Episode 266

How to Create a Safe Workplace for Diversity with Erica Courdae

August 31, 2021

What does diversifying your business mean? These days, many businesses are focused on implementing DEI (Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion) for building a more inclusive company. But where should you start if you don’t know how to set up inclusive workplace practices? In this episode, Emily talks with Erica Courdae, a professional DEI coach and educator of imperfect allyship. They discuss leadership methods for improving the team environment and prioritizing communication, diversity, and safety in the workplace.

Learn More about the Topics Discussed in this Episode
This Episode Brought to You By:
"Be honest with the type of person you need when hiring so that both of you are setting up for success and not failure."
- Erica Courdae

Discussed in this Episode

  • How to develop an inclusive work culture (7:35)
  • What does it mean to prepare your business for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion? (10:14)
  • Does diversity look like having more rules in place or fewer rules in place? (12:00)
  • How to define company rules in order to fully support your employees (18:30)
  • Establishing different sets of rules to create an inclusive culture (23:29)
  • Being honest as a leader about what works well for you and your team (31:11)
  • Creating job listings and being clear on the type of personal values you’re hiring (33:15)
  • What it looks like to cultivate another level of diversity in your business (35:32)
  • The importance of considering if you’re actually ready to support a diverse team (41:47)
  • How to be prepared for embracing the unexpected (48:20)

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[00:00:00] Emily Thompson: It makes me so happy to see so many business owners becoming aware of the benefits, opportunity and downright good humanness of building businesses that not only as supports but as representative of diversity and inclusion. From hiring to serving, the future is mindful diversity and equitable representation, which sounds awesome in theory, but what does it actually look like to make this happen?

[00:00:38] Welcome to Being Boss, a podcast for creatives, business owners and entrepreneurs who want to take control of their work and live life on their own terms. I'm your host, Emily Thompson. And in today's episode, I'm tackling a topic that I've seen come up over and over as the next question in building a diverse business.

[00:00:55] Yes, we know we need to do this, but how? How do you expand your reach for hiring purposes? It's a question I've heard over and over from business owners who seek to grow diverse businesses but struggle when their applicants continue to look the exact same. This question is one I'll dive into today, but you also need to know that there's something that comes first before you hire someone who doesn't look, sound, think, believe, or love the way you do.

[00:01:23] You have to first make sure that your business is prepared to support them. And to shed some light on both of these topics, I've invited my friend Erica Courdae. Who has already been a guest on the podcast a couple of times, I'll make sure there are links to all of those in the show notes to lend her expertise to all of you who are finding yourself in this place, in your DEI journey too.

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[00:02:15] Sound like someone you know? This is the boss away in these stories will inspire you on your journey to do things differently as well. Listen, learn and grow with The Shakeup and more business podcasts with the HubSpot Podcast Network at hubspot.com/podcastnetwork.

[00:02:36] Erica Cordae has dedicated her life to expanding how others interact with the world through powerful conversations. As an entrepreneur and certified coach, her work is focused on diversity, equity and inclusion or DEI, imperfect allyship and imposter syndrome. This work has taken her into communities and onto national stages as a speaker and educator at noteworthy industry events like Alt Summit, She Podcasts Live.

[00:03:02] And to right here at Being Boss. Erica is also the owner of an inclusive beauty salon, Silver Immersion, and the host of Pause On The Play, a podcast that features open dialogue on topics like company culture, visibility, and mindset. 

[00:03:18] Erica. We'll come back to being boss. I'm so glad to see your happy face today.

[00:03:22] Erica Courdae: I love being here with you. Thank you for having me. 

[00:03:25] Emily Thompson: So as we got on, you shared with me something amazing that I feel like we just need to talk about for half a second. And that is that you just got a pair of roller skates. 

[00:03:33] Erica Courdae: Yes, I was so excited. I love it.

[00:03:36] Emily Thompson: How and why did you get roller skates? 

[00:03:41] Erica Courdae: So it, okay, so I'm going to go back for a second just because like I grew up.

[00:03:46] Rollerskating. My dad was like the dude that would dance on roller skates. Like he was absolutely that person. So I grew up with the dancing at the ranks and the music and all in birthday parties at roller skating rinks. That was the norm for me. And for whatever reason over the years, I just kinda didn't do it as much.

[00:04:06] But it also, like, it wasn't the thing anymore. And I was kinda sad about it, but it was like, okay, I'm a whole adult with like 8,000 jobs. It's fine. And India and I had been talking about it and we were like, you know what? This gives us something to kind of step out of like work stuff and go do friends stuff.

[00:04:23] And it's a way to exercise and it's fun. So we decided to go ahead and try to get roller skates, which wasn't was not the best idea after pandemic. Cause everybody bought all the damn roller skates, but we were, we figured it out. I've gotten my kids doing it. They love it. I'm so excited. I'm like, I'm going to dance on skates.

[00:04:43] I don't know how long it's gonna take me, but I'm gonna do it. It's gonna happen. 

[00:04:48] Emily Thompson: Yes. It's going to happen. So you have like, you're like living out a legacy, roller skates. 

[00:04:53] Erica Courdae: I am. It was, and it was so funny. Cause like I did a, I don't usually do a [00:05:00] father's day post with my dad, but I did one this weekend and it very much is like, this is my honoring of.

