Engaging Underrepresented Employees

Having an HR engagement tactic for minority and underrepresented employees can help businesses attract and retain top employees in this tight talent market.

Today’s workplaces can be marred with subtle harassment, microaggressions, disrespect, and discrimination, particularly when it comes to employees who are minorities. As diversity and inclusion become stronger imperatives for companies across the world, it’s important to be attuned to your workforce’s changing needs. Having an HR engagement tactic for minority and underrepresented employees can help businesses attract and retain top employees in this tight talent market.

At the root of any engagement drive is the need to connect with your employees. Your engagement strategy should cover their concerns about the organization and what motivates them. The strategy should be aimed at employee retention whereby your HR team engages underrepresented employees to determine issues and potential solutions within the organization. Businesses can no longer afford to ignore the costs of employee turnover, lowered productivity, and decreased engagement. Keep reading to learn more about how you can better engage your diverse workforce. 

Aspects of Effective Engagement

Effective communication and engagement with underrepresented employees require messaging in a clear, accurate, and helpful manner. This engagement should encompass the various perspectives and concerns of your employees.

For effective engagement, consider the following aspects:

Begin with Consultative Inquisition

To effectively engage the underrepresented worker, you want to begin by asking what concerns those individuals have about the workplace. It is advisable to integrate all communication channels into one platform as this will encourage open communication especially pertaining to the engagement of underrepresented employees.

Make and Maintain Contact

As an HR professional, you want to make engagement part of your strategy within the organization. This is significant since a positive engagement drive improves productivity and aids in achieving desired business results. Maintaining contact will require that the business invests in the appropriate tools and methods to facilitate unobstructed engagement. Baseline surveys are beneficial to HR professionals as it provides unbiased feedback on the level of engagement at present within the organization.

Maintain Your Engagement as an Ongoing, Two-Way Process

As part of the organizational support for engagement, maintain an ongoing two-way process of communication. Have avenues through which you can communicate directly with minority employees and where they can provide feedback to you. Overall, your goal as an HR professional should be to create an environment where credibility triggers honest engagement.

Focus on Culture Management

In a workplace where engagement with minorities is lacking, it is paramount that HR leaders push for cultural transformation techniques. The organization may require a complete or partial shift in its structure. These changes will be informed by the need to have the highest levels of engagement within the organization.

Strategies for HR Leaders to Improve Engagement of Underrepresented Employees

Having a diverse workplace goes beyond the hiring of minority individuals. It requires that HR professionals invest in engaging the underrepresented staff to ensure they feel heard and valued. Without inclusion, diversity is just a statistic. Keeping that in mind, consider using the following strategies to improve engagement of underrepresented employees:

Create Community Through Mentorship

An opportunity to engage underrepresented employees is found in creating a community through mentorship. In most workplaces, employees come from different backgrounds and income classes. If you are to engage this group successfully, you need to create communities through extensive mentorship and create room for all people to learn and grow continuously. 

Engage in Sensitive Conversations

As part of sound leadership and management, HR should provide a conducive environment for underrepresented employees to speak up. The department should provide coaching that allows these individuals to be confident enough to raise their issues. Advocacy by management is crucial if minorities are to feel recognized and safe within the modern workplace.

Create Flexible Policies

As a business, you want policies that are easy to revise and tailor to meet the needs of your workforce. It should be possible to revisit these and make necessary changes that reflect all the different backgrounds of your employees. Notably, these policies should be bias-free and mirror everyday situations within your workplace.

Commit to a Zero-Tolerance Policy

As a business, you should institute a zero-tolerance policy against discrimination, harassment, and microaggressions towards minorities. For instance, during onboarding training, engage all employees on this policy, ensuring that they understand your take on said issues. Undesirable behavior in contravention of this zero-tolerance policy should be met with some form of repercussions. For example, your organization should have redress for inappropriate comments that might make sections of your employees uncomfortable.

Provide Support Through Training

As a strategy to increase engagement between the leadership, HR, and underrepresented groups, consider unbiased training. This should include everyone within the organization to ensure proper management of diverse workplaces. Include leadership coaches that are focused on business outcomes and committed to helping the organization attain projected business performance and business impact.

