S01 EP08: How Employers Can Break the Mold, Promote Inclusion and Retain Women & People of Color in the Financial Planning Profession

Katie Augsburger Episode Template.png

Katie Augsburger, SHRM-SCP, is a hands-on HR professional who focuses on building leadership, employee development, reworking organizational design, and creating inclusive programs in the workplace. 

In this episode, Katie and I are putting all of the good information we’ve covered during this season of 2050 TrailBlazers to work. We’re empowering you to implement inclusion and diversity initiatives in your workplace. We’re discussing how to create an organization structure that supports women, people of color, and other minority groups. 

We’re giving you the tools you need to start blazing trails in your world. I know you’ll take them and use them to create something unique and amazing. Let’s get to work!

What You'll Learn:

  • How the workplace isn’t structured for women and other minorities, and how we can fix that

  • How exclusion of minority groups is never the goal - inclusion of all groups is what we’re working toward

  • How to create a flexible work space

  • Broadening our thoughts about nursing rooms, health insurance, and more

  • The best way to approach inclusion conversations in your organization

  • How to create seats at the table for minority employees in your organization

  • The importance of cognitive diversity

  • The best way to amplify minority voices in your organization

  • How the goal is to have excellent talent - and creating policies and systems that encourage excellent talent to enter your

  • The best way to build career paths

  • How to hire with inclusion in mind

Show Notes:

Episode Transcript

Rianka: 00:00:00 Hello Katie, welcome to 2050 TrailBlazers.

Katie: 00:00:05 Hello, Rianka. Thank you for having me.

Rianka: 00:00:06 I am so, so, so, so excited to finally, finally have you on this podcast and, and introduce you to everyone. Let me just tell you, I've been talking about you and our conversation from like February, March to everyone I know in the financial planning profession.

Katie: 00:00:25 Oh my gosh, thank you.

Rianka: 00:00:28 So for those who do not know, Katie, she is an employee experience strategist with future work design and how Katie and I met is through my business consultant. So my business consultant, uh, is just first of all genius. And um, and uh, she mentioned that she met this phenomenal woman by the name of Katie who is writing a book and you are writing a book about redesigning the work experience from the woman's lens. And she said Rianka, you have to talk to Katie.

Katie: 00:01:10 She said the same thing to me. You need to talk to Rianka.

Rianka: 00:01:15 Yes. And I see why. Oh my gosh, I'm, I am just, uh, just from our conversation, like a fire has been lit under me and um, we've, I wish we could have recorded every conversation that we've had since then, but we'll try to do our best on kind of like recapping some of the things that you're doing. And also what I love about the conversation we're about to have is you have no idea about the financial planning world

Katie: 00:01:47 No, I barely can manage my own finances, so I am outside of this world for sure.

Rianka: 00:01:53 So you have no idea about the financial planning world and even just from a higher level, the financial service industry, which is phenomenal I think for us because what you are doing is bringing a fresh lens to our world through your experience and expertise as an employee experience strategist, which is something that we need.

Katie: 00:02:17 Yeah. And, and every industry has employees and so even though the experience of their day to day work is different, the experience of being an employee is pretty universal.

Rianka: 00:02:30 Yes. Yes. And so just to give the lay of the land of, you know, financial planners. And so the Lens I'm speaking from is through financial planners as we know within the financial service industry as a whole. Um, you know, it's so many different paths that you can go down, you can be in marketing, you can be a Fintech and, you know, the financial technology standpoint. But the experience that I bring is being a financial planner and working with other financial planners or financial advisors and um, you know, the center for financial planning, which is through the CFP board is doing a lot around just bringing in more women, bringing in more young professionals, helping career changers and also bringing in more people of color and also retaining them.

Rianka: 00:03:23 And just again, lay of the land. There's about 80,000 cfps in the United States out of the 80,000. The number of women have remained the same for the past 13, 14 years at 23 percent, which is something I want to talk to you about. Katie. The Center for financial planning is being very intentional about, okay, we know that there is a, a very, very low number of um, you know, people of color who are cfps and I don't think anyone knew the extent of the shortage, the shortage honestly, until work was done behind it. And so it's like now we have a benchmark, now we know the foundation which is less than almost a little over three percent and that includes Asian, uh, Asian American, a Latin x, black CFPS. And so it was like, now let's, let's increase this. And not only increased the number of women, people of Color, young professionals, but let's retained them. And honestly, you know, Katie, for me, I think it's great. You know, I think it is great that the financial planning world is becoming more diverse from an ethnic standpoint. My concern is the retention and this is where you come in.

Katie: 00:04:48 Yeah. And even just listening to discuss that when, um, when you said, you know, this is, this is new information, they just found out that there were this few people of color in the space. And what occurred to me is like, yes, I'm sure that the white people, this was new information, but I'm certainly sure it was not new information for the, for people like you that were in the community that felt very alone. It felt very real. And, and that is an isolating experience that impacts your ability to do great work.

Rianka: 00:05:25 So okay. Let's just jump right in. So when we first met, what really lit a fire under me, I think is what kind of lit a fire under you as well as when you started telling me about your site visit.

Katie: 00:05:35 Oh yeah. So let's talk about that. So this was the catalyst for my book was the experience I had walking into this new space. I was helping an organization look for like new cool creative space in Portland. Um, and so we were touring different offices and we found this great old building and we're walking around and I, and I was like, yeah, I need to go to the bathroom. So I went into the restroom and I walk in and there's two urinals there. And I, um, you know, I am by nature a pretty, clumsy, so I was like, oh, I must have walked into the bathroom. So I went and checked the door. I opened the door again. Nope. It's the women's restroom. Two urinals there. And so I had to have that moment where I check my privilege, right? Like, am I, am I reading this wrong?

Katie: 00:06:27 Like this is, this is great that they have urinals in here, this is, this is very progressive. And so I said to the building manager, oh, it's really cool that you have urinals in both men and women's restrooms. And he's like, oh no, that's because women's restrooms were on the twelfth floor. And I gave him that look, I beg your pardon? And he said, yeah, when this, when this building was built, the women's restrooms were on the twelfth floor because that's where the secretaries worked and every other floor just had men's restrooms. And conceptually I, yeah, like I conceptually knew that that was part of building design, you know, in the industrial revolution to about the 1950s. I, I, I understood that conceptually, but I had not ever been in a space where that was the actuality and I was dumbfounded like I had this moment where I don't know if this ever happens to you, but your brain feels like it's kind of breaking apart like you're trying to put the pieces together and I had this moment where I said to myself, oh, we were never intended to be in this space.

Katie: 00:07:40 We were never intended to be on this floor and by this floor I mean this center of power and not only were we not designed to be there, we were designed to be excluded from that space. And so all of this conversation over the last 10 years, which is good and healthy conversation about leaning in to this workplace. We're asking women to lean into a workplace that was completely not designed for them to be there. And so I had this moment where I was like, what would it look like if we redesigned the workspace? What would it look like if we had not centered the design of work based on a male with a caregiver at home? But instead we redesigned it based on a black woman with children. What would that look like? Who, what services would we have? What would be normal in would crying and be normal instead of anger in the workplace? Would I'm breastfeeding in a board meeting, be completely normal. Would, um, would bring in your infant child to work, be considered an acceptable approach to doing business? We don't know because everything we do now is based on a model that was built with not us in mind.

