Address bias across all employee life cycle processes: Lexy Martin, Visier


Lexy Martin, Principal, Research and Customer Value,Visier is a respected thought leader and researcher on HR technology adoption and its value to organizations and workers alike. Known as the originator of the Sierra-Cedar HR Systems Survey, she now heads Customer Research and Value at Visier continuing her research efforts on people analytics with a deep focus on its use to improve diversity, equity, and inclusion. She works closely with customers to support them in their HR transformation to become data-driven organizations. 

In an exclusive interaction with us, Lexy who will be speaking at People Matters TechHR 2021 sheds light on how organizations with people analytics can improve female leadership retention and the ratio of females to males and what are the steps they can take to improve diversity.

Despite so much talk on DEI, why do you think organizations still are lagging behind?

 I do research on organizations that are succeeding with DEI due to having people analytics to see where they are so they can improve. But I do see a few reasons for lagging/failing with efforts to improve DEI: 

• Not addressing bias across ALL employee life cycle processes (attract, develop, retain). Organizations may focus on hiring and see some improvements but if they are not also focusing on retention (through pay equity as an example, or on fair and equal. development or fair and equal promotions, then they really can’t make progress. 

• Not being honest and transparent about where you are today and then not holding executives and hiring managers accountable for achieving diversity goals.

• Having only one diverse candidate on the candidate slate.

• Not having immediate immersive inclusion once a diverse candidate is hired. New employees need to feel they belong and can excel immediately.

Why do you think organizations face challenges in achieving pay equity? 

It’s relatively easy to improve pay of entry level, lower paid, employees and we see organizations doing that. Improving pay of women and people of color that have been with the organization longer is harder and the salary increase often needs to be much bigger. Organizations need to constantly monitor pay across all levels and tenure in the organization and ensure they are maintaining equity on an ongoing basis. 

How do organizations with people analytics improve female leadership retention and the ratio of females to males? 

I invite you to see this research report from Visier and I will also cover this in the presentation for your audience. In terms of using people analytics:

1. Look at the gender balance in the organization and how it changes over time

2. Review benchmarks

3. Look not only at high level retention and ratios but drill into common groups such as tenure, business unit leader, location, job family, performance, etc. 

4. Set goals and then track progress against them.

From a strategic perspective, look at career advancement and identify key drivers of success for females, look at alternate career pathways and identify reskilling opportunities. It’s very critical though to understand where you are and to speak from the numbers truthfully. 

Then set targets, do regular reporting and most importantly assign accountability for constant improvement. Your senior leaders and managers should be champions for diversity and inclusion. As I said above, address bias across all employee life cycle processes. Strive for an inclusive and respectful culture.

What would be your advice to organizations to improve DEI? 

We at Visier have our own internal framework to help us focus on what’s important. We call this – Open Book, Open Mind, and Open Heart.

• Our concept of Open Book is about counting to achieve transparency and to focus efforts, set targets and reinforce accountability.  We want to create more trust with our employees as well as our community.

• Open Mind is about using analytics to impact programs and processes. It’s about helping all employees and leaders understand the goals behind process changes needed to support improvement and then managing change itself to impact results.

• Open Heart is about improving inclusion through having fearless dialog and connection to purpose. This work goes down to the roots of our culture and how employees interact with each other, customers and communities.

Adding all of these things together, we have an equation that benefits Visier and hopefully also helps us think through how to better help our customers. We are committed to create meaningful change in the betterment of our world.

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