NextGen HiPo

How to make high potential employee development programs fair, valuable, and sustainable

In the world of learning and development (L&D), there’s a decades-old concept of developing an employer’s most promising workers distinctly from their peers, and it’s known as High Potential Employee Development–HiPo for short. Ironically, the promise of HiPo programs has yet to be realized.

In theory, HiPo programs should work. Social science research supports the following statements:

  1. Top performers shift expectations higher for all employees (source
  2. Well-done employee development programs increase employee retention rates (source
  3. Growing talent from within is associated with greater company success than hiring talent from the outside (source)
  4. Effective succession planning is correlated to positive company performance (source)

Yet even though most can agree on HiPo’s parallel benefits to individuals and companies, the programs haven’t provided a competitive advantage or return on investment (ROI) to organizations. The average employer-sponsored HiPo program spends $3mm (source), yet 73% of high-potential programs fail to deliver desired business outcomes or ROI (Gartner, 2016), only 25% of company leaders deem them successful, and 82% HR leaders are dissatisfied with the results (source). 

And what about the HiPos themselves? It’s not much better on the individual side. Forty percent of internal job moves made by high potential employees fail, and 46% of high potentials fail to accomplish business results in their new roles (Gartner, 2014). A study by Willis Towers Watson showed that over 70% of “high-retention-risk” employees leave due to a lack of future advancement in their current job (source). Harvard Business Review published a study showing that 75% of HiPos look for another job during their first year of employment and then typically leave the employer after 28 months due to a lack of both career development and access to mentoring and coaching (source). 


Why are we writing about HiPo programs?

This article’s authors are professionally focused on creating impactful human development solutions. We’ve both been considered HiPos at various points in our academic and professional careers, and we’ve both benefited and suffered from flawed HiPo processes. As a result, we believe that bringing the most insightful research to bear on HiPo program design will help the programs fulfill their promise as valuable change-makers for individuals and organizations.  

Steve holds a PhD in Applied Performance Psychology, is the Founder of Long Training+Research, the developer of the Prosperity Trait(c), and is a consultant to the U.S. Air Force Academy’s pilot program. For the past forty years, Dr. Long has helped leaders reduce the variability between their performance and their potential by using behavioral psychology and scientifically valid psychometrics. 

Francie is the Founder of Terawatt, an online marketplace for group coaching. Terawatt works within the Human Capital space, connecting vetted experts to employers looking to solve specific problems and achieve company-level results. The marketplace’s big insight: experts are more affordable when their cost is split by a group. 


The History of HiPo

The first and most famous HiPo program began in 1956 when General Electric (GE), under Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Philip Reed, built the Crotonville Conference Center, a 60-acre employee development campus in Ossining, NY. In the 1980s, GE’s CEO Jack Welch used Crotonville as the centerpiece for his revamp of what had been a bureaucratic conglomerate into a stock market darling. Fast forward forty years later: in 2024 GE sold the Crotonville conference center, citing strategic changes in talent development, and the company split itself into three distinct businesses: GE Aerospace, GE Healthcare, and GE Vernova.

In many ways, the current state of HiPo programs mirrors the lifecycle of Crotonville. The underpinnings have true merit, and several leading 20th century companies, including 3M, Arthur Anderson, Boeing, and Deloitte, used them to achieve company goals. But the HiPo programs that were once the envy of the world are no longer cutting edge.  

Why don’t our fathers’ HiPo programs work for us? A few reasons: Technology and its relationship to the economy are part of it, but mostly, we’ve learned so much in the past 40 years about people, teams, and workplaces. The new data, combined with some of the seminal psychological research, disproves much of the conventional wisdom regarding employees and the relationship of employee development to company results. 

Steve and Francie, this article’s authors, believe we can realize the promise of HiPo programs by building on Crotonville’s key insights with the best social science insights on people and team dynamics. Let us walk you through our thinking and framework for fair, valuable, and sustainable HiPo programs. 

Let’s dig in. 


GE’s Crotonville

Around 1984 GE’s HiPo program at Crotonville solidified into an annual 3-week course offered only to GE’s highest potential managers, somewhere between 25 and 50 people. The curriculum used case studies based on actual GE problems, and the course covered the themes of excellence, ownership, quality, and facing reality. Crotonville’s rigid admissions process involved sign-off from multiple internal stakeholders, including CEO Jack Welch. 

The world cared about Crotonville because of GE’s business success. With Welch as CEO, GE’s market capitalization rose from $13 bn to $600 bn, making GE the most valuable publicly traded company in the world in 2000 and turning Welch into a business superstar. 

At the time, and even now, there’s no consensus on Welch’s tenure. Subsequent analysis of Welch’s time as CEO shows that GE’s increase in market capitalization was much higher than the increase in its revenue or profit and that the company’s margin decreased during his tenure (source). This data suggests that some of Welch’s legend can be attributed to the psyche of stock market investors rather than his insights into company management. In addition, many Welch critics charge that his only achievement was deep cost cutting. However you feel about Jack Welch and GE’s heyday, it’s important to understand how Welch connected Crotontonville to GE’s goals and success. 