[00:05:07] Like I am a daddy's girl and always will be, and this is just my way to be like, I know you always watch over me and this is my way to remind you that there's a piece of you. That's always with me, so, 

[00:05:18] Emily Thompson: oh, that's fantastic. So, but like, do you have the skills to, are they like hereditary? 

[00:05:24] Erica Courdae: I sure hope so. I do have some rhythms, so I'm like, hopefully that will convey itself.

[00:05:28] Cause I went yesterday and I was like, Ooh, this is going to be a long road, but that's all right. 

[00:05:34] Emily Thompson: Is this right? Oh my goodness. I love this. I was just telling you, I'm also thinking about getting a pair of roller skates. I do not have a legacy both to help me along or that I need to live up to so pros and cons there.

[00:05:50] Right. I also, I remember just like skating my entire childhood. I'm really just good forward though. Not really great at dancing. Like I could probably do the limbo. I feel like the hokey pokey was always a little difficult. 

[00:06:08] Erica Courdae: Yeah. That was a little hard for me. I remember being like, all right, y'all move this one more notch.

[00:06:11] I can't fit on it. I'm done. 

[00:06:13] Emily Thompson: Right. 

[00:06:14] So, anyway, I'm thinking about getting a pair too, but similar, we have a place here in Chattanooga that I think they make them here. But definitely like founded in Chattanooga. They've been out of stock for weeks months even. So anyway, soon we're going to have to get together and roller skate.

[00:06:33] Together. 

[00:06:35] Erica Courdae: I need this to happen. I cannot, I cannot tell you how excited that makes me like seriously. I'm like, yes, please. And I just looked up and found mine. Like it was literally trying to try on a bunch of pairs to find one that felt good. And it was like, I don't want to try these. Those are not the ones I want to get.

[00:06:51] And I tried them and they felt good enough. Perfectly fine. 

[00:06:55] Emily Thompson: Perfect. Okay. Well, then this is a call for all bosses then who are roller [00:07:00] skaters. Need you to find this on Instagram. Sherice share your rollerskating tips and tricks because Eric and I are about to take over. 

[00:07:10] Erica Courdae: Yeah. 

[00:07:12] Emily Thompson: Maybe on our hands and knees.

[00:07:17] Erica Courdae: Oh, me pads and elbow pads. And I'm just, I just put me in a bubble, right. Let's just go with it. 

[00:07:22] Emily Thompson: Indeed. Indeed. Perfect. Well, we'll see. Maybe we'll well, maybe we'll be sharing our own photos on Instagram one day of us rollerskating together. But I think as everyone is coming out the pandemic, businesses are growing.

[00:07:39] People are looking to hire again. And just like the journey of a boss, our community is filled with people who are at the phases, where they want to start hiring their first employee or their second, third, fourth employee. So it's not just one employee, one contractor, but actually starting to build a team.

[00:07:57] And we're in, thankfully this reality now where diversity is something. We are all caring about in a way that we may not have cared about it before. So I wanted to bring you in today to talk about building a diverse team. And even before building a divide, a diverse team, building a business and a company culture that is welcoming to a diverse team.

[00:08:26] So with that in mind, where do you want to begin? If anywhere. 

[00:08:32] Erica Courdae: I always feel like one of the things that comes up for me is people have this misconception that you only consider this. Once you have a team, you only consider this when you are no longer a solopreneur. And as far as I'm concerned, it begins at the inception of the business because it informs everything that you do.

[00:08:56] Because even before you have a team it's going to include. What are your buying habits? If you choose to have a VA, where do you find them? What are the parameters with how you con you know, communicate with people, Hey, how quickly is the turnaround or what I need done from you? It really does set up company culture with how you interact with people that aren't fully on your team, like that setting the stage for it, because then once you have people on your team, it's like, I don't really know how to bring you on.

[00:09:27] I'd really don't know how I want this to go. I don't know how I want you to feel being a part of the team. I don't know what my expectations are, but here I am with three people that I'm paying as full-time employees and this shit's hard. So like you, you need to know it before you think you need it.

[00:09:47] Emily Thompson: Indeed, indeed. And I do feel like so many people these days are very concerned with or into the idea of building a diverse team, but they're not thinking about the fact that your business has to be set up for it. And you, it does something that you start thinking about from the beginning. But if you didn't think about it from the beginning, you think about it now before.

[00:10:11] You hire your diverse teams. So let's talk about that first step. This, this preparing your business for diversity. What does that mean? And what does that look like? 

[00:10:24] Erica Courdae: What you said is important. What does that mean? And I think it's important for every entity to decide what does it mean for them? Because every, like none of us are carbon copies of the other.

[00:10:35] And so there's no way that we can assume that there's one static definition that is going to be diversity for all of us, for some of us it's because of the fact that we really want to highlight women of color. For some of us, it might be that it's, it's the stay at home moms that don't really have the opportunity to go into the workforce in the same way.

[00:10:56] It's the fact that it could be the intersectionality of those two that I just gave the example of like diversity doesn't fall into just this one very linear box. And so I think it's important to start by just kinda. Being clear on who it is that you want to be a part of the team. So when you think of diversity, what makes up a diverse team for you?

[00:11:22] That doesn't mean that you're excluding people, but just like when you think about who's your audience, you know who it is that you're speaking to, and there's going to be other people that are attracted, but you do have to be clear on who is this actually, for, if I'm really building it in that way. 

