Conducting the Culture Journey with InChorus

 In this interview, I was delighted to welcome two guests, Rosie and Raj from InChorus. I interviewed Rosie two years ago for a previous episode of the Inclusive Growth show titled “Tuning into Microaggressions”. That interview was all about a piece of technology Rosie co-founded with Raj to help organisations identify microaggressions in the workplace and the impact that has on creating non-inclusive work environments.

I wanted to get Rosie and Raj onto the podcast again because their tool has been evolving over the last couple of years and now does much more. Plus, they’ve gained a lot of experience working with multiple organisations. Their tool is something that I often talk to my clients about when they want to find out how they can use technology to get data and insights to help them take targeted actions.

This topic is something I write about in my book, “Inclusive Growth”, in a whole chapter on cyber. The chapter is all about how technology can help organisations deliver on diversity and inclusion, as well as the importance of making sure that your technology is accessible for people with different impairments. InChorus gets a mention in it because I think it’s a great piece of software that helps to identify microaggressions and other behaviours going on in a business that can make people feel like they don’t belong, aren’t welcome or not respected for who they are. 

The software isn’t only about microaggressions, but what Rosie and Raj have learned along the way and we will talk about how that can help organisations get clarity and insights on the things that they need to tackle. 

My first question was about one of the biggest challenges that my clients face, which is obtaining data about how inclusive employees find their organisation. Speak Up tools, as they’re known, are one of those solutions and InChorus is a Speak Up tool. I asked my guests ‘Could you just explain to us what Speak Up tools are? How do they compare to the more traditional ways of escalating damaging behaviours in an organisation and some of the upsides and downsides to both?’ 

Rosie started us off. ‘When we’re talking about Speak Up tools, we’re talking about mechanisms for giving employees a voice across a range of different issues. I think where we’ve focused is around some of those more challenging behaviours where perhaps it’s harder for an employee to speak up and raise a problem they are experiencing. That might be because traditionally we’ve seen that there has been a history of employers not making that easy or not wanting to know. I think that’s the context for all the work that we do, and I think a lot of progress has been made in this space. 

But if you go back fewer than four years, to the inception of InChorus, there was a very strong sentiment, kind of pre-MeToo, perhaps pre-Black Lives Matter where employers did not want to know. That’s where our company started, asking “What do we have to do?” 

In our experience, Speak Up tools were originally compliance-focused, perhaps only affecting larger organisations and for extreme incidents like fraud or whistleblowing. It’s only in more recent years, that we’ve seen the shift towards, “Okay, what should we be doing? How do we create a 

voice for our employees?” 

But that’s been tightly confined. Then we’ve seen the flourishing of feedback tools and engagement surveys that are sentiment-focused and broad in their analysis. It’s an opportunity for a company to focus on getting that kind of KPI or metric around engagement and how brilliant it is to work in a company. That’s not necessarily a particularly easy space for an employee to say, “Well, actually I’m experiencing this challenge”.

What we’re shifting into now is a place where employers are far more comfortable and familiar with asking “How do we create that space?” because of the evolution that we’ve been through over the last couple of years. In doing so, we will improve our culture, we’ll improve employee well-being, retention, productivity, and all these challenges. For us, it was looking at the gap between these two existing tools. At one end of the spectrum, it’s compliance-focused with some low formal reporting. The challenge here is that reporting is often quite late, and it’s about damage control.

Then at the other end of the spectrum, there are those engagement tools that are survey focused. It might be asking employees a question twice a year. Then in-between those two data collection points was where we started with InChorus. 

It’s the space where we’re building out our platform of Speak Up tools and beginning to see how we can help people quickly and safely surface the everyday challenges of lived experience within an organisation.’

My next question asked ‘Why do you think only a few years ago organisations were resistant to giving employees a voice or wanting to hear what the experience of employees was? What has shifted over the last few years where employers are now more open to hearing the lived experiences of staff?’

