Win(e)d Down Wednesday Podcast with Jeffery Tobias Halter and Amanda Hammett

What Deloitte Transparency Study Says About DEI Today – Jeffery Tobias Halter

Welcome to Win(e)d Down Wednesdays with gender strategist Jeffery Tobias Halter and generational strategist Amanda Hammett -- a podcast that focuses on diversity, inclusion, intersectionality and equity through the lenses of a Boomer and a Millennial. They delve into DEI topics, examining business implications, talent strategy, and what today’s senior leaders need to know in order to recruit, retain and develop the next generation. In this episode, the hosts continue their conversation about the recent Deloitte Transparency Study. They delve into the findings that highlight the need for accountability to ensure the success of corporate DEI initiatives and how to effectively engage men as allies and advocates.

Link for Deloitte Transparency Study -

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Disclaimer: This transcript was created using YouTube’s translator tool and that may mean that some of the words, grammar, and typos come from a misinterpretation of the video.

The Transcript - Deloitte Transparency Study

Amanda Hammett: I'm Amanda Hammett and welcome to Wine Down Wednesday, a contemporary mid-week discussion on current workplace and marketplace issues with a focus on diversity, inclusion, intersectionality, and equality, and it's always best enjoyed with your favorite wine down beverage of choice. Now as you join us today, we want to remind you that Jeffery and I only reflect a very small spectrum of the diversity realm. In future episodes, we will have a series of guests joining us in which we'll talk about everything, including the unique challenges faced by women of color in the workplace, ageism to issues affecting the LGBTQ workers and a number of other dimensions of diversity.
Jeffery Tobias Halter: We also want to hear about what you want to hear about in the future. So please drop us a line and let us know what some of your challenges are. Also, we're going to talk about some potentially emotional issues. Our goal each show is to discuss these in a calm and respectful way. You don't need anyone screaming at you about the challenges of work today. We get it. You have enough stress in your life. Hence the theme: Wine(d) down Wednesday. And so this Wine Down Wednesday, I'm choosing to enjoy a nice Cabernet Sauvignon from the Napa Valley. Amanda, you already showed yours. What's your beverage of choice?

Amanda Hammett: I am having a Blue Moon, my favorite beer. So our show today is going to focus specifically on advancing women in the workplace and the need for greater male advocacy. So we also want to continue to examine transparency as a key factor in advancing women. So Jeffery, your focus is on engaging men in women's leadership advancement. Talk about why you chose to focus in this area.

Jeffery Tobias Halter: Yeah, Amanda, thank you. You know, it's interesting. If you think about corporate America, men still comprise 80% of the leadership in most companies. And so I have a belief that if we are 80% of the population, we could be 80% of the problem and not advancing women, but we could also be 80% of the solution. And so what I spend my days doing is working with men who want to become better, organizations who want to become better. And they realize that active male advocacy is the key to driving long-term change, you know, women and other underrepresented groups have been talking about advancing diversity for 40 years and, and really engaging men and specifically guys like me -- older, white men -- are one of the key solutions.

Amanda Hammett: So how do you start to find men who want to be advocates?

Jeffery Tobias Halter: Yeah, this is really fascinating, um, you know who they are. They're the men in your organization who want to help. And they may not be overt about it. They're the good guys. They're the people who are already mentoring or sponsoring or having a woman's back, just having you on a project team or inviting you in. I call them “ready now” men. And my belief is that 30 to 40% of men in the workplace want to help. But they need to be invited in. It's not a place most men are ready to go to. And then it becomes a brand adoption model. If we get 30 to 40%, then you might get another 50% who want to help and they'll come along. They understand the business reason. If they understand why this is important to them. And then I want to be very clear because we've left out about 10% of the people. And what I'm going to tell you is that 10% of people will never get this topic. They won't understand why we're talking about it. And it seems in corporate America that we focus on this lowest common denominator. My belief is if you have an organization that embraces inclusion and equity, people who don't share that view are going to work their way out of your company. So let's not train idiots. I've been doing this work for a long time. I'm not an idiot whisperer. Go and find “ready now” men who want to help, and let's invite them in.

