Technically People
Technically People

Episode · 1 month ago

Psychological Safety: The Foundation of Workplace Inclusion


Janine Yancey is Founder and CEO at Emtrain, which provides companies with culture analytics and trainings on bias, discrimination and harassment. Emtrain’s unique model gives companies a way for employees to call out moments in which they feel peers’ behaviors have been disrespectful on a spectrum from red to green, red being toxic and green being respectful and conscious. 

The approach is designed to enable psychologically safe conversations, reduce conflict and effect change.    

“It's hard work,” she says, “but it's not rocket science to build a workplace that is healthy, where people feel like they're valued, where they’re respected, where they belong.”  

Yancey is also an employment law attorney, whose expert testimony has helped shape workplace equity legislation in the state of California.

Episode Highlights:

  • Yancey’s work as an expert witness on workplace equity in the California Senate 
  • How a shared language enables constructive conversations among employees about behavior and matters of DEI
  • Understanding that definitions of respect differ from person to person
  • Fostering allyship among employees  
  • Why psychological safety is key to change-making

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Welcome to technically people acommunity conversation by and for workplace futurists brought to you bythe tech recruitment platform built in the podcast features, insights fromleaders, thinkers and doers on the vanguard of building human centeredworkplaces of the future along the way you'll hear concepts thatwill stop you in your tracks, concepts that inspire you to ask yourself.What's the most future forward way to approach my people leadership, we allknow the future of work is a waiting around. So, let's get on with the show, welcome to the show every one I'mtiffany Myers hosting this episode of technically people where we'll betalking today with Janine Yancy. So Janine is CEO and founder of EM train.An M train provides companies with culture analytics as well as trainingson bias on discrimination and harassment. She also happens to be anemployment lawyer who has been really influential in shaping some importantcritically important work place, equity legislation, so just as an example intwo thousand and eighteen Senator Holly Mitchell proposed a bill to expandharassment, training mandates in California and, as an expert, witnessJanine influenced the passage of that villain. She also successfully mid thecase that companies should be allowed to offer sexual harassment trainingannually, not just every year and that matters a lot according to Janine andyou'll, hear her say that successful Dei initiatives and trainings andprograms are ongoing and consistent just to set the stage. I'm trained justupdated its workplace culture report for this year for two thousand andtwenty one, and I wanted to share some findings. Only fifty two percentbelieve that there are companies have a genuine commitment to inclusion andjust one and three people believe their company is doing enough in the way ofDei. At the same time, though, the report makes clear that people very clearly understand the value ofDei. Eighty percent believe teams make better decisions when there is employeediversity. So I think now it's a matter of closing the gaps between People'sunderstanding and the earlier staffs from the report that show that progressis slow going so welcome Janine. Thank you so much for joining us today. Ohthank you to vinny for having me I'm happy to be here. So I'm really interested in yourfounding story. Tell me what led you to found em train, I you know, I think Ifound myself in the same situation. Over and over again I tell my teamquite often that being in the trenches as an employment lawyer, litigatorinvestigator, is you like a family therapist sense that you know somebody who sayssomething, and you already know what the other person with the coworkersgoing to say, and you can see the next three or four actions before theyactually happened. It's just because...

...these are patterns that were all partof right and at some point I wanted to get out of the trenches and be able tobuild a solution to guide people before they got into this pattern of reactionaction reaction and just get us to a more healthy place. Yeah- and I was thinking you know- Ihaven't talked to you about this, but I was thinking to myself. You knowthere's very direct through line. I would imagine from what called you toenter the field of law and what called you to found m train and that would besort of the idea of justice not sort of the idea of justice, but just justicein general. So is that true, would you say yeah? Definitely I think that justyou know creating an environment in a situation where people have opportunities consistently,they have equal access to opportunities, have equal access to be heard and to bevalued, I mean other than your family and your personal relationships there'susually nothing as important as your work and what you do for a living andthat's just a huge part of our identity, and I think that when people are in aworkplace where it's not optimates, just not he it takes a toll on everyone.We're living in a changing society or business models are changing, oursociety is changing, our demographics are changing, technology is, is moving at the speedof technology, yes right and so we're in a you know, time of a lot of turbulencein many ways right, and so you look at our workforce. There's typically, acouple generations- sometimes three, sometimes four generations working sideby side and if you think about their life experiences that informed how theyview certain actions. It's such a huge, wide continuum and then we see in oursolution. I mean we actually see the evidence of that and I've guessed atthis for a long time, but we will actually in our solution, show a videoscenee and we ask people to weigh in on it in a safe anonymous way and evenwithin one organization, how people view someone's actions really spans the gamut. It's reallyinteresting. How we you know, respect to you is going to look and feeldifferently than respect to. May I think business leaders and a lot ofpeople leaders don't understand that maybe as much as they should, we all use the same phrases, but we usewe mean different things by them for sure yeah and it just to clarify forour listeners. You mentioned videos and videos are an important part of thetraining that you offer. You'll show various scenes that illustrate, or donot illustrate, respect and sort of, have conversations around that andtraining around that. So to pick up on your point about having fourgenerations working together, three or four, I know that you have been inaddition to all of your other work,...