Raj replied, ‘That’s a great question. I remember our early pitches to companies and they were nodding along and realising what we were saying was all common sense. Then when it came to asking, “Would you want to use this? Would you want to buy this?” Almost 90% of the time the feeling was that they definitely couldn’t see this being used internally or accepted. So, people might say, “I think it’s great, but my senior stakeholders and other stakeholders would say no.”

It was because there was no expectation that they ought to capture that data. It was as if there was no reason why a company would air their dirty laundry when their peers weren’t? I think the culture shifted post Me Too and particularly Black Lives Matter. They helped change that almost default response to capturing what organisations felt they didn’t need because it wasn’t seen as required or necessary. 

I think some companies and sectors have gone a bit further now with more proactive approaches. They understand they should capture this to then tackle some of those other workplace KPIs that Rosie mentioned. If we want an engaged workforce, we shouldn’t just focus on our engagement score. We should understand what the experience of everybody within our organisation is, based on different offices, functions, teams, and different aspects of identity. I think that evolution has begun and is continuing. Without pressure, I think, it just wasn’t going to come and I think those movements have created that pressure.’

Rosie added, ‘There’s a lot more data now showing why it makes sense to do this; that’s the carrot. But we have also seen, I guess, the stick. That’s the risk when companies don’t do this right. It’s something that we’ve seen coming through the ranks of employees themselves. 

If we look back, to the Google walkouts or the prolific cases such as the Ted Baker one where employees all came together around a public letter which led to the firing of the CEO. I think there is that feeling now too, where if you don’t give your employees a voice, they will find a voice elsewhere through social channels, through the press. That dual pressure on companies is shifting them towards action.’

I like how Speak Up tools sit in the middle space of the spectrum. A space which wasn’t previously available. To recap, at one end of the spectrum, is compliance. Usually, you only hear about this stuff when there’s a crisis. Issues like whistleblowing hotlines, and ethics hotlines, which are often outsourced to a trusted third party by big business in particular. At the other end of the spectrum, there are biannual or annual engagement surveys, which don’t give you a granular level of data or information to understand what behaviours are going on. We know that the sum of behaviours becomes our culture. 

What I like about InChorus is that it sits in the middle and it gives you data. I often say to my clients that using a tool, like InChorus, will give you data where you can take targeted action. It saves a lot of time, money, and effort because if you know that racial microaggressions are happening in the marketing department, you know that you need to go and have a word with the head of marketing to find out what is going on in the culture of that part of the business to try and tackle it. 

‘When we were developing InChorus initially there was a real lack of that data for EDI teams or people teams. There was a lot around diversity on the hiring side, but then a gulf around how to measure culture and inclusion.

It goes back to what’s measured is managed and that data set was missing. The gap stopped these conversations being progressed or being able to go to the board and say, well, we need the budget to do X, Y, and Z.  Many teams we work with find the value in being able to come with their data to have that conversation because it shifts the nature of the conversation.’

Raj continued, ‘It’s the idea that’s constantly talked about – culture and workplace culture. The cliched phrase about workplace culture eats strategy for breakfast. But if it’s so important, how are you measuring it? What is your culture? Not many companies could answer that without the kinds of data that we’re capturing. And I think that’s interesting.’

I make this point in my book, that I found culture to be so large and unwieldy that it was difficult to put my arms around it and define what it is. But when you think about it as the sum of our everyday behaviours then you see the senior leadership team as custodians of the culture. They need to role model inclusive behaviours because they set the tone for the organisation and they role model those behaviours to other people.

We might look up to senior leaders in an organisation and aspire to be like them. Or we might look up and think, “Actually, I don’t see myself fitting in at the senior level of the business because I don’t like the behaviours that are going on.” 

If you’ve got non-inclusive behaviours, it’s good to understand what those are and then tackle them as soon as possible before they become a problem. The worst thing is for behaviours to not be tackled because then you’re ending up with sexual harassment cases and claims and you end up in court which is what organisations want to avoid.

Raj agreed. ‘It’s so true. It’s about the collective. We often talk about the micro and the macro. You might have a fear or steer on what the macro culture might be, but it’s the sum of all the behaviours. All those micro-moments, micro-interactions. It’s the meetings. It’s how those meetings are taking place. How do you behave when you meet somebody in the corridor? It’s the collection of all of those. 