Amanda Hammett: That's fantastic, I love your boldness there. What are the barriers and the solutions for men in wanting to engage in this work?
Jeffery Tobias Halter: Yeah. What I've found in doing this work is there’s organizational barriers. Right? And, and, you know, that's hiring and slating and succession planning. I'm going to put those aside for right now and talk about what I have found to be the four barriers around engaging men to become advocates. The first one is simply a lack of empathy. Many men don't believe that men and women are having a different experience in the workplace. They get it a little. But they really haven't internalized it. You know, empathy is kind of challenging for men. I don't want to gender that, but you know, women tend to be more empathetic than men. Um, and so a lot of men will just say, yeah, I understand it, but it's not that big a deal, right? Yeah. The second one then is apathy. What's the big deal? We've been talking about this for 40 years. There's no change on the horizon. And, and quite frankly, if this was important, my boss would talk about it. My company would talk about it. We'd have a staff meeting once a month. All we ever talk about is sales and profit and turnover, but do we really talk about it? And, and oh by the way, if leaders aren't talking about it, we talked in another episode about how, if frontline managers are not talking about it, why should I care? So apathy is the second barrier. Lack of accountability. You know, the Deloitte report demonstrates this and this chart shows what Deloitte looks like top to bottom and we see actually a pretty good picture at a board level on a senior leadership level. But as you get down in the organization, you know what the numbers are 70, 30, oh, by the way, that's pretty good. Compared to most companies, Deloitte’s, you know, going to show that. The other thing they're showing us customer facing roles, and this is where we get into. It's so important to have a diverse sales force, a diverse customer force, to meet the needs of the customer you’re servicing. Hmm. And so accountability, lack of accountability is a big one. Then the last one, quite frankly, is just fear. Men are scared to death that we will say or do the wrong thing. And, and, you know, part of that is #MeToo. Part of that is I'm not ready to have a conversation around race. I'm certainly not ready to give feedback to women of color. And so as a white man, I can have a really long career by kind of giving this diversity thing a wink and a nod and choosing not to do anything about it. I'll just go along. But at the core of it, I'm afraid. So lack of empathy, apathy, lack of accountability and fear. All right.

Amanda Hammett: Yep.

Jeffery Tobias Halter: And so those are the barriers.

Amanda Hammett: I could not agree with you more on that. You know, what I find in the diversity and inclusion world is that we spend a lot of time talking academically and not really talking about what we are, how does that look in everybody's day-to-day life? And so what I would love to hear from you is what would be an easy, easy first step for companies to get started in identifying those ready now, advocates that you talked about earlier.

Jeffery Tobias Halter: Yeah, it's funny. And this is not the answer that your listeners are going to want. It's not easy. It's not easy. Right? What I’ll share with you though is an, is an acronym that I've found works, and it's called listen, learn, lead, and have the will. And each of these aligns to one of the barriers that I identified. The most important thing we want all of our listeners to do is one thing. And that's, listen, go have a conversation with a woman or a person of color or somebody unlike you, and then ask the simple question. Are you having a different experience than I am? And I'm going to tell you. We'll call her Terri. Terri is not going to say anything. Terri doesn't want to represent all women at the company. Ask a second time. Is there something I don't understand? Terri will start to talk, don't interrupt her and don't say, Hey, you know, we've got a program for that. Or have you thought about this? Listen and then ask a third time. And in that last 10 minutes, you're going to hear root cause issues that Terri has experienced that you had no idea occurred, and you're going to start to develop empathy. So if there is one easy step, it's to go out and talk to people, but it's got to go a little further then. So to overcome apathy people have to learn, you know, one of the reasons for this show we're going to share with listeners so much data and so much research, and it seems really dry. I mean to tell you, if you want to engage men, they love that stuff. They love facts and data, and that's going to help you to overcome the apathy. You know, in future shows, we're going to talk about women as consumers and drivers of 85% of the B2C economy. What's your local business case? What's keeping you up at night? To overcome accountability or lack of accountability, you’ve got to lead and I'll share a story I've heard dozens of times. It's a senior leadership team who wants to support diversity inclusion and a job comes open and there are no ready now women or people of color or other represented groups on the slate. And the senior leader goes, why don't we have any? And another senior leader just felt well, we don't have any. You know, we just don't have any ready. They're just not there. They're not in the pipeline. And sadly, most senior leaders will say, yeah, I get it. When in fact leaders need to say, that's not acceptable. The next time this job comes open, I want to see a slate of candidates. Jim, I want to know what you're doing to train people unlike you. Amanda, this is what senior leaders do. They ask tough questions and people go and do stuff.

