If you’ve been tapped into the news for any amount of time, you’ve seen performative moments by companies and cultural figures that are good in spirit but don’t move the needle toward advancing equity for all. Whether it’s kneeling with Kente cloth or singing the Black National Anthem, these moments are appreciated but are rarely the type of progress desired for the cause of social justice.
Medallia, however, isn’t lining up with the model of performative allyship. Support for underrepresented communities must be more than mere expressions and ill-guided funding. It must be intentional. Medallia is committed to this work with internal programming like ERGs and collaboration with external partners to offer necessary resources to its employees.
A recent partnership Medallia has engaged in is with Mandy Bynum, co-creator of the Race Equ(al)ity Index and CEO of BLCK VC. AfroTech had the opportunity to gather some keen insight from Bynum to learn more about this progressive asset.
The Right Perspective
As an experienced diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) advocate, founder and executive, Bynum has participated in her fair share of surveys and assessments around the employee experience. In doing so, she realized there was a glaring gap in data focused on race. This realization only magnified the urgency to answer the question posed by many leaders Bynum worked with: What does good look like regarding DEI?
Contemplating this question and the gap that exists in the data for employees, Bynum, in collaboration with fellow co-creator Dion McKenzie, began ideating ways to innovate practices around DEI and how specific programming could impact organizations. After engaging in several conversations with colleagues in tech about a platform that would serve as a solution, Bynum and McKenzie were validated by many DEI leaders who would benefit from an index that specifically tracked racial equity in corporate spaces. The two sought to offer something that would be more than performative and cause leaders to realize increased funding and resources are necessary for important initiatives that impact racial equity, from which everyone benefits.
Thus, the Race Equ(al)ity Index (REI) was born, and Bynum and McKenzie were at the helm of raising it up.
The Path Forward
The REI is a weighted index that includes data from a combination of representation, recruitment, benefits and talent management practices to track progress in each area.
“Companies provide ‘yes’ or ‘no’ answers, numerical data and written detail to contextualize their practices, policies, budget allocation and team reporting structures through the Race Equ(al)ity Index questionnaire. Responses are analyzed and reported back to participating companies on both an aggregate level and by individual index components,” Bynum explained.
The success of such a tool can only be measured by testing it in real time. After an initial pilot period, Bynum and McKenzie began having conversations with companies that could be a part of REI’s second cohort. In that process, they shared goals for greater impact in the tech sector.
Medallia was a part of those conversations and recognized Bynum and McKenzie’s desire to find the right platform to make REI data more accessible and efficient. Rooted in mutual trust and aligned objectives from the beginning, it was a no-brainer for Bynum and McKenzie to partner with Medallia and build the REI on its trusted platform to drive racial equity impact. Ever since, Medallia has been a champion for the impact of the Race Equ(a)lity Index and its power to change how companies create more inclusive and safe spaces for its employees.
The Beauty Is in the Details
Bynum and McKenzie have seen great success and innovative usage with the Race Equ(al)ity Index.
“The exercise of completing the index is a productive forcing function to begin what are often uncomfortable conversations,” Bynum pointed out.
After each participating company takes the index and receives their results, they are able to pinpoint focus areas where they scored poorly and draw from the insights of other companies while maintaining a mutual anonymity. The ability to unlock that important transparency without company names is what really drives the success of REI.
Unsurprisingly, Medallia was one of the top-scoring companies on the index. With several unique DEI practices and programs, Medallia is ahead of the game with certain practices, like providing employee stipends and small scholarships for higher-ed opportunities through its Tuition Assistance Program.
While the Race Equ(al)ity Index includes areas common across most corporations, its core design is intended for tech-related companies. Bynum and McKenzie realized early on that if the index was going to have the most impact, it needed focused criteria.
“It has been important to us from the jump that participating companies feel a sense of relativity, collaboration and community with each cohort to avoid fixed mindset responses and to truly unlock important insights otherwise shared through DEI conferences or panels but may not have the specificity our DEI leaders really need to create impact,” Bynum shared.
The Future Is About Commitment
A major shift since the onset of COVID-19 is the job market becoming more focused on how opportunities provide mutual value to the candidate and employer. Valuing people and all that makes up the nuances of humanity is critical to creating cultures and environments that are most productive and inclusive for all. Bynum, McKenzie and Medallia understand that programming centered on race is paramount to building those cultures. REI is particularly important in tech spaces that have historically been underrepresented by Black and Latine people of color generally, especially women. in leadership positions.
“Shifting our focus to the specific metrics that impact racial equity is first about raising awareness of how racial equity is currently being measured by these companies. If there is no representation in the room where these metrics were first created, then how can we be convinced that the right things are being measured? This is an opportunity for companies to ask those new and often uncomfortable questions,” Bynum explained.
While no company will get it 100% right, REI is designed to help companies begin the process of advancing equity for their employees. The data provided equips key leaders with an in-depth look at what “good” really looks like and leads to the design and implementation of strategies to manifest that good.
Click here to learn more about Medallia’s partnership regarding the Race Equ(al)ity Index.