...looking at Dei through the lens ofgenerational factors, and you found some interesting stuff, so tell mewhat's going on there, so you know again, it looks back to our differentlife experiences and how we view certain behaviors and conduct, and Ithink the the easiest best bright line example was a video team. I did, as yousaid, so we use video really is a luring device, because these are thetypes of topics that you have to just see it. You can't just talk about itand we did a video scene on a situation that was in the news a few years ago,back in two thousand and eighteen, and it was a comedian who I met. Somebodyat a bar took her back home. They had six copases and the next dayshe claimed harassment and thereafter all of our society was engaged in thisdebate as to whether or not that really was harassment right, yeah yeah, thatwas in a season Zari. Yes, I remember the debate and a divergent point ofyouth for sure. Yes, and so we found it timely, interesting and sowe shot a scene on it and had people weigh in using what we calla work post, colors spectrum. So we'll talk about that a little bit, but youknow just a color code. The actions of each of these people in involved in thescene, debating it right and what we're able to see is the younger peoplethought that the older person's actions were not great and toxic and then viceaversa. The older people thought that the younger people's actions were notcreating toxic and like wow. If we had not shown that and actually had achannel and a mechanism for people to weigh in safely anonymously, we wouldnever have surfaced that there's a pretty big kind of conflict in ourperspectives. You Know Dei is not a destination andfor many reasons- and I think in part- because of what you're bringing up it'san ongoing conversation, there's no one and done check box where you cansort of say all right. The work is done, I'm moving on, and I think this idea ofeveryone having a different truth is part of that. So, okay, the colorspectrum. I think our listeners are going to find this to be reallyenlightening. So partly because you know to me what stood out is just howpowerful it is in making what is invisible, visible. So tell us aboutyour model, so the workplace, color spectrum is a sured language, so thatin the moment people could call out someone's comment like say: Oh, thatwas a little orange sore. That was a little yellow and it's a quick course correction.Without it being a master al. Without it, you know creating conflict andbeing relatively like easy to do, and that is how you know. People can getthemselves on the right track and going looping back to your comment to panythat we all have our own truth. What's yellow to one person might beorange to another person and, what's orange to one person might be read toanother person right and that's the...

...invisible part of this that it's hardto navigate around and if you just call out you know it's orange, or this feelsa little yellow to me. Then you're politely safely, sharing that with theperson you're talking to, and they can course correct. Yes, so walks throughthe actual colors, because I think it does give a sense of the types ofconduct around inclusion. That leaders should know about. Yes, so green iswhat we all aspire to be it's our best self and it's how we are when we arebring our best cells to work, and we certainly share the reality that it'shard to be green right. Most often were yellow and yellow is, or just at themoment were head down and work, and not really thinking through the feelings orperspectives of any of our colleagues that were re, active and more reactive.We tend to be a little negative right because being reactive, it's not allthat great going orange is when we're reactive, just like yellow, but all ofa sudden we might bring in a reference or comment about someone's protectedcharacteristic right so about their age or about their gender. What have youand so being able to call out when somebody you feel like somebody'sorange, is really helpful, because typically people just keep that inside,they don't say anything and they might in their head show that purse is reallya jerk but they'll never say anything so to be able to say. Oh, you know thatwas orange. Is a nice tool just to self correct, and then, when there's a lotof orange, and you feel it very consistently all the time, then that'scrossed over into red and read his toxic. The spectrum is about creatingpsychological safety for both parties and, as you mentioned, it is actuallyvery unhealthy to keep inside the feeling that you've been you've beendiscriminated against, but in this way it's effective because no one's underattack, no one needs to be defensive and, as you've told me before, it'sabout clearing the air and now okay, we can get back to work. So I wanted tosee you know, I'm not talking about lifting your color spectrum wholesale,but I wanted to see if you had advice for leaders who wanted to foster thatkind of psychologically safe work place where people can communicate hey. Thatstatement was problematic without it seeming like someone is under attackand also making sure that the colorade is psychologically safe as well yeahexactly right. So there's a couple things that I think are important forbusiness leaders and all people leaders to remember so one. This is acompetency we look at this, as these are, is a competency that everyoneneeds to develop into practice. So, just like, we practice our relationshipskills, our parenting skills are, you...

