An inclusive experience: Connection
Feeling the impact, mission, and purpose of your work
At Deloitte we believe inclusion unleashes the power of the diversity of our people. We are constantly innovating policies and practices that invite authentic and active engagement and help all of us develop and maintain a strong connection, feel that we belong, and continuously grow. In this first of a three-part series, Deloitte’s Deepa Purushothaman talks with Sallie Krawcheck, CEO and co-founder of a digital investment platform for women. Sallie has held some of the most senior roles in large global financial institutions, and she shared her thoughts on how we can all help people better connect with their employers and their work.
Connecting your personal passion with your work
DEEPA: In large corporate and academic institutions, there is generally good gender equality and diversity at entry levels, but much smaller numbers of women and underrepresented minorities at the most senior levels. Why do you think there’s such a disconnect?
SALLIE: If the answer was easy, it would have been solved by now. The reasons vary: more complicated family lives, reaching plateaus in careers, in some cases unconscious bias, even façade fatigue – exhaustion from playing a part that’s not natural or comfortable. As time goes on and work and life factors change, there is so much more to juggle emotionally, logistically, personally, and professionally. I think that’s when people make decisions to change how, when, or where they work even if they handled complexity just fine when they first started.
DEEPA: What role does a company’s mission or values play in helping retain people and helping them rise to positions of real power and influence?
SALLIE: Research from Ellevate Network indicates that finding meaning and purpose is not something women have to be told to do; rather, we found women have a tendency to seek meaning and purpose in their work and are more willing to keep at it if they know their work accrues to something more important than themselves. This is also something millennials look for so companies need to do a better job of articulating their greater social value instead of focusing solely on perks they think are attractive.
DEEPA: What does that look like?
SALLIE: For example, I had a friend who ran a middle school program for engineering. When they advertised their new project, a building that would have lots of bells and whistles, their applicants were predominantly boys. When they started talking about how the building could bring the community together to accomplish great things, the applicants became more gender balanced. Meaning and purpose can be important differentiators when people are considering competing demands.
DEEPA: Aside from better articulating its values and mission, what else can organizations do to give its people a sense of purpose as they progress through their careers?
SALLIE: Acknowledge and celebrate the unique strengths everyone brings to the table. Train managers throughout the organization to recognize and engage people who think, work, and communicate differently. It’s way too easy to manage everybody the same way.
True leadership is meeting people where they are. Create an environment where people of different backgrounds, genders, personalities, and perspectives all can thrive. Data is an organization’s friend in this effort. Are people who bring different unique strengths thriving? If not, make changes. If you don’t measure and hold people accountable, nothing will change.
DEEPA: Is it more important to find a company that you connect with or to find connection in the environment you’re in?
SALLIE: It can be both. When I was an investment banker, I couldn’t identify with the purpose of that work. But when I became a research analyst, I felt the connection to that work right away. I knew my work could make families’ lives better. I think we can find purpose in whatever we do. If you have a good sense for what mark you want to make, then by all means look for the kind of work that allows you to pursue that. But if not, you should pause, look beyond your day-to-day tasks, and realize the ultimate impact of the work you do. If you are proud of that and want to do more of it, you’ve found your connection!
"Meaning and purpose can be important differentiators when people are considering competing demands."
– Sallie Krawcheck, CEO and co-founder, Ellevest
Editor’s note: This article is part of a three-part series of interviews with notable leaders advancing inclusive personal behaviors and a culture of inclusion. Ms. Krawcheck’s participation in this article is solely for educational purposes based on her knowledge of the subject, and the views expressed by her are solely her own. This article should not be deemed or construed to be for the purpose of soliciting business for Ellevest, Ellevate Financial, or Ellevate Network, nor does Deloitte advocate or endorse the services or products provided by Ellevest, Ellevate Financial, or Ellevate Network.
Read the other interviews in the series:
An inclusive experience: Belonging
Q&A with Reshma Saujani, founder of Girls Who Code
An inclusive experience: Growth
Q&A with Joyce Roché, author and executive