Rianka: 00:09:03 Wow. Wow. So that, that moment, that experience of like your brain trying to figure out what just happened and just like, I was just like, it felt like, um, do you know that

Katie: 00:09:22 scene and get out where he's falling into the sunken place. I felt like I felt like I was trying to claw myself out of that sunken place. Like I was like, I had just had this awakening that, that I'm not supposed to be here. Um, now what do I do? And so that's where I'm at right now.

Rianka: 00:09:45 Yeah, no. And I think, and I even wrote it down when I first talked to you, you say, why lean in when corporate America was never built for a woman. And I was like, and this is when I started really sharing about the landscape of the financial planning world and how and why over the past 14 years it has remained 23 percent and it's because our firms our organizations were built around a man and, and there's no. And when, when we're talking about this, I want the men to not feel yes. Um, you know, attacked at all.

Katie: 00:10:29 This is such an important thing you bring up. And sorry to step on you. This is, this is the crux of the issue is we're so scared to talk about breaking the system because the implication is that the people that are most successful in the system are harming or are, um, are bad people for being successful. And I'm not saying that totally. I see that the system itself is wrong and that you are becoming successful only because we are putting gates on other people. Wouldn't it feel better to be successful amongst people that have as much access as you. That's what we want. We want you to be in this. We want men to feel like the system is open for them and that they have there are with shoulder to shoulder their female peers and they're women of color peers, um, that they are not getting advantages that other people aren't.

Katie: 00:11:36 And that's hard to hear. It's hard to hear that you've been given advantage when you feel like. But I've worked for everything I have. And so you and I have talked about this, but this is a, this is something that I feel really passionate about is that when you center the most disadvantaged person, you make access better for everybody. And one example is, uh, when the Ada did the, um, curb cutouts for wheelchair so that will, the people in wheelchairs could move freely throughout the cities. Um, people kind of Poo pooed it. They've thought like, oh, this is just something that's going to be good for people in wheelchairs. This is a, a huge expense and there's not that many people in wheelchairs. But what they found is that once they made those cutouts, people's satisfaction walking in the city improved tremendously. Not just the people in wheelchairs, it was people who were pushing strollers, people who were dragging suitcases, people, elderly people who had mobility issues that weren't in a wheelchair, people, workers pushing large, heavy objects. Everybody's life improved when this accommodation was made for the person who had the least access. So when we redesigned the workspace for black women, it's not about pushing out other people is saying that black women have had the least access to, to success in the workplace. So if we create a workspace that centers them, every single person in our workspace will be cared for.

Rianka: 00:13:18 Yeah. And so for those who may not know, Ada, Ada was the Americans with disability act,

Katie: 00:13:18 HR people, we talk in acronyms,

Rianka: 00:13:32 we talk in acronyms to it in a, in a financial world. So I try to be very mindful of that. And just now, like my part of my life is sharing what acronyms mean. So the Ada. So, okay, so let's take that a step further. And you mentioned in the beginning, um, and, and I want to go through this exercise, Katie and I did not prep for this. This is just so, I'm sorry I'm putting you on the spot here, but you are the expert. So, uh, I feel very confident in the exercise we're about to go through what one of the big things that the financial planning world the financial service industry as a whole is trying to figure out how do we bring in more women and how do we retain them? Bringing in the women has not. I mean it's, it's, it's an issue, it's a, it's something that we're intentionally working on. The retention part I think is where our conversation can go. So let's start there. Let's just start with a woman. No particular ethnic background, just a, you know, just a, a woman that's centered. So let's a woman centered organization, what would this look like?

Katie: 00:14:57 Yeah. So the way our society is currently structured, most women are responsible for, in addition to work for childcare, domestic work inside their home. So if you have a workspace that is completely inflexible that the time, the start time and end time is rigid, where there's no ability to, um, work from home where there is a lack of paid time off, a lack of vacation, a lack of sick leave. Um, these are barriers for retention for women because when the burden of caregiving is gonna often fall on the woman in the household. So she will need access to time off to take care of a sick child. She will need flexibility in her start and stop times so that she can pick loved one's up from school or from dr appointments. Uh, if a woman is pregnant or nursing, there's accommodations that need to be made in order for her to, to successfully work and successfully and nurse her child.

Katie: 00:16:05 So these are these, these moments where if these things aren't in place in your organization, you are putting an additional burden on women that men might not have. Now, if you, if you are flexible in your start and stop times, you have paid time off. You have sick leave that benefits men as well. But it's just centering those needs of women and that's, that's kind of like a very easy example for people to see like, Oh, if we have, if we have a maternity, paternity leave plan to help retain women, that also helps those fathers. Right? So that's, it's a, it's a, it's a very easy example for people to point to where it's like, yes, centering women helps all employees. But there are true barriers for women's retention. Um, and a lot of it has to do with scheduling. A lot of it has to do with medical plans, having, having medical plans that um, care for the needs of women as opposed to, you know, not having birth control and not having robust prenatal care.

Katie: 00:17:13 Um, another example is having clear career paths. So a lot of organizations have very ambiguous career paths. So I don't necessarily know what the next step is and my career ladder. And that only benefits people who have historic knowledge of the career path. And that is typically men who have maybe their father worked in the industry, their their friends work in the industry. If you are the first woman to work in this industry amongst your peers or family, you don't really have a good sense of like where I can go, what, what the best path to success. And so without defining those career paths, you're disadvantaging women employees.

Rianka: 00:17:59 Alright? So I have four different things that firms today organizations today can do. And this is very hard. You know, it's, um, I've, I've said this before, I will continue to say this, if we want to go past the ceremonial stage of talking about bringing in women into the financial planning profession or the financial service industry and if we want to go past the ceremonial, a talk of yes, we want to become more diverse from an ethnic standpoint. We have to be very intentional. Yeah, we have to start. We have to stop trying and start doing. So the things that you can do today, uh, is one look at your work schedule and is it flexible, uh, as Katie shared, most women are the caregivers. Most women are, you know, going to pick up the child if, if they're sick from school or take the child to the doctor's appointment or the um, or, or, or the parent, you know, the Gen-xers, we don't talk about Gen-xers a lot, but they're the sandwich generation, meaning they have young children and they have aging parents and so we need to give special care to our Gen-xers and special care in a sense of just understanding that they have it from both sides.

Rianka: 00:19:34 You know, they have aging parents where they may have to discuss, okay, are, how will, what will my mom and dad or will my mom or dad move in with us? Do we send them to a living facility? Um, okay, well what does that do for the household dynamic. Okay. And then we also have a middle schooler who is going through their stuff

Katie: 00:19:34 You just described my life.

Katie: 00:20:11 It's so true that we women are expected to, to make sure that these things happen harmoniously in our lives, right? We, we look to our mothers, we looked to our sisters to help coordinate these things. Men are doing this work more as well, but if we are not thoughtful in the design of our workplace, we are not. We are not going to retain these women and to your point it is the focus has been on the pipeline on bringing people, women and people of color into our workspace. That has been the focus and then we are shocked when they get into the workplace and things don't work out and it's very easy for us as the the HR Department or the organization to blame those employees say, well, I tried. I tried to bring women in here and they just didn't work out. They just don't have what it takes.

