While there might be certain targets that, once reached, can be marked as “complete,” a culture of diversity, equity and inclusion requires continuous attention and care. And, even when certain progress has been made, those efforts require a frank assessment to illuminate next steps.
Marcelo Modica, who joined privacy, governance, ethics and ESG experts at OneTrust as its chief people officer earlier this year, said that while the company is in the preliminary stages of achieving its long-term DEI efforts, he’s been encouraged by the foundation set by dedicated team members.
“Our vision long-term is that we want the way we represent trust as a product to our customers, to be the same for our culture: An open showroom of what best practice is in an inclusive workplace,” Modica said.
Mandy Ching, talent acquisition DEI program director, identified a natural through line between OneTrust — which brought Convercent, a platform that helps companies manage their ethics and compliance efforts, into the fold last year — its customers and the internal need for a robust DEI program: trust.
“Trust is our brand. Diversity, equity and inclusion is a big part of trust,” Ching said. “If we don't have the right people engaged internally, then how will we be able to build trust externally? We'd be doing a disservice to our employees and to our customers without putting DEI front and center with everything that we do.”
What OneTrust Does
For Ching, a big area of focus is ensuring that each component of the talent acquisition process permits the company to “evaluate candidates on an even playing field,” pointing to in-progress aspirations of standardized interviews as but one reference point of those efforts.
Employee trust groups play a major role in the overall DEI strategy. Strategic Client Executive Bryant Noël, who co-leads the company’s Black@OneTrust ETG — one of nine ETGs at OneTrust — said that he’s looking forward to strengthening the relationship between OneTrust’s ETGs and executives. In the process, he hopes to amplify the collective voice of the ETGs in such a way that informs necessary, subsequent action.
“I’m excited for more opportunities to connect with OneTrust leadership and be that soundboard, expressing any concerns of our community or ways that we want to grow,” Noël said.
Here’s how the team members are putting their stamp on the company’s DEI efforts — and how they hope to continue to do so through collective collaboration and efforts.
How would you describe OneTrust’s approach to DEI?
Strategic Client Executive Bryant Noël: DEI within OneTrust is still growing in a lot of ways.
It really took off with some of the social impact things that we were seeing in our communities — including happenings around George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Beonna Taylor and lots of others. A lot of the members of the organization turned to our executive team, letting them know these things were impacting the way that we did business and our day-to-day lives. That was taken into heavy consideration. That’s kind of what launched the initial DEI groups for us.
From there, it created this team of individuals who really care about the employees, care about our wellbeing, how we’re approaching different social justice issues, how we’re making sure that, even though we as a business have different day-to-day tasks that we need to accomplish, we’re still taking the time to come together as a group to talk about the things outside of work that may be impacting the way that we function.
That’s what DEI has really begun to do for the organization: Making sure that we have those outlets to say, ‘Here are things that are important to us from a cultural perspective, and here are things that are happening in our communities that are impactful to the way that we’re able to function,’ then taking all of that into consideration so that we have outlets to talk about those things. That’s really been the goal of our DEI group.
Why is involvement in ETGs important?
Noël: In 2020, there were a lot of things happening from a civil unrest perspective within the United States. It was really difficult to do my day job. I had a lot of things that I needed to do as a client executive to support my group, and it became really difficult to take the time to focus on those elements.Even before the ETG group started, finding other individuals who were dealing with the same things and feeling the same way pushed the need for that camaraderie.
It’s not like we created this DEI focus and these ETG groups and everything just stopped and it’s good now — there are still things that are happening in society that become daily updates that we have to take on. It’s just that now, I have those individuals who I can commiserate with and share my frustration but also my joy for positive events. That’s given me an additional outlet to say: I’m excited to work with these individuals. I’m excited to have this community within OneTrust that socially has a lot of things in common with me. It’s made it a lot easier to feel heard. There’s a lot of reassurance knowing that there’s so many people who have felt that same way.
Talent Acquisition DEI Program Director Mandy Ching: To come to OneTrust and see that there were already some groups established, like the Women’s ETG, was reassuring to me. I knew that there were some like-minded individuals who are motivated to make change. That appealed to me, especially coming on in a diversity capacity within talent acquisition.
Now that we have these ETGs, we in TA would love to partner with them to develop our processes — not just to bounce ideas off of but also to really get their perspective on what’s important in the recruitment process and what they want to see in terms of growth. Without these groups, we would be missing a big perspective from the employee base on what's important and how we really show up, both within the organization and to candidates externally.
Without these groups, we would be missing a big perspective from the employee base on what’s important and how we really show up, both within the organization and to candidates externally.”
Tell me more about the DEI Council. What is its goal? What does it entail?
Ching: It was created to uphold our commitment of building diverse teams and inclusive and innovative environments. It’s comprised of people from all different parts of the organization. They play an active role in shaping our organization and making sure that we have the inclusivity of individuals from different backgrounds and experiences to be able to bring their authentic selves to work and really be able to drive success within the organization for each employee. They’re really subject matter experts and advisors to help build our DEI strategy.
They have some core responsibilities, like making sure when we have room in the budget that it's fairly allocated, and making sure that we are really acting as advocates for ETGs. They hold execs and our TA team accountable for our DEI progress.
Chief People Officer Marcelo Modica: They’re a natural sounding board for all kinds of things; Employees look to the leaders for wisdom — on things like financial strategy, of course, but also social unrest and matters like that.
We have to do more listening than talking. This council is a great sounding board for our strategy and priorities and how we think about educating the organization over time. We’re lucky to have it and we’re lucky to have a great group of people on that council.
How does OneTrust put DEI front and center in its recruiting, talent acquisition and hiring process?
Ching: We’ve done a lot of work, but there’s a lot more work to do. We’re really striving to create a standardized interview process that’s fair and equitable and is a strong experience regardless of where you’re coming from as a candidate. Whether you’re a referral from an SVP or an applicant who found us online, your experience should be the same. Interview standardization is really key in minimizing bias and considering a wider breadth of candidates and experiences.
Ways we’ve standardized the process include: unconscious bias training; making sure job descriptions have inclusive language and are customized based on our hiring needs; interview guides for different job functions; standardized interview feedback forms; roundtables and intake calls. All of those really shape the inclusivity of the interview process. That’s the very beginning of what we’re trying to do here, but it sets the stage for bigger and better things.
Given the industry OneTrust is in, why is championing DEI particularly important?
Noël: At the core of what we do is working with companies so that they can provide certain rights back to their consumers and make sure that they’re protected. That expands across our tool set, like what we’re getting into from an environmental, social and governance perspective: Ensuring that we're not only giving back to individuals, but how our customers are impacting society from a global perspective — whether it’s how they're impacting the environment or if they’re using best practices to make sure that they’re not negatively impacting a specific group of people in some of their business practices.
That relates back to DEI because it’s all about how we become aware of the social perspective; how we continue to grow and create tools that allow you to have processes in place to manage these things, to understand what next steps are and to make sure you have KPIs for addressing issues from a DEI perspective or from a global social justice perspective. That’s kind of at the root of our business and how we try to address our market, having benevolence in there.
We help companies protect themselves and protect their employees from injustice. If we’re going to do that for customers, we want to do that here.”
Modica: The more diverse of thought that we are, and how we represent it, the better we understand our customers’ needs. That’s a macro theme. At the center of what’s behind trust, we care a lot about safety and ethics. We literally help companies protect themselves and protect their employees from injustice. We have to look at ourselves in the mirror and say, ‘If we’re going to do that for customers, we want to do that here.’ We’re at the precipice of a tremendous responsibility