Protocol | Workplace

Your inclusion strategy needs work. Paradigm wants to help.

Paradigm recently launched a software platform to enable large and small companies to more easily track and manage their diversity, equity and inclusion efforts.

Colored pencils

Paradigm's new Blueprint platform aims to help companies improve DEI.

Photo: Sharon McCutcheon/Unsplash

Tech companies love data. But so far, most of them have done a lackluster job at harnessing their own hiring and retention data to create a more inclusive workplace.

It's time for companies to apply a more data-driven, evidence-based approach to their diversity, equity and inclusion strategies, Paradigm CEO Joelle Emerson told Protocol.

"What we want organizations to start doing is going beyond just looking at your demographic data, your representation data, trying a bunch of random stuff because you've just got ideas or you read something on the internet," Emerson said. "And then two years later, being like, 'I wonder why we look the exact same?' We want to flip that on its head and say, 'Collect more effective data, design targeted strategies to address the gaps that you find and then measure your progress so that you know if those things are working.'"

Paradigm has spent the past seven years working with companies like Airbnb, Slack, Lyft and Twitter to examine and analyze where demographic gaps exist, and then design interventions. The work has largely centered around consulting, but it's hoping its new platform, Blueprint, will enable it to reach thousands of companies at a more affordable price point, Emerson said. Blueprint costs $15,000 per year, which is less than 10% of what it would cost to normally work with Paradigm, she said.

The platform enables companies of all sizes to assess their diversity, equity and inclusion efforts and then receive input about programs to implement in order to drive impact. It will also, of course, measure progress. Through Blueprint, companies can track a variety of areas, including attrition rates, promotion rates and compensation.

"Part of what you want to see if you want to become a more representative company is that people coming into your company represent a more diverse population than those already there," Emerson said. "So hiring rates are one way to look at that."

Paradigm Blueprint screenshot Paradigm's platform Blueprint gives companies input regarding the efficacy of their diversity, equity and inclusion efforts.Image: Paradigm

Upon signing up, companies first participate in an assessment based on the organization's demographic data. Blueprint's algorithm then analyzes what the company has shared, scores those responses and then shows them how they stack up compared to the benchmark. That benchmark is determined by the other companies that have already input their data into the platform. The more data that comes into the system, the more insightful the benchmark will become. Blueprint then makes a suggestion about what areas companies should prioritize and provides the company with tools to implement those strategies.

"For example, if we're telling you that we think a priority should be developing a structured interview process, we actually give you a template and toolkits on how to build that process," Emerson said. "And then you can collaborate with colleagues around executing on that strategy."

Companies are empowered to share their own data externally, but Paradigm itself does not share that data. So far, Emerson has seen companies download reports from the platform and share them with board members or other team members. Eventually, Paradigm hopes to make it easier for companies to download a variety of data and charts to use for external communications, like annual diversity reports.

Companies will not, however, be able to include any sort of badge, Emerson said. The Human Rights Campaign, for example, enables companies to promote their rankings on the LGTBQ+ workplace equality index. But that's not something Paradigm is interested in, Emerson said.

Emerson doesn't want a scenario where a company promotes a good Paradigm Blueprint score while, in reality, someone is experiencing sexual harassment at that company.

"So we're really careful when we're giving companies scores to give them an accurate score," she said. "Which means that across basically every dimension we're scoring companies, most of them score pretty poorly. And we have to be really thoughtful about the messaging there, because we don't want to discourage organizations."

Paradigm has worked with about 25 companies in a beta test for the past year, and the firm has found that companies can vary across the board. Leadership involvement in DEI efforts, for example, sees some companies score quite well while others score "pretty low," Emerson said. Talent life cycle is a category many companies perform poorly in, but Paradigm has seen some companies that are already checking for promotion disparities. Sometimes a company's highest score is a 52% and its lowest is 8%, Emerson said.

"We're trying to give companies scores against what we believe they should be doing, rather than against what actually exists in the world," she said. "Which is a very, very low bar."

Protocol | Workplace

CTO to CEO: The case for putting the tech expert in charge

Parag Agrawal is one of the few tech industry CTOs to nab the top job. But the tides may be shifting.

Parag Agrawal’s appointment to Twitter's CEO seat is already alerting a new generation of CTOs that the top job may not be so out of reach.

Photo: Twitter

Parag Agrawal’s ascension to CEO of Twitter is notable for a few reasons. For one, at 37, he’s now the youngest CEO of an S&P 500 company, beating out Mark Zuckerberg. For another, his path to the top as a CTO-turned-CEO is still relatively rare in the corporate world.

His leap suggests that CEO succession trends may be shifting, as technology increasingly takes the center stage in business and strategy decisions not just for tech companies, but for the business world more broadly.