Katie: 00:21:02 They don't have the chops and we tried to bring black people here, but they're just not cutting it. They're. They're always late, but what we're not. What is more difficult to say and what is more difficult for the organization to admit is are are we doing what it takes to create the space for them to succeed? If we have a black male employee who is late because he was pulled over, what is. What is our responsibility as the organization, if he was pulled over by the cops and that is why he was late. So we have a mother who is taking care of both her aging parent and her child and we have no paid time off in place and she leaves the organization to find an organization that does. Is that her fault or is that ours? And so the, a lot of organizations will point to the person without taking that deep look that yes, we are focusing on diversity, but we are not focusing on equity and that is key.

Rianka: 00:21:59 ooh, I like that. So, so that is a phenomenal example of flexible workspace. So now let's talk about another point that you mentioned is nursing rooms. And I, I recall, um, and most. So again, the reason why I'm emphasizing the difference between the financial planning profession and the financial service industry because the financial service industry is, is huge, right? It's, it's the Fintechs is the organizations that have 50 plus employees. It's the brokerage firms is the banks, it's everything else. The financial planning profession to me is the RIA space. The registered investment advisory, the small boutique financial planning firms, the um, the hybrid firms where it's, you know, part broker dealer part, you know, hybrid, so, and there's a lot of time where you are the first and I recall in one of my previous firms, we didn't have a nursing room, um, and it, and it was because the leaders of the organization were all men, so it wasn't until one of my colleagues became pregnant, had her baby and then came back to work. She's like, I need a space so that I can pump. And so we made one of the conference rooms into a, you know, pumping area or you know, and put a sign up, you know, don't come in. We made it work. But again, from a design space, um.

Katie: 00:23:34 Oh my goodness. Yes.

Rianka: 00:23:36 That was not a nursing room. Was not built or like A. Yeah. In a design of this workplace at a nursing room was not even thought of.

Katie: 00:23:48 Oh, you can hear, you can hear it. My voice. I just want to like jump because this to me is the perfect example of what I'm talking about, about leaning into systems that were not designed for us because I want to pull back and just before we even talk about nursing rooms, how would women design the work experience for nursing mothers? Would we even have nursing rooms or would it be so normalized to pump in your office or to bring your infant child and to breastfeed and we we think about that now like, oh, that's so unprofessional, but we are using a model of professionalism that was not built for us. If you and I Rianka we're in a in a room together and you had a brand new infant and we were in a meeting, it would not phase me at all for you to take your breast out and nurse your child. It would not even enter my consciousness as you being you lacking professionalism. But we have decided for whatever reason, that is completely unacceptable for that to happen in the workplace.

Rianka: 00:24:54 Yeah. You know, I am very fortunate with the firm that I have is virtual and so I video conference all of my clients and I have a client. Uh, she, um, she's a new mom and she went back into the workforce. She's, she owns her own business but she was in a, you know, she was away from home and her husband was home, but she had her baby with her and also like a friend traveling with her and the baby started crying. So her friend brought the baby over to my client and she said, Hey Rianka, I'm sorry, I just need to start nursing. I'm like, oh, no problem. And so she just lifted up the camera just a little bit so I can just see her face and just see, we caried on our meeting. She was nursing, she was talking, she was like, oh yep. And so this is, I mean, and they have a lot of things going on right now. They're about to sell the home, buy a new home and all this other stuff. And I didn't want to say, Oh, call me, call me back in like 30 minutes when you're done, you know, like, no, she's just like, alright, alright. So what else? We got to talk about, the baby's happy and she's happy.

Katie: 00:26:05 That's exactly what I'm talking about because when I discuss people breaking the system and recreating the workspace for women, women will say to me, Oh yeah, that means like adding nursing rooms or extending maternity leave. And I keep saying think broader because this is us still leaning into a system that wasn't built for us because you and her carried that conversation on because you are professional women and you can do this and you can still do this while being a mother and a caregiver. And these, we have decided that these are mutually exclusive experiences, right? You set your, your motherhood aside, um, when you're in the workplace. And then when you go home, you're just a mother and you don't log in if you're a bad mother, if you log in and check your email while your children are playing.

Katie: 00:26:55 And I don't know if that's how women have ever worked. Women have always worked in a fluid way where we have our child on her back when we're in, when we're in the fields or we have our, our child on our breast when we are sewing, that is, that is women's experience throughout time. And so to say that in corporate America we have to leave, we have to completely change how we have operated for Millennia is just mind boggling and it's because we weren't designed to be here and so I am saying wear your baby at work, the people, people have done it for thousands of years. People have nursed their children at work and we have decided that this is not professional now. Now a lot of us still work in traditional organizations and so you know, they're saying, oh, I can't bring my baby to work. I can't nurse and that's fine, but and well it's not fine, but it's, it is, it is the, it is the model that we're currently working under. So those organizations need to figure out then if we cannot completely change the system than what do we do to absolutely support these, these workers.

Rianka: 00:28:18 Yeah. And I want to, I want to go back and ask her, um, you know, as we were talking about this, I wonder if she would have still felt that comfortable. Um, if I was a man.

Katie: 00:28:30 Yeah. And I don't know. I think probably not because we, we have, we have made it so that men feel like that is a weird thing to do. Just like, oh, them example I'll use is crying. So I don't know about you. I hate crying in the workplace. Um, I, I hate, I hate when I get all welled up when I get frustrated, but when I get frustrated I cry. And um, a lot of women do. But we have, we know that it makes men very uncomfortable. If a woman cries on the meeting with me, it doesn't make me uncomfortable. I know what's happening, but it makes men very uncomfortable. And we should, we should talk about that. We should say like, why does this, why does this make people uncomfortable? This is a very normal emotion. We are very comfortable when people are competitive in the workplace or angry in the workplace, but we're not comfortable when they cry. So let's talk about that. Let's poke on that a bit. And the same with nursing. This is the most I've talked about nursing, but it's a good time.

Rianka: 00:29:35 It's a really great topic because there's a lot of young professionals coming into the financial planning world and into the financial planning profession. Um, there's more and more CFP board register programs being introduced at the university level. So we are gonna have an influx and will continue to have an influx of young professionals who are going to start getting married, who are going to start having children and if we're going to retain these top talent professionals, we have to, we have to look at our profession as a whole, uh, and understand who it was originally designed for. So now I'm like, I'm taking us from the 50 50,000 foot level and I'm just bringing it down to the financial planning profession like we have to really look at the, um, the genesis of the financial planning profession. It was all men and if we want to be very specific, it was all white men,

Katie: 00:30:45 so we have based what it looks like

Rianka: 00:30:48 and there's wrong with that. There's nothing wrong with that and

Katie: 00:30:53 Well, there's something wrong with the fact that it always has been white men, but there's nothing wrong with the white men themselves themselves, that we're. We're not saying that they are. They are bad people. But the fact that there has been an exclusion of any other type of person is a bad thing. Yes, but what we. What we need to remind ourselves and what what particularly white men need to remind ourselves as every model for success, every model for what is professionalism. Every model for what is acceptable behavior has been modeled after them, so if so, every one of us that don't fit that model are often wearing a mask. Every time we go to work so that we can fit into that model and the toll that takes on people is exhaustive. It is exhaustive to wear a mask for me to show up as a white man when I am a brown woman, it is not.