But if prevalent behaviours are occurring frequently affecting people’s performance or wellbeing at work there ought to be an outlet for that, which is where InChorus comes in.’

This led nicely to my next question for Raj which was to ask about how the tool works and what does it do? 

‘Our original thinking was “Wouldn’t it be great if we were able to understand culture? What are the molecules that make up culture?” We zoomed in on microaggressions as micro-moments or micro-instabilities that are the building blocks of an environment and a culture.

We were working with a leading academic in the field of microaggressions, Professor Gina Torino. Our mission was how do we take sixty years of academic rigour and take it into a workplace setting? The key goal there was what we don’t want is another long-form survey. The goal was sixty years into sixty seconds. How do you create an experience for somebody to anonymously, quickly, be able to share an incident to wave a flag about a particular kind of behaviour that they’ve either witnessed or experienced themselves?

That was the original InChorus proposition. When Rosie spoke to you two years ago, it was essentially a microaggression tracker. It’s what we call our culture tracker today. What we are trying to do though, is not create a report or a case per se. People are not going to get responses to the issues that they flagged. We will come to that in a second, but this is very much about picking up those moments and identifying trends and key insights about which behaviours are affecting which groups, demographically, and where within the organisation. 

It varies for the size of the organisation too. They could be multinational and we could be talking about geographies, offices, functions or teams. That’s fully customisable within InChorus. So that’s the first thing that we’re doing, providing an easy way to flag something. From the tool owner’s perspective, you get key insights about what’s going on and where, and whom it’s affecting. This means you can target your initiatives. 

One of the key InChorus developments is about the gap between surveys and whistleblowing. The gap is quite large in our experience and just an anonymous tool isn’t enough. One of the things that we were hearing an awful lot from our clients and prospects was about the gap between InChorus and grievance procedures. If somebody had an issue in the workplace, they were reticent to come forward, even though there was a very clear policy. They would end up in a formal grievance procedure when actually what they typically wanted to do was explore what their options were. I’ve not been through one myself, but what we hear is grievance procedures tend to end badly for all parties.

They’re not easy things to go through for anybody and they tend to end badly. So, what we wanted to do was based on one of the key philosophies which is how to lower barriers to reporting. That led to the creation of a new product, which we call Connect. It provides the ability for an employee to book an informal conversation with a specific individual from HR or the culture team whom they feel comfortable having that conversation with. 

We found that this was a great stepping stone across that big gulf that we found. It means people don’t have to sit with something and let it fester. They won’t have their wellbeing and performance suffering so they come out all guns blazing with the formal grievance procedure and relationships suffer. It’s an in-between ground where you avoid the big show and you avoid the festering issue. Connect is a new product that sits alongside our culture tracker. Those are two key components of InChorus.’

I was mindful that not everyone may have heard my interview with Rosie in June 2020 ‘Tuning into Microaggressions’. I thought it was worth refreshing our memories about how microaggressions are defined before we moved on. I asked Rosie if she could do that for microaggressions, but also explain the difference between micro incivilities or microinequities because people use both terms.

‘I think that the definition of microaggressions is not an enormously snappy one. What we’re talking about are everyday moments whereby a common behaviour can cause harm, distress and be insulting to a specific group. 

It’s particularly important with microaggressions to know there’s not always the intention of harm necessarily, but perhaps carelessness in how that feeling is conveyed. Some examples might be always asking the only woman in the room to make a tea. Or it could be racial comments like asking to touch someone’s hair. Or even just asking, “No, where are you from?” These kinds of moments are what we are referring to when we talk about microaggressions. I think what the research shows is that they’re often very difficult to perhaps even notice that you’ve experienced one in the moment. 

Let’s be very clear. I think there’s a spectrum of behaviours here, and some of them stray much closer toward harassment or discrimination. But in many cases, the initial response is a feeling this has made me feel uncomfortable. This has upset me in some way. The cumulative effect of dealing with that and processing what you’ve experienced is what takes a massive toll on an individual. Perhaps in that one moment, it wouldn’t necessarily be a huge problem, but when you are experiencing them regularly, that’s when they become insidious and can cause a lot of harm to people’s wellbeing. Where we use our tool and we’ve got that data, we know that these are often recurring issues for people.’