In his book, Jack, Welch enumerates the value Crotonville brought to GE, and the benefits of the HiPo program continue to ring true today. Crotonville’s activities helped GE to:

  1. Hire and retain the best people 
  2. Treat the best people well 
  3. Pay people well 
  4. Balance short term results with long term results
  5. Clarify company initiatives
  6. Develop soft skills to balance efficiency & accountability 
  7. Function as one company, but allow diversity of styles 
  8. Support non-employee stakeholders such as the communities in which the company operated  
  9. Act as a “Bureaucracy buster” where people who are closest to the problem figure it out 
  10. Increase the efficiency of GE’s operations, also known as asking fewer people to do more
  11. Create a modern company with a single focus on high margin
  12. Support GE to become the world’s #1 lowest cost provider


21st Century Insights

As we reflect on Crotonville, let’s keep in mind how different our world is today from the 1980s. GE was a leading 20th Century manufacturing company in an era when manufacturing was America’s growth engine. Managers of business units and industrial manufacturing plants were the employees winning the coveted spots at Crotonville. GE’s HiPos faced challenges managing assembly line workers, minimizing waste, and developing high margin industrial products as the lowest cost provider.  

As of March 31, 2024, the five largest companies by market capitalization are Microsoft, Apple, Nvidia, Alphabet, and Amazon (source). All are United States-headquartered technology businesses and derive their market value from knowledge workers’ output, otherwise known as human capital, an insight made by the SEC in 2020 (source). This means that today’s stock market places the highest value on companies where innovation and human output thrive. 

In order to create a 21st Century HiPo program, we need to draw on the best research regarding human experience. This article relies on data regarding what works best for knowledge workers from the following authors: Karen Arnold, Robert Rosenthal, Lenore Jacobson, Google, McKinsey, Captain, L. David Marquet, and our own proprietary research.


Research on High IQ & Education

In their book Noise, Daniel Kahneman, Olivier Sibony, and Cass Sunstein report that General Mental Ability (GMA), organizational and industrial psychology’s preferred intelligence measurement, is required for highly complex jobs. The correlations between standardized test scores and job performance are in the .50 range, indicating a strong predictive value by social science standards. There are high-GMA people in lower-level occupations, but almost no people with below-average GMA among lawyers, chemists, or engineers. It should come as no surprise that high mental acuity is necessary for highly complex professions. 

Karen Arnold’s Illinois Valedictorian study in 1993 followed 81 high-achieving high school valedictorians for 10 years following their high school graduation, and found that only 25% of the valedictorians were ranked at the top professional levels for their age after ten years. The remaining 75% fell back into the middle of the bell curve and some slid even further behind. 

Further, research shows that expectations are just as accurate a predictor of success as ability rating and classification. Robert Rosenthal and Lenore Jacobson’s Pygmalion in the Classroom studied six grades of students that were randomly and secretly assigned to “fast,” “medium,” and “slow” reading ability classifications.

The researchers show that teachers’ perceptions created a Halo Effect where expectations affected student performance on report cards and IQ development. 

A few examples:

  1. After both one year and two years, high potential boys who were expected to prosper academically showed greater gains in verbal IQ, while high potential girls who were expected to prosper showed greater gains in reasoning IQ. According to their teachers, the high potential students showed greater advances in reading ability. As with IQ gains, the younger high potential students exhibited a greater expectation benefit in reading scores. 
  2. The high potential students who were rated as more intellectually curious, happier, and, especially in the lower grades, were less in need of social approval. 
  3. The more the high potential students gained in IQ, the more favorably their teachers rated them.  
  4. The more the lower-track children in the control group gained in IQ, the more unfavorably their teachers viewed them. As these students became more intellectually competent, their teachers viewed them more negatively.
  5. Through the teacher’s words, timing, facial expressions, posture, and even touch, teachers communicated to the high potential students that they expected improved academic performance. 

Arnold’s findings combined, with Rosenthal and Jacobson’s data, teach us that while IQ or GMA matters for performance complexity, high performance isn’t an inherent trait, and expectations also matter a great deal. What would happen if high expectations were applied to everyone? The conclusion is that something other than IQ or GMA must account for “real world” success.


Google’s “Project Aristotle”

In 2016, Google allowed the New York Times to write about one of its key trade secrets. For years, the $2 trillion market cap company and internet pioneer had been searching for a throughline that connected its “best teams.” The piece does not define the phrase “best teams,” but we see two possible definitions: groups that created Google’s most profitable businesses, AdWords, Gmail, Google Maps, YouTube, and Google Play, and/or teams that demonstrated over time high productivity and low churn. 

