Jackie - 00:00:10:
You’re listening to the Diversity Beyond the Checkbox podcast. I’m your host, Jackie Ferguson, certified Diversity Executive writer, human rights advocate, and co-founder of the Diversity movement. On this podcast, I’m talking to trailblazers, game changers, and glass ceiling breakers who share their inspiring stories, lessons learned, and insights on business inclusion and personal development. Thanks for tuning in to the Diversity Beyond the Checkbox podcast. I’m so glad you’re here. My guest today is Dr. Meisha-ann Martin. Dr. Martin is an industrial and organizational psychologist and a senior director of people analytics and research at Workhuman. Workhuman is the leading provider of employee recognition software and is on a mission to make work more human for every person on the planet. Dr. Martin helps Workhuman customers measure the impact of their employee recognition program and connect recognition efforts to other strategic HR imperatives and business bottom lines. She also earned her doctorate at the University of South Florida, which is also my alma mater. So go, Bulls!
Meisha - 00:01:25:
Jackie - 00:01:27:
Dr. Martin, thank you so much for joining me today. I’m so excited to talk to you.
Meisha - 00:01:32:
I am honored. Thank you so much for having me.
Jackie - 00:01:34:
Of course. Will you start with telling us just a little about yourself? Your background, your identity, your family, whatever you’d like to share.
Meisha - 00:01:42:
Yes. So I often tell people that the most important thing to know about me is that I’m an immigrant. I came to the United States at the tender age of 16 with no family to start college, believe it or not. And that was a pivotal moment for me because I quickly discovered that I was black. Okay. I had never been an ethnic minority before, and because of my trying to find my new identity in what would eventually be my new home, I started studying diversity-related topics. I did that in undergrad. I did that in grad school. And by the time I was finished grad school, I came to the conclusion that, okay, yes, this is a rich country, but not everyone participates equally in that. And I wanted to help make a difference by focusing on the workplace and the outcomes associated with the opportunities people get at work and their work experience at work. So that’s kind of been my personal journey into how I became an industrial organizational psychologist.
Jackie - 00:02:50:
Awesome. Now, tell us, Dr. Martin, where are you from? And tell us what it felt like to come over here at such a young age and be on your own. Right. Going to college.
Meisha - 00:03:01:
Yeah. It’s interesting. So I’m from a place in Jamaica called Portmore. It’s in the parish of St. Catherine, which is right next to Kingston, which is what everybody knows, right. My parents worked in Kingston. I went to school in Kingston, so just on the outskirts of Kingston, if you will. And how did it feel to be here? I tend to find and think that fear is a very adult thing. So it actually, I think, worked to my advantage that I was so young, my little brain, I was like, oh, I’m free to do what I want, because my parents were super strict. I mean, I said that in my head, but I was also super diligent because even though I was on scholarship, the exchange rate being what it was at the time, even having me here was a financial burden on my parents, and I felt quite a lot of pressure. I actually graduated from undergrad with a 4.0. I studied every day, and I got an A in every single class.
Jackie - 00:04:04:
Wow, that is amazing. Dr. Martin. Let’s talk about your role as Senior Director of People Analytics and Research. How did you get into that work? What inspires you to do that work? Let’s talk a little about that.
Meisha - 00:04:21:
That’s interesting. So the year was 2020. I had some really serious health scares. Everything is fine now. But there was a period of time that I thought I was going to die. Like, I was doing estate planning. Who am I going to leave things to? And I think that makes you look at your life a little bit differently and wonder if you’re doing enough. And in the midst of that, we had a global pandemic. I got laid off and George Floyd was murdered. And I just thought, enough. Enough. This is enough, and I’m not doing enough. And so I really wanted to do something that had a far reaching impact on how people experience work, because I feel like that was a really great way to use my particular skills to make life and the world better for people, all kinds of people. Doesn’t matter who you are. Right? And so I like to say that the universe answered with Workhuman. Because in the role that I’m in, I help our clients make work better for people. We look at their data that is coming in through their recognition program, which we sell and manage, and we look for clues that people are not being included or that their experiences are not equitable. We draw awareness to things that are invisible to the populations in power so that the populations not in power can have a better work life and by extension, a better life life.