There’s this compound effect if you’re on the receiving end of this behaviour. You end up feeling like you are the problem or that there’s something wrong with you, rather than something wrong with the behaviour of your teammates or the culture of the organisation at large. I’ve talked to quite a few people who say they don’t want to speak up to HR because they know that they might be labelled as the difficult one. 

To Raj’s point, if you end up in a situation where you’re sat there festering or the situation isn’t addressed there’s a damaging toll on your wellbeing. Then it becomes a major problem and the employer ends up in a tribunal or grievance procedure, where, as Raj said, nobody is a winner. 

Once you get to that point, it’s not a good place to be. 

When organisations are thinking of adopting Speak Up tools for their business, I wondered what Raj and Rosie find are the most common concerns or anxieties about using a tool and how they recommend organisations can overcome some of those fears

Rosie answered that something had immediately jumped to mind. ‘There’s often procrastination or perfectionism that can come in when we talk about EDI issues or culture within a business. I think it’s because it’s very high stakes. We all know it’s very important and people are afraid of getting it wrong, so there’s often this feeling of “Oh, we are not ready. We have to get everything else perfect, and we have to tick all of the boxes before we could launch this tool.” 

It’s a particularly frustrating piece of pushback because it’s one of those where when you start to invite your employees and voices as to what your unique challenges are within an organisation, it’s almost certainly going to change the course of the targeted interventions. 

In parallel to running a startup, you should be talking to your workforce so that at the very beginning you get the feedback you need. I think that we so often see people feel that they have to have everything else lined up before they would implement this. You should embed these mechanisms now, and then there’s the opportunity to use the data to shape your future work.’

Rosie’s response reminds me of when I used to work in IT before I got into diversity and inclusion. We would follow a very agile approach and create our minimal viable product and get it out to market as soon as possible. It wasn’t perfect, but it was much more important for us to get feedback from our end users to make sure that we were on the money, and then just develop an evolved product as we went and keep iterating. Otherwise, the flip side to that is you take a very kind of traditional approach where you try and get everything perfect. The risk is that, by the time you get something perfect, what you’re about to launch has just become out of date and it’s no longer fit for purpose.

Rosie agreed. ‘Yes, it’s the risk of being disconnected to reality by building in a vacuum piece. We want to encourage people to ask, “How do we get that data? and be open to shaping something as it goes along.’

Raj said, ‘It’s one of the key issues that I’m facing with a prospect right now. The fear that there’s going to be a deluge of data once they launch InChorus. Worries there will be loads of problems that they’re not even aware of right now. 

I think that a concern is that the person will be responsible for surfacing the data and senior stakeholders will be asking what happens now there’s this outlet. But when you switch InChorus on it’s the beginning of a journey. It’s not a switch that you flick and suddenly everybody’s immediately comfortable telling you everything that’s ever happened to them. 

You need to cajole people and you need to reassure and communicate with people. I think one of the beauties of launching a programme like InChorus is that through that journey, you build more trust and you create more psychological safety. I think that the reality is much more nuanced rather than it’s a flick you switch and suddenly all this data pours in. That’s one of the key concerns unpacked. 

Another concern is almost difficulty computing how they’re going to roll it out. I think that’s something that we’ve slowly realised that we need to be better at and hand hold our clients. Based on our experience of taking quite a few and sometimes very large clients live on the platform, it isn’t complicated. But it feels like it’s complicated until we understand all the initiatives and, tools that you have in place and where you feel you are on your DEI journey. Then we can recommend an onboarding process. InChorus is quite simple but something that often concerns people is how do we communicate around this?’

