Beth N. Carvin
CEO Nobscot Corporation
Having impact on others
My biggest challenge in managing diversity at Nobscot to date has been just the opposite of most companies: Our company had too many women and not enough men, and too many over 40 and not enough younger employees. We have since created a better balance, but working through this challenge was an interesting reminder that even those most aware of the value of diversity can fall into the trap of unconsciously hiring people like themselves. Once it starts, it is often perpetuated.
Nobscot’s biggest contribution to the field of diversity has been in helping companies with their diversity initiatives. More specifically, we have had the opportunity to help large companies across North America and globally with uncovering the reasons for employee turnover among their diverse and other employees. More than 10 years ago, we worked with information from the EEOC to create a diversity module for our exit interview technology. The module helps company leaders detect barriers for women and minorities in areas such as advancement, fairness, feeling of welcome, and opportunity to participate in high-profile projects. Through the use of this technology, companies have been able to understand how the workplace experience differs for employees in their organizations and then take steps to make sure that all employees are treated with respect and given equal opportunity.
Our company has also been a champion of mentoring as a solution to diversity and inclusion challenges. Studies by Frank Dobbin at Harvard University have shown that mentoring is one of the most effective programs for improving the composition of diverse employees in management-level positions. One organization that we’ve been fortunate to work closely with in this realm is The Women’s Alliance (TWA) at Xerox Corporation. TWA is one of many caucus groups at Xerox. More than eight years ago, we helped them launch their fledgling mentoring program, using our Mentor Scout technology. The program has been so successful that other diversity caucus groups have joined their mentoring program as well. Today, the program supports the Black Women’s Leadership Council, Asians Coming Together, the National Black Employees Association, and Xerox Young Professional Group, among others.
As a small technology company, Nobscot doesn’t always have the opportunity to launch internal initiatives that make a large impact. But we have made it our mission to expand our tools and technology in ways that help large companies make their initiatives successful and meet their diversity goals.
University of Massachusetts, Amherst
Grocery store bagger (promoted to meat wrapper)
WHAT I’M READING:
The Art of Choosing by Sheena Iyengar; A Guide for the Perplexed by Dara Horn
Work smart, have fun, laugh a lot, and follow the “Platinum Rule,” which is to treat others the way THEY would like to be treated.