Amanda Hammett: Yep.

Jeffery Tobias Halter: And so it's just one more question. What are you doing to get some ready? And then to overcome fear in doing this work, I've found the real key is you have to have the will. And this comes with advocacy of anything, you know, whether it's diet or exercise, what's your due north at the end of the day. And what I have found is that most men never make a connection. That if I'm not advocating for women or other underrepresented groups today, I'm hurting the people in my life. I'm hurting my mother, I'm hurting my wife or significant other, I'm hurting my daughter. I'm hurting my friends and colleagues. And the simple fact is most men never make the connection between our daily actions and holding others back. And this really flies in the face of everything you might think. You know, and I use myself in this, you know, I had a long successful business career, but it never dawned on me that if I wasn't advocating for gender equity, my daughter, who I ensured went to a great school, got a great education, is going to come out and make 85 cents to my son. And is going to deal with the same issues and biases that you know, other women have to. And so the way you overcome fear simply to have the will and you asked for a simple solution, you know, that's the 601,have the will. But first go out, have a conversation and just listen.

Amanda Hammett: Absolutely. You know, those conversations are key. I think when you can start developing that empathy, that can drive so many other things. I've heard so many stories in the past year of leaders who had never had real conversations about race with people, with employees that have been working with them for 10 years. Yeah. And all of a sudden they saw things in a different light. I had another leader that I've worked with for a long time, and he's a huge advocate for women in the workplace. And when I got down to his story on why, what drove him, it was really interesting. He told me about, uh, his mother. She had been a single mom raising two boys. And when he got to corporate America, he had heard all the stories that she had worked with and dealt with over those years. Not getting promoted or not getting a raise, not, you know, making anywhere near what her colleagues were making. And you better believe when he got into any kind of leadership role, that was not the case with the women that were on his team. He was a strong advocate, so wonderful. You know, Jeffery, this has been really awesome and amazing. And I love the different points and the ready now. And I think that men and women can walk away from this episode with some really phenomenal things. So thank you. All right, you guys, that is our show for today. Thank you for joining us. And we would love to hear from you. You can leave a message for me. Amanda Hammett on Linkedin, or you can find me on my website, and you can shoot us your suggestions for topics or even guests.

Jeffery Tobias Halter: And I'm Jeffery Tobias Halter ( Again, thanks for joining us. Go take a deep breath, relax a little, it's Wednesday. You're going to make it through. And we're here to help you. So on behalf of Amanda and I, thank you very much for joining us.

Disclaimer: This transcript was created using YouTube’s translator tool and that may mean that some of the words, grammar, and typos come from a misinterpretation of the video.

Win(e)d Down Wednesday Podcast with Jeffery Tobias Halter and Amanda Hammett

What Deloitte Transparency Study Says About DEI Today – Amanda Hammett

"Welcome to Win(e)d Down Wednesday with gender strategist Jeffery Tobias Halter and generational strategist Amanda Hammett -- a podcast that focuses on diversity, inclusion, intersectionality and equity through the lenses of a Boomer and a Millennial. In each episode, they delve into DEI topics, examining business implications, talent strategy, and what today’s senior leaders need to know in order to recruit, retain and develop the next generation. This week, they discuss the recent Deloitte Transparency Study and key takeaways regarding millennials, Gen Z, remote work and social justice in the workplace.

Link for Deloitte Transparency Study -"

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Disclaimer: This transcript was created using YouTube’s translator tool and that may mean that some of the words, grammar, and typos come from a misinterpretation of the video.

The Transcript - Deloitte Transparency Study

Jeffery Tobias Halter: So today I'm enjoying a nice French dry rosé.help you relax, reflect, and deal with some of the challenges we know you're facing. Our show will focus on diversity, inclusion, intersectionality, and equality through the lens of a boomer and a millennial. Amanda, what's your beverage of choice today, and tell our listeners a little bit about who you are and why you're known as the “millennial translator”.

