represented candidate pools.” Now, by the time they get in front of your hiring manager, that representation goes away. Your selection rate is an issue. What I share with organizations and I’m giving you all the secrets, but it’s okay because we’re friends. What I share with organizations is that I want you to see where your issue is. Is it an attraction issue? Meaning, are you attracting enough people that you have a well-represented candidate pool? Is it an attraction issue? Or, is it a selection issue? Which is where the recruiters and the hiring management, interview teams are just not selecting enough people. Or, what not enough people are talking about is, is it a retention issue?

You’re doing all the work to attract. You’re doing all of the work where your selection rate is high, but nobody’s staying at your company. Now, we have a workplace environment issue. We have to talk about all three, because if one is broken, then you’re going to have to either fix that one, or you’re going to have to overcompensate in the other two. Are you as excited about this as me?

[0:17:26] RS: Yeah. I mean, the nuance, I think, is really important. I wanted to hear more about, once you find these bottlenecks, right? Because this is funnel marketing. Not to reduce people to zeros and ones, but it is a little bit. It’s like, you in a sales pipeline in a marketing lead flow pipeline, you look at like, okay, we’re great at getting people to the website, why aren’t they converting? Why are they buying down funnel? It’s the same thing. Then you have to figure out where the drop-off is happening.

In this case, it’s just much more delicate, because we’re not talking about people deciding on a product or not. These are human beings in their lives. You gave this example, in the case where a hiring manager selection rate is really low. They give a reason that is a bias reason for their decision. You gave an example earlier, the question that a recruiter can ask, which of these stipulations in the role do not feel they’re qualified for it?

I would love to hear more examples of what people can do in that situation, because the real problem is that person has implicit bias. I unfortunately, don’t know if it’s realistic to get every hiring manager to read how to be anti-racist. What are the other questions that when you’re a recruiter and you think that this bias is preventing people from getting hired, but you don’t want – it’s delicate, right? You don’t want to just make someone feel they’re full of bias, even if they are. You need them to change their behavior and act in a way that helps people get hired. What other questions can you ask?

[0:18:53] JT: One of the things that I do like to share is that at JTC, we don’t believe in the method of calling people out like, “Oh, you did that. You’re racist.” We don’t. Now, there are spaces and it’s other people’s ministries, where that’s necessary in order to end systemic racism and bias throughout the world and that’s fine. What we have chosen to do in our philosophy is call people in. The idea of calling people in, and we have our own model for doing that. At a high level, it’s really about asking more questions, and connecting those questions to the impact. It’s asking more questions to truly get an understanding of the hiring manager in this example, the hiring manager’s intention. Once we understand their intention, we can talk about how it impacts our ability to increase diversity overall.

Going back to this earlier example of, “Hey, hiring manager, which qualification are you saying that this person doesn’t meet? Because they’re not making eye contact.” The hiring manager may come back and say, “Well, no real qualification that’s on there, but I just have a gut feeling that this isn’t the right person for this position.” Okay. I do want to share with you that those gut feelings that we have tend to be very bias-filled as well, too. As a matter of fact, unless we can connect this to one of the qualifications, then it means that we’re assessing them for something that has nothing to do with whether or not they can do this job successfully.

Unfortunately, historically, this is deeply impacted historically under-represented groups, like this person trying to be in this position. The question becomes, can they do the job? That is the number one question after which of those qualifications, asking the question, but can they do the job successfully? Okay, so maybe they don’t make eye contact. But can they do this job successfully without having to make full eye contact? Okay, so maybe her hair is locked. Can she do the job successfully with locked hair? It’s getting people back into, can they do this job successfully and having that conversation there?

[0:21:20] RS: That is a hard conversation to have with someone who might be your boss, who is at the very least more senior than you, usually. I really commend people who are standing up and having that conversation and pushing people to quantify their gut feelings, and then lead them down that path. That’s like, I love the way you put that a moment ago. As long as we’re evaluating people on your gut feeling, we’re not evaluating them on their ability to do the job, right? That seems pretty cut and dried.