Katie: 00:31:51 It is not how I naturally function. I am exhausted at the end of the workday by hiding my true self. Yes. And so what I'm asking organizations to do is broaden their definition of what is professional broaden their definition about what success looks like and broaden their definition of how we measure people. So that I'm not saying that every, every person that is a, you know, goofing off or terrible fits into this, this definition, that's not the point. The point is, is that we have narrowly defined what success is and we are missing very capable, very amazing financial planners, hr people, um, doctors. We are missing those people because they don't fit our narrow definition of professionalism.

Rianka: 00:32:43 Amen. Sister.

Rianka: 00:32:46 And the reason why I want it to kind of touch on that is because, um, though I may not respond to everybody's linkedin messages or comments or twitter comments, I see everything. Um, and though 2050 trailblazers has had a very, very positive in general response and it truly is sparking, sparking conversation, it is getting under some people's skin. And the only people I see that has an issue with this podcast or it's something that we're talking about is white men and I feel that they are starting to feel threatened and I don't want them to feel that way because it's an inclusive conversation. And because we're talking about inclusivity, it does not mean that you are excluded.

Katie: 00:33:38 Yeah. And it's, it's difficult to to give up power and that's what it feels like we're asking. And I'm saying no, we're asking to share power. We are not asking to take something from you. We're asking you to open the door wide enough so that we all can come through. And that can be very. It can be very scary. And this is, this is maybe controversial and I will not be offended if you cut this out, but I think the perception of a lot of white men is that if we opened the door wide enough for black women, they will treat us like we have been treating them. The black women will subjugate us or, or prevent us from having access and that that is not what we want. That I have never heard that conversation from any of my peers. What I hear is I just want to seat at the table and want to be a part of the conversation. And so I think the fear is um, for, for white people and for men that women will start acting like men act, that we will start closing the door on them or that black people will start closing the door on white people. And that is modeling our behavior based on your model. We don't, we don't want to do that. We're not looking to that. We are looking to just have a seat

Rianka: 00:35:06 just give me a seat at the table and if you don't give me one, I will build my own table.

Katie: 00:35:12 I own table. I think it is. I totally get the, the, the concerns that white people particularly white men have. But it is not, it is about creating access and you will benefit when we create access for everybody.

Rianka: 00:35:32 And I, we are going to again, have another exercise here in a moment, but I just want to finish recapping the, a great four points that you have given us so that firms, organizations today can look in. So the first point was flexible workspace, the second point was nursing rooms and, or broadening our thought about what it means to be a nursing mother. And then the third point was health insurance. Yeah. Yeah. And how that could be a no-go, uh, for women. It especially if you, if you are a single parent or a single mom or just a single person in general.

Katie: 00:36:16 Yeah. And just to touch on that further, a lot of organizations will say, but I have great health insurance plans and they are paying 100 percent of your premiums. But that's just for the employee. There's, there's little to nothing for dependents. And those dependent plans are going to be critical for your female workers, especially single moms. I have an, uh, almost 10 year old. I can't sign up for health insurance. That is not going to include her. I'm not going to have health insurance when my baby doesn't, right? So, and that's how all moms think and they're not gonna sign up for a health plan in which they can't cover their dependents. So organizations have to be really thoughtful about creating these plans so that it can care for women and their dependents.

Rianka: 00:37:04 You are bringing up such a good point. Like my brain is just firing right now in honestly like five different directions. Um, I'm speaking directly to the CEOs of organizations, presidents of organizations. If you look around your board room at your next board meeting and you see all men, you are missing out on very, very valuable cognitive diversity at your table because the point that you bring right right now, just from a health insurance standpoint, if you are leaving it up to you sir, for you to just think about the health insurance for all of your employees, you may not be thinking about this and there's nothing wrong with that. It's just that your experience in life only goes thus far. But a mom, a mom thinks about what you're thinking about plus more. And so when it comes to these decision making, I think, you know, organizations can just do so much more and so much better for their employees when they have women sitting at the table as well. Just just from the three points that you, that you have, that we have covered thus far. I have one more point to get to that you brought up.

Katie: 00:38:23 But yeah, this is why diversity matters and I think we all know that. We all know that yeah, we are going to make better, more sound, wiser decisions when we have a diversity of people at the table, but it is how do we get them to that table and are we allowing them to speak? Are we amplifying their voices when they are at the table? And that's the hard part because we all know conceptually it matters, but the practice of it is very difficult.

Rianka: 00:38:52 Yeah. And while we're on health insurance, you know, this is going to be airing in the month of June. So I want to give a shout out to the Lgbtq community because we have to have, um, you know, representation from that community as well as we're talking about this

Katie: 00:39:10 Yeah, and to think like there are so many health providers, um, I'm sorry. So many companies that will go with a health provider that doesn't provide domestic partner coverageship coverage for their dependents or will not provide medical care for trans employees. And this is, this is problematic if I have, if I want to be an inclusive environment for trans employees and I offer absolutely no care in my health care package for them. What am I communicating to that population?

Rianka: 00:39:45 Right? And again, my brain is firing so many different and just because you provide that support, it doesn't change your values, right? Who cares if you agree or don't agree with whatever, right?

Katie: 00:40:02 Yeah. Just the goal isn't to make everyone understand and be best friends with everybody else, but the goal is to have great talent in our organization that is moving the needle on our goals. And if you are creating policies or systems that prevent great talent from entering then you, your hamstringing and your company, and so creating these policies, creating broad enough, broad enough benefits packages to be inclusive isn't you signing off on every lifestyle that you may be uncomfortable with, but that's a whole nother topic I like to poke on, but we'll do it a different day. But it is you. Signing off that you want the best talent and you're willing to do the work to make sure that they are cared for.

Rianka: 00:40:59 Yes, yes, and yes. Fourth point and then we're going to go through another exercise is what you mentioned and I can hear just everyone's screaming right now. Career paths and that is something that we lack. Lack. And, and let me tell you why Katie. Just again, you're new. You're new to this world. So the financial planning world has been around maybe 30 years, but the true 30 years ago, it didn't even look like what it looked, what it looks like today. Yeah. I'm not gonna even go there, but let's just talk about what it looks like today. So I'll even take me, for example, I came into officially came into the financial planning world in 2009 and in 2010 I started with my first firm and I was the first generation of paraplanner. So a paraplanner is basically someone who is the junior to the financial advisor, sometimes they are called associate planners, et cetera.

Rianka: 00:42:05 I was first generation, which meant that the firm that hired me and a couple other of my colleagues had no idea what to do with us. Um, but they were, we were figuring it out together. And what I appreciated about the firm is that they were very open with us about that. They're like, listen, you know, we know we need support and help. We know that you have graduated from a school that has a CFP board register program. We know you have the technical skills, we know we need to train you on other things. Uh, you know, it was a very, a short job description. But basically what we did was help build it out. So talking about being the first, um, you know, you have to understand that that was the role and I understood that was the role that I played. So basically I was blazing a trail for the next generation of paraplanners or associate planners after me.

Rianka: 00:43:02 And so what was my capability, uh, what was my colleagues capability, what is, what does the next level look like, etc. And so for the young professionals out there, for the recent graduates who are going into these small RIA firms who do that do not have a career path, but they're very open and transparent with you about that. Be open to helping them create the career path because you are literally writing your own job description. You are literally writing your own career path. And it wasn't like it was 10 years ago where you had no examples to go after or you know. Yeah. And so now there are many organizations that are very open with their job descriptions about what different work, you know, what different, uh, paraplanners or associate planners or financial advisors, financial planners, lead senior. Now we're adding all these titles to us.