I like Raj’s point about the concern of having a deluge of data and the reassurance that it is unlikely. It reminds me of one of the approaches I take with clients which is to think about the process as crawling, walking and then running. If a client is standing still right now, it’s very difficult to go from standing still to running. We identify that low-hanging fruit, get warmed up and start to make progress. I think it’s the same as implementing any new system into an organisation. Pilot with a few people to get some feedback and to see how the tool or the system would work in the organisation before rolling it out to the whole business.

Raj was keen to stress that the incremental approach is very often the case for InChorus users. ‘We are talking about organisations that have headcounts in the thousands or tens of thousands. It’s very normal for them to trial or constantly pilot InChorus in one function or one office location of a thousand or so people first. It’s a key step to getting everybody comfortable with it.’

Since I first sat down with Rosie a couple of years ago a lot has changed. Not only has the product evolved with added functionality, but we’ve also been going through a pandemic. What with everything that has been happening in the world, I think it’s good timing to catch up now. I asked Rosie what are the main benefits of using Speak Up tools for the organisations they’ve been working with?

‘We are lowering the barrier to enable people to speak up. By default, you will get better insights earlier and in doing so we’ve seen that it enables companies to plan more targeted interventions for improvement. Hopefully, it also helps them steer away from more troubling incidents and problems that we talked about earlier. For example, we’ve seen that where InChorus is being used, companies have been able to identify specific issues. Let’s use the example of inclusive language. Say there have been a lot of issues around communication and perhaps it’s happening particularly in the management layer in a London office.

By using that data set, rather than thinking, we will run our unconscious bias training or whatever it is, instead, you can pivot to seeing this focused challenge within a specific area of the business. Because it’s filtering through in the data set, we’re seeing that it’s beginning to have an impact on people. We can use that data and we can run inclusive language training for a specific population within the organisation. 

Or we can go in and have a conversation. I think that’s important too. It doesn’t always have to be a massive intervention with expensive training. It could just be resetting the tone around say, how do we have a good meeting? Critically getting those insights earlier, enabling employees to speak up without attack or retaliation means you’re getting better quality and quantity of data. You can then take more effective actions to ultimately improve your culture and reduce the risks of more serious events.’

Raj continued, ‘I find that pre-InChorus, organisations have got a gap in terms of tools. There’s a whole layer of insight and feedback that senior stakeholders and managers don’t have about themselves. They’re lacking awareness. And until they have a therapy session, they’re not going to get that awareness. There’s something interesting about the role that InChorus can play there for an organisation in creating awareness around a lack of respect from leadership to the rest of the workforce, let’s say. If you’re not aware of that, you’re not going to be able to check that behaviour.

Let’s say that that comes through in the data suddenly. I don’t think that it would be the case that every leader in the organisation lacks respect for the workforce, it’s just that it’s gone unchecked and that awareness will help everybody take a bit more ownership of how they behave around their co-worker. It’s about being able to shine a light on specific behaviours that are coming through within the organisation, sometimes even without a resolution. It’s to say that this type of behaviour is on the rise. I think just by doing that, the type of behaviour will start to reduce.’

My experience has been that just the very act of listening to staff has a huge benefit. Whenever I work with my clients to create their diversity and inclusion strategies, we start by doing a listening exercise through surveys and focus groups and one-to-one interviews. It’s amazing how often people will say to me, that they are feeling much better about working for that organisation simply because we’re doing the listening exercise. We haven’t even reached the point of putting plans together or implementing anything. All we’ve done is gone out, hear what people are experiencing at work, and validated that experience. I wondered if Rosie and Raj found that to be their experience too. 

Rosie replied, ‘Yes, I think the ability to make employees feel heard is definitely something that is, central to the product so far. Previously, when it came to Speak Up tools, there was often an employer-centric focus and it was quite transactional. So, the employer would want a data point and the design was very much to come and get it. 

At InChorus, we’re mindful of creating tools and pathways and having a UX focused on the employee. It’s about making them feel heard. It’s about making them feel supported and about providing them with that value at that moment as well.’

We have an area of the product that we’ve been developing quite a bit recently, which is a support hub for that person in that moment. How do you meet someone who’s had an unpleasant experience and help them to understand what’s happened? What is a microaggression like? Is there any validation for what I’m experiencing? Is this about me or you? 