Amanda Hammett: Well, thank you, Jeffery. So today, being the good millennial that I am. I am drinking kombucha. My favorite flavor happens to be a raspberry hibiscus, which I drink regularly. It's stocked in my fridge all the time. Professionally I’m known as the millennial translator. What I really am as a generational strategist, I help companies figure out how to recruit, retain, and develop that next generation of leadership. So we're focusing on millennials and Gen Z. And how do we communicate? How do we bridge those gaps between communication and leadership skills? So that is what I do. And that is all about me, but different. What are we talking about today?

Jeffery Tobias Halter: Yeah. Um, well, we want to get into is kind of my lens and my role in this and how we're gonna interact today. Um, so my day job, I'm a gender strategist. And so I work with Fortune 500 companies and I actually use gender as a gateway to start to have deeper conversations because I've been a diversity professional for 20 years. And when I find it. It's very hard to jump in with elements like race or multiculturalism. So my company is focused on using gender as a gateway, but I'd call it gender plus. And what do we mean by that? That said, we're going to talk about gender, but then we're going to talk about millennials and this intersection because my belief is you need to go out and talk to other people about this. Particularly, people like me -- old white guys. And so we want to start conversations with all of you and give you tips and tools to go forward. And so our focus today is going to be me talking to Amanda about some recent research that's come to light.. but it jumped into this. Deloitte recently published its transparency report. it's a big consulting house. They've been a leader in diversity for over twenty-five years. And this is the first time a company of their size has actually published what their company looks like. And the demographics are fascinating. And this really started the purpose of our conversation and why I started talking to Amanda. Amanda. tell us about our first conversation. Recap that for the listeners.

Amanda Hammett: Well, our first conversation was just a recap of 2020 and project updates and really everything that happened in 2020. It was a year of a lot of change in the workplace, obviously. COVID-19 was a massive disruptor to the way that we've always worked. But then as we moved into the spring and summer, we started seeing a lot of issues with racial and social injustice coming to light, and the world seemed to be on fire. And it was really interesting how those fires, globally, were playing out in the workplace And so you and I were just there to talk about it and we're really like, we have a lot to say, maybe we should share this with an audience.

Jeffery Tobias Halter: And so, examining the Deloitte report, you've got this slide and, we can share this information with you. One of the things Amanda and I want to do every week is give you tools to take back to your company, in order to start conversations. And today we're going to focus on millennials at Deloitte. And this is so rare that you get a company this size, that number one says, we want to do the right thing. We want to demonstrate transparency, which is at the core of advancing all types of people, all groups, all underrepresented groups, but Deloitte has some really unique policies. If you, if you're a senior partner mandate, if you're not a senior partner, mandatory retirement is 60. So they have one of the youngest, most dynamic workforces out there. And so this is where we're going to go. And we're going to explore this with Amanda. Because a significant portion of their workforce, upwards of 70% are millennial and Gen Z. This is our snapshot. So Amanda, let's get into this. As we begin to think about going back into the office, will we be going back in the office? what are the major concerns that you see for employees as they return?

Amanda Hammett: You know, Jeffery, I think that this is something, every company is wrestling with. Every company is releasing statements and talking about, you know, this move to a hybrid work environment or a move to completely move everybody back in. And there's, there's some frustration and there's some tension between employees and leadership. And, and how are we going to work this out? But for employees, they're really concerned about childcare, particularly in that, um, millennial gen X. age range. We're also talking about mental health. How are we going to address what happened in 2020 and moving forward? And we're also talking about safety, general safety How are we going to keep our employees safe? Are we going to require vaccinations to come back in? Are we going to require masks to come back in? What is this going to look like? All in the scope and lens of a hybrid world, what will it look like?

Jeffery Tobias Halter: And so. Dig into that just a little bit more. What does, what does the new normal look like?

Amanda Hammett: The new normal? That's a great question. You know, I keep I'm asked this a lot. But the answer's going to vary from company to company, even team to team, I'm working with some large Fortune 50 companies, and they're really making each team, each organization, each business unit make the call. They're not putting out a widespread, you know, blanket statement that everybody's back in or everybody's at home. They're making each team make that decision. And I think that that is going to be the best-case scenario. I think that's going to be the wisest course of action here because if you put out a blanket statement, there's, that’s going to cause some issues one way or the other, either the people that are pro-go-back-into-the-office or pro-stay-home, there's going to be some tension.