Rianka: 00:44:01 So, um, career paths are not there. And so let me give you another example, Katie. So a large RIA can be considered like 15, 20 people, like that's a large, that's a large RIA. Now, there are some really huge ones out there with 100 folks, but they are few and far in between like true fee only RIA firms is few and far in between if you have like more than 20, 25. Um, so even with that, from a health insurance standpoint, you know, there's a level of coverage that these RIA firms do not legally have to give you if they, if you have below 50 employees. So that's a challenge right there. However, if you want to retain your women, if you want to retain your employees, this is something that you have to stop thinking about. Well legally I don't have to do it. Well, if you want to keep me, you do.

Katie: 00:45:00 There's a legal threshold, and there's just like good, good governance threshold, right?

Rianka: 00:45:05 So career paths is something that is very important, important to all employees. But again, we're looking through the lens of a woman right now. So especially for women, and so knowing what I just shared with you about the RIA space, not even, you know, the big broker dealers and all that other stuff, they have career paths, but the RIA space who we struggle and yeah,

Katie: 00:45:30 and this is, this is common amongst them, a lot of small companies too because this company is under under 50 where they're like, well, how do I make a career path because there's only like five different types of jobs or they, they just, they feel a little confused about how they can create some clarity and that's what it is. It's just creating clarity for your employees. Um, so that they understand what is my, what is my potential here, what can I do, what options and paths are open to me? Even if that's not a path towards management. it's the path towards knowledge building, um, to compensation building. Like I need to, I need to be clear about that. I need to understand that so that I know if this is an organization that's worth investing my time and we, um, we don't often think about that as a part of our equity and inclusion program, right?

Katie: 00:46:28 We focus only on that pipeline, but these career paths for women is critical. I need to know if I'm investing my time in this organization, is this organization going to invest their resources in me? Um, and that's if, if, if that's not communicated to me in the hiring process, that is a miss for the organization. Um, that's the same thing with performance reviews. We, uh, we kind of assume all performance reviews are the same and that they are maybe good, maybe not so good, but the, uh, the kind of the necessary evil in the organization. But those performance reviews are really based on how men share feedback with each other in a very factual, quick, um, metrics driven way as opposed to how women share feedback with each other. And so when we designed these we're considered HR bureaucracy, like career paths, performance reviews, compensation, when we, when we are centering men in the design, we are not being thoughtful about what the needs of all employees are and how critical those bureaucratic moments are in an employee's life. There's no more important thing than what I'm getting paid to do, what, what my paycheck is coming home. But we put so little thought into an equitable compensation plan. Yeah. And so these, these moments are what make or break our diversity programs. But they are hard. They are sticky, they are uncomfortable to address why we made the design the way we did. And so that's where our plans fall apart and that's where we stopped supporting these women and brown and black people that we brought into our organization.

Rianka: 00:48:19 How can we truly redesign the financial planning world, the workforce, the firms so that we're redesigning it with the woman in mind. We're redesigning it with the people of color in mind without having others feel excluded. And you kind of answered this before with the ada act of like we're creating this, um, this structure policy around just disability, you know, folks with disabilities who are in wheelchairs and I can, you know, back then probably be like, that's unfair. Well, what about me? But little did they know it was for you, we made their life easier, but we also made your life easier too when you're walking a few blocks from one metro stop to, to, to the next for, um, with your suitcase or, you know, and how can we, that's a really great example of how can we introduce, reintroduce a better work environment without others feeling excluded.

Katie: 00:49:29 Yeah. The ada example is the end state, right? When, that's how people will feel once we've gone through this process because they'll, they'll feel included. But when we go all the way back to the actual design, which is what your question is asking, like how do we even start designing this, this organization for somebody else? What I, um, what I help my clients do is to map out that employee journey. Like from the day they first hear about the job or for the day, from the day that you open a position until the time they leave the organization. What is every touch point the organization has with them? And this is exhaustive, right? Like this is a lot like there's a lot, there's the performance review, compensation, open enrollment, um, their new hire packet, like all of these touch points, map those out and then use a, you know, to our, for our previous conversation, generic employee, generic female employee or a persona, what I call them, the

Katie: 00:50:28 persona to walk them through that journey where, what are the pain points they're feeling throughout this journey? What are areas we are not capturing their talent where are areas where the organization is sidelining them or ignoring them where or parts of the organization in the where we're really supporting them and they feel empowered and they feel joy. Map that out and so that you can visually see from, from the time they hear about us until the time they leave us, what is happening with their employee experience. and from there, you can help design a better experience that, that, uh, that captures that talent throughout their life cycle. And this takes time. This isn't something you're gonna, you're gonna map this out tomorrow. You're going to put a couple of policies in place and then bada boom, bada bing. You solve racism and solve misogyny, right?

Katie: 00:51:26 It's not going to happen like that. But what you can do is, is clearly see where these moments are creating intention in your organization. you can clearly see that we are losing people at five year mark what's happening at five year mark or what's happening after the night. Some organizations can only retain, um, people of color for about six months. What is happening in those first six months? Let's visually see what's happening so that we know where something's broken and what that often requires, especially, um, HR departments, especially the CEOs, is to be very intentional about every one of those policies. Um, and then as an example, I'll say again, is those, like paid time off policies or flexible work policies. They'll say, well, we have to have people here from 6:00 AM to 6:00 PM because that's when the markets are open or whatever the thing is, and we'll say, well, but that's really hamstringing your female employees. That's really putting them at a disadvantage because they have, they have family obligations that they have to meet. So being really thoughtful about like, who are we excluding in this design? That only happens when you can see the design

Rianka: 00:52:52 Right. That's a phenomenal response. Thank you.

Katie: 00:52:52 Long winded,

Rianka: 00:52:56 but I hope though it can help others. just visualize what this process goes through and it's not an easy fix and it's going to take all of us is gonna really take all of us. And so we'll get into allies and allyship here,

Katie: 00:53:11 but it is not easy fix and I will speak from my own experience that it is incredibly painful to realize that you have designed a policy or a procedure that has excluded unintentionally excluded people. I have been many times on the end where I have designed, um, policies that have excluded people, um, where I've put a tuition reimbursement program. The only serves, um, people who have been in the organization a certain amount of time or only serves people who have reached a certain high level status and it's painful to hear that that's painful to be confronted with your own bias. But unless we do that, we are not fixing something.

Rianka: 00:53:56 Right, right. So talking about unintentionally excluding, I want to bring up the example back to the example of the woman in the center and like redesigning the workplace with the woman in mind. Um, but now I want to get a little bit more specific. So you call them personas, I'll call them avatars, where, where now the avatar that I want to put in the center is a woman, specifically a woman of color. And a great example. Um, I'm not sure if you had a chance to listen to Angela's, um, podcast episode. So, Angela, she gave us a very vivid, um, story of her experience when she first entered the financial service industry and she was at a big broker dealer and she, um, was talking about, uh, so, so going into like even or same playing fields, right? So she started along with a class of x, I can't remember the number of folks that were, that were in her class, but the same day she started, uh, another, um, person who started, he was, you know, a white man and he played football at a local college or people knew of him.