[0:21:49] JT: Correct, correct. You just made me think about something else, too. That another thing that we talk about a lot in our training is positioning. Historically, and generally, recruiters have been positioned to be easy to do business with. It’s this idea of as a recruiter, my hiring manager is my customer. With this philosophy in mind, the customer is always right, customer satisfaction. Positioning us as recruiters in that way makes it very difficult when we then begin to say, okay, recruiter, a part of your job is to call in hiring managers when you notice or observe bias happening.

One of the first things that actually has to happen, as you’re implementing an effective diversity recruiting program, you have to reposition your recruiters as partners. Instead of a recruiter, thinking that their hiring manager is a customer, the recruiter has to see themselves and the hiring manager has to see the recruiter as a partner and advisor to meeting a specific goal.

Now, as a partner, and advisor, now, I want to make sure that you have good customer service. I also want to make sure that protect your hiring manager and as a partner and advisor, I help you to reach your goals. Your goals are to get this position filled with the most competitive candidate. In order to find the most competitive candidate, we have to remove your biases, because that’s filtering who can get through, who’s seen as competitive to begin with. We can’t even get to seeing a person as competitive if we don’t even see them as qualified, because of things that have nothing to do with their knowledge, skills, or abilities. Positioning is one of the things that has to happen too. Positioning recruiters as partners.

[0:23:42] RS: That I feel like, has not been the purview of diversity consulting previously, but you’re just noticing everything that impacts the ability to accomplish these goals.

[0:23:53] JT: Yes. I think about that a lot. I think about that a lot. What prevents organizations from being able to increase diversity? If an organization truly wants to increase diversity, what prevents them from doing it? We get lost in the nuances around it. It’s my goal to put the hurdles on the table. Let’s talk about the hurdles. It’s not a you versus me, you want to and I don’t want to. It’s a, we all want to increase diversity. What are the hurdles? It’s us against the hurdles. Then together, we have to remove the hurdles, so that we can increase diversity overall.

Another common challenge is that a lot of people entering this work believe that this is a binary thing, that it’s like on offer; yes, no. Did we increase diversity? Did we not increase diversity? No, it took us at least in the US, it took us 400 years, four centuries to get to a place where there’s under-representation. We’re not going to clear it up overnight. I have a more directional approach. Are we moving the needle in the right direction? That’s what I care about. Are we moving the needle in the right direction? Are we bringing the company along and not leaving people behind? That’s what’s important when we do our work.

[0:25:09] RS: Will you consider the historical context, at least in history of the United States, 400 years that we are now beginning to unpack really. You mentioned, okay, we’re not going to solve what it’s taken four centuries to get to this point with within a six-week workshop or whatever. What do you think is realistic change over a short timeframe?

[0:25:32] JT: I would actually say, three things. Three things are really important. When I know that a company is moving in the right direction, there’s accountability, action, and support. Accountability is in the hiring process on this journey to increase diversity, who is accountable for what? Number two, now that I know that which I’m accountable, what actions do I need to take immediately so that I can reach this accountability? So that I can honor this accountability? Then number three, do I have the right support to take these actions? Because it’s almost like, and recruiters will come to our training programs. Sometimes they’ll pay for out of their own pocket, versus their company paying for it. They’ll say, “Hey, Jen. This really means a lot to me. The ability for our organization to increase diversity really means a lot to me as an individual recruiter. How do I do this in my organization?”

Then I’ll say, “I don’t necessarily recommend that it happens that way. Because if you, as the individual recruiter is trying to take on this initiative by yourself, you’re going to find that it’s going to be an uphill battle. Then if it doesn’t work out in the way that you had hoped it to, then the leaders in your organization is going to say, “See, she tried and it didn’t work.” We’ve tried here at the organization, it doesn’t work.” When in reality, it takes a lot of support to make it work. It takes leaders talking about it internally and externally. It takes money and where you’re sourcing and how you’re engaging. It takes extending the arm of recruitment, so it’s not just recruiters doing the sourcing and engaging. It’s your members of your affinity groups. It’s members, just within your employees within your organization as well it’s redefining what referral programs look like, all of that great stuff. It’s a lot of work.