After four years of researching the connection, Google’s researchers identified a single attribute held by Google’s best teams: “psychological safety.” In other words, the company’s best performing teams didn’t share a physical location, an alma mater, or any of the other conventional wisdom attributes that typically function as short hard for “best.” The best performing teams allowed team members the freedom to explore, experiment, and ultimately fail without repercussions. Failure not only allows HiPos to develop their potential more fully but also activates their curiosity. This leads to further innovations and discoveries.

Google’s discovery is revolutionary because, up to this point, conventional wisdom had been that top performing companies resulted from the smartest people working together. This assumption is rampant within the literature on HiPo programs. It’s also connected to the now-debunked assumption that hiring individual star workers drive company level results (source, source and source). 


McKinsey’s People + Performance

McKinsey published a March 2023 report called “Performance Through People: Transforming human capital into competitive advantage” showing that of the 1,800 largest global companies, the best performers from the ten year period of 2010-2019 both developed their employees and demanded accountability. This top tier of the best performers achieved the highest return on capital, economic profit, upward mobility for employees, and revenue growth during the Covid pandemic.

McKinsey’s insight is that developing people, in concert with accountability, is linked to company results and financial success. This is important for the earlier generation, as it used to be conventional wisdom that developing people didn’t yield quantifiable company level results. 


L. David Marquet

A Navy nuclear submarine captain, David Marquet, wrote an extraordinary book called Turn the Ship Around, where he discusses his success in flipping the traditional military command structure. In leading the USS Santa Fe for a year, Marquet replaced the typical “leader-follower” leadership structure with his innovation, the “leader-leader” structure. 

Marquet found that giving employees closest to the problem more decision-making authority led to long term superior ship performance. Instead of giving orders, he writes at length about giving control. For example, he changed the reporting style so that officers would state their intentions with, “I intend to…” and his affirmative response would be, “Very well.”  

Marquet cites the following metrics to demonstrate the Santa Fe’s results after one year of “leader-leader”: 

  1. The submarine’s tactical effectiveness evaluation re-rated from “below average to average” to “above average to excellent.” 
  2. Enlisted personnel selected for officer programs tripled from 1 to 3. 
  3. The ship’s rate of re-enlistment was twelve times higher than the previous year, with 100% retention. 
  4. Two junior officers withdrew resignation requests.
  5. Santa Fe received the Arleigh Burke Fleet Trophy, an award given to the Naval ship or squadron that achieved the greatest improvement in battle efficiency in the calendar year.

Marquet’s results echo the findings of Google’s Rosenthal and Jacobson’s Pygmalion research: The individual and collective excel when individuals master a subject, become subject matter experts, and gain decision-making authority. The below quote strikes us as an apropos juxtaposition to GE and Crotonville:

“In our modern world, the most important work we do is cognitive; so, it’s not surprising that a structure developed for physical work isn’t optimal for intellectual work. People who are treated as followers have the expectations of followers and act like followers.”

Our key takeaway from Marquet’s book is that the leader-follower method of leadership, even though revered as the pinnacle of military efficiency, isn’t the only way to achieve success, and it wasn’t the winning strategy for the USS Santa Fe submarine in 1999. Combining the above research tells us that long term, quantifiable results do indeed come from trust, respect, expertise, and individual actualization.


Terawatt’s research on employee development

Terawatt published a series of surveys comparing and contrasting the opinions of employee development stakeholders regarding professional development. One of the most interesting insights came from the 2022 report. It found that people who identified as Latino viewed their employers’ professional development programs as unfair at a much higher rate than their white peers. 

This is valuable because it reminds us that the allocation of professional development still suffers from selection bias. Who gets selected to receive employer-sponsored support, and who is in charge of selecting participants? Anyone running a program to develop employees must actively work to avoid bias. The data also speak to the fact that seniority at a workplace is not necessarily correlated to ambition or drive, reminding us of the aphorism: “Talent is equally distributed, but opportunity is not.”


Steve Long’s research on Prosperity

Dr. Stephen Long’s life’s work has been developing a response to Martin Seligman’s learned helplessness construct. Seligman demonstrated that clinical depression and related mental illnesses are a result of ineffective belief systems relating to the individual’s real or perceived control over situational outcomes. In other words, people with a high degree of learned helplessness don’t believe that change and growth are achievable for them, and that leads them to waste their inherent potential (Source). Curious about how athletes like basketball’s Michael Jordan and football’s Tom Brady, who had a notable lack of athletic success in high school, but improbably went on to be considered the greatest of all time in their respective sports, Steve sought to explain and re-create human performance. 

Steve discovered how individuals can acquire a belief system to create consistent outcomes and prosperity.  Building on Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs and Walter Mischel’s Marshmallow Study, Steve created a psychological test called the Prosperity Trait Index© (PTi) that led to the discovery of a character trait found to be the human attribute responsible for value creation – The Prosperity Trait®. The PTi measures people’s belief systems that either lead to variability or consistency between their performance and their inherent potential, and it serves as an objective measurement for individuals to quantify their thinking. The lower the variability an individual can achieve, the greater the change in behavior and results.  