Rianka: 00:55:15 So he, you know, came to work for this organization and everybody was surrounding his desk of just like, oh, hey, I'm Bob, how are you? Or hey, I'm John or all of this. And she was like, nobody came to introduce themself to me. and then she talked about how, you know, this other person was picked on a team and nobody picked her for a team like she. So she was like not on a team for at least two years and also in this particular, in this particular organization in the broker dealer world, which is why I'm separating it from the financial planning profession, but in this, in the broker dealer world, um, it, it, it, it was, and I think probably still is a eat what you kill mentality strategy where it was all about asset building. So she also had to meet various metrics or numbers on a monthly basis, quarterly basis where, um, because she didn't come from money, she didn't, she couldn't call her aunt or, or family member and say, hey auntie, can you wire $2,000,000 over under my management so she, so you can so I can meet my numbers.

Rianka: 00:56:33 However, one day she was staying late and she overheard one of her counterparts, um, who was just like, hey auntie, can you wire over $2,000,000? And she just felt so defeated. She was like, this is like, and to, and to use your words, this system was not set up for her to succeed. However, despite all of those odds that literally was thrown at her, here she is today and now she has her own business.

Katie: 00:57:00 And isn't that the person we want to capture? Right?

Rianka: 00:57:03 That's the person that you want to keep

Katie: 00:57:07 that is the person you want to keep because wow, I mean the hustle on this person to to be able to run at the same speed as somebody who has so much more access and and you want, you want to do everything in your power because that is who is going to move the needle on your organization because imagine, imagine her with the aunt, like she'd be unstoppable.

Katie: 00:57:30 Right? So it's making sure that those people. I hate the term, those people, the people who are at a disadvantage at a disadvantage, make sure that they have all the support they need because they are going to kill the game, right? They are going to completely change it.

Rianka: 00:57:53 And so what do we say, and I just want to make one point before my question is that out of her entire class, she was the only one left, with all of the disadvantages thrown at her, obstacles. She was the only one left at her class. At the end of the how many ever years. So shout out to Angela.

Katie: 00:57:53 Shout out to Angela for sure, way to go.

Rianka: 00:58:16 You go, girl. So what do we say? So with what you just said, what do we say to the, to the naysayers of just like, well, what about me?

Katie: 00:58:29 Yeah. Um, your organization is better when you, when you have Angela on the team and in your organization or your organization is more healthy, your organization is thriving when you invest the time in Angela and you, you have other people investing the time and resources and you have the auntie, you have that, you have other, you have other people investing time and resources in you.

Katie: 00:58:54 If we don't, if we as the organizations do not do our due diligence to capture the Angela's where our company's suffering

Rianka: 00:59:06 so let's, our avatar is now going to be called Angela because, because now it's not fictitious. It doesn't, it doesn't feel unreal. Like this is a very real situation. And again, sorry, this is off the cuff. Um, I did not plan to make Angela the avatar.

Rianka: 00:59:24 I'm sorry angela, if this makes you feel uncomfortable but let but let's. But let's talk about like Angela being that avatar where she is now the center. So before the exercise we gave was the woman this, you know, no ethnic background, no cultural reference, no sexual orientation, no nothing. It was just, I don't think any woman is generic because we all have super powers how ever it was just a woman, am I, but now let's. Now let's have a avatar that has a name that has an age, that has a social economic background that has a cultural experience that, and you know, that's a person of color.

Katie: 01:00:13 Yeah. the first thing I would do if I were on that leadership team is have the, the catch and, catch and you eat or how did you say?

Rianka: 01:00:13 you eat what you kill,

Katie: 01:00:25 you eat what you kill the, the numbers for that would be based on people outside your network. So instead of saying, okay, everybody has the same number, maybe everyone has the same number, but it has to be net. Net new has to be people. I'm new clients, whatever, whatever the thing is, whatever the metric is so that I am not. If I have access to a lot of people of wealth in my network, I don't have an advantage that Angela does not. Um, maybe I can still utilize that in my, some other metric, but the metric in which my performance is measured is not measured based on who is in my network, is measured on, like the net new clients that I can, I can get 'em or some other measurement that doesn't, that evens the playing field so that I can truly measure one employee against the other because if I'm measuring the performance between let's, I'll call him Derek, Angela and Derek, um, based on how much income they're bringing in, but Derek has access to so much more, um, income in his network than Angela does.

Katie: 01:01:37 Then I'm not really measuring their performance. I'm just finding out who has more rich friends. Right. And so if there is some other way for me to measure who is actually hustling at the rate I need them to hustle, that's what I want to find out.

Rianka: 01:01:52 And, and that's something that the organizations need to figure out. That's not something that we're trying to. We can't fix everything today in this episode, but we're giving you some ideas.

Katie: 01:02:02 Yeah. Yeah. And, and the, the, what you want to find out is who is, who's your strongest employee, right? Not who can bring in the most money, but who has the potential to bring in the most money. The person that can call their relative isn't necessarily the person that has the potential

Katie: 01:02:20 to bring in the most money, but they have access to the most. Right. And so the, the to redefine what you're looking for.

Rianka: 01:02:27 That is a really great point. And I think that's something that can be done. Uh, you know, there's organizations that have been around for multiple, multiple, multiple decades and it's really gonna take a turn. You know, there's so many organizations that has these diversity initiatives. And I laugh because I'm like, it's all ceremonial. I wish I had the time to go into these organizations and these firms and just be like, this is, this is why this will not work. Yeah. but I don't have the time.

Katie: 01:03:00 That's okay. That's my job is I got it.

Rianka: 01:03:04 Right. However, you know, through, through our conversations, I feel like we're going to be cooking up something this summer us so that we may have the answers for these large organizations, um, because, you know, just with my experience, my knowledge of how things work and with your experience, I feel like honestly we can truly, truly move the needle on this because if, if yeah, I'll just keep it at that.

Rianka: 01:03:37 We are definitely scheming over here. we're plotting and scheming in a good way and it's going to help the profession. All right, so we have. So we have angela, it sounds like we're, we're inviting a new avatar to the table, Derek as well.

Katie: 01:03:37 So I like making use of an avatar.

Rianka: 01:03:57 So going. So going back to our avatar, Angela. So one is even the playing field and from a metrics. So that was more so from, from a metric standpoint of how the big broker dealers typically measure their employees and it's. And it's. I love how you said it is not through who's hustling the hardest. It's, you're saying you're truly figuring out who has the richest friends and, and we know that that's not always the case. We know that, you know, through your networking and through you going and being invited to various places, you've entered a new network that you didn't grow up with. fantastic. Awesome. We're not saying that we're not dimming what you're doing. However, what we are doing is highlighting, um, the,

Rianka: 01:04:49 your colleagues who may not have that access no matter how hard they trying because the door is not open for them. So let's go back to again. So we're redesigning and going, going back to your, to your book of redesigning the workplace with a woman in mind, particularly a woman of color.