[00:11:40] Emily Thompson: Do you think that this looks like having more rules or less rules in terms of like, how so rules in terms of like what your operating hours are, when you expect people to be logged on versus not to when, what.

[00:11:55] Sick leave and vacation leave look like, do you think that setting your business [00:12:00] up for diversity looks like having more of these rules in place or less of these rules in place? 

[00:12:07] Erica Courdae: I think it is having clearly understood and communicated boundaries and expectations because if you are somebody that is really heavy on, like, if this is the deadline, this is what needs to happen, then that needs to clearly be communicated.

[00:12:22] If you're someone that's like. I just needed 24 hours before I have to do this thing. I don't care what you do outside of that. Then that needs to be clearly communicated. I personally don't think that the environment that we're in currently does really well if it's too tight, because you do still have people that can't work in the way that they used to.

[00:12:45] Not that I think that that's ever going to be a thing anymore. That's just, that's just me. But I think, you know, people that we have to care for. Especially like in the summer, kids are home, people's work in home balance. Doesn't look like it used to, not that it was ever balanced, but there's not that same type of separation.

[00:13:09] So to still have those same types of expectations, I think you're setting everybody up for failure. So to me, I think you're going to benefit better by having expectations that are clearly communicated and why, and having boundaries around it versus here's a hard and fast rule, because I think that that is going to make it a little bit of a tougher sell.

[00:13:34] If somebody knows for a fact that they can't or you're going to hire them. And then somebody is going to be solely disappointed because they can't uphold it. 

[00:13:43] Emily Thompson: I also, as you're saying this, I feel like it's not necessarily more or less rules. It's just different rules. And so I think what, what the pandemic has shown us is that what was happening before was not sustainable in any other situation. 

[00:14:00] Right. Other than the status quo. And once the status changes, everything breaks. And so why not build in. Different rules that allow for flexibility with clear expectations and boundaries that are clearly communicated. That are more effective than the rules that were previously in place. So thinking about you know, I feel like before most cultures, most company cultures were built under the assumption of everyone, either being single with no kids or being in a traditional family situation.

[00:14:37] Right. Like, because for decades, hundreds of years, that was how humans operated. And so all of these rules for how it is that we show up, we do our jobs. We are all like able-bodied able minded, um, you know, either in a traditional family setting or single with no kids. 

[00:14:54] Erica Courdae: It's very heteronormative and you are in one place or another.

[00:14:57] That was it. No gray areas. 

[00:14:59] Emily Thompson: Right. And you, you plan your vacations. You're sick when you schedule it. Exactly. Right. All of these things, but we've all been shown that that's not effective. If anything, like we were all sort of, like I say, we obviously not, we we've made our own rules. But people in those situations were slowly dying, right.

[00:15:21] Having to work in those kinds of conditions. So we all have these opportunities to rethink company culture. Right. And I'm saying company culture, whether you are solo with a contractor or two, or you are 5, 10, 15 members into your team, all businesses have a company culture, but it's in, re-imagining what these sort of rules of operations are.

[00:15:47] And breaking free of traditions and creating new rules that you make yourself. So in support of the team that you want to build. Well, that is, what's going to be helpful.

[00:16:01] Erica Courdae: The other thing that I feel like you, you mentioned too, was like, when we talk about these antiquated ways of doing things, we also have to remember that so much before was built on productivity from a model that actually came from.

[00:16:17] People being enslaved. So, you know, the fact of the matter is, is that prior to COVID, we still had a lot of that being pushed and productivity had to look different when the world and life looked different. And so now when you have businesses opening back up and they're really pushing some people to go back, it's like, we can't go back to that same type of metric because.

[00:16:42] Again, going back to having, you know, parameters and boundaries and things being clearly communicated. A lot of people made it seem as if they could do this productivity, because you're going to tell your boss that you're not productive in the way that they think you should be productive. No, but most people are not productive.

[00:17:03] In the traditional sense. Anyway, people don't work an eight hour day and get eight hours worth of work done. Who does that? Nobody does that. That's not how that works. And that also does not make, you're not human. So you're not making connections. You're not building relationships. You're not actually having any problem solving or any recognizing of where things have to be rerouted and done differently.

[00:17:24] So we also have to question. What is productivity and how does that play into company culture? And if I want to do it differently than you have to keep that in mind, which goes into the whole rules place, because if we're going to talk about rules and we have to acknowledge like, wait, you know, productivity doesn't work with rules, the way that they were done.

[00:17:46] That's bullshit. It's a lie.

[00:17:48] Emily Thompson: Indeed. And guys, even I get, like I get one eight hour day a week. One is usually Monday, like I can get in, I can bust out a Monday, like nobody else. And after that four or 5, 3, 2 hours, maybe like good productivity, like it is not sustainable and expecting that of anyone makes no damn sense.

[00:18:11] Erica Courdae: No. And you set everybody up for failure, which is why I'm like, why did we ever think that this was an expectation that should, should have been met? Let alone could have been. No. 

[00:18:25] Emily Thompson: Indeed. Right. Okay. So this is the fun part for me. Right. Showing up, doing it differently. And I feel like anyone who's in a place where, you know, you're just starting to build your team.

[00:18:35] Yes. It's something you should have thought about the entire way, but you really don't even know what you don't know until you're in it, learning what you need to know. Yes. Right. And so experiencing, you know, hiring someone and then. They have a kid they're a single parent, you know, having to sort of define these rules as you go to fully support your employees, is how you start building a company culture as you go.