[0:27:38] RS: It is. I do think it’s important to point out the difference between those who have realized this is something they should care about, that it’s topical enough. They changed their company logo to black and they made a press release. Maybe they’ve even gone as far as hiring someone like you to come in and really make a difference, right? Maybe they’ve even hired someone like you to show that they’ve made an investment in this, right? What to you is the gap between the people who have realized that this is something that they should care about, versus the people who are committed to actual change? Is there a way that they sound differently?

[0:28:18] JT: I begin to look at those who are leading the effort. Typically, for me, it’s someone from the head of the DEI department will come to me and we’ll have conversations. I’ll know that their company is serious because it’s not a one-person show unless the company is a really extremely small organization. It’s not a one-person show. They have a team. This person has a voice. They have direct access to the CEO, ideally. That function DEI is reporting to the CEO, which means that they do have a voice and a say, and they have a budget around it as well, too.

When you begin to give your DEI department, or even your recruiting department, specifically around diversity recruiting, the budget, the voice, and the connection, I then begin seeing, okay, they’re taking this seriously. They do want to see change happen.

Another thing that I noticed as well, too, is who’s being trained. Yes, it’s one level to train your recruiters. I always hear recruiters say, “What about my hiring managers?” The next level then is to train your hiring managers. I always respect organizations that say, “I’m going to train recruiters. I’m going to train hiring managers.” I even go further. When I see organizations who are training their employee body, they’re like, “Hey, we want to training for all of our employees to understand what their accountability is to.” When everyone’s talking the same language around, this is the direction we’re going to increase diversity. “If you don’t like it, then this isn’t the home for you. This isn’t the workplace for you”, then I know that they’re moving in the right direction.

Oh, let me just say one more thing, too. The organizations that are willing to find out where their leaky pipeline is, whereby it is in their hiring process. I always admire the organizations that say, “Hey, Jen. We’re ready for your team to come in and do an analysis of our hiring data, and really tell us what the data is suggesting we’re doing it effectively to create hurdles for people.” Then they’re using that data to inform their trainings and to inform their conversations with leaders. Those are the companies that are moving in the right direction.

[0:30:42] RS: Really important to call out that it cannot just be the recruiters, also hiring managers, but then also entire interview panels. I have received interview training before, but I had never received diversity training as part of that, or bias training, or whatever the parlance is. Those people are as decisive, as crucial to the decision-making as the hiring manager, frankly. Your hiring manager, knowing to look out for bias feedback, can only take you so far if all of the feedback they get from an interview panel is also biased, right?

[0:31:13] JT: Correct. You’re right. You’re so right. You have to get in front of it. You have to say, “Hey, hiring manager. Here’s where bias typically shows up for hiring managers. When it shows up for you, because in some way or another, it likely will, here’s how I want to coach you to work through your own bias. Interview team, here’s where our bias is going to show up for you. We see it happen all the time. When it shows up for you in this way, here’s how we want you to think about it. Here’s how we want you to work through it, when it’s happening in real-time. Oh, as a matter of fact, after it’s all over and when it has happened, let’s debrief about that, too.” The training just isn’t a before training on what to expect. It’s an afterward. I find that, so some organizations will bring me in to do a workshop. Then they’ll say, “Okay, Jen. Can you come back later and do a roundtable?” It’s like, this is an open ask me anything, where they’ll share their wins, their successes, and then what they may view as not a success.

They’ll say, “Okay, Jen. I was in this situation. Here’s what happened. Can we talk it through?” Now that they’ve had training, they’re applying it, they’re navigating through it, and then we can debrief about it. Learning happens there, too.