Katie: 01:05:10 Yeah, I, yes, to everything you're just saying. Um, but to, to, to think on, to Angela's experience and what, what would help her? I would assume that additional support and training. If I have to learn every single thing on the job that somebody else might have had access in their friend group. If I'm going out and having a beer because you've seen me play football and you have a emotional connection to me and I'm in and in those beer meetings you are giving me information that Angela isn't getting then Angela needs additional support and training because a lot of those moments outside the workplace are where people grow, right? Is where people get access to information is where people get access to new, um, new people in their network. And Angela's, every moment Angela's is not in that beer meeting is a moment Angela's not getting that. So where is she getting it or just invite Angela too, but that's, you know, that's, that's, that is next level. That's what I want to see in this world is where Angela and Derek are being invited to the same after parties. Um, but until that happens, you need to make sure that she's getting that information

Rianka: 01:06:28 right, right. And goes to beer to golf. Um, I know a lot of folks in the financial planning world, like they do golf outings and all this other stuff and you cannot catch me on the golf field a, uh, just, I, I've tried it. It's not my forte. Every time I leave my lower back hurts and,

Katie: 01:06:52 and we think like, oh, well that's just how people, you know, let's just find people are just, you know, people should, should be able to socialize after work and of course they should. But if you're socializing excludes people with disabilities, excludes women, excludes people of color because you're golfing at a place that historically has excluded, people of color or you're choosing a support, a sport that predominantly women don't play. Or you're choosing an activity that has limited access to people with disabilities. Then you are creating moments, um, intentionally or unintentionally that is building up one type of person and their success and excluding other people. And so, and I, and I know we want to talk about allyship, allyship is really being thoughtful about who is in your room at all times. Who is in this space? Who have I excluded, who have I included? And why? Um, and anytime you invite people to play golf, you need to look at who you invited and look who you didn't invite and be really thoughtful as to why did you ask, did you, are they, are you going to be talking about moments at work that other people need to hear about? Are you creating emotional bonds with people so that you can advocate for them that you're not creating with another person?

Rianka: 01:08:16 Yeah, absolutely. And I know this is going to be a two-parter. So fyi, this is part one of this episode with Katie. We're going to have a part two just because there are a couple of things that we haven't even touched on that we have to get to that I don't want to rush through it. So I'm gonna finish this and then we'll then we'll kick off, um, part two to this episode. So just going back to the four points that you made before. The flexible work hours, the nursing rooms, the health insurance, um, career paths. So before we made those observations, just with a woman at the center, now let's now let's place the, our avatar, Angela at the center of that. How, what, if any thing changes in those four points?

Katie: 01:09:14 Yeah, we would want to make sure that, okay, let's go, and point by point was the first one. The first one was nursing rooms.

Rianka: 01:09:22 We can make the first one nursing rooms. it wasn't, but I think you like nursing rooms.

Katie: 01:09:28 So funny because you know, it's been a long time since I've been a nursing mom, so I'm not sure why it's on my mind, but the, if even if Angela does not have a child now, does she understand our policy so that she knows that when she has a child, this is an organization that will help support her so that she doesn't have to look elsewhere outside of our organization. So she is. She is a single woman without children. I want to still make sure she and she clearly understands that we support our, our nursing mothers that we support are pregnant workers. That she knows what these policies are that she knows that we have a maternity leave, so that if she ever decides that that's a chapter in her life she'd like to have, that she knows that this is an organization that will support her

Rianka: 01:10:12 and just talking about the avatar that comes from a different social economic background where this person may not have come from money, you are unintentionally excluding this person or maybe deferring this person to have a child because if you do not have maternity leave, this person is maybe building up a ton of hours. So from a work life balance that's already putting stress on this woman. Um, and then also this person may not be able to afford to take unpaid work.

Katie: 01:10:52 Yes, and if she's single. She, she will not have a spouse to help us to care for those expenses during that time. So you need to be before she even has a child and she may never want to have a child. But before that moment, she needs to know how this organization is going to support support her. And, and I bring up women who choose not to have children because even if they choose not to have children, they know that this organization supports women by putting these policies in place. So we don't want to make the assumption that all women are going to have children, but we want to make the assumption that all women are going to care about a workspace that supports women. And so if, if all women haven't had this communicated to them before they even sign up for the job, um, you may be excluding people because I need to know that this is, that these things are in place because then I know you care about your female employees.

Rianka: 01:11:51 Yeah. Even from a retention standpoint or recruiting your best, your best recruits or your best method to recruit is your happy employees. Exactly. So let's say for example, we switched this avatar to kelly and kelly does not want to have children and she's made it very clear. However, there are maternity leave in place maternity and paternity leave and plays and she's just shouting it to the roof. You know, she's having a conversation with one of her girlfriends, her girlfriend is just saying, hey girl, I want to thinking about switching careers. I want to become a financial planner. I am hearing all the wonderful things about being a financial planner and how I can add my value. Oh really? So this is kelly. Um, I was an actress. Um, and so now this is kelly kelly's like, oh wow, sarah, let me tell you about my company. So, uh, you know, I'm not one for, I'm not one for having children right now. Maybe it'll happen, but, but if it doesn't, oh well, but let me tell you about my company. They offer paid maternity leave and paid paternity leave. So even if jeff comes, um, you know, and work with us as well, we'll, we'll have a twofer. You know, you can kind of figure out and schedule. So anyways, you know, but that's an example of just like a happy employee, very proud of the company that they work for, just celebrating

Katie: 01:13:21 your employees are for better or worse, are going to publicize all of your policies, so if you have a really terrible policy, you better believe the community is hearing about it and if you have a really fantastic policy, the community is also hearing about it. So you want to be really intentional about what kind of policies you're putting together.

Rianka: 01:13:41 Absolutely. Absolutely. So we, so we talked about your, your nursing rooms.

Katie: 01:13:48 This is going to just call this podcast the nursing podcast,

Rianka: 01:13:53 nesting. So I don't have any children yet, but. so I've learned the term nesting and what that means you. Oh, I'm nesting right now. Like I'm preparing, preparing my home for a baby, you know, a few, like, I have a couple. Um, a couple in my mastermind group. The husband is a part of the mastermind group and so his wife, they just had a baby. Uh, so, but before they were nesting and, and then another, one of my friends, um, she's nesting right now because, this is really cool. Tell me, tell me about that. So, or what she said is she was nesting in her business, which I think, ooh, that's a really good podcast episode topic. You need her. Yeah. I'm just about just preparing because she's a business owner. Um, and preparing for what that means. So outside of, you know, you're working for someone. What does it mean to work for yourself and to have a child or preparing to have a child. Um, so writing that one down. Um, so the first point was actually flexible workspace. Oh, okay. Let's start more flexible, flexible work hours.

Katie: 01:15:06 So if I'm. Yeah, for angela a, if I'm going to make some assumptions here that the financial planning firm or the firm that she's working at is not in the same neighborhood that she has lived than are we accounting for her transportation time in getting there. Uh, this is one of those moments where people think, well, that's kind of their employees problem. It is, it, yeah. The employee, you have to figure out how to get themselves to and from work of course. However, if you, I'll use san francisco. I'm on the west coast, I'll use san francisco is a good example. The cost of living in san francisco is so high that so many workers live outside of san francisco and so they are, their day is spent commuting to and from via trains, via public transit, from going, you know, out in, you know, in the middle of silicon valley, but far away where it's a little cheaper into the city every day.

Katie: 01:16:11 And so are we accounting for the toll that takes, if we have our meetings that are going until 7:00 because we have all these client meetings, that person's not getting home till 9:00. If we're, if we have a 6:00 AM meeting because the markets open at 9:00 AM on the west coast, this person's coming in, leaving their house at four in the morning in order to make it in time. And so is our expectation then that they stay, that they are, they work from four til nine, 4:00 AM till 9:00 PM. Um, and so being really thoughtful about our start and stop times if somebody is taking the burden of those long commutes because they are economically disadvantaged and can't live in the city lines, then maybe we have a couple of days that I work from home. Maybe we can be less stringent on our work from home policies, um, and to just be mindful and thoughtful about the different access that people of color and women may have into our workspace.