Jackie - 00:06:03:
Yes, absolutely. And we don’t think about that, but how the amount of time we spend at work, if we’re unhappy there, and I know all of us have had that job where we just are dreading Monday morning. Right. It just permeates our entire life. Right. And if we’re happy at work, in contrast, it can really make a difference in the quality of our overall life. It’s so important.
Meisha - 00:06:32:
That is absolutely true. It eats at your soul if it’s not going well. It permeates your external relationships, your relationships outside of work. We did some research with Gallup recently on just this very thing. So the impact of your work experience on the rest of your life. And we found two pretty important and sobering things that give me motivation to make this stat not so. But we found that black and Hispanic employees were more likely to say that they were not as appreciated at work as their peers. And the impact on their life was disproportionate, which means the relationship between how they experience work and how they experience life was even stronger, which means that this negative experience had a disproportionately negative impact on the rest of their lives. They were less likely to be thriving than their white counterparts.
Jackie - 00:07:30:
Wow. That’s something I think that we all feel and understand, but we don’t really think about it when we’re navigating the busyness of our day to day how important that work is. Dr. Martin, what do leaders need to know about pulling back the curtain on data and sentiment? Right? It can be very scary, right? Every leader wants to say, oh, my company is great. Everybody loves it here, right? We’re a big family, all the cliches, right? And it can be scary to really dig in and understand how employees are feeling, what they’re thinking about the organization, about the leaders, tell us a little about what they need to understand about that, how they need to jump into that, even when they’re afraid, and then how can that benefit them? How can that information benefit them?
Meisha - 00:08:27:
So you’re absolutely right about that, that leaders have an inflated opinion about how things are going. Every month at Workhuman we do this survey of working people that we call the Human Workplace Index. And recently we did a whole survey about diversity, looking at the perceptions of leaders and the perceptions of employees. And sure enough, on almost every question, leaders had a more positive response to how things were going. And then you ask the employees the same question, and they say, not so much. And so what I would suggest when it comes to data and sentiment is to be vigilant and stay creative in terms of how you’re looking at these things. So, for example, when we’re looking at recognition data at Workhuman, we’re looking at experience in terms of the frequency. Are people equally as likely to get recognized by their peers and their leaders? That’s one layer, and that’s super important. But then we go a step deeper and we go, okay, even if you are equally recognized, are people describing your accomplishments differently? And we find that they are. So, for example, with one client, we looked at one position, engineers, men versus women, they’re doing the exact same job. But when you look at recognition for men, people are talking about their technical expertise, their coding, and the output, and the project, and all these terms that have to do with being technically proficient. But when you look at the recognition for women, you’re seeing things like collaborative and teamwork, right? So things that are behavioral and personality based. So you have to stay vigilant for all these insidious ways that bias creeps into our organization and really be open to the bad news. Because if you don’t know it, then you can’t fix it.
Jackie - 00:10:29:
That’s exactly right. Let’s talk about Workhuman’s Inclusion Advisor tool. Tell us about what it is and how does that work?
Meisha - 00:10:39:
So I’m really, really proud of it because we were working with clients and doing all these diagnostics and giving insight around ways that experiences were not quite the same in terms of frequency of recognition and language and that sort of thing. But then we didn’t just want to be the bad news bearers, right. We wanted to come up with something that would actually improve the situation. And so our natural language processing team spent years coming up with a taxonomy of microaggressions and negative language. Many of us have had this experience where somebody says something to us and you can’t quite put your finger on why it made you uncomfortable, but you just have this weird feeling in your gut that’s not quite right and it’s not engaging. And so what we’ve done is we’ve put this taxonomy into production so that when you’re writing a recognition message, if you choose to use the Inclusion Advisor, it will highlight phrases that are potentially microaggressions in negative language and give you an opportunity to fix it, explain why that may not come across as intended, and give you the opportunity to do better. What we’re finding with this tool is, first of all, great ratings of the feature. So on a scale of one to five, it’s usually over four or around there. This in and of itself is great because this can be sensitive for some people. But even more than that, we’re finding that over 70% of the time, people are actually changing the language. And then we’re able to see these incidents of microaggressions and negative language go down over time as well.
Jackie - 00:12:22:
Wow. And the thing to note, Dr. Martin, is very often people are not intentionally offending, right. But having that information, and they also don’t understand or haven’t been told, it hasn’t been explained to them how that phrase or word or whatever may come across in a way that they don’t want. And so a tool like that, Inclusion Advisor tool, is so helpful because it gives you the information in a psychologically safe place.