Keep Reading Show less
Michelle Ma

Michelle Ma (@himichellema) is a reporter at Protocol, where she writes about management, leadership and workplace issues in tech. Previously, she was a news editor of live journalism and special coverage for The Wall Street Journal. Prior to that, she worked as a staff writer at Wirecutter. She can be reached at mma@protocol.com.

The fintech developers who made mobile banking as routine as texting or online shopping aren't done. The next frontier for innovation is open banking – fintech builders are enabling consumers to be at the center of where and how their data is used to provide the services they want and need.

Most people don't even realize they're using open banking services today. If they connected their investment and banking accounts in a personal financial management solution or app, they're using open banking. Perhaps they've seen ads about how they can improve their credit score by uploading pay stubs or utility records to that same app – this is also powered by open banking.

Keep Reading Show less
Bob Schukai
Bob Schukai is Executive Vice President of Technology Development, New Digital Infrastructure & Fintech at Mastercard, where he leads the technical design, execution and support of innovative open banking and fintech solutions, as well as next generation technologies to support global payment and data capabilities. Prior to Mastercard, Schukai’s work focused on cognitive computing, financial technology, blockchain, user experience and digital identity. He is also a member of the Institute for Electrical and Electronics Engineers.
Protocol | Workplace

Google contractor says she was fired for 'ungoogley' behavior

According to a charge filed with the National Labor Relations Board, "ungoogley" is Google's term for having a bad attitude.

A contractor at Google staffing firm Modis claims she was fired from her job after asking about pay.

Photo: Future Publishing/Getty Images

A contractor at Google staffing firm Modis claims she was fired from her job for "ungoogley" behavior after asking about holiday pay at a meeting with management, according to a charge filed with the National Labor Relations Board by a lawyer for the Alphabet Workers Union.

Tuesday Carne said in an interview with Protocol that she was fired after just nine days of working in the data contracting facility in South Carolina. Carne's termination letter (which Protocol reviewed) called her behavior at the meeting "unacceptable and 'ungoogley'" and claimed that her behavior was the reason for her firing.

Keep Reading Show less
Anna Kramer

Anna Kramer is a reporter at Protocol (Twitter: @ anna_c_kramer, email: akramer@protocol.com), where she writes about labor and workplace issues. Prior to joining the team, she covered tech and small business for the San Francisco Chronicle and privacy for Bloomberg Law. She is a recent graduate of Brown University, where she studied International Relations and Arabic and wrote her senior thesis about surveillance tools and technological development in the Middle East.

Protocol | Policy

Biden FCC nominee Sohn is walking a tightrope with Republicans

Gigi Sohn faces plenty of GOP opposition, but the longtime net-neutrality advocate is hoping to pick up a little Republican support as she deals with Democrats’ narrow margins.

Gigi Sohn’s work for net neutrality has become an issue in her confirmation hearings for the FCC.

Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

Gigi Sohn wouldn’t mind getting support from a Republican or two, and it’d certainly make her path back to the Federal Communications Commission easier.

During her Senate Commerce Committee confirmation on Wednesday, Sohn, a progressive favorite and longtime net-neutrality advocate, touted her commitment to ensuring a diversity of voices on the airwaves, her past fights for small conservative networks she personally disagrees with and her habit of socializing with those she battles on policy.

Keep Reading Show less
Ben Brody

Ben Brody (@ BenBrodyDC) is a senior reporter at Protocol focusing on how Congress, courts and agencies affect the online world we live in. He formerly covered tech policy and lobbying (including antitrust, Section 230 and privacy) at Bloomberg News, where he previously reported on the influence industry, government ethics and the 2016 presidential election. Before that, Ben covered business news at CNNMoney and AdAge, and all manner of stories in and around New York. He still loves appearing on the New York news radio he grew up with.

Protocol | Workplace

Microsoft Teams is going after small businesses

Microsoft Teams Essentials offers longer, bigger meetings for a relatively small price tag.

Companies can now buy a standalone version of Teams.

Photo: Mika Baumeister/Unsplash

Microsoft announced Wednesday that companies can now buy a standalone version of Teams — one of its most important products and a major player in work messaging and video chat, alongside Slack and Zoom. The product, called Microsoft Teams Essentials, aims to give small or medium-sized businesses a communication hub that costs less than its competitors'.

Microsoft will charge small businesses $4 per user per month for Microsoft Teams Essentials, while Zoom’s cheapest paid plan is $14.99 per user per month and Slack’s is $6.67 per user each month, when billed annually. The free version of Microsoft Teams still exists, as do the various other Microsoft 365 plans that include Teams. Teams Essentials offers longer meeting times, larger group meetings and more cloud storage.

Keep Reading Show less
Lizzy Lawrence

Lizzy Lawrence ( @LizzyLaw_) is a reporter at Protocol, covering tools and productivity in the workplace. She's a recent graduate of the University of Michigan, where she studied sociology and international studies. She served as editor in chief of The Michigan Daily, her school's independent newspaper. She's based in D.C., and can be reached at llawrence@protocol.com.

Latest Stories