Invest in Leadership

An approach for engaging underrepresented groups at your workplace is investing in leadership by developing programs that actually teach how to engage diverse groups. These programs focus on leadership improvement in a manner that facilitates the managing of cultures within the workplace. HR professionals need to ensure that leaders have a constant flow of resources that promote continuous learning and adaptation to diverse environments.

How to Design and Develop Coaching Programs for Underrepresented Employees

Coaching engagements need to be structured in a manner that highlights issues affecting underrepresented employees. Additional tips for designing and developing said coaching programs include:

Inclusive Training and Coaching

As the HR professional, you should ensure that underrepresented employees are not singled out during said coaching. The sessions should be inclusive of all employees within the organization if you are to achieve engagement goals.

Align Organization Needs with Coaching Models

The organization’s coaching models should be customized for your business. This should align with the organization’s needs for inclusion and diversity. Specifically, organizational culture should be the center of any models adopted to coach employees on the engagement of underrepresented employees.

Hire Experienced Coaches

To achieve your organization’s objectives and goals on the engagement of underrepresented employees, consider hiring experienced coaches. They should bring unique perspectives to leadership training which should integrate engagement in the day-to-day management activities.

A multi-lateral approach is needed if a business is to adopt strategies to engage underrepresented employees. The team at Sounding Board provides coaching and leadership to create a workplace culture where underrepresented employees are continuously engaged and heard. We work with business leaders to tailor coaching specific to their organizations. Request a Demo today and be on your way towards improving diversity, equity, and inclusion within your organization.

Join Our Newsletter!

Newsletter Signup

Share on linkedin
Share on twitter
Share on facebook

Request A Demo

We Develop The World's Most Impactful Leaders

From leading remote workforces, building productive teams, to improving diversity, equity, and inclusion, Sounding Board has virtual and scalable enterprise solutions that are urgently required to adapt to rapidly changing workplace environments.

Demo Request

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.
Play Video
Play Video
Play Video

Piyush Gupta

VP of Product and Technology
Piyush Gupta is VP of Product and Technology at Sounding Board and champions the voice of customers and users with deep empathy. Piyush envisions Sounding Board to be the first window of coaching experience for professionals and leaders worldwide. His approach is deeply rooted in proven scientific research, modeling human behaviors, and data-informed insights to deliver mindset shifts and desired business outcomes for organizations at scale. He believes that a world-class UX is key to drive simplicity that will lead to millions of professionals to access coaching for their development. Piyush co-invented the world’s first ‘landmark intelligent driving directions’ technology that led Google to redesign their routing algorithms for the Asian markets. For the next decade, he led two disruptive FinTech companies to the market leadership positions and delivered two award-winning products that serve more than 70 million users worldwide. His teams filed 20+ patents while he himself authored three patents. He is an active startup investor and advises selected AI-driven startups on business and product strategy. He is the recipient of the World Summit Award, one of the most prestigious international honors for product innovators. In addition, he is a James Swartz fellow, the most prestigious fellowship at Carnegie Mellon University funded by the founder of the iconic venture firm, Accel Partners. Piyush holds an MS in Software Management from Carnegie Mellon University.

Tommy Perkins

SVP OF SALES, PARTNERSHIP & CUSTOMER SUCCESS

Tommy is at his best helping clients think through complex challenges in order to create a positive impact on their organizations. He thrives when interacting with others whether helping his team succeed or working with clients to build long-term partnerships. He has extensive experience consulting with organizations on driving their employee experience, guiding organizations through change, and working to ensure organizations are moving the needle when it comes to their results.

Most recently, Tommy was a Client Services Leader overseeing some of GP’s most prized accounts on a global level. His responsibilities included overall client growth strategy, retention, and satisfaction. He represented all of GP Strategies’ major business lines including leadership, coaching, and engagement, digital transformation, outsourced services, and technology implementation solutions.

Before GP Strategies, Tommy spent several years with TTEC Digital (formerly rogenSI) where he led the sales team,  eventually becoming the regional Learning & Performance practice leader for North America. While managing the P&L and sales team he also led the largest global relationship for the firm (Deloitte Globally). During his time at TTEC, he focused on delivering blended learning solutions that incorporate technology and hands-on training. Before TTEC Digital, he spent several years dedicated to strength-based leadership disrupting the business landscape regarding performance management and employee engagement with thought leader Marcus Buckingham at The Marcus Buckingham Company / TMBC (now ADP).