...know, family skills. This is anotherskill to develop and it takes practice so putting that thought out into yourteam or your workforce actually is very supportive and enabling, like we, don'texpect people to be perfect. These are hard issues and we just expect peopleto care and to be practicing this so that that would be. You know one oneitem to this. The the another thing to do is to really signal by your own.Behavior is Sartin modeled with all of your people, leaders opening the doorand having conversations where the conversations are always about thebehavior, not about the person and if it's not the color spectrum. Think ofsome shared language to use so that everyone in the organizationknows what you mean right. So if we just do it in a conclusive, what waylike? Oh, that's, biased or that's, not fair or that's. You know, disrespectful people are going to have differentimages and understanding of what that means. So there needs to be some kindof a shared understanding of certain core values and what that looks like inthe organization, and so I think that combination of a shared language sothat one understands what we're talking about, plus approaching this as acompetency to practice and learn winning winning formula. So I wonder ifI could ask you a devil's advocate question. Yes, I wanted to just say: Well, there probably is a time in aplace, and maybe it is in the workplace to say you know what you did somethingsexist. You know what you did something you said something racist. What can wedo with that? Okay, Devil's advocate for sure yeah?No, I'm just thinking through how best to respond to this, because I thinkit's again. We can look at that because I got the behavior on a continuant likewe do with the work was color spectrum right. So if there's red behavior someaning a person is engaging in such a way that it's about protectedcharacteristics. And it's pretty obvious, and in your face that I thinkthere's two past any person could go down. The first path is to say that'sred. I find that red right and that person, the other person, is going tostop short and probably think about it right. If you go down the path thatyou're suggesting, which is what most people do, let's just put it out therethat most people say you're being a racist that sexist, and I can tell youwith a hundred ten hundred and ten percent confidence that person is goingto say no, I'm not you're a really sensitive, that's sillyand it's going to be a fight and the only one who wins is me as theimployment litigator who's going to make money off that case, like really Imean the business doesn't win, the person who's feeling, you know,impacted, doesn't win and the person who is getting accused as a win. As I Ihas put this out there too. I think...'s a nuance issue, so I generallyascribe to the belief that most people mean well they're. Just they've gotbline blots all over the place right, so they don't understand how theiractions or comments are going to be received, and so you do have anopportunity to change that person's mindset and certainly their behavior inthe situation where somebody is just a bad egg and let's just say that happens,two percent five percent of the time. Then in that situation you don't needto necessarily go directly to that person. Acting that way, you can go tothe HR leader or you know the appropriate business leader to say.Listen. This person's actions have been Blah Blah Blah Blah Blah here's howthey impact me and you're, really as a steward of this organization. You mightwant to look into it. The interactions that I think co workers could solvewithout help would be yellow and orange issues, so co workers together and what aboutallies in a situation where there is yellow or orange going on? How canleaders foster people's becoming allies in those situations? So that's a greatway, and it's just through modeling, that behavior and training andeducating and showing it here's what it looks like and encouraging everyone,because it's so much easier to support and help another person than to supportELP yourself right right. Respect is something that's deeply felt,but invisible inclusion is deeply felt, but invisible. So people are then, soyour color spectrum is a way to make things visible, but I think alsomeasuring the impact of your training also makes the invisible visible. Tellme how you measure effectiveness yeah. So we have put out identified behaviorsthat we think or core to achieving respect and court to achieve indiversity, inclusion and so with it. Our programs in our solution will showa video scene, as I reference before, and that's a nice device, becausepeople kind of get into the moment and they start resonating with thatsituation, and the very next thing that we ask the person to do is to ply thoseconcepts to their own colleagues, their own team and way in on how thoseconcepts show up in the team. And so we are collecting data from people employsentiment, data on what we have identified as the core behavior, sobehaviors like allyship behaviors, like systematic decision making, as opposedto shooting from the hip behaviors like curiosity and valuing differences, andthen we aggregate them together and create a score card for people, so youcan see where you're strong and where you're weak, and then you can tea up more education. Is thatcorrect education and management action so w? We will, you know with everyscore, suggest other micro, lessons or...