Jeffery Tobias Halter: You made a comment earlier that I want to build on. 2020 is a really tough year. And really for the first time, social justice issues are showing up in the workplace. Companies have to have a statement on Black Lives Matter, Asian hate crimes, a whole, a whole host of social issues hitting the business world. I want you to talk for a minute about the fact that having an answer for this is so critical to millennials that this isn't just some kind of check the box, but it's their heart and mind.

Amanda Hammett: I will tell you that as soon as companies started putting out statements after the death of George Floyd about supporting black lives matter, it was really interesting to watch the teams that I support, the young employees that I support, across the, across the spectrum. And it was very clear that they were watching, they saw the statements coming out by their companies, but the question was Great.
What are you going to do now?
How are you going to put this into practice?
And if you, as a leader, don't think that they're watching or that they have forgotten. I can guarantee you that they have not. Furthermore, beyond the current employees, you have the employees, the future employees, the ones who are going into the workplace in the next 6 or less months, even a year, they're watching as well. They're looking at the companies that they have been applying to, that they're being recruited into and they're asking, okay.
I saw your statement on social justice. How is this playing out? How are you actually putting this into practice?
Are you just putting words out?
Is this performative activism or is there actually some substance there?
I will put money on the table right now that there will be people in the next 12 to 18 months that say, okay, I gave you plenty of time. You've done nothing with your statement other than just make it I'm gone. I guarantee you that's gonna happen.

Jeffery Tobias Halter: Yeah. And it's really fascinating when you think about this, you know, today, even, even in a post COVID world, there's 11 million job openings today. During COVID millennials became the largest portion of the workforce over 50%. And so if companies aren't doing genuinely what they need to do. Um, people, millennials, Boomers are going to vote with their feet and say I'm going elsewhere.

Amanda Hammett: Absolutely. When you look specifically at the Deloitte information, you know, millennials are pushing for greater transparencies around how business is put into action. You mentioned that, do you think publishing data is the first step or what more can companies do? And another question is how do we get more companies to publish this data?

Amanda Hammett: Well, first of all, I applaud Deloitte.. You know, tremendously. Sometimes it is really difficult to look inward and see some of the numbers that are not where you want them to be. And then to put a spotlight on them. That is courage, that is leadership in the broader business community. So I applaud them for doing that, obviously. I mean, they're aware their numbers are not exactly where they'd like them to be. And, but the fact that. One they're measuring it. That to me is huge. What, what you want to change, you got to measure. So they're measuring it, they're watching it and they're doing it year over year. That's tremendous work. That is something that I would love to see them call some of their competitors, some other colleague companies to the carpet and say issue a challenge. I would love to see that I would love to see that, But, that being said Publishing data's not enough. There has to be hard work behind it. They've got to engage at all levels from the top down and the bottom up the bottom up is where I think a lot of companies miss out, they hear, oh, you know, in surveys, that's just those millennials complaining again. Or those Gen Z's are complaining again. You need to listen. They're talking to you and they're doing it openly. You need to listen to what they have to say and say, okay, this is our future. This is the profitability of our company on the line. We need to take this into account and start moving forward because the numbers in Deloitte, 70% millennials and Gen Zs, that's not something you can ignore. And I will tell you, it's not just Deloitte. I mean, they're millennials, we're already predicted millennials, and gen Z's were already predicted in 2020 to hit 50% over 50% of the workforce. But the way that the economy shook out it's even higher. I don't think the US labor US department of labor has put out like specific numbers yet, but from what I'm seeing, anecdotally. They're much higher than what they were expected to be. So companies have to start paying attention. They have to start making moves and they have to start saying, oh, they're whining. We can't, you know, we just need to get the work done, put our head down and get the work done now is the time to make some change.

Jeffery Tobias Halter: So thanks so much for sharing. Great thoughts. Great comments. As you kind of wrap up this, this millennial point of view on what's going on to. Uh, are there one or two more key actions that you think either companies need to take or, or quite frankly, employees need.