Another way to understand the PTi is to think about Growth Mindsets and Fixed Mindsets (source). People who hold fixed mindsets are threatened by the Unknown Unknowns (also known as Inattentional Blindness), dismiss feedback, and are subsequently destined to continue to stagnate and exhibit variable performance. These people exhibit the same Learned Helplessness characteristics that Seligman described, wasting much of their potential.  

Francie took Steve’s PTi assessment and received a score of 9 out of a possible 100 points. After working with Steve on her thinking patterns for six months, Francie scored a 99. Six months later, she scored a 97. Francie felt the PTi helped her seek out detailed feedback on her process, accept what she couldn’t control, focus on what she could control, and enjoy the reward of a job well done rather than look for outside validation.  

PTi’s insight is that excellence can be taught, and the adoption of a growth-oriented mindset is available to everyone. All people, regardless of their starting point, can grow beyond what they and others believe is their limit. 


What are the Ethics of HiPo Programs?

Is it ethical to rank employees or offer some employees what others don’t get? Yes, as long as the differentiation is quantifiable and auditable. In other words, pattern-matching for candidates that fit the culture and other gut-driven criteria isn’t appropriate for NextGen HiPo. 


Who are HiPo Programs Intended For?

Employees who work with their hands to produce physical items are typically referred to as “blue collar,” and employees who work with their minds to produce ideas or new products are typically referred to as  “white collar” or “knowledge workers.” 

In this article, we’re focused on HiPo programs for knowledge workers. We define knowledge workers as employees whose job requires them to spend at least 25% of their time using a computer and whose work product is not something that can be weighed on a scale. HiPo programs may be employed for a subset or all of an organization’s workers.  

The authors believe there is an interesting case for blue collar HiPo programs, but that’s not the focus of this article. 


Our Proposal

Combining all of the above, we’ve developed a template to create an ROI-generating Nextgen HiPo program.

  1. Define what success looks like: Before beginning, define company and individual measurements, metrics, and goals. Tweak once a year based on participant feedback.
  2. Tracking cadence: Tracking metrics and goals monthly, making the results easy for participants to find to monitor their progress or points of friction.
  3. HiPo selection process: Our experience tells us that development programs are most successful when employees opt in. Plus, if a person is good enough to be hired by the company, then they should qualify to opt into the HiPo program. We recommend admitting applicants throughout the organization and ranking them equally on two key areas: 1) Quantification of time and value helping others within the organization, i.e. through ERGs or mentoring programs, and 2) Quantification of employee’s work impact onto the organization.
  4. Transparency: Communicate to all company employees how involvement in the HiPo program works and make the selection process auditable.
  5. When: HiPo professional development should happen virtually or in-person during the workday. Terawatt found that group professional development can happen seamlessly in the workday, first thing in the morning or midday at lunch time. We’ve also had good success when longer-length, in-person meetings begin at lunch and finish in the evening.
  6. Assessment tools: Use at least two assessment tools to measure starting points and track change. We recommend two key types of tools:

    • Assessment of one’s nature: Enneagram, Disc, ILS, Opposite Strengths, or the Big Five. These tools are helpful for individuals to understand themselves, their patterns, and their drivers.  
    • Valid psychometric testing: Use valid tracking assessment tools that meet scientific standards and meet the following criteria: 
      • Valid, meaning the tests measure what they say they measure and predict what they intend to predict
      • Reliable, meaning test scores are stable over time
      • Face Validity, meaning the test appears effective in terms of its stated aims
      • An acceptable level of error, meaning that the results occurred more by a valid process and less by chance. A score below 0.05 level is the usual standard that most valid tests adhere to.
      • Fair, where it’s proven no demographic classification is advantaged or disadvantaged. In employment settings, large differences in average scale scores across demographic groups can result in lower rates of selection of ethnic minorities, women, or older applicants, which is termed Adverse Impact.
  7. Team psychological safety: Measure, practice, and measure again with 360 degree testing to understand how this person contributes to a team dynamic.
  8. Feedback: Make feedback honest, accurate, and timely, coming from a wide variety of stakeholders. Feedback should come from a variety of sources: assessments, mentors, KPIs/OKRs, and peers.
  9. HiPo Discussion groups: One of the key pedagogical principles in adult learning is review and discussion. We recommend a peer discussion group to hash out progress, successes, questions, etc., as HiPos experience the highs and lows of personal growth. It’s likely to work best when the group itself defines the cadence and method for reflection.
  10. Leadership involvement: We love how involved Jack Welch was with Crotonville, and his involvement surely heightened its influence within GE. We’d like to see more company leaders get actively involved in their HiPo programs.


