How technology helps build an inclusive culture

Nicole Bello is a strong believer that belonging takes DE&I a step further

Nicole Bello, UKG Group Vice President EMEA, explains why diversity in a group makes a difference and what drives an inclusive culture.

Using data, external benchmarking, setting goals for change and developing strategies to achieve them are the main ingredients for using technology successfully to create a diverse and inclusive culture.

It is also important to understand how the world is evolving. As Nicole Bello points out: “Some organisations keep their blinders on and often keep operating in the same old-fashioned way.

“If you understand the value that diversity can bring, how that equates to the bottom line, you’ll soon recognise that to be a successful organisation, you must be modelling yourself on some external factors. One is keeping your finger on the pulse as to what’s happening in the world.

“Then you need to leverage your internal data to ascertain where you are today and the key areas you need to focus on.” She adds that measuring progress was important to ensure the intended advances were achieved.

Strategic goals

Bello is Group Vice President of EMEA at UKG, a leading workforce management and HR solutions provider that helps organisations anticipate and adapt to their employees’ needs.

The area that she represents focuses on small to medium-sized businesses, which are the ones that often need to figure out whom to approach to become more diverse and inclusive. UKG works with organisations to find out their strategic goals and how they view the contribution of their employees in reaching them.

“Usually, we do a discovery analysis to understand a little bit more about their HR  and workforce management processes, what they are doing and what they could be doing,” Bello explains. “From that, our team creates a demonstration – or bespoke show – of how our technology can help achieve what they want. We’re based on best practice, so we can say, ‘in your industry, we’ve got three clients, and this is how they’re doing it. We are providing a lot of value using a thoughtful approach.”

The company recently acquired Great Place to Work in the US, which can offer customers information about how great employers drive employee engagement.

B is for belonging

When asked to define an inclusive culture, Bello says that UKG doesn’t only focus on DE&I but also B for belonging. Diversity was working with people from different backgrounds, and equality meant allowing everyone to succeed with equitable support. Being inclusive was proactively creating ways for people to feel part of a team.

“Belonging is taking it one step further,” she adds. “So, not only do I feel like I belong, but I’m also adding value, and people ask my opinion.”

Technology has a major role in supporting employees’ needs and creating an inclusive culture. It included online learning available to everyone, whether they worked in the office or remotely. UKG offers a predictive analytic tool that can, for example, show when people start and finish work. The idea is that managers can use the information to create a better work environment for employees.

Diversity challenges the status quo

Bello is in no doubt that organisations that fail to embrace DEI&B will fall behind and need help retaining staff. Also, it wasn’t just a case of more women being part of the decision-making process.

“It’s the group’s diversity that makes the difference,” she says. “Because if you find that you’ve got one gender that’s more powerful than the other in terms of representation, there’s a lot of similar thought, and you’ll have a lack of new ideas.

“By having more diversity, you’ve, hopefully, got people from different backgrounds, challenging the status quo, and asking provocative questions. People will develop further if they are open to being challenged by someone who doesn’t act or think like them or who didn’t grow up in a similar setting.”

Mentoring and allyship

As part of its commitment to DEI&B, UKG has several employee resource groups which were making a difference by helping to promote mentoring and leadership development. It is hoped that allyship – being another person’s voice when they’re not in the room – would become part of the ERGs.

Bello emphasises: “It’s not only important for us to belong but also to proactively understand others and be their allies. So, we are responsible for being the voice for ourselves and other people in the business.”

She is particularly proud of how UKG used the Hive educational platform to provide a better understanding of DEI&B. She explains: “It was an exceptional experience for me because they’re teaching you to be comfortable with topics that might be uncomfortable, to see things from another person’s point of view.”

Finally, Bello stresses the importance of putting people at the heart of all decisions. “When we’re looking at the business strategies, how we want to grow, it’s making sure we’re including and thinking about how that will impact our people and what it means for them. What’s really exciting about that, too, is that we treat ourselves that way and try to get that message out to our customers.”

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