[00:19:07] I, and I want to say that because I don't want anyone to think that they need to figure it out before they even get started. You can also, in some cases, and there are some cases when you don't need to do this as you go, but in some cases you can start building some of these things as you start coming up against them in your business.

[00:19:26] So things like sick leave, what happens whenever, you know, someone needs to clock out to go do something they're going to miss a meeting because something legitimately is happening in their lives. Um, those sorts of things, you can, you can deal with those apps 

[00:19:39] Erica Courdae: as those. Well, and this is where I want to acknowledge when you hear me say to do this, when you first start, I'm not saying it because I'm judging you.

[00:19:47] I'm saying that because I didn't do that. I was the entrepreneur that was trying to build it as I was flying it. I've done it. And so I don't say it because, oh, you should have done that. I said, because learn from it. What? I didn't know, but it's also, you also don't know what you don't know in the sense of, I can't tell you how many clients.

[00:20:10] That I've had over the past year that have completely changed what their company culture looks like because of COVID who the hell could have prepared for that. And so it was more about being malleable enough to. And make the changes that need to be needed to be made, but there was no way to know until it happened.

[00:20:32] And so mental health days, sick days, uh, you know, what does it look like to make up work, having to extend a deadline? Those things absolutely come up and it's just, can you document it as it comes up to make it a standard operating procedure for yourself, but this is definitely not me judging you and saying, you should have done this.

[00:20:54] You should know. We don't know. Until we know. And I will say that for some of the people that I've talked to, some of the most beneficial learning that they've had around company culture and hiring and being able to diversify has been bringing on someone and being 150% clear about the fact that they don't know how all of this works.

[00:21:15] However, they are willing to co-create this with them. If they would like to share their experiences, what can make it better for them and how they can set the stage for the next people that come in behind them, but they need to be on board with it. Like you don't make them the lab rat, but there's a lot of opportunity to partner with people when that, when that presents itself to you.

[00:21:37] That's huge. 

[00:21:39] Emily Thompson: Yes. And how amazing that is for having employee buy-in. Right of like, I'm not just coming into a company and playing by their rules, but I actually get to help them create the rules under which they are going to work for the foreseeable [00:22:00] future. That is like, that's building loyalty within your team.

[00:22:04] Unlike anything you'll experience with any trust falls, 

[00:22:08] Erica Courdae: absolute whatever. It may be. My kids do those. I'm like stop.

[00:22:12] Emily Thompson: Between siblings, that sounds dangerous. 

[00:22:19] Erica Courdae: I'm like, somebody's going to hit the damn floor. 

[00:22:23] Emily Thompson: Even. I would be tempted to take blood back. Oops, sorry. Right. But within a company, within a company, this sounds, this sounds amazing for building a team. Absolutely. For building a team of really helping them. And that's something that I've experienced as well.

[00:22:44] In building my team. I, because I will say to you, there's also, there's almost this, there's almost a hiccup here. And the hiccup is I have also experienced it where I have worked with people who needed hard, fast, and somewhat traditional rules in order to be productive because I think that we're in this in-between place where like, yes, there is a large part of the population who is needing something new and different because they cannot operate under, you know, a paradigm how, yeah.

[00:23:17] How things have been done. Right. However, there's this other part of the population who has been trained and to finding that, to be really how it is that they are most productive and how they can show. So this may be awful, but is it possible to create different sets of rules for people and your company?

[00:23:41] Erica Courdae: I think, and see, this is where I think you have to have kind of that gray area of like, here's the expectation. And as long as it can be met, like it's fine. But I think part of what I'm hearing and what you mentioned is. Having the type of [00:24:00] company culture from the very beginning of somebody feeling comfortable enough to say, this is how I work well.

[00:24:07] And knowing that even they've been with you, let's say three months, six months, nine months. And it's like, Hey, I thought this part would work really well. However, this is what I need. Can we can we shift my deadlines from Friday to Thursday morning, you know? And so I wonder if that's more about having the type of company culture, where the people that are working with you feel like they can communicate if they can't meet a need, if their needs aren't being met.

[00:24:38] Because I think what happens sometimes is we too often, limit it to, this was what I need to work well, and we don't consider what do our people need to work well because that's great. You need people to show up three minutes ahead of time for anything you need things completely there without question, please, don't come back to me and ask me any additional details, get everything you need then when, when they're like, but wait, I got halfway in and I can see that this could be done differently, but I can't come ask you questions.

[00:25:11] So I can't do anything. You're now going to limit them, but yet you have an expectation for them to be forward thinkers and do things that are going to help, but you're not creating an environment. So it's like, are you building it for how you work well, or are you building it for you and your team to get to the goal and you have to decide which one's more important.

[00:25:34] That's part of doing it differently to me. Cause if you limit that, that's hard for somebody to come in and have to acclimate. If that's not how, like I'm a, I'm a verbal processor. If somebody told me when you have ideas and you need to work it through, go figure it out on your. That would be really hard for me because I don't have that opportunity to talk through these, these thoughts as they're coming and we can lay this out and you can say, well, this doesn't really work.

[00:25:58] And I'm like, Hmm. Okay. I can see that. Well, how about this? You're giving me an opportunity to work in my zone of genius, but I also know that our goals are aligned. So I have to meet you where you are too, but you're not telling me that mine doesn't matter. And that's important. 