Amanda Hammett: Yeah, absolutely. As far as a company needs to take right now is the time to be really diving in and developing your frontline of leaders. I know that right now, it does not seem like it would be an obvious choice of times, but your frontline is where you make or break your young employee, your early in career. Experience those very frontlines. That's the person that they're interacting with. That's the person that is, you know, giving them the advice on the day-to-day that is the person that's helping them have either a phenomenal experience at an organization or one that they can't wait to leave. So really taking the time and making the investment in that frontline is critical to what you're doing moving forward. For employees Well, I applaud everyone, all the young millennials and who have been making their voices heard, keep doing that. You have power and the power is in your voice. So keep using it. That is going to change the world, the, both the business world and the greater good for all of us.

Jeffery Tobias Halter: That's amazing. Thank you so much for your comments. And now we're going to start to wrap up and figure out what next steps are for Win(e)d Down Wednesday.

Amanda Hammett: Absolutely

Disclaimer: This transcript was created using YouTube’s translator tool and that may mean that some of the words, grammar, and typos come from a misinterpretation of the video.

Win(e)d Down Wednesday Podcast with Jeffery Tobias Halter and Amanda Hammett

How are moms coping during the pandemic? Parenting Panel – Part II

For working parents, especially moms, COVID has been the great disrupter. Smriti Rao, Red Hat, and Jessie Wei, EY, join Win(e)d Down Wednesday hosts Jeffery Tobias Halter and Amanda Hammett for a candid conversation about their experiences at work and at home. In this episode we delve into pandemic parenting, returning to the office, and what working parents want their managers and senior leaders to know. Settle into your chair, pour your favorite beverage and join the conversation. You won’t want to miss a moment of these insights.

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Disclaimer: This transcript was created using YouTube’s translator tool and that may mean that some of the words, grammar, and typos come from a misinterpretation of the video.

The Transcript - Parenting Panel - Part II

Jeffery Tobias Halter: Amanda, I want to serve up to your wheelhousethis new normal, and, you know, millennials tend to be the parents right now, even though, you know, we all have children and obviously Zs are coming up, but you know, what are you hearing from your clients and colleagues about millennials and the new normal?

Amanda Hammett: Yes. So millennials and the new normal. Unfortunately I hear that term used in a very negative “oh those millennials” way. And I'd like to just put some things out there that I've noticed. It's not just millennials who are now really in a desirable position of workingfrom home. I have seen multiple senior leaders in the past month that have told me, you know, what, if I have to go back into the office, if it is mandatory, I'm either taking a retirement package or I'm going to go somewhere elseAnd these are senior leaders that are doing this. These are not necessarily millennials.So I think that we need to make sure that we're not placing negative blame on one group of people.This is the entire workforce.We need to be flexible for the entire workforce. What is going to work for each individual team? Like Jessie was saying. I think that's the ideal situation, but what I'm seeing is a lot of companies and what works at the top levelare trying to mandate from the top down may not work at the frontline level. And so there needs to be some flexibility. Now on the other side of that, I can see also I have concerns about my younger employees, that those early in careers, if they switch over to a fully hybrid model, I have some concerns about their development.Um, just because there are these micro coaching and training moments that happen, you know, at the water cooler, so to speak or as a, you know, more, you know, someone who's further along in their profession might walk by and hear you talking to a client over the phone and hey just next time, try this, or try that. Those little micro coaching moments can be pivotal in someone's career, and we're going to miss out on those. So we need to find a way to capture those moments. I don't know how it is or how it's done, but we do need to figure that out. So those are my two conflicting concerns on both sides.

Jeffery Tobias Halter: Yeah, I love that

Smriti Rao: I was just going to piggyback off of what you said, Amanda, which is those micro coaching moments and there's just being able to be in an environment where you can develop freely, especially if you're early in career. But I think also for someone, you know, it's like a mid-career professional like myself, um, I think what the office provides or what being around people provides is just a sense of camaraderie that it's hard to get that over the zoom calls or over WebEx calls only because it's so scheduled and then people want to get to work and they want to finish.Whereas, and, and you're only dealing with your team. If you're working in a cross-functional environment, you're dealing with themin a very professional cross-functional environment. There's really no safe space to make friendships or vent, or, maybe ask for advice in a way that is kind of beneficial to you professionally.I think the office provides those moments, which, I mean, I am a hundred percent work from home.I love it. Like, I just, I'm fine not going back to the office, but those are the thingsthat I personally miss.It's just those micro moments of just hanging out with people that, you know and you like.