Meisha - 00:12:56:
That’s right. Exactly.
Jackie - 00:12:57:
Which is also important because for some of us who are in this work, correct me, let me know if I say something, right? I need to learn, I need to grow, I need the new language. But for a lot of people, it’s very uncomfortable. And so having a tool like that allows them to learn with a level of privacy right, where they can say, oh, wow, I didn’t realize that, and be able to correct it before it’s then out there. I think that’s so amazing. That is such a very cool thing.
Meisha - 00:13:28:
I love it. Yeah. And we’ve done something super interesting in our society, I think, where we’ve made the racist the big bad wolf. And I totally get it, because racism is bad. But in doing that, we’ve made people not want to be that racist. Good people don’t want to be that. And so, in my opinion, what it creates is this unwillingness to acknowledge that something you did may have been racist, because in your mind, you’re a good person and good people don’t do that. And so I think we need to break that. I think we need to acknowledge as a society that prejudice is a cognitive shortcut and it’s part of the human experience. But it is our responsibility to be aware and check ourselves before we wreck ourselves. You just have to be vigilant. Right. But the cognitive shortcut itself is part of being human.
Jackie - 00:14:24:
Absolutely. That’s such good advice and a great way to move into the next question, which is one of the reasons for turnover, particularly among underrepresented professionals, is microaggressions or sometimes the macro aggressions, right, in the workplace. You mentioned microaggressions a moment ago. Will you define that for people who have not heard that term before and then share why leaders can’t minimize or ignore those effects on their employees?
Meisha - 00:14:57:
Right. Yeah. So the terms change every few years. Right. But unconscious bias, which is another big one right now, is how you feel. That’s the cognitive shortcut. That’s you having a prejudice or jumping to a conclusion based on who somebody is or how they look, the microaggression is the behavior and the consequence of that unconscious bias. So a microaggression is what you do based on your assumption. And the reason you can’t ignore it is because, number one, it’s wrong. But number two, in organizations, it has a negative impact on engagement. If you feel like, oh, I’m being prejudged, you don’t really see me, or you see something you think is me but is not me, then I start holding back at work. Right. How people feel affects what they do, and what they do at work is their performance. So you cannot have people or it’s very difficult to have people who are extremely high performing consistently when they’re constantly battling microaggressions. You’re not getting that person’s fullest and complete potential that way.
Jackie - 00:16:14:
Absolutely. And one of the things that I’ve learned in doing my own research is that employees that are happy at work, right, and when you’re experiencing microaggressions again and again, you’re not happy at work. But when employees are happy at work, they’re significantly more productive, which means more profitability. If you’re just thinking about the bottom line, it’s better for your business to have your employees be happy at work. And that goes, again back to your measurement. Right. And that data collection and understanding. You want your employees happy so that they’re productive, and it helps you recruit better. It certainly helps with retention and so there are so many benefits to measuring and acting upon creating those environments that are more inclusive and more equitable for your workforce.
Meisha - 00:17:12:
Absolutely. And let’s even talk about innovation. There’s so many companies right now that want to be innovative. If I constantly experience microaggressions, do you think that’s going to make me want to raise my hand and give you my idea? No. You might ridicule me or you might jump to conclusions about me that I’m just being disagreeable. For example, when people experience microaggressions, they shrink, they don’t flourish. Right. And so innovation, in my opinion, really suffers in that context as well. And then you think about how that affects tech, right. Tech is typically built for white men. If I’m not speaking up and going, hey, did you think about that? Your product is not going to serve a diverse population because you’re not hearing from a diverse population.
Jackie - 00:18:06:
Absolutely. And our society is becoming more and more diverse. Absolutely. So to have sustainable business, to your point, you’ve got to have that innovation and you’ve got to have those voices. I think that’s absolutely right. Dr. Martin, let’s talk about burnout. What causes burnout? Right. We’re hearing this term all the time. What causes burnout? And then what can leaders do to support employees to avoid it?