[00:26:16] Emily Thompson: Hmm, that's good. It also makes me think that even going back to how things have been done, like building company cultures, it really sort of takes into account that your entire team is just a homogenous group of the same person, right?

[00:26:31] You build these structures that everyone just has to follow. But I think what we're perhaps moving into is this idea of building company cultures that supports everyone as innovative. Right. And it's not as easy. What's funny is it's not as like initially easy, but it's more productive and of being more profitable.

[00:26:54] You probably need less team members because everyone is like that much more dialed in. And so what it really requires of us I think is to, instead of creating different rules for everyone, it's figuring out. The best tactics for holding people accountable when the way that they need to be held accountable.

[00:27:14] Some people were really great, you know, their self managers can show up and do their own thing, but not everyone is. And so there's a different level of accountability, right? Or a different level of how you support accountability for your individual employees. Which brings me to, I think my big point here, and that is that before it was about supporting everyone all at once. Now, I think we're forced to support everyone as individuals. That is where some magic happens. 

[00:27:48] Erica Courdae: Yeah. That is because if everybody comes in and it's like, we meet at noon on Tuesdays and Thursdays, everything is due by noon on Friday, like, okay, this is very structured in a way that it assumes everybody is going to work in process in the same way, at the same speed and have the same requirements for them to get to that goal.

[00:28:10] But being able to step back and say, great, we have things that are due by end of day on Friday. And you have that one employee that. Hey, I, you know, I'm the homeschool on duty Wednesday through Friday. I can get you everything, but I'm gonna get it to you by Tuesday. And I won't be on that meeting on Thursday, but I'll watch the replay.

[00:28:31] You did everything I needed you to do. You're still in the loop. I don't care how you get it done. Just get it done. The person that's like, I need to be on all the calls. Cause I need to be able to ask my questions so that I don't come and hop in your inbox at 2:00 AM. Cause that's when I happened to be up nursing my two month old, you know what I mean?

[00:28:48] Like you're able to work with it or that person that's like. I have, I haven't, you know, an elderly family member. So I know for a fact that I can't get on any of these calls, cause I'm going to do all my work between 9:00 PM and 3:00 AM, but I did it. And so we have to really ask ourselves, does it matter how they got there or does it matter that they got there and that challenges people to have to question these preconceived notions of how work and productivity and.

[00:29:19] Being goal oriented. What does that really mean? It pushes those boundaries and people get itchy when they can't box it all in and make it easily digestible. 

[00:29:31] Emily Thompson: I do like this idea too, though. I do think it is important to create common touchstones in the course of a week or a month where everyone, like in finding a time that works for everyone, right?

[00:29:43] And again, that's you supporting your team so that they can best support you, right? There's some give and take here, right. Creating these touchstones and then otherwise just letting people do what they need to do. And I will say too, It is much easier to do this with remote teams working, you know, in digital, like if you have a physical space, maybe you are running retail or something like that, there's this whole other set of situations you have to deal with.

[00:30:14] But there is something to be said about releasing the old notions of micromanaging, everything, right. Literally when and where people are showing up doing the thing. Letting people tap into their own times of genius and the roles that they find, you know, the most supportive or that they are more, most supportive in and how it is that they need to be held accountable so that they can do their best work.

[00:30:41] Because I do think there is a magic there that whenever you can never, you can spend the time supporting your individual team members in the ways that they most need it. You probably need less team members, right. Can probably be more profitable. You're going to build a tighter, more loyal, more productive team.

[00:31:00] And everyone's going to be that much happier for it. Does it require more energy from you does in everything that's worth doing that require that. 

[00:31:11] Erica Courdae: Right. But I think what you said is important because there's also this place of. Having so much focus on what am I conveying to my team and what am I making sure that they're on board for and what they understand.

[00:31:25] But you also have to have your, like, come to whoever you pray to or put your crystals out or whatever moment of what do, what is it that works well for me, because if you are the leader and you are not honest with yourself in that you cannot have team members that aren't self-starters. That's a problem because you might be a self-starter in this one area and maybe not an old, but if you know that this person that you're bringing on that maybe you liked their personality, but they're constantly going to be tapping you on your shoulder.

[00:32:02] Hey, I don't know about this. Can I do this? Is this okay? Can I have permission for this? And you know, that that is not a fit. For the way that you work well, the way that you work with clients and the, then you don't need to hire them. And so there is a point that you have to be honest about what types of things the person needs to have in order to be able to be set up for success.

[00:32:22] Because I do think that there's that place of like, oh, we can work with things. And then there's other things of like, you're just not a good fit. And so you do have to be honest about those things, because that's not fair to set somebody up for failure. Like. 

[00:32:36] Emily Thompson: For sure. Oh, you've touched on something really important here that kind of like knocked around in my brain for half a second earlier.

[00:32:43] So I definitely want to come back to this and this is creating your job listings, right. It's knowing who it is that you need. And so, you know, we've talked about, I feel like flexibility here because that's one of the things that I like to build into how it is that I work with people. It's very important to me.

[00:32:59] It's one of my values, like being able to have freedom of my time. So it is something that resonates a lot with me, but maybe the type of business that you run does not have time flexibility. You know, maybe it is like retail store where you have open hours and your people need to be available during these days. Whenever you were creating these job roles, you can have these.