Key Resources

  1. Well-done employee development programs increase retention rates (source) 
  2. Top performers shift expectations higher for all employees (source) 
  3. How to keep your top talent, link here
  4. Growing talent from within is associated with more [company success] than hiring talent from the outside (source)
  5. Developing a deep bench of leaders is associated with resilient and innovative organizations (source)
  6. U.S. Annual HiPo spend, link here
  7. High retention risk employees, link here
  8. Dissatisfied C-Suite & HR leaders with HiPo programs, link here
  9. Jack Welch, Jack, link here
  10. Google Project Aristotle, link here
  11. David Marquet Turn the Ship Around, link here.
  12. Terawatt Group Coaching, link here
  13. Karen Arnold’s Illinois Valedictorian Study, link here
  14. Robert Rosenthal and Lenore Jacobson’s Pygmalion in the Classroom, link here 
  15. Adaptive intelligence, link 
  16. Pygmalion in the Classroom, link.
  17. Dr. Stephen Long: Long Training+Research, link here.

About the Authors

Steve holds a PhD in Applied Performance Psychology, is the Founder of Long Training+Research, the developer of the Prosperity Trait(c), and a consultant to the U.S. Air Force Academy’s pilot program. For the past forty years, Dr. Long has helped leaders reduce the variability between their performance and their potential by using behavioral psychology and scientifically valid psychometrics. 

Francie is the Founder of Terawatt, an online marketplace for group coaching. Terawatt connects vetted experts to companies looking to solve specific problems and achieve company-level results. The marketplace’s big insight: experts are more affordable when their cost is split by a group.

Diversity and Inclusion Programs for Workplace Success

Diversity and Inclusion Programs - Fostering a Welcoming Environment for All

Diversity is no longer just a buzzword; it’s a necessity. Having a diverse team brings a wealth of perspectives, experiences, and ideas to the table.


Diversity in the workplace refers to the range of differences among employees in an organization, including but not limited to race, ethnicity, gender, age, religion, sexual orientation, physical ability, socioeconomic background, and educational background. Inclusion, on the other hand, refers to creating a work environment where all employees feel welcome, respected, and valued for their unique perspectives and contributions.


But it’s not just about checking boxes and meeting quotas. Building an inclusive workplace culture is about creating an environment where everyone feels comfortable and empowered to bring their whole selves to work and feels they belong. It’s about promoting workplace equity and ensuring that all employees have equal opportunities for growth and advancement.


It doesn’t just make ethical or logical sense, a diverse team can lead to increased innovation, creativity, and problem-solving. It can also improve employee engagement and retention, as employees feel valued and supported.


McKinsey’s new research shows that top decile companies combine accountability with people development.  

Why Diverse Teams Are Winning Teams

Benefits of workplace diversity

Increased innovation and creativity:


By bringing a range of perspectives, experiences, and ideas to the table, which can lead to increased innovation and creativity. This can result in the development of new products, services, and business models that better meet the needs of customers and stakeholders.


Lead to higher levels of productivity:


As employees are exposed to new ideas and approaches. Additionally, employees who feel valued and respected for their differences are more likely to be engaged and committed to their work, which can lead to increased productivity.


Improved decision-making:


By providing a range of perspectives and experiences to the decision-making process, leading to more thoughtful and well-informed decisions. This can result in better outcomes for the organization and its stakeholders.


Increase customer satisfaction and loyalty:


By helping organizations better understand and serve diverse customer bases, leading to increased customer satisfaction and loyalty.


Enhanced brand reputation and image:


Organizations that prioritize diversity and inclusion can enhance their brand reputation and image, as they are seen as progressive, inclusive, and socially responsible.

Addressing common objections to diversity and inclusion programs

Cost concerns and return on investment:


Some organizations may worry that diversity and inclusion programs are expensive and don’t offer a clear return on investment. However, research has shown that diversity and inclusion programs can lead to a variety of benefits, including increased innovation, productivity, and customer satisfaction, as well as improved decision-making and brand reputation.


Fear of reverse discrimination and backlash:


Some individuals may worry that diversity and inclusion programs could lead to reverse discrimination or backlash from those who feel excluded. It’s important to note that diversity and inclusion programs are designed to promote fairness and equal opportunities for all employees, regardless of their background.


Resistance to change:


Some employees or leaders may resist diversity and inclusion programs because they are uncomfortable with change or unsure of how to navigate a more diverse workplace. It’s important to provide training and support to help employees understand the value of diversity and inclusion and learn how to work effectively with people from different backgrounds.

Creating a Diverse and Inclusive Workplace - Uniting Through Diversity

Leading the Way: Managers and Leadership in Diversity and Inclusion

Managers play a crucial role in fostering an inclusive workplace culture. They are responsible for creating a work environment that values diversity and inclusion and promotes fairness and equal opportunities for all employees. By modeling inclusive behaviors, building diverse teams, addressing bias and discrimination, promoting diversity and inclusion initiatives, and providing resources and support, managers can help foster an inclusive workplace culture that benefits everyone involved.


This isn’t something that comes naturally to most people, so it’s important to provide resources to managers – such as leadership coaching – so they can foster an inclusive workplace culture and learn to identify and address unconscious bias.


