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Operationalize HR Law: A Conversation with Senator Hannah-Beth Jackson

How to implement Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging Initiatives in your organization


Byline written by Dr. Nadine Greiner


I recently had an enlightening conversation with Hannah-Beth Jackson, former California State Senator and practicing attorney, a tireless advocate for women's rights and equality. We delved into the reasons why the implementation of her laws addressing pay equity and increasing women's representation on corporate boards have been taking so long.

Sen Hannah-Beth Jackson (ret) shared that studies have consistently shown that companies with equal pay practices and diverse boards outperform those without. In my own role as a CHRO, I have been fortunate to work with excellent C-teams who worked with me side-by-side to implement equality. So I know that implementing equality, diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging initiatives creates a strategic advantage. These are initiatives employees and consumers want. They are smarter and more discerning than ever—and they want to see equality in pay, benefits, training, and promotion and are asking about it. Just take a look at any recent shareholder actions.


So why are we not there yet? Transparency? CEO and board accountability? Perhaps most importantly, how do we get there? I have four thoughts:

1. Women on boards need to ask for the numbers.

What is the distribution of women at all levels of the organization? What is the proof that there is pay equity, not just on base but on incentives as well? What available support and training is given to accelerate women’s careers in the organization? What are the candidate slates looking like? Is the AI fraught with bias? Have the recruiters and hiring managers taken unconscious bias training? The board member should be asking this from the head of HR, not the CFO.


2. Tie CEO’s performance bonus to equality in the company.

This wouldn’t be the only metric, but should be included with other common metrics like growing market share, successful mergers and acquisitions, and revenue. Not only does this keep the issue top of mind for the CEO, but it also helps the organization overall. CEOs usually cascade their goals, so when this is the case, this quickly becomes a leadership goal. We did this at the last company I worked at, and it totally changed the narrative and the numbers moved in a positive direction.


3. Ensure accountability

If diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging goals are not met what happens? Ensure these goals are being treated just like any other performance metric.


4. Put human resources leadership front and center

The head of HR needs to be a visible, active, equally compensated and treated executive reporting directly to the CEO and with key deliverables to the board. They also need to be accountable to enable all these goals.

What do you think? I particularly want to hear from the CEO and HR folks. So why are we not there yet? What would you add to the list?


About the Author:

Nadine Greiner, Ph.D. is the Chief Human Resources Officer at Lucira Health. Nadine’s career has consisted of leading organizations through rapid growth and change. She has led the Human Resources function at private and public companies, and for capital ventures as well as for companies of over 15B in revenue. She has served as the head of Human Resources at the following: Lucira Health, 4D Molecular Therapeutics, Sutter Health (California Pacific Medical Center and Palo Alto Medical Foundation), The Institute on Aging, Brown and Toland, Uplift Family Services, and globally in the Corporate Groups at Bank of America.

Nadine is dedicated to furthering the field of Human Resources, and has written three books on leadership and executive coaching.

Nadine earned a dual doctorate in Organization Development and Clinical Psychology.

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