[00:33:19] Job requirements. Right? And that is that you are available at 5:00 PM every Friday for this meeting that everyone has to be on, no matter what, or during those operating hours where everyone has to be in person, or you want everyone available in slack or wherever it may be. Or that they are a great self managers because you never want to manage anyone or whatever it may be.

[00:33:40] You can have these requirements that really do define the person that you want to bring onto your team. So they fit well within the culture that you have mindfully and purposefully been building from the very beginning. Right. So yes, to that, you can have requirements and then create the sort of systems within that, that allow.

[00:34:03] For the diversity that you are here to cultivate.

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[00:35:32] I do want to jump into, so I feel like we've talked a lot about, like, I feel like a lot of this context has been, around kids. Right. Having that flexibility. We both have kids. So that's something we both dial into, but I do want to get into maybe some of the stickier situations. I feel like kids is an easy one.

[00:35:53] But the sort of things you need to be putting in place in your company to cultivate different kinds of different. Whoa, that word was very difficult. That was my caffeine coming out right there. Whoa. So I want to talk about what it looks like to cultivate another level of diversity. What does it look like to bring in people who, people who are of different race or religious backgrounds, like those can be a little bit stickier and not necessarily a matter of like when you get to take off and if you have to make this meeting or not.

[00:36:30] Right. But it also like how it is that you talk to people, how it is that you are dealing. Holidays, right? Like there's a lot of things in there that need to be addressed as well. Let's move into that space. And what sort of things do you need to consider when, when wanting to diversify your company on that level?

[00:36:51] Erica Courdae: One of the first things that I always tell people is I can, and I'm using myself as the example, but I can advise you. On what to consider or some options, but I always feel like you need to check with legal counsel and your HR person. You can have somebody as a contractor. You don't have to have somebody that's on staff, but I think it is always important to speak to somebody that does HR in your state because laws and regulations are different from place to place.

[00:37:21] So you always want to make sure, yeah. That you are legally protected, not legally protecting your ass is not very boss. Don't do that. So indeed, just saying, I think what comes up is whenever you think about the company culture piece of mental health days, benefits, holidays, floating sick time.

[00:37:51] You want to be clear on who benefits from this? You want to be clear why it's in place, how it's executed, but you also want to take the time to you kind of want to inquire with those that it's going to benefit. It's no different than like, if we kind of think about somebody that is taking care of a parent that has dementia and you assume that, oh, great.

[00:38:18] You want these days? You haven't actually checked in to see what that person needs. So this is where I think it's important that if you are trying to have certain types of support structures in place, you want to actually have conversations with people that can advise you that have been in those situations.

[00:38:37] It's no different than I would not want some 22 year old that has never had kids. Some dumb dude with the scrotum, they'd be like, this is what you need as a mother with children. Don't tell me that. Cause you don't know what I need. Don't do that. So I think it's important to make sure that you are actually inquiring.

[00:38:58] With those people. So for example, like I have a specific company that I usually order like, my microphones and like just AV stuff from, and it's, it's a Jewish owned company. And so you can come in on a Saturday online and you can place an order. That order will not go through until after Shabbat has passed. Period.

[00:39:18] And so therefore, if I were to have gone in there and set up the rules, I would not have known. But it, it is clear what it is that they need in order to honor their religious practices. And that means that there are certain points you can come on there, but you cannot place an order because they can't support you.

[00:39:36] And so I think whenever you want to create that diversity, it is important to make sure that you are actually checking with the people that are going to be utilizing it, to make sure that what you think is the thing to do is actually the thing to do. And that's where it goes back to what we talked about before.

[00:39:55] Hey, if you're a part of this, I want to know what's going to support you. This is where it is important to be in conversation because you can do what you think will work well for you at this moment. But you won't know if you don't ask others and be willing to listen and utilize that as a part of the decision-making process, because I also don't like people asking questions and they're not going to do anything with the answers.

[00:40:19] So you actually have to be willing to implement things based on the feedback that you get. 

[00:40:24] Emily Thompson: Yes, you have to have conversations first. I mean, that's really important. I feel like these days, so many people are rushing, right. To build a diverse team, you know, they add on, you know, Anyone, anyone that doesn't look or sound or believe what they do, but they're not having the conversations first to make sure that they are fully prepared and, or doing their own personal work so that they are actually fully prepared to support someone who doesn't look, sound or believe what they do.

[00:41:00] Erica Courdae: Right. And so you're out here arbitrarily creating diverse parameters for somebody that might not ever actually be a part of your team. Now that doesn't mean that you only do it based on people that you want to be a part of your team, but you have to, you have to be fluid enough to be able to say, these are the things that can be put into place.

[00:41:21] And now this is who is here and I'm going to actually implement based on that because when you don't have it, it's all kind of a guess. And so you just have to be willing to kind of shift that. But I also feel like part of that is the representation, because whenever we talk about diverse team, people are like, well, I put out a job posting and nobody applied.

[00:41:41] Do you know why they do?

[00:41:45] I can tell you. 

[00:41:47] Emily Thompson: Can we talk about this piece too, because this is a conversation that I'm seeing come up a lot as well. And I have it's, you've been in a couple of the rooms where this conversation has come up too. And I always love that. The question is always, how do I find people that were like, they've put out a call on, you know, Instagram or email list, or maybe even a job board, those sorts of things.