Here are some strategies for training managers:

Provide education on unconscious bias:


Managers should be educated on what unconscious bias is, how it affects decision-making, and how to recognize it in themselves and others.


Use real-life scenarios:


Training should include real-life scenarios to help managers understand how unconscious bias can affect decision-making in the workplace.


Provide tools and resources:


Managers should be provided with tools and resources to help them address unconscious bias in the workplace, such as decision-making frameworks and strategies for mitigating bias.


Encourage self-reflection:


Managers should be encouraged to reflect on their own biases and how they may impact their decision-making.

How Diversity and Inclusion Programs Create a Winning Workplace

Assessing the current culture within your organization

Assessing the current culture can help identify areas where the organization is falling short in promoting diversity and inclusion. For example, if there is a lack of diversity among leadership positions, this can be addressed through targeted diversity recruitment and training programs.


There are several tools and methods for assessing the current culture, including:

  • Surveys: Surveys can be used to gather feedback from employees on their experiences and perceptions of the workplace culture.


  • Focus groups: Focus groups can be used to gather more in-depth feedback from employees on their experiences and perceptions of the workplace culture.


  • Interviews: Interviews with employees at all levels of the organization can provide valuable insights into the workplace culture.

It is important to involve employees at all levels in the assessment process to gain a comprehensive understanding of the culture. This can help ensure that all perspectives are represented and can help identify issues and concerns that may not be immediately apparent. 

Setting Goals and Objectives

Setting clear goals and objectives is crucial for driving culture change within an organization. Goals provide direction and focus, and help ensure that diversity and inclusion efforts are aligned with the organization’s overall strategy. Clear goals and objectives help organizations prioritize diversity and inclusion efforts and identify the areas where they need to focus their efforts to drive culture change.


When setting goals and objectives, it’s important to ensure that they are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound (SMART). This approach helps ensure that goals are realistic, achievable, and aligned with the organization’s strategy. By setting clear goals and objectives, organizations can promote a more diverse and inclusive workplace culture, which can lead to improved business outcomes and a more engaged workforce.

  • Specific: Goals should be clear and specific, so that everyone involved understands what they’re working towards.


  • Measurable: Goals should be measurable, so that progress can be tracked and success can be celebrated.


  • Achievable: Goals should be realistic and achievable, given the resources and timeframe available.


  • Relevant: Goals should be relevant to the organization’s overall strategy and mission.


  • Time-bound: Goals should have a clear timeline, so that progress can be monitored and adjustments can be made as needed.

Here are some examples of goals and objectives that organizations can set to promote diversity and inclusion:


Increasing the representation of underrepresented groups in leadership positions:


Organizations can set a goal to increase the number of employees from underrepresented groups in leadership positions by a certain percentage or number within a specific timeframe, training for hiring managers, and creating a diverse interview panel.


Improving the cultural competence of employees:


Organizations can set a goal to improve the cultural competence of their employees by a certain percentage or score within a specific timeframe.


Enhancing diversity recruitment efforts:


Organizations can set a goal to enhance their diversity recruitment efforts by increasing the number of diverse candidates in their applicant pool by a certain percentage or number within a specific timeframe.


Creating an inclusive workplace culture:


Organizations can set a goal to create an inclusive workplace culture where all employees feel valued and respected.Building The Right Strategy

Managers and Leadership in Diversity and Inclusion - Guiding Towards Equality and Empowerment

Find the Right Strategy for Your Organization

Here are just a few strategies organizations can use to promote diversity and inclusion and create a more welcoming and supportive workplace culture:

Providing diversity and inclusion training:


Organizations can provide training programs to help employees and leaders understand the value of diversity and inclusion, identify and address unconscious biases, and promote inclusive behaviors and practices.


Implementing diversity recruiting initiatives:


Organizations can implement strategies to attract and hire candidates from diverse backgrounds, such as partnering with diversity-focused organizations, posting job openings on diverse job boards, and expanding recruitment efforts to new geographical locations.


Establishing employee resource groups:


Employee resource groups (ERGs) are employee-led groups formed around a shared identity, interest, or characteristic, such as gender, race, ethnicity, or sexual orientation. ERGs can provide a platform for employees to connect, network, and support one another, and can also offer opportunities for leadership development and community outreach.


Encouraging diverse perspectives and voices:


Organizations can create opportunities for employees to share their perspectives and ideas by soliciting feedback, encouraging open dialogue, and actively seeking out diverse opinions. This can help create a culture of inclusivity and respect, while also fostering innovation and creativity.

How to Communicate Your Diversity and Inclusion Vision with Impact

Effective communication is key to any successful change initiative in the workplace, including efforts to drive diversity and inclusion. Communicating the vision for driving culture change to all employees is crucial because it helps to build alignment, engagement, accountability, and transparency.