Meisha - 00:18:33:
Yeah, so there’s the objective situation. Right. And I don’t want to downplay that. Like, sometimes, frankly, people are just given too much to do. Okay, that will definitely lead to burnout. But there’s also the feeling of being burned out, like when you feel like, oh my gosh, I’m taking on something new, I’m a little unsure, or the group dynamics, I don’t feel included. All of those things can lead to people feeling like, oh my gosh, this is too much. Right. Even if you have external things going on and work, even though the workload is not too much, it can just feel like too much. So what can leaders do in these situations? Ask people genuinely how they’re doing. Help people to prioritize, have genuine, vulnerable conversations. When you check in, and you should be checking in at least weekly, where you’re not just checking in on what the person is doing, because if you only check in on that, it signals to the employee that you only care about them as much as they can produce for you and the business, and you don’t care about them as a person. So you got to check in on both. You got to do it frequently and you have to be open to what you hear.
Jackie - 00:19:58:
Absolutely. And that’s such a great point because so often we miss, again, I’ll say the busyness of the day because we’re always trying to fit it all in. But you have to take that time to really connect with your employees and develop that trust because that’s so important. And then ask, because sometimes you’re right. A reasonable but full workload becomes too much when we’ve got something personal going on, whether it’s health or family or relationships. Could be a lot of things. And so you want to be able to help your employee manage that and manage through it so that you can retain that employee because it’s so important. And then now you’ve built a trust factor there and an appreciation factor that, you know, what? My job, my manager helped me navigate this issue, and I want to stay right, because I know that if something arises, they’ll help me work through it. And when we talk about the issues with retention, which we’re talking about a lot in every level of business, that’s one of the best ways to make sure that you’ve got good retention in your organization is having those good relationships with your employee and caring about that whole person.
Meisha - 00:21:27:
So we’re finding actually something really interesting between appreciation and burnout. And what we’re seeing in the research is that when people are working hard and they feel like you don’t see it, that is related to perceptions of burnout. So the people in our sample, when we ask about burnout, who tend to report the highest level of burnout, are those people who are also saying that they don’t feel appreciated or seen. What we see consistently, even during the pandemic, is people who are recognized recently and frequently are the people that report the lowest stress and the lowest burnout levels. So there’s something about appreciation that can mitigate burnout that says, hey, we see you. It may be a tough time for you, but you’re still valuable to this organization, and we appreciate that. We appreciate you. There’s something about that that takes down the stress level and mitigates burnout.
Jackie - 00:22:26:
Wow, that’s such an important note. Dr. Martin, on the same topic, right, talking about burnout, how can we as professionals prevent it for ourselves? How can we take care of ourselves as well?
Meisha - 00:22:41:
So I love this question. I recently had an experience with my team. We’re down a couple of team members, and I’ve been worried about them and burnout, and one of the things I’m worried about is I know these individuals are engaged, service oriented, and always wanting to say yes. And I also know that you will burn out before you know it. Like, it sneaks up on you very quickly. And sure enough, this is what has been happening on members of this team. So I would say stay vigilant, set boundaries. One of my team members told me yesterday, he said, I didn’t think that I was burned out or working too hard. But then I noticed that I was so tired at the end of the day that I wasn’t doing anything fun, and I haven’t done anything fun in a very long time. And I was like, dude, that’s burnout. If you have nothing to give at the end of the day, that is burnout. So as an individual, stay vigilant, check in with yourself. How are you showing up outside of work? How much are you thinking about work and stressing about work outside of work? And try to advocate for yourself and have conversations and speak up if this is what you were experiencing. Part of the issue on my team was that they kept saying, we’re okay, we’re okay, until they weren’t. Right?
Jackie - 00:24:13:
Yeah, that’s such a good point. And one of the things that I heard is, what are the things that are changing about you and how you’re showing up outside of work?
Meisha - 00:24:25:
Jackie - 00:24:25:
That’s so important. And to be able to recognize those things. For me, I like to cook in the evenings, so if I’m going through... it’s a great way for me to just wind down. I have a glass of wine, turn the music on, and if I find that I don’t have the energy to cook, I know I’m getting into a problem. And so being able to recognize what are the things that are shifting or changing? What are the things that you’re not doing that you love to do that you don’t have the energy for? I think that’s a great red flag for yourself to say, okay, let me take stock of what I’m doing, and where do I need to give myself some space?