[00:42:10] And they're not getting diverse applicants. So they're having a hard time building a diverse team because it's just more of the same. And so I want to ask you that question, but I also love that you always precede this with. But are you actually ready? But are you actually ready for a diverse team? Because I, that comes first, everyone ready?

[00:42:36] You have to be able to support them. And I love that there is this, this theme of support that we have here, but let's go back to that question of you've done the work. You've talked to the people, you've put the things in place, you know what you're going to clearly communicate all of those things.

[00:42:53] Now it's time for you to build a diverse. How do you make, how do you get applicants that don't look like you. 

[00:43:01] Erica Courdae: First of all, you can't keep trying to pull from the same pool. So if we're constantly putting up job announcements or postings in the same places, whether that's online, whether that's social media, you keep going to the same people in your peer network.

[00:43:16] You're going to continue to get more of the same. So the first thing is, is you need to go into different areas, again, different job boards. This is where your network should be diversified so that you're not, you're working in this homogenous place. You're going to keep getting homogenous hires. So you have to kind of get out of it.

[00:43:34] But you also want to make sure that if you put out a job posting and somebody says, let me stroll on over to your Instagram and they don't see themselves represented. They might not want to be there. So if you're going to put that job posting out, then you want to make sure that you can back up that yes, you are not only welcome here, but you're reflected here.

[00:43:54] You're respected here. So I feel like that's also a part of putting out that job posting, making sure that like, which you are saying is what you're actually doing. But there's also that place of not underestimating the power of conversation. Again, if you are talking with people that are in your network and you're continuously diversifying your network in all ways possible, then when you mentioned that you need to hire somebody, you have less of an issue of feeling like you're going to have the same people.

[00:44:31] Sending you to the same places or now saying I have nobody else to send you. I've sent you everybody because you've exhausted all of your resources. And so it's also telling you that you do need to have more diversity in your network. Because most of us, I feel like the opportunities we have and the things that we run into a lot of it does come from referrals.

[00:44:54] And so you do want to make sure that you are putting out this opportunity and in different spheres, it should not keep being in the same place ever, because you're going to keep getting more of the same. And then you're going to wonder why this isn't working. 

[00:45:10] Emily Thompson: Yes. And I love that this even goes back to this theme of this is something that you work on.

[00:45:16] From the beginning. Right. And if you didn't from the beginning you started right now, it's growing your network. 

[00:45:22] Erica Courdae: Beginning is wherever you go. I want so like, yes, beginning is like pre business, but there's so much in your head and I get that. And so beginning is today. If you have not already done it. You have to own the monopoly board today.

[00:45:37] Here's your $200 getting your little shoe, keep going, like going around the board, going around the board, do that, 

[00:45:48] Emily Thompson: right? Oh, that's so good. And completely agree. That's most of my very best hires have been from her. Right. And so it really does go back to that network and it's building a diverse network.

[00:46:03] It's having diverse friends, literally having these conversations because that's where friends come from so that you, whenever you are looking for someone it's not just the same old, same old. Right. You are really growing and expanding in so many ways that feeds back into your business. It is an investment, but guys, this is business.

[00:46:27] This is your career. This is your life. It all requires investment in more ways than even you still even realize. Right. So yes, that's onderful tips. Thank you. Cause I know this is something I have had this exact conversation with a dozen bosses in the past three to six months, of everyone sees what they need to do in terms of diversifying their company.

[00:46:54] But the actual doing of it is not something they've a problem. They've yet figured out how to solve. However, you just gave us the answer. Thank you.

[00:47:05] Erica Courdae: Well, you're welcome. And what, one of the things that I think I want to remind people is that it takes time. It takes effort, it takes consistency, and please don't underestimate the ROI of it because it doesn't have a traditional metric on it because too often people are looking for ROI in the very old school way that it, this relationship building.

[00:47:35] Doesn't work that way, but yet it is a highly invaluable thing that if you don't do it, you're going to pay for it and you will pay for it in money and you need to do it before you actually realize that you do it. And it's important to recognize that yes, it takes work, but if you look at it as, oh, I know it's going to take so much time and so much.

[00:48:01] That's the energy you put into it. So don't be mad when people that look like me or don't look like you don't want to apply because now you made them feel. So think about snap. 

[00:48:14] Emily Thompson: Yes. To that. Just love it. Okay. So then let's put these two pieces together. If we may, you've talked about what it looks like to more consciously build a company culture.

[00:48:25] When we're, you're throwing away all of the rules and making them a new one. And assisting or allowing your employees to assist you in defining these new rules and these boundaries and these expectations, all of these things. And we've looked, looked at what it takes to more mindfully and with a little more time and effort, actually do the hiring to grow a, a more diverse team.

[00:48:52] But how do you know when your company is ready for the hiring? 

[00:48:58] Erica Courdae: You don't. 

[00:49:01] Emily Thompson: Love that answer. 

[00:49:05] Erica Courdae: Just like anything else we do. Any of the other things that we as bosses choose to embark upon, there is no green light because there's nobody standing by telling you, Hey. Water's water's warm. You can jump in now or you can wage your way on it.

[00:49:27] There is no way to know, but you can do what you can to be as prepared on the front end and to be as fluid as possible for the unexpected, which, I mean, that was this past year and a half, essentially. That was exactly what it was. And so if you think about what it is to allow people to feel included, to allow them to feel as though they are a part of the decision making processes and the outcomes to know that they are respected, that [00:50:00] they are reflected that their, their opinions matter, that they are a part of, of goals that matter to them.

