An Interview With Fotis Georgiadis
Better business performance: Study after study has confirmed that companies with more diversity outperform less-diverse companies. Ultimately, greater diversity equals better business performance and higher profits for various reasons — increased collaboration, higher performing teams, better decision-making, inclusive products and higher market share.
As a part of our series about “How Diversity Can Increase a Company’s Bottom Line”, I had the pleasure of interviewing Tiffany Pires.
Tiffany is a senior consultant on diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging issues at employee listening company Perceptyx. She regularly researches DEIB-related issues in the workplace and works with Fortune 100 clients on crafting policy and action plans. Prior to that she worked as a consultant at talent management company Talent Plus. She has an MBA from UNC’s Kenan-Flagler Business School and a Master’s in Industrial and Organizational Psychology from East Carolina University.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Before we dive into the main part of our interview, our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit more. Can you share a bit of your “backstory” with us?
For almost a decade, I’ve worked and studied in the Industrial/Organizational Psychology (I/O) industry. I help clients leverage data to discover insights and drive action– everything from coding qualitative interview research to conducting adverse impact analysis to measure if selection processes are negatively affecting historically marginalized groups, to designing large-scale listening programs for organizations with thousands of employees. Currently, I consult leadership teams on their employee listening strategy to help organizations create a more inclusive and engaged workforce that drives the success of their business.
Can you share the funniest or most interesting story that happened to you since you started your career? Can you tell us the lesson or take away, you took out of that story?
My interest in I/O Psychology piqued when I conducted research on people experiencing homelessness. It was truly a life changing experience for me. I had the opportunity to help people who had fallen or were experiencing tough times get back on their feet. I was able to do this by helping them hone in on their career goals and identify potential workplace challenges they might encounter and how to best navigate those.
This experience was a revelation for me. I realized that I/O Psychology has a tremendous capacity to benefit people who come from underprivileged backgrounds. Everyone deserves to have the tools they need to succeed in any aspect of life and it was extremely rewarding to help people get back on their feet however I could.
I entered the I/O Psychology field wanting to understand how to enhance our quality of life and workplaces, raise awareness, and overcome any challenges and blockades that groups might face. I hope to inspire individuals and organizations to rise to their highest potential by providing the tools and resources, so that, when met with opportunity, they are prepared.
What do you think makes your company stand out? Can you share a story?
Perceptyx gives organizations the opportunity to hear the voices of employees, who maybe haven’t always had a voice. We combine expertise with technology that allows us to look at the intersectionality of experience in a seamless fashion. It’s easy for organizations to only look at organization-wide data and assume that tells the whole story. In reality, that barely scratches the surface. The value of employee experience research is being able to get granular in the data to understand the unique experiences of individuals from different backgrounds within different groups of the organization.
For example, one customer I work with wanted to measure psychological safety in their organization, with the goal of creating an environment that’s conducive for creativity and innovation. When we analyzed the data, their scores were aligned with our overall benchmark scores, which would tell us that psychological safety is relatively strong in the organization. However, after diving into the results more, I learned that women felt significantly less safe to contribute their opinions. Women leaders especially felt their perspectives are not valued when compared to their men counterparts. Without our data and technology, we wouldn’t have been able to identify this pattern in our initial analysis.
Are you working on any new or exciting projects now? How do you think that might help people?
Currently, I lead a team that’s been revamping our best practice Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging solution. This new solution includes a robust survey item set that touches on everything from organizational commitment, psychological safety, fairness and belonging. You can take this survey and tailor it to the needs of the organization based on their level of maturity in DEIB.
We also recently released our “Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging: A Playbook for Listening & Action Planning” that outlines the entire process of creating and driving change through a DEIB survey. Ultimately, this solution can help organizations create an environment where their employees feel like they belong, can be their authentic selves and contribute to the organization in meaningful ways.
Ok. Thank you for that. Let’s now jump to the main part of our interview. This may be obvious to you, but it is not intuitive to many people. Can you articulate to our readers five ways that increased diversity can help a company’s bottom line. (Please share a story or example for each.)
Increased diversity efforts can help a company’s bottom line in many ways, but there’s five that stick out to me:
1. Innovation: Research consistently supports the idea that companies with a more diverse employee base and leadership teams are more likely to be innovative. Collaboration among diverse teams means bringing more ideas to the table and thinking outside the box. In a landscape that’s going through significant transformation, being agile and innovative will be more important than ever.
2. Culture enhancement: In the past, organizations often had the goal of hiring people who “fit” with their culture. What this translates to in practice is hiring people similar to those already in the organization’s workforce — reinforcing a monoculture. HR has shifted its focus to cast a wider net and bring in new talent who differ from the existing workforce on a variety of attributes. The result is that HR recognizes the benefit of managing cultural diversity. Since culture is a key aspect of employee experience, employees benefit from a culture that’s enhanced by differing opinions, collaboration, and mutual respect.
3. Talent attraction recruitment: Companies that focus less on who “fits” with the existing culture — i.e. those who are most like the current workforce — have the benefit of accessing a wider pool of talent. Of course, employees still need to have the right skills and experience for the position, but it’s important to look for candidates who can leverage their differences to enhance the organization’s culture. Diversity begets diversity, and applicants who see diversity in the organization are more likely to see how they can fit within the organization as well.
4. Improvement in key metrics: Things that matter to the organization such as engagement and the employee experience can be enhanced by diversity. As the organization strives to ensure that the work environment is inclusive — often a prerequisite for engagement — all employees (and the organization itself) profit. One of the benefits of hiring a diverse workforce is that it incentivizes the organization to focus on inclusivity and creates an environment in which all employees feel supported and can succeed. Diversity and inclusion enable high-performing teams.
5. Better business performance: Study after study has confirmed that companies with more diversity outperform less-diverse companies. Ultimately, greater diversity equals better business performance and higher profits for various reasons — increased collaboration, higher performing teams, better decision-making, inclusive products and higher market share.
What advice would you give to other business leaders to help their employees to thrive?
The first step to helping employees thrive is listening to them. Employee survey data is one of the most effective tools for mapping a path to improve the employee experience, and more importantly helping employees thrive. Unfortunately, there’s no one-size-fits-all approach. What’s most important to employees depends on many factors, such as the culture of the organization, their role, and individual differences. There’s no better way to help employees thrive than to ask the source themselves. Use that data to remove the barriers that are getting in the way of employees being successful.
What advice would you give to other business leaders about how to manage a large team?
Managing a large team means creating a space where team members can leverage each other to grow and develop, especially if in a large setting the manager doesn’t have the bandwidth to provide the individual development that each employee needs. Large teams that are rooted in collaboration are the most successful because they can leverage each other when trying to solve problems and in everyday learning. The environment of collaboration also has to have a foundation of psychological safety. Otherwise, team members may not feel comfortable raising their hand to ask for help or bring forth new and different ideas.
How can our readers further follow your work online?
Thank you for these excellent insights. We wish you continued success in your great work.
Tiffany Pires Of Perceptyx On How Diversity Can Increase a Company’s Bottom Line was originally published in Authority Magazine on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.