Eskalera Today, the Inclusion Index was introduced, a new system for organizing companies that promotes and quantifies the inclusive culture. With the help of organizational analyzes, the inclusion index aims to measure a company's diversity and inclusion (D&I) efforts in real time. It also offers solutions and actionable steps to improve a company's inclusiveness.
Given the unrest surrounding the killing of unarmed black men by the police and the Black Lives Matter movement, companies are saying that they want to sensibly improve their diversity and inclusion. Now, those who are really committed to sustainable change can receive free D&I training for three months, the company said.
The San Francisco-based company Eskalera (which means "increase" in Spanish) offers large and medium-sized companies a completely digital platform with insights and solutions for D&I as well as the possibility to measure performance over time. The platform also provides employees and managers with the knowledge and skills to build a more inclusive culture within individual relationships, teams and the entire company.
"We consider the data we provide to be valuable," said Dane Holmes, CEO of Eskalera, in an interview with VentureBeat. "What is more valuable – your social security number or how do you identify yourself as a person?"
The company also collects data that can help people understand better.
"I would call this reinforcing data," said Holmes. "When we know someone is a single parent, we get additional information to understand them and what makes them unique."
Holmes said that interest in diversity and driving change has skyrocketed since the Black Lives Matter riots.
"The environment has changed significantly," he said. “At this moment, the conversation is not just about tackling the problem. It was about how to make your organization a more effective and better organization through research practices. It was exciting to see that. I feel strange that my whole life is focused on this moment. "
The company's products are already used by Cornell University, Oscar Health and one of the largest financial institutions in the United States, according to Eskalera.
Holmes said he tried to improve D&I in the investment banking industry while he was head of human capital management at Goldman Sachs. He said while many companies are pursuing representation of underrepresented minorities at the surface level, representation is not necessarily synonymous with inclusion, which is why so many efforts have been unsuccessful. In order to drive sustainable change, companies would have to undergo cultural change, and that would require the right, high-quality measurements.
To meet this need in the corporate world, Eskalera generates real-time signals and metrics for employee attitudes through evidence-based micro-learning on diversity and inclusion. This data is combined with core HR metrics to provide direct information about the employee experience that the company has referred to as the inclusion index – a data fusion that executives, chief diversity officers and HR practitioners drive systemic culture change and foster measurable progress on an ongoing basis can.
Eskalera's inclusion index
The inclusion index is derived from a variety of anonymous data points through employee feedback on mood and culture and combined with other HR data. He uses a machine learning system to generate a comparative “inclusiveness value” for the corporate culture. Eskalera recognizes that data alone does not solve D&I or drive lasting cultural change. The company therefore offers HR teams an end-to-end solution that includes the division into measurable areas such as trust, voice, sense of growth and belonging.
"We collect feelings from people like trust, belonging, voice and a sense of growth. This gives me a better structure to understand what drives people," said Holmes. "It also helps me to find out how I feel about belonging or performance based on these characteristics. "
Companies do not currently have this information. They don't always track things like mood, which can be determined through anonymous surveys.
"They want a full set of data that unifies everything like recruitment or compensation data or performance data and learning data," said Holmes. "They don't have a good measure of the diversity that is often viewed through representation."
For example, you may have big differences between secretarial ranks or in the post office, but that doesn't exactly add to the inclusiveness of the culture if the ranks are not different.
The system measures real-time involvement over the course of an employee's engagement and helps executives promote accountability. It overlays the inclusion of traditional HR data to measure the impact on recruitment, promotion, retention and productivity. The system even offers true-to-scale coaching with micro-learning modules that teach integrative skills, emotional intelligence and leadership development.
Eskalera was founded in Superset, a startup studio co-founded by Tom Chavez and Vivek Vaidya that builds and funds enterprising companies. Chavez, who is also a co-founder of Eskalera, is one of the few Latinx technology entrepreneurs and investors. Previously, he launched and sold two startups, Krux and Rapt, to Salesforce and Microsoft for $ 1.2 billion.
Together with Holmes, the five co-founders of Eskalera combine backgrounds in D&I, AI product development and enterprise tech software to bring about change in the American company.
Tolonda Tolbert, co-founder and director of strategy and culture, has more than 20 years of experience in strategy and implementation of D&I, including at Catalyst and the Anti-Defamation League. Co-founder and product manager Debra Kadner has decades of experience in the development of software products for Salesforce and Microsoft. Roopak Gupta, co-founder and chief technology officer, was the former vice president of engineering at Salesforce, where he developed big data and machine learning products.
The company has 13 employees and was founded in 2018. It has started a private round and is looking for more funding.
When asked if he was optimistic, Holmes said: "Yes, I am optimistic for several reasons. The ability to hold others accountable is much higher. And people's ability to express their opinions is much higher. And technology to tie everything together is there. Technology has enabled both the gathering and dissemination of information. And the way the discussion is conducted today is very different. It is much more about systemic and structural problems than small problems. The discussion is more about the macro question, how we create structural change, how we create an anti-racist culture. "