[00:50:08] That your values and their values intersect to make impact. Even if that impact is his money, maybe it's more social change, whatever it is, but being clear and transparent about those things. Being able to acknowledge how you work, what you need, what you want. And allowing other people to raise their hand and say yes, or to say no, because sometimes saying no means that you didn't have somebody that wasn't a good fit and that's you dodged the bullet on that, but everybody involved.

[00:50:41] But I think if you can be clear on the front end of what would make this situation feel like a win for you. Trying to have as much data and information as possible on what would make it a win for them. And then being willing to listen when they tell you what would actually make it a win when you begin to encounter these people and being willing to constantly revisit that process over time, because what it is now is not what it's going to be in the next quarter, in the next six months in the next 12 months, being willing to constantly figure out what is it that we all need to win.

[00:51:17] And being willing to do those things. Be open, listen, be in conversation, be fluid.

[00:51:28] Emily Thompson: And done. I have nothing to add to that. You said all the things, the biggest one I want to reiterate here is going into it with this idea of mutual support, right? You were hiring someone to support you. It is your job to support them in return and not everyone needs the same support. No, no, we're not all the 

[00:51:52] Erica Courdae: same.

[00:51:54] If you can think of all of the different relationships that we all have in life, [00:52:00] none of them operate off of the same set of parameters. And so why would you expect a diverse team to operate off of a homogenous set of standards?

[00:52:15] Emily Thompson: It'd be silly of you to think that and very incorrect. 

[00:52:19] Erica Courdae: You will be solely disappointed. 

[00:52:23] Emily Thompson: Indeed, indeed. So mutual support is number one for me. And two is openness. Is this openness for communication, for collaboration, for co-creating for figuring it out, figuring it out as you go for being unattached to the outcomes.

[00:52:40] All of these things for me, openness is like a value, a core value of being boss. And it has to go into this process as much as it does your conversations with your business besties, right. Or whatever it may be. I think those two things really hit 

[00:52:59] Erica Courdae: home for me. So the outcome is, is huge. I don't think that people understand how much they strangled.

[00:53:07] Process and, and possibility by being so overly attached to the outcome, having to be this exact thing in this exact way, you are not allowing what is actually yours and of the highest level of service to be delivered to you.

[00:53:28] Emily Thompson: Damn right. Let go, let go, everybody. 

[00:53:34] Erica Courdae: Yes. 

[00:53:35] Emily Thompson: Erica, this has been a pleasure, a pleasure. I appreciate you having this conversation with me again. This is one that I see coming up in the Being Boss Community with some of my, some of my business besties. There are so many of our people who are here for building more diversity into everything that we do, but the nuts and bolts of it is not something that we've figured out yet. 

[00:54:00] However, I feel like you just shared some nuts and bolts. Thank you. 

[00:54:05] Erica Courdae: You're welcome. Thanks for, I appreciate being willing to have this conversation and letting people know, like you can do this and you can do it differently. Like being divergent is actually a positive here. Cause that's, while we're all unemployable by others.

[00:54:20] Emily Thompson: Indeed. Cause we're too valuable. 

[00:54:22] Erica Courdae: Right. 

[00:54:23] Emily Thompson: Far too. 

[00:54:24] Erica Courdae: Can't afford me. Sorry. 

[00:54:26] Emily Thompson: You can't, you can't nor would you want me? I am trouble.

[00:54:33] Total trouble. You too. 

[00:54:36] Erica Courdae: The whole reason why I do not work for somebody else you don't know. 

[00:54:41] Emily Thompson: Right. You don't want me do not want me well, Erica, thank you again. Where can people find more about you? 

[00:54:48] Erica Courdae: You can come on over to ericacourdae.com. You can learn a little bit more about the business, the things that I do, you can also come on over to pauseontheplay.com.

[00:54:58] That is where you will find out about the services that I offer there with my business partner, India Jackson, and our podcast Pause On A Play where we talk very candidly and openly about diversity, equity and inclusion, how it intersects with visibility and all the shit in between. 

[00:55:14] Emily Thompson: Ooh, like it. And my last question as always, Erica, what is making you feel most boss?

[00:55:24] Erica Courdae: Freedom. I've reclaimed a lot of my time, my mental capacity, my heart space, the way that I want to be supported and the way that I want to support others. And I have utilized that as my cannon fodder of how I am embodying the word audacity this year and being unwilling to accept less. 

[00:55:49] Emily Thompson: The end, everybody that you need to hear nothing more.

[00:55:53] Just sit on that. Thank you, Erica. So much.

[00:56:00] Now that you know, that building your network and cultivating support is key to staying in touch with what's needed to build a business primed for diversity and impact. You may be wondering how to get started. If I may, I wholeheartedly suggest you check out the being boss committee. And this like-minded group of creative business owners were often breaching the topics of hiring to building effective company cultures and navigating the landscape of embracing diversity and equity in our businesses.

[00:56:27] No matter how big or small, and it's all happening in a safe place where you're encouraged to both ask questions and share your experiences. Learn more and dive into the Being Boss Community by going to beingboss.club/community where you'll gain access to our community platform, our wide array of events, including the beating heart of the community, our virtual Monday meetups, and so much more.

[00:56:49] That's beingboss.club/community. Now until next time, do the work, be boss.