Meisha - 00:25:06:
You are right about that. I know that when I’m just on the couch like a plug and I’m not working out and I’m not cooking for myself and I don’t feel like talking to anybody on the phone, that’s when I know I’m just too through and I need to just take a minute.
Jackie - 00:25:25:
That’s such good advice because we have to recognize that for ourselves and set boundaries, especially when we’re in situations where our managers are not listening to Dr. Martin and are pushing too hard. You’ve got to be able to set those boundaries for yourself. Right now we’re hearing a lot about layoffs, Dr. Martin, and spending freezes. How does an unstable economy affect employee performance and morale?
Meisha - 00:25:53:
Yeah, I think this is such a hard one because often in these situations, there’s a lack of information and a culture of fear. And the period before layoffs is particularly interesting, and after as well. Before, people are suspecting it, and after, people are wondering, is it really done? And am I at risk? And these feelings of angst are not conducive to our best selves and our best performance. So as much as possible, I would say communication and transparency, but also in any layoff, there are people that organizations would not want to lose. And so you want to be very disciplined during that process to signal to those people through appreciation and recognition, hey, we value you. You can’t really say, hey, layoffs are coming, but you’re not going to be part of it. You can’t do that, but you can signal and reinforce to people that what they’re doing and their capabilities are valued, because if you don’t, the people that you want to stay will start looking and leave.
Jackie - 00:27:12:
Absolutely. And you’re right. They have that fear, and they’re like, oh, this ship is sinking. Right. Even if it’s a very finite layoff in one department, people get nervous, and they start looking for other opportunities, and you don’t want to lose those very talented employees. So I love that recognition. Continued recognition is the way to keep them engaged and feeling safe, which is important. Dr. Martin, what is your advice for keeping employees engaged? So we talked about recognition. So important. Do you have other recommendations for us?
Meisha - 00:27:53:
Absolutely. I have micro advice and macro advice.
Jackie - 00:27:57:
Meisha - 00:27:58:
The micro is the relationship between you and your leader that is the foundation of how you experience an organization. And so I’ve said before, you should check in at least weekly, but I advocate for what I call the generous check in. And I referred to this before, meaning check in on not just what the person is doing, but how they’re feeling. Now, that’s the last part I want to give a little bit more targeted advice on. For these conversations to work well, there needs to be vulnerability, and that can be hard right at the beginning. Right. You don’t want to go in cold with a person you haven’t established that relationship with and go, So how are you doing?
Jackie - 00:28:41:
Meisha - 00:28:41:
It’s weird. Okay. You can’t just start out by asking them all these personal questions when you haven’t laid that foundation. And so as a leader, what you need to do is start to model that yourself. I’m not telling you to emotionally dump on your employees and tell all your business. What I’m saying is, if you’re feeling a little stressed, say that. If you’ve made a mistake at work, say that. If you’ve been assigned a task and you’re not quite sure you’re feeling a little nervous, say that. So start establishing that foundation of vulnerability so that your direct report will feel comfortable reciprocating because you started first.
Jackie - 00:29:23:
Yes, I love that. That is so right. Because you can’t expect your employees to be vulnerable and trust you if you’re not vulnerable and trust them.
Meisha - 00:29:34:
That’s exactly right.
Jackie - 00:29:35:
I love that.
Meisha - 00:29:36:
That’s exactly right. And now the macro advice is around a listening strategy. We talked about layoffs and that kind of thing, and people getting nervous. Now is the time to really understand how people are feeling. So you need a listening strategy that is more continuous than once a year. Right. And then you need to make sure, too, that you’re asking the right questions, because sometimes we send these surveys out and we’re like, oh, everything’s fine, but we’re not asking the right questions. We’re not looking to see if different types of people are equally likely to respond, because sometimes people don’t even trust you enough to respond. And it’s pockets. You want to understand what those pockets are, but also you want to look at the responses by different demographics. And then lastly, to make sure you’re asking the right questions, look at your open-ended comments. Are people saying things that you’re not even capturing in a question? Always scrub those comments to see if you’re finding themes that then you could include in your survey to get broader opinions about.
Jackie - 00:30:46:
Absolutely. That’s such good advice. And again, it can be scary for leaders to go and get that information, but it’s so important to be able to create the environment that you want at your organization to know what those shortcomings are, know what the sentiment really is, and then to address it step by step. That’s such great advice.
