Last week I was called by an academic in the Hague who was developing a tool to assess retention rates for different employee diversity groups. He was looking at things like their promotion rates and absence rates. My advice was that the tool needed to measure the extent to which the different diverse groups were experiencing inclusion. The extent to which diverse employees experience inclusion or exclusion is a powerful means of predicting retention. Prof. Stephan Ludwig, University of Surrey, has developed a text mining tool to do this.
Text mining offers new managerial insights on employees’ social integration and participation in the organisation. It involves software that analyses large amounts of emails to discover previously unknown information and quantify it. The information might be relationships or patterns that are buried in the email text collection and which would otherwise be extremely difficult, if not impossible, to discover. Text mining can also be used to determine how people in organisations experience inclusion and exclusion in their workplaces. This includes being able to determine how unconscious bias is playing out in an organisation in relation to different diversity groups. The different possible communication experiences of diverse employees are described below:
The convergence and divergence in employees’ writing styles over time characterises constant and active negotiation and contestation of their identification or disidentification with a particular organisation and other employees (Kreiner and Ashforth 2004).
Shared communication writing styles (i.e. high synchronicity) indicate the experience by employees of greater levels of interaction and shared focus, whereas diverging patterns are indicative of exclusion and detrimental to the overall organisational performance (Dennis et al. 2008).
Explicit written statements like ‘he treats me as an equal’ or ‘we agreed to’ are conscious reflections of relational aspects such as the relative power imbalance (e.g. treats me as an equal) and perceived co-ownership (e.g. we agreed) between colleagues (McGlone & Giles, 2011).
Implicit writing cues are subconsciously emitted during the communication and similarly meaningful symbols of relational circumstances. For example, McGlone and Giles (2011) show that hedges (I guess), tag questions (isn’t it?) and filler expressions (like) are associated with perceptions of high-power imbalance, whereas the absence of these markers are a signs for low-power imbalances between colleagues.
As has been explained regualarly in these posts an inclusive culture is built by developing Inclusive Leaders right down to the front-line of mangement who are skilled in:
- Practising interactive effectiveness, e.g. seeking information; checking understanding; acknowledging feelings and positive contributions; summarising; etc;
- Empowering people by using the Lawlor Empowerment Equation, i.e. Empowernent = Power (P) x Information (I) x Recognition (R) x Coaching (C): Empowerment =PIRC;
- Giving effective feedback and in-the-moment coaching.
If you want more information on this approach, which is so successful in measuring inclusion and being able to assess the extent of retention for different diverse groups, please don’t hesitate to contact me.
Dr Ian Dodds FRSA