Tommy has had the privilege of working with some of the most well-known global brands in professional services, retail, technology, and healthcare including Deloitte, Facebook, Microsoft, Bank of America, Novartis, Gap Inc., lululemon, and Intel. Several projects he led for Deloitte were Global GNPS, New Partner Pivot, NextGen Partner Program Deloitte China, Present to Win, the RPM project on performance management, and Unconscious Bias.

Tommy holds a BS in Health Sciences from Texas A&M University, and an MBA from Universidad del CEMA.

Learn How to Build Agile and Productive Leaders Now!

From leading remote workforces, building productive teams, to improving diversity, equity, and inclusion, Sounding Board has virtual and scalable enterprise solutions that are urgently required to adapt to rapidly changing workplace environments.

Demo Request

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

We respect your privacy! Your information will not be shared

Join our coaching team

Our expert coaches combine top notch coaching, business acumen and organizational savvy to truly become your leadership “Sounding Board”. Sounding Board coaches are all industry certified and strongly vetted going through a 3 step qualification process and receiving ongoing supervision and development.

Lori Mazan

Co-Founder & CCO Sounding Board, Inc.
Lori Mazan is the Co-Founder and Chief Coaching Officer of Sounding Board, the preeminent global leadership development enterprise platform changing the face of leadership development through innovative technology for leaders at all levels of an organization. Lori is a seasoned executive coach who has guided hundreds of corporate executives through 1:1 coaching focused on business outcomes and developing critical leadership skills. Client companies advanced by Lori’s expertise include Fortune titans such as Chevron and Sprint as well as high growth and public companies like Intellikine, and Tapjoy, plus 10XGenomics, which became a public company in 2019 while top executives worked with Lori and the Sounding Board team.
Lori has spent the last 25 years coaching C-Suite executives to leadership excellence. Many of those public and private company CEO’s expressed that they would have liked this caliber of coaching earlier in their careers. Inspired by these experiences, Lori joined with Christine to launch Sounding Board as a feedback-driven, cloud-based leadership coaching platform that could maintain best-in-class leadership coaching while lowering costs to make it affordable and scalable for leaders at every level of their careers.
Before founding Sounding Board, Lori received her Masters’ in Adult Educational Psychology/Counseling from the University of San Francisco and a Bachelors’ in Psychology from the University of Virginia. Lori is an educator and has spent over 10 years as a professor of social psychology and group dynamics while acting as the interim Dean of Students at Holy Names University, She is certified by the industry’s gold standard, the Coaches Training Institute, and is a founding member of the Genentech Preferred Network of Coaches. Sounding Board is one of <3% of sole female founded startups receiving venture funding. In 2019 Sounding Board was selected as 1 of 7 startups (out of 100+ applicants) as part of SAP’s HR tech cohort, a group that represents the rising stars of the next-gen HR ecosystem.

Christine Tao

Co-Founder & CEO Sounding Board, Inc.
Christine Tao is the co-founder & CEO at Sounding Board, a Silicon Valley startup redefining how organizations are developing their leaders. Her extraordinarily rapid career growth to executive management in the media, mobile and tech sectors of Silicon Valley became her inspiration for founding Sounding Board. As she began to manage larger teams and be responsible for growing revenues, it became clear that she needed a “sounding board” to coach her on the development of her leadership skills. That’s where her Sounding Board co-founder, Lori Mazan came on the scene. A seasoned executive coach focused on leadership development, Lori coached Christine on real-world leadership skills that had a direct impact on business outcomes. Based on her positive and impactful experience with leadership development, Christine was driven to make leadership development coaching accessible to people at all levels of the organization.
Christine advises several startups, is a budding angel investor and is also a Tory Burch Foundation Fellow, a foundation dedicated to investing in the success and sustainability of women entrepreneurs.
Prior to co-founding Sounding Board, Christine was a Senior Vice President of Developer Relations at Tapjoy, a venture-backed, leading mobile advertising & publishing network. She led the growth of Tapjoy’s publisher advertising business from 0 to over $100 million in revenues in less than 3 years. Prior to that she led e-commerce partnerships and strategy at YouTube. Christine holds an MBA in Marketing & Operations from Wharton and a BA in Business Administration from UC Berkeley.

Want to learn more about how Sounding Board can help your organization?

Simply fill out the form below and we will be in contact soon. If you are interested in becoming a Sounding Board Coach please visit our careers page.

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.