Meisha - 00:31:09:
And communicate what you’ve done as a result. I see a lot of organizations miss that step. And you do that enough times, people will stop talking to you.
Jackie - 00:31:19:
Absolutely. Amidst these spending holds, often diversity and inclusion is one of the initiatives that gets reduced. Why is it important, Dr. Martin, to remain focused on Dei even amidst an economic downturn?
Meisha - 00:31:36:
Because more people care about diversity than you think. It’s not just the people of color and it’s not just the women. One of the things that’s so hopeful for me is that so many people are now considering this as important. And we’re all watching. We’re all watching. And so if you cut DEI right now, so many people will never trust you again. This is your opportunity to step up and demonstrate that you really, really are committed. Unfortunately, there are already articles out showing that DEI departments are disproportionately cut. And it’s heartbreaking. It is really heartbreaking when you think about all these companies and their commitments after the George Floyd murder and now this.
Jackie - 00:32:31:
Absolutely. Dr. Martin, let’s talk about the research you’re doing around psychological safety. We talked about that term a little earlier. This is something that we’re hearing a lot now in the workplace. Can you tell us a little about your research there?
Meisha - 00:32:45:
Yes, we’re so proud of this. And my research partner is Dr. Isha Vicaria, and she is absolutely amazing. So we first started studying this in the midst of the pandemic, and I’m very proud of that because we were all going through this tough, stressful time, and we believed that it was important for people to have psychological safety so that they could admit that they needed additional support. And so we found some really interesting things. So we found that in the midst of this really tough time, when psychological safety needed to be high, it really wasn’t that high. So the average was only 3.47, and women were lower. Parents, poor parents during this pandemic, they were lower. And people of color were lower on psychological safety as well. We did also find that the people in our sample that were highest on psychological safety were the people that were recognized most recently.
Jackie - 00:33:46:
Meisha - 00:33:48:
Jackie - 00:33:49:
You know, again, that’s that is a theme throughout this conversation. Recognition is so important and we have to learn to build that into our day to day as leaders. I think that point is certainly driven home. It’s so important.
Meisha - 00:34:06:
It’s so affirming. It says, I see you. I see who you are. I see what you’re doing. You belong here. We value you. We find that people who are recognized report stronger connection to their colleagues. It turns coworkers into community. It is such a magical thing. And then the person who’s giving also benefits. We find we find increases in engagement. Forgivers, because when you take a moment and reflect on what you’re grateful for about a coworker, that does something to you.
Jackie - 00:34:41:
Absolutely. Dr. Martin, tell us some of the ways that we can recognize our coworkers. Right? So as we’re thinking, how should it come from leaders? How should it come from our colleagues? Is it a personal conversation? Is it something in the Slack channel or the Teams channel? Tell us what the best ways are to recognize each other.
Meisha - 00:35:07:
Yes. So as a universal best practice, we did some research with Gallup on what are the things that make for impactful recognition. So what are the elements that amplify the relationship between recognition and some of these outcomes, like engagement and performance and business outcomes like absenteeism. And one of them is authenticity. And so basically, don’t get lazy with it. Don’t just be like you’re doing a great job. That doesn’t really come across as authentic. For it to be authentic, you have to be specific. You have to call out what exactly that person did or what the characteristic of that person is that you appreciate, why you appreciate it, how it made an impact on you, and how it made an impact on the business. Right? So you have to take the time to include those elements. In terms of public versus private, that’s another kind of tricky thing because it has to be personalized. Some people prefer private, some people are okay with public. This is where having a recognition program really helps and you allow the technology to help you because people can select if you’re doing it through the system, they can say, never make it public. I don’t like that. But also we find and with our partnership in Gallup, this was another thing that we found embedded in the culture. So there are things that happen when you’re recognized and then it’s amplified in terms of impact. When you think that you’re in a culture where this sort of thing happens, where this sort of thing just happens to people. We’re a culture that appreciates people. We call that the witnessing effect. So when you witness other people getting recognized, it adds an additional oomph to that impact as well.
Jackie - 00:37:02:
That is so important. I think that’s excellent advice. And again, we just have to remember to do that. Right. We get so into moving from project to project, meeting to meeting, and we need to build that into our day, not only for our direct reports, but for our colleagues as well.