Rianka: 01:17:10 That's a really great point. I'm so I'm in the DC area and um, a couple of places of where I actually worked I could not afford when I first started working, I cannot afford to, to live in the vincinity of where I worked. It was just a bonkers how expensive it was. And so my commute was like an hour each way. Um, so yeah. Yeah. And it definitely hits home

Katie: 01:17:40 for so many, especially young professionals who are building. They're in the building phase of their life right now and we expect them to work long hours and hustle really hard. You can still have that expectation, but understand that this is not 1970 where most young professionals lived in the city and could walk to their business. Cities are are so expensive now that almost all young professionals are having to live outside of those cities, so we are, we are measuring them by a yard stick that is no longer applicable. They can. They do not have the ability to just run outside and catch a quick metro and get to the office within five to 10 minutes. That's not, that's not the case for most people, but they all do have cell phones. They all do have laptops. So can we broaden our expectation of work so that they can meet and exceed, but they're not being measured by an impossible yardstick?

Rianka: 01:18:46 Yes. Yes. Alright. what about health insurance and career paths and then I'm going to cut this episode and then we're going to start part two.

Katie: 01:19:04 Okay. So a career path. I think for angela is very similar as we've talked about for all employees. She needs to know before, before she even accepts the job, what, what this organization looks like, who has been promoted, what is, what are the opportunities that are ahead of her, if, if that's unclear to you as an organization, if you don't have that painted out, just communicate that to her so that she knows that maybe she's the captain of her own destiny at this organization and she can create her own path, but, but be very clear so that I don't feel like I'm entering a dead end job.

Rianka: 01:19:40 If firms just can be transparent of just saying, hey listen, we're, we're figuring this out and we know that you are the first young person. You're the first woman. You're the first person of color. If there's and given permission to say, hey, we give you permission to, um, show us our blind spots because we don't, we don't know everything. and that takes a lot. That's the ego pride aside for some firms and some and some organization leaders of just saying, listen, we don't know at all, but we are here to support you.

Katie: 01:20:13 Yeah, absolutely. And when we talk about health benefits, I think one of the most important things an organization can do is to survey their employees about their needs, to ask the question, to not make assumptions about what employees need. People will make assumptions all the time about people's domestic partner situation, about their dependent situation, about their health needs, about their financial abilities. And you need to ask questions when you're designing your benefits plans because the amount you don't know about your employees' personal lives can fill 100 bucks. We and you think you know about your employees, but you don't always know. And so ask them questions. Ask, you know, in the most confidential way possible, you know, a blind survey just like, what is your needs, what, what's more important to you, lower premium costs or lower copays, things like that.

Katie: 01:21:17 If, if, uh, if you have decided for an example, and this is very wonky for you non hr people, but if you have decided that a lower premium payment, which is the amount that's going to come out of their paycheck, but a higher deductible is better for your employees, then if I am an employee and I get in a car accident and I have a high deductible that may be so cost prohibitive that it could bankrupt me even though I have health insurance. Um, and you have made this decision on my behalf without knowing anything about my financial situation or if I have a high co-payment where maybe my medical costs are low each month, but it costs me $50 to go see a doctor when I have a tooth ache or I have a, you know, a, a weird rash. Then maybe I just don't get that taken care of because $50 is too steep this month. And so you need to be really thoughtful about your employee population and ask them the questions. you are not going to design a plan that's going to fit every single one of your employees needs 100 percent of the time, but if you are creating these programs in a vacuum without their input, you could be designing a program based on your needs or your ideal employees needs not your actual employees needs.

Rianka: 01:22:38 Right? Such a great example and don't assume just because you're in a financial planning firm or a financial service industry, everyone knows the jargon around health insurance, so you're making the assumption

Rianka: 01:22:56 even even even with some financial advisors, unless you had. I mean again, there's some technical things that we have to know to pass the cfp exam, but it's when life experience happens where you finally realize, oh, this is what it means. I have to meet the deductible before the insurance company pays. And so I think what seems like a no brainer, but what would be extremely helpful from a employee handbook design standpoint is give examples of, you know, if it safer it. Say for example, you're about to take leave for a child. This is and to give birth. This is what your costs out of pocket costs will be if you choose a, a, a health insurance policy, b, c or d, and so they can see all right, this is how much that will potentially come out of pocket from my paycheck but this or you know from my paycheck, but this is what it's going to come out of pocket. Like once this occurs or a illness happens and this is if I need to go to the emergency room, this is a, b, c, d example. Like it's, I mean that is how you explain. You can't just say don't just give definitions of what is a deductible, what is a premium

Katie: 01:24:19 and what isn't. So that's to me like best the best thing you can do and then the best, best thing you can do is to make that very visual and attractive. And I know people will kind of like meh, it's policy, it doesn't need to, but you want, you want your employees to understand these policies. You want them to internalize it, to make sense of it. When I am looking at these long employee handbooks that are just,

Rianka: 01:24:19 Full of words, oh my gosh

Katie: 01:24:50 I, I am clearly communicating to you that I need you to. Here's all the information. I don't actually care if you understand the information. I just need to say it. Yeah. And what I want to push companies to do is to care about understanding, to really deeply care that these employees understand, not just see it, but understand how their plans, the impact their lives work. And you can only do that when you make it easy to read. like visual, uh, attractive. And we do this with consumers all the time, right? Like if you go to, if you go to the itunes, like, um, what does that page where it's like, do you accept or do you not agree with all the terms? Like that's a wall of words because itunes doesn't really want us to read, read through that. But when we look at the icons for all the apps, that's beautiful and visual, right? Because they want you to explore and to dig in and to, to learn about those apps. There's a, there's two different. If they really wanted you to know about that contract, it would look good. They want you to know about the apps. You might buy one of them. Right? So that looks good. And I would challenge our employers to use that same philosophy. Do you really want them to understand it? Yes. The make it easy and accessible.

Rianka: 01:26:16 This is phenomenal. This is tangible takeaways it is. It doesn't matter if you are, you know, the hr prefers professional in the financial planning firm the hr professional in the organization, those big broker dealer orgs or fintech firms. These are key takeaways. And, and I also want to know, I feel your pain points with some of the small RIAs because sometimes it's the president of the firm that's also wearing the CEO hat, the chief compliance officer hat and then the HR person hat. And it's like, all right, well is my, is my time best spent doing this or do I need to hire outside professional?

Katie: 01:27:03 Um, and each organization will have a different answer to that. But the answer should always be, this is worth our investment because it is important to us that our employees understand it. So whether you do the in house or you hire somebody, then that's whichever the answer is the right answer for your organization, but do it

Rianka: 01:27:23 right. Absolutely. And also, I think all financial planners can, um, respect this comment of being a fiduciary means putting the client interest before your own. Being a fiduciary means being client centric. And so as the firm owners, firm organization leaders, I challenge you to put to be employee centric. So this is good. This is gonna wrap up. Part one of my conversation with Katie. so what we've talked about here was the retention of employees, specifically women, specifically people of color. Now what I've learned from you, Katie, is that even before even before day one of being hired, the hiring process, the retention process starts way before their day one. So part two of my conversation with Katie, we're going to jumpstart at that point.

Katie: 01:28:23 Great. I'm so excited.

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