When employees are informed of the organization’s diversity and inclusion goals and objectives, they can better align their work and behavior to support them. They become more engaged and motivated, feeling that their work is part of a larger purpose. Clear communication also establishes accountability for progress and success, as employees understand their roles and responsibilities in achieving the organization’s goals. By being transparent about goals and objectives, leaders create an environment of trust, where employees feel they can ask questions and provide feedback.



Organizations can use a variety of communication methods to effectively communicate their diversity and inclusion vision and goals to employees. Some examples include:

Town hall meetings:


These can be used to present the diversity and inclusion strategy and goals to employees and allow for an open forum for questions and feedback.


Internal newsletters:


Regular newsletters can be used to communicate updates and progress towards diversity and inclusion goals, highlight success stories, and promote upcoming events or training opportunities.


Social media:


Social media platforms can be used to share information about the organization’s diversity and inclusion efforts, highlight employees and success stories, and promote upcoming events.


One-on-one meetings:


Managers can use one-on-one meetings with their direct reports to communicate the organization’s diversity and inclusion strategy and goals, as well as discuss individual employee roles and responsibilities in achieving those goals.

Keeping Score: Measuring Success in Diversity and Inclusion

Monitoring and measuring progress towards achieving the goals and objectives of a diversity and inclusion strategy is crucial for three reasons.

  • It allows organizations to assess whether they are making progress towards their intended outcomes and whether they are on track to achieve their goals.


  • It can help organizations identify any areas where they are falling short or experiencing challenges and take corrective action.


  •  It provides a means of accountability, allowing organizations to demonstrate their commitment to diversity and inclusion to employees, customers, stakeholders, and the wider community.

Measuring progress can involve a range of activities, including collecting data on key diversity and inclusion metrics, analyzing feedback from employees and other stakeholders, conducting regular assessments of organizational culture, and tracking the implementation of specific initiatives or programs. Data collection can include information such as the representation of different groups in the workforce, promotion and retention rates, employee engagement and satisfaction, and customer and supplier diversity.


Once the data is collected, it is important to analyze it and report the findings to relevant stakeholders. This can include sharing progress updates with employees, senior leaders, and external partners, as well as incorporating feedback from stakeholders into future planning and decision-making. By measuring progress and sharing the results, organizations can demonstrate their commitment to diversity and inclusion, build trust with stakeholders, and create a culture of transparency and accountability.


There are several tools and methods that organizations can use to monitor and measure progress towards achieving their diversity and inclusion goals and objectives. Some examples include:

  • Employee Surveys
  • Focus Groups
  •  Diversity Metrics
  •  Performance Evaluations
  •  Training Evaluations

Finding Your Dream Team: Diversity Recruitment and Hiring

Diversity Recruitment and Hiring Strategies

Recruiting and hiring a diverse workforce is a critical component of any successful diversity and inclusion program. Here are some strategies that organizations can use to improve their diversity recruiting efforts:

Diversity Recruitment and Hiring - Building a Multifaceted Team

Sourcing Candidates: One of the most effective ways to attract a diverse pool of candidates is to expand your recruiting efforts beyond traditional channels. This could include partnering with community organizations, attending job fairs or conferences that focus on diversity, and leveraging social media platforms to reach underrepresented groups.


Reducing Bias in the Hiring Process: To reduce bias in the hiring process, organizations can implement a number of strategies, such as using structured interviews with standardized questions, conducting blind resume reviews, and training hiring managers and interviewers on unconscious bias.


Creating Inclusive Job Postings: Job postings are the first impression that potential candidates have of your organization. To ensure that your postings are inclusive, use gender-neutral language, avoid unnecessary qualifications, and highlight your commitment to diversity and inclusion.


Leveraging Employee Referrals: Employee referrals can be an effective way to identify diverse candidates. However, organizations should also ensure that their referral programs are inclusive and that employees are encouraged to refer candidates from diverse backgrounds.


Providing Diversity Training to Hiring Managers: Providing diversity training to hiring managers can help them understand the importance of diversity and inclusion in the workplace and equip them with the skills needed to recruit and hire a diverse workforce. This training can include topics such as unconscious bias, cultural competency, and inclusive hiring practices.

Best Practices for Creating Job Postings

When creating job postings that attract diverse candidates, it is important to use inclusive language that avoids stereotypes and biases. Use gender-neutral language and avoid using terms that may be exclusive or discourage certain groups from applying. 


In terms of qualifications, consider whether certain requirements may be unnecessary or can be substituted with equivalent skills or experience. Avoid requirements that may exclude certain groups, such as those related to physical ability or education level. 


It is also important to highlight the benefits of working for the organization, including those that may be of particular interest to diverse candidates, such as flexible scheduling, employee resource groups, or professional development opportunities. 


Lastly, consider the visual design of the job posting to ensure it is accessible to all candidates, including those with visual or cognitive impairments. Use a simple, easy-to-read font and ensure the posting is compatible with screen readers.

Steps to reduce Unconscious Bias in the Hiring Process

The hiring process is a critical part of building a diverse and inclusive workforce. However, unconscious bias can impact hiring decisions and limit the diversity of the candidate pool. To reduce unconscious bias in the hiring process, there are several best practices to consider.