Meisha - 00:37:24:
That’s right. And as leaders especially, we can think about it as coaching. What does your direct report do that you want them to repeat? Because all recognition is is positive reinforcement. You know that’s right. And so if you recognize it, chances are they’ll do it again. And look at you. You’re creating a top performer.
Jackie - 00:37:42:
Absolutely. Such good advice. Dr. Martin, so when we started the conversation, you talked about making a change and impacting for good in what you are doing professionally. Do you feel like you’re accomplishing that and what’s next for you?
Meisha - 00:37:58:
Oh, my gosh, I feel so energized. I was talking to one of my leaders right before this, and transparently, Workhuman is having a bit of a tough time in our culture. We did 10% layoffs in a very human way. I’m very proud of that. But many of us are grieving colleagues. And I did a podcast earlier this week, and right before, I wasn’t feeling it. But when I have conversations like this and I feel like people are going to hear all these tips that they’re going to take to make somebody’s life better, it just puts gas in my engine. And so I am exactly where I want to be, doing exactly what I want to do. And it’s one thing to study this over the years, the impact of meaningful work and an organization’s vision aligning with what you want to do with your life. But when you feel it and you live it, it’s a completely different thing. And so I wish that for all of your listeners.
Jackie - 00:39:02:
Of your listeners, thank you for that. That’s such an amazing statement. Dr. Martin, what’s the message that you want to leave our listeners with today? What do you want them to take with them from this conversation?
Meisha - 00:39:17:
So I want people to remember that when you’re at work interacting with a direct report or a colleague, you have the opportunity to change that person’s life and make that person’s life better. If you want to be an ally, remember that for black employees and Hispanic employees, how they experience work has an even bigger impact on the rest of their lives. Be a good leader, be a good coworker. Take a minute to use your words and tell people what they mean to you at work, and you will 100% change and improve their lives.
Jackie - 00:39:55:
Amazing. Thank you for sharing that. Dr. Martin. How can people learn more about your work and get in touch with you?
Meisha - 00:40:02:
All right, so Workhuman.com, our Resources section is a great place to go. We just released another report with Gallup on the economic impact of recognition. We’re releasing a new report called, Workhuman has called The Evolution of Work, where we’re looking at the impact of different personas in the workplace, what they want, life stages. And I’m so energized by that because we’re doing that to change the conversation about generations and age. It might not be your age. It might be your life stage and what you’re looking for from work at that stage of your life. So those are two big things that are either there right now in the case of the Gallup report, are coming, in the case of the Evolution of Work report. And then you can always find me on LinkedIn. I come in hot so you can engage with me there. My name is spelled M-E-I-S-H-A hyphen A-N-N. Last name Martin. So follow me or connect with me on LinkedIn.
Jackie - 00:41:05:
Love that. Dr. Martin, thank you so much for taking some time with me today. This has been such a great conversation, such amazing insights and definitely something we can all take with us to be better coworkers, right? Better leaders at work. Thank you.
Meisha - 00:41:22:
Thank you so much for having me.
Jackie - 00:41:33:
Thanks for joining me for this episode. Please take a moment to subscribe and review this podcast and share this episode with a friend. Become a part of our community on LinkedIn, Instagram and Twitter. This show was edited and produced by Earfluence. I’m Jackie Ferguson. Join us for our next episode of Diversity Beyond the Checkbox. Take care of yourself and each other.
In this episode, Dr. Meisha-ann Martin, Senior Director of People Analytics and Research at Workhuman, and host Jackie Ferguson, both graduates from the University of South Florida, explore the negative impact of microaggressions on employee engagement, productivity, and innovation. Microaggressions result from unconscious biases and can create a toxic work environment for underrepresented groups. Dr. Martin discusses how creating an inclusive and equitable work environment is critical to ensuring employee happiness, boosting productivity, and increasing profitability.
As a leading provider of employee recognition software, Workhuman helps organizations measure the impact of their recognition programs and connect recognition efforts to other strategic HR imperatives and businesses’ bottom lines. In addition, Dr. Martin provides valuable insights into how recognition programs foster a culture of inclusivity and equity, highlighting the importance of taking a proactive approach to understanding and addressing microaggressions in the workplace. By listening to this episode, leaders and managers can gain valuable strategies and insights to create a more positive, productive, and inclusive work environment for all employees, including those from historically marginalized communities.