It’s part of the process to support people with their wellbeing in that moment and then signpost them to other support services or pathways that are right for them. Front-loading that support and signposting into the product itself so that we’re not just able to get this important data and understand the challenges, but that we can support that employee and make them feel heard and listened to. I think any employer can benefit from that straight away irrespective of how they then go on to solve the challenges.’

One of my key takeaways is that it’s good to give people an opportunity to anonymously speak up and make sure their voices can be heard. I’ve spoken to so many employees, particularly if they’re in a minority group, who feel they get badged or labelled as the troublemaker or the difficult one if they go to HR more than once to talk about an issue. As Raj was saying, that person either ends up going in on themselves and struggles to take action, or we get this pressure cooker situation where after a while the situation becomes so unbearable that it ends up being a more formal process where no one’s a winner.

Rosie pointed out that people often just leave. ‘I think some of the retention issues we see around diversity is where these day-to-day cultural issues aren’t addressed. People don’t have that outlet and eventually, that talent just moves on.’

Raj said, ‘It’s interesting how we see different sectors respond to this. I worry, I don’t know whether it’s true, but perhaps in white-collar sectors, people just leave and there are more opportunities. If you’re looking at other sectors, there aren’t opportunities to leave and what people are doing is staying and stewing and these awful environments are prevalent for years. I think it’s creating those outlets which are so important in those environments.

One of our goals over the next few years is how we can penetrate certain sectors that are perhaps less proactive on these issues, but where the tools and the mindset shift are required. Because it’s all well and good if you’re in a top law firm or a consulting firm. Perhaps you have options if you’re dancing with the devil because you’re being paid well and you’re making your options, but it’s not always the case when you’re on the shop or the factory floor.’

Rosie pointed out ‘We’ve had conversations about this internally, recently. We were talking to a client about psychological safety and Speak Up culture. A comparison was made to Health and Safety, which we’re very familiar with. So many people are comfortable calling out a near miss from a health and safety perspective. A junior electrician should be able to walk past and speak up, and it’s celebrated.

Yet when it comes to these cultural issues and psychological safety and how we speak up about other challenges, there’s often that lack of awareness about what you can call out and how you’d call it out. In a different context, you might be labelled the troublemaker for raising your voice versus celebrated for saving lives.

We’ve talked about how we shift some of this conversation. How do we make it as straightforward and positive to call out cultural challenges as we do some of these health and safety ones? It’s an audacious goal, but it’s an interesting way of thinking about that challenge.’

Raj was reminded of an analogy he often uses with clients. ‘It’s about the satnav Waze and how that operates. Where Google Maps will get you from A to B as quickly as possible, with Waze for those that aren’t familiar with it, as you are on your journey from A to B, you as the traveller will be inputting information about your journey. If you’re stuck in traffic, you will press the screen and say, “I’m stuck in traffic,” or if you see a car pulled over on the motorway that may be affecting traffic flow, you’ll flag that on your app. The aim here is that you’re feeding that information into the system, but you are not benefiting from it. The idea is that you are crowdsourcing data that will help the people behind you have a better journey.

I liken that to what you could try and do with your organisational culture through culture trackers. It’s like your journey has not been great today, why don’t you flag it if that’s always happening, you’re going to improve the journey for those behind you. I think that resonates, feedback culture might not benefit you immediately, but you are making it better overall for everyone.’

Since there are several Speak Up tools on the market, I asked Rosie and Raj to explain how InChorus compares to some of the available options.

Raj explained the current state of play. ‘I suppose there’s been encroachment into the Speak Up space where technologies have played a role elsewhere and have different functions. Some engagement tools are creeping into the space. Some tools have been used in certain sectors such as in academia or the education sectors and we applaud them all. We think there should be more Speak Up platforms, and we think that every company of a certain size should have one in place to think about how they improve and develop the core component. Speak up is not a thing in and of itself, it touches on so many other aspects or drivers.

Companies should be thinking about how they create safer workplaces. How do they improve their employees’ wellbeing? How do they create a sense of belonging for everybody, and an environment where everybody feels psychologically safe?