...other you know learnings, as well asmanagement actions that are designed to bolster that score. You know, Post.These are muscles to build basically yeah and I, in the case that we talkedabout prior. You mentioned a respect indicator being power dynamic. So youwould show a video with say a manager inviting a younger worker to have aglass of wine and they are not recognizing that they have power overthat person. And then you ask the employees who watch that video do themanagers on your team understand the implications of their power and theycan answer. I imagine on a spectrum- yes very strongly. They get it or no,not at all. So that's where that bench marking would come from and exactlyright and then that helps the business focus, their efforts like where youknow where they need to improve people's skills yeah. You know I wantto direct people to to your website and to the report. That's on your website,because I found that your respect indicators to be, I don't know, areally interesting guide. So one respect indicator is the one that wejust talked about, which is power dynamics, but your others are in groupout group dynamics, norms and practices unconscious bias, of course, a big onethat we talk about a lot social aptitude and pre existing mindset and,and you measure, scorn benchmark those as well. Exactly right. Yes, tell meabout social aptitude. Does that have to do with the fact that these areskills you can develop and learn yeah. So your social aptitude is your abilityto read non pobal communication right. Some of us are better at that thanother, and you can, and so again we will show a scene where somebody needsto read the room and either they're reading it well or not. Reading it welland then we'll ask how well do your colleagues, you know read non verbalcommunication really well notwell at all right, and you know some of thatyou can help develop people's skills, but on on a behavior like that, it'sjust nice to know as a business leader. Where are your pockets of people thatare weak on social aptitude, because, where they're weak they're going tohave more naturally a little bit more employed conflict. So I would love tomove into our two minute takeaway segment, and this is sort of youropportunity to I don't know Jennie. Let's say you have to find yourselfrepeating the same things over and over again, and people are not seeming toget it or if you want to reiterate something that leaders and companiesshould really understand or do from our conversation give us a couple of thingsto think about as we work to create inclusion and belonging yeah. So Ithink I would just reiterate a couple things: these are competencies to belearned, practiced developed and for the most part, I think themarket has been over simplifying these...

...issues so yeah. I just understandingthat these are not easy issues: creating a safe space, psychologicallyspace safe space for people to to have the ability to develop those skills,understanding the core behaviors that are going to get you those skills right,so understanding like which behaviors are going to get me better outcomes indiversity and conclusion, and then lastly, having a shared language, sopeople are talking happle samples, yeah, so Janine. I think our listeners maywant to talk with you a little bit more to see how they can work with you onthat apples to apples, language that M train provides. So what is a good wayfor them to reach out to you, I'm big on Linkedin, so anyone could look me upon Linkedin. Send me a message GTC and then also our website. Just yeahconnect me connected with me. I threw our website and foam trincom yeah and Iwould also recommend the people download. The recent update to twothousand and twenty one update to the workplace study that I'm trained justit's full of really interesting. NUANA information as Genin had the marketover simplifies these issues, and I think this report shows you just hownuanced it all is. So thank you Janine, so much for your time and for yourcounsel, I'm sure our listeners will want to reach out, and so speaking oflitter listeners, please don't forget to subscribe to technically people. Ifyou want to hear more conversations like this, we are on all the majorpodcast players just go to technically people, com and you'll find thisconversation and many others there. If you're, feeling generous or if you're,loving what you've heard. We love a five star review, because that's thekind of support that can really help a podcast out or you can just follow usand be part of the conversation on Linkedin. So thanks so much for tuningin today, we will talk to you next week, built in is a tech recruitment platform.That's in constant dialogue with leaders about the future of tech,Bilton's podcast. Technically people expands those conversations to helpfellow futurist create and lead exceptional workplaces, environmentsthat inspire in Demand Tech professionals to join your company andthrive to learn how building can help your company attract besting classprofessionals, visit employers top built Incom you've been listening to technicallypeople a community conversation about the future of work. If you want to hearmore cutting edge ideas about creating human center workplace subscribe onyour favorite, podcast player and you'll never miss an episode and ifyou're over the moon about what you've heard we'd be honored. If you took thetime to give us a five star review so...

...signing off until we meet again in thefuture, a.

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