Resume screening is often the first step in the hiring process. To reduce bias, it’s important to focus on the qualifications and skills required for the role rather than personal characteristics or experiences. This can be achieved by using blind resume screening techniques, which remove any identifying information such as name, gender, and ethnicity.


Interviewing techniques can also be adjusted to reduce bias. Consider using structured interviews, which ask each candidate the same set of questions and focus on job-related skills and experience.


Diversity metrics can be used to track progress and identify areas for improvement. By regularly reviewing and analyzing diversity metrics, such as the number of diverse candidates who apply for positions, organizations can ensure that their recruitment efforts are effective.


It’s important to create a culture of inclusion throughout the hiring process. This can be achieved by providing diversity and inclusion training to all employees involved in the hiring process, promoting inclusive language and behaviors, and ensuring that all candidates are treated fairly and respectfully.

Creating Lasting Change with Diversity and Inclusion Programs

Diversity and inclusion programs are critical for creating a more equitable and inclusive workplace, but it’s essential to ensure that these efforts are sustainable over time. Without a long-term commitment, diversity and inclusion initiatives can lose momentum and become less effective. 


Integrating Diversity and Inclusion into Organizational Strategy


One key to sustainability is to ensure that diversity and inclusion efforts are integrated into the broader organizational strategy. This means that diversity and inclusion should be considered in all decision-making processes, from hiring and promotions to product development and marketing. When diversity and inclusion are part of the overall strategy, they become embedded in the culture of the organization and are more likely to be sustainable over time.


Continuously Measuring Progress and Gathering Feedback


Continuously measuring progress and adjusting strategies as needed is another vital step in creating a sustainable plan. This includes setting measurable goals and regularly tracking progress towards those goals. Metrics such as diversity in hiring, promotions, and retention can help organizations understand where they stand and identify areas that need improvement. It’s also important to gather feedback from employees, both through formal surveys and informal conversations, to understand their experiences and perceptions of the organization’s diversity and inclusion efforts.


Empowering Task Forces and Employee Resource Groups

To maintain momentum, organizations can also consider establishing diversity and inclusion task forces or committees, composed of employees from across the organization. These groups can help to keep diversity and inclusion top of mind and identify new opportunities for improvement. Additionally, employee resource groups focused on diversity and inclusion can provide a space for employees to connect and support one another, while also driving initiatives to promote diversity and inclusion in the workplace.


Numerous studies have demonstrated the positive outcomes and benefits of long-term diversity and inclusion initiatives.


According to McKinsey & Company’s “Diversity Wins: How Inclusion Matters,” companies in the top quartile for racial and ethnic diversity are 36% more likely to have financial returns above their respective national industry medians. One company that has achieved success through diversity and inclusion is Microsoft. 


In 2015, Microsoft launched its Diversity and Inclusion Report, which set targets for increasing the representation of women and underrepresented minorities in its workforce. The company also implemented unconscious bias training for its employees and improved its outreach to diverse communities. As a result, Microsoft has seen an increase in the representation of women and minorities in its workforce and has received numerous awards for its diversity and inclusion efforts.

Embracing Diversity within Organizations - Strength in Differences

Glassdoor’s “Diversity & Inclusion Study” found that 76% of job seekers consider a diverse workforce important when considering job offers. 


One company that has prioritized diversity and inclusion in its hiring process is Deloitte. Deloitte has implemented numerous initiatives which focus on creating a more inclusive culture and addressing unconscious bias. The company also requires diverse slates of candidates for all job openings and has implemented diversity metrics to track progress. These efforts have resulted in Deloitte being recognized as one of the most diverse companies in the world.


Finally, BCG’s “How Diverse Leadership Teams Boost Innovation” found that companies with above-average diversity reported a 19% increase in innovation revenue. 


One company that has achieved success through diversity and inclusion in innovation is Johnson & Johnson. The company has implemented numerous initiatives, including a “Diversity & Inclusion Scorecard” to track progress and has implemented employee resource groups to support diverse employees. This scorecard “influences overall VP-level performance assessment and compensation.” As a result, Johnson & Johnson has been recognized as one of the most innovative and diverse companies in the world.

How Can Terawatt Help?

Terawatt is an online coaching platform that offers a variety of services to help individuals and organizations. Whether you are looking to enhance your leadership abilities or seeking to foster a culture of diversity and inclusion within your organization, Terawatt can provide the tools and resources you need to achieve your goals.

Get in Touch


Promoting diversity and inclusion in the workplace is crucial for organizations looking to create a positive work environment, attract and retain top talent, and effectively compete in today’s diverse global marketplace. By valuing and respecting the differences among employees, organizations can foster a culture of innovation, creativity, and inclusion that benefits everyone involved.


Ultimately, prioritizing diversity and inclusion can help companies attract top talent, foster a positive company culture, and succeed in a rapidly changing business landscape.