It’s not just a moral argument here. If you create that environment, you’re going to have a better business, but I think that that’s not quite come through yet. I think there’s still a lot of room for growth for us, for competitors, and for the whole Speak Up movement. I’m not going to pretend that we are on to something that nobody else sees, but we are on a mission. We know that as a business, should this continue, we’ll have a great thriving business that is promoting our profit and a greater purpose.’ Raj turned to Rosie to ask if she sees any other key differentiators

‘For me, tools to date have not been hugely employee-centric. I believe that shifting the mentality is how we will open up the space. So, in one way you are trying to create that support, trying to create frictionless processes and we will get the best quality and quantity of data. That enables the companies to benefit from having those tools in place because there are so many whereby, they exist and they are there, but ultimately, they are there to not be used. Then the success metric becomes, “Oh, we have a hotline, but no one has ever used it.” To me, that’s because you’ve picked a hotline that nobody is ever going to use. After all, 90% of people are not going to pick up the phone and have that conversation if they don’t have to.

A core promise of InChorus that I think is different in the way that we’re approaching this and thinking about it. I haven’t seen a lot of competitors leaning into InChorus in the same way.’

What I heard from Raj and Rosie about InChorus is it has a sense of usability and good customer experience. It means having a tool or a system that actually is nice to use so you want to use it.

I can imagine people are reading now who are thinking “Okay, right, fantastic. I’d like a Speak Up tool in my business. I see the benefits,” yet they may be facing some of that internal resistance that Raj was talking about. Maybe that resistance is wanting to make sure everything’s perfect before launching something, or concerns about not being able to win over some stakeholders who might not be on the same page yet. There’s the worry that’s been flagged already where people fear being inundated with data and then having to deal with problems.

I asked Rosie and Raj what their top tips and advice are for people who want to get the ball rolling and implement a Speak Up system in their business?

Rosie advised that two things stand out for her. ‘Bringing stakeholders along on the journey early is key. Find allies within the business and share with them early, invite them onto the calls and demos.  We certainly see that when people feel ambushed by this in the late stages of a decision-making process that can make it harder. Having those conversations and involving them is critical.

Even better if you can involve employee resource groups. If you have connections to the Women’s Network, get support there too which becomes powerful within this conversation. Finally, if there are any existing data points within the organisation, for example, a stubbornly low engagement score within a specific group, which can be the genesis for questions such as “How do we dig into this? How do we start to understand this? The fact that 70% of people feel like they belong isn’t helping us understand the 30% of people who don’t.” So, if there is any existing data, and it’s a big if, to be honest, but if there is, that can be a powerful way, again, of opening up that conversation.’

Raj added to the mix another perspective. ‘Toby mentioned something earlier – it doesn’t need to feel like a big step. It is something that can be experimented with, piloted, and trialled in small steps. From that the concerns about how you communicate this can be tested in a smaller environment.

I think that the key here is that this is the key data that companies need now and into the future. I do think that what they’re going to find if they wait any longer is that their competitors are all using it, and they’re unable to benchmark themselves on these key drivers. I think they need to take a tentative step and ease their way into it if there are concerns. It’s not that scary once you get going.’

To learn more about using InChorus Raj and Rosie recommend going to the website where there is more information and you can book a demo call. The call will be with one of them and can be as short as twenty minutes. They’ll talk you through the tool and show you how it works. Having a chat with them is taking one of those small steps that can ease any concerns and answer your questions.

As a Diversity and Inclusion specialist, I think it’s fantastic that Rosie and Raj have set up InChorus to support employees and provide employers with the right insights to make improvements in their workplace cultures. I can’t wait to see how the product continues to develop. I know having talked to loads of organisations over the years that there’s such a demand for data. Being able to get your hands on employee insights so that you can make the right decisions for your organisation is vital to avoid wasting time, money and energy on trying to design solutions that don’t solve the right problems to begin with. So, a big thank you to InChorus for doing such fantastic work.

Conducting the Culture Journey with InChorus - Mildon