[0:32:34] RS: Yeah, yeah. Of course. To go back, all the way to the beginning, Jen, I want to know how you deal with, or how you advise people to deal with the resistance they may face from a senior person in the organization, maybe a hiring manager, or maybe C level person, who thinks, “Oh, we don’t need this. We don’t need to really overhaul this. Let’s just be more deliberate about our sourcing,” or there’s worse one-liners we’ve heard, right? To the people who think that, okay, yeah, we should hire a more diverse workforce, but then also are resistant to the actual investment and process necessary to do that. How would you recommend people approach those conversations?

[0:33:15] JT: There are a couple of things. I’ll talk about two in particular. Actually, three. One is I don’t work with organizations who are resistant to increasing diversity. I’m very grateful in saying that. Meaning the organizations that come to me are in a space where they’re ready. They’re ready to do the work and they’re asking me how. They’re not coming to me saying, “Jen, can you help to push them along?”

It’s interesting that you say that, because I never really thought about it that way, that there are a few rarely – I don’t think I’ve ever had a conversation where someone’s like, “Jen, can you help me to get my company there?” Now, someone may come into training and say, “Hey, do you have some thoughts on what I can do to gain buy-in?” But they’re not really using us as a consulting arm to do it.

The second thing that I’ll say is that I really leverage data to tell the story. Data is really undeniable. When there are companies that are like, “Hey, where do we start? What do we do?” Let’s look at the data. Maybe the company really wants to do it overall, but you may have one leader that’s like, they’re on the fence. Let’s look at the data. Let’s let the data do all of the talking. The data suggests that you get so many people coming in to apply to positions, but here’s what’s happening.

When I really tell the full story, the full narrative, they’re like, “Wow, that’s not what I wanted to happen.” The human side of people come up. That’s not what I want to happen to people. I don’t want them to experience that right? The very last part is something that you and I had talked about very briefly one day is this idea of lived experience intelligence. I try to share with organizations that too not do the work to increase diversity, you’re missing out on lived experience intelligence. It’s this whole idea that there’s an intelligence that surrounds individuals, because of their varying lived experiences.

There are some lived experiences that are even more nuanced due to being denied access over years of historical discrimination. When you begin to think about this whole idea of all of these statistics that say, that increasing diversity makes you more competitive, brings in more revenue, all of that great stuff, we are that organization that said, but how? How has that happened? How does by merely bringing in more people with varying identities? How does it make us a more competitive, globally competitive, higher revenue-generating company? What is the it factor?

Then with the more research that we did, we’ve named it Lived Experience Intelligence, because what happens is, when you bring in people from unique backgrounds, we can’t help but to lean into our work with all of who we are, in all of our experiences. The more varying experiences you have at the table, the more we’re able to catch each other’s blind spots, the more we’re able to fill the gaps.

I’ll say this one last thing, and then I’ll be done. We have this one image. I didn’t create the image. It’s this image of a woman interviewing. A panel interview. She’s sitting on one side of the table by herself. Then on the other side of the table, it’s about 12 men. Then the men who are interviewing her, look at her and say, “What can you bring to the table?” A whole new perspective. An entirely new perspective. When people are asking like, what is the value in doing all this work to increase diversity, is the lived experience intelligence. I just leave with that.

[0:37:02] RS: Let’s leave the whole episode with that, Jen. I don’t think we’re going to find a better way to wrap up. This was fantastic. You are just so knowledgeable. There’s so much nuance to this conversation, and you sum it up so beautifully. I can see why your business has been such a fantastic success. Before I let you go, I’ll ask you one more thing. For the folks listening out there who are like, “I need what Jen has. I need to bring someone like her in, or Jen in.” For which organizations does bringing in JTC makes sense?

[0:37:30] JT: Organizations that have recruiting teams. We typically work with mid to large-sized organizations. We work across any industry, but we find that we can make the most impact in organizations with at least 300 employees up to 30,000 employees. We can make the most impact there.

[0:37:51] RS: Got it. Well, if that describes you, listener out there in podcast land, you know whose DMs to slide into. Jen, this has been a delight. Thank you for coming back and doing this. I always love our conversations. It’s been a fantastic episode.

[0:38:06] JT: Thank you for having me. I appreciate it.


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