I could not agree with that more.

Jeffery Tobias Halter: And the point I want to bring to this is back to our ongoing dialogue around diversity equity and intersectionality, and everyone is having a different experience. And I think that's the really key point for companies is there is no one new normal, and what I'm seeing is you've got one shot at this and you really need to get it right.And the sense of urgency needs to be there.There's 11 million open jobs. The economy is coming back.I loved Amanda's point, not just millennials, but Boomers, everyone is exercising their options to say, if this isn't going to work for me, I’m going to go somewhere else. There's 2 million job openings right now on LinkedIn.And so this is where this
conversation needs to shift from from company policy to culture, right?Cause you know, Jessie I loved your EY example and they are a trailblazer in DEI. There's other companies that have stated policies, but the culture's not there and it boils down to the individual manager.Right? So we have a formal flex policy.Everybody can abide by this.Oh, but if that individual manager is not allowing that to happen, people are going to opt out.People are just going to choose not to come back to the company. So we're getting onto about our last 10 minutes.We want to kind of segue into really hearing more about maybe people in your lives, the great experiences.I think it's interesting you had to solve the childcare issue and you were lucky enough to have mothers come in. So Jessie, I'm curious as a single parent going through the pandemic and building these infrastructures, you know, what would you say to other single parents to help them cope, to get through one more day or one piece of advice you would have for them.

Jessie Wei: That's a really great question. Jeffery is this challenging to be a single parent, working and having young kids or kids of all ages is a huge challenge.I personally, when I was a parent that was married or a single parent, now Icontinue to struggle with, which is one thing is gosh, asking for help.It takes a village to raise your kids.And culturally, I am Asian descent, Chinese born and raised. I migrated to the US so culturally it is very different. We don't ask for help.We only kind of try to reach out to families, but through this process, working together, joined a Facebook group of single parents and having other parents to help.We arrange, ask your neighbors for help.Ask your family to help.You cannot do this alone.I am very fortunate that I have a really great co-parenting relationship with the boys’ dad, he's in IT.So he doesn't have so many calls during the day as I have in my role at work. So if I have a very important meeting or a very busy day, sometimes I'll call him and see Whether I can drop the boys off at his house so that they can be there and he can take a few hours with them and we just swap.I think we have to remain flexible and not be afraid to ask for help. I've had friends that are also single parents, very close friends, and I have offered to help.Hey, why don't you bring your kids over?And we'll have all the kids have a little playdate and they'll keep each other busy.I am not bothered by the noise in my house. So if you have some errands to run, right, you gotta get a doctor, you got to take care of certain things or you have to go into work for whatever. I'm happy to look after your kids.And I think it’s asking for help.And also if you see your friends needing help, it's offering that help.

Amanda Hammett: Yes, offering that help. That is something that I've seen that we need to do as a community of parents. We need to be more willing to not judge, but just go in and Hey, how can I help you? What do you need? What can I do for you right now? So, yeah. Great point.

Jeffery Tobias Halter:I wanna build on that just for a second. There's some recent McKinsey research that came outthat just said, women areburnt out women. You know what? It's been over a year and they're tired and they're opting out and they don't feelthey're fulfilling themselves at work. They're not a great boss. They're not a great parent. What advice would you give women?and parents in general, just to get through one or two more days and, and stay engaged. And Smirti I'll go over to you.

Smriti Rao: Oh my God. I think the only thing that I would tell other womenis just give yourself a break.You don't have to be perfect.You don't have to have perfect children.Your children don't need to get likeperfect grades, be great at piano, violin. Just give yourself a break.If they're, especially if they're younger children.I do think that the pressure that we have culturally and just societally, it's like all my children are great.They're doing well in this pandemic.I would say focus on making sure that your children feel okay. mentally, like that's the only thing that I would sort of tell moms and dads.For child fine mentally, find those avenues for them to sort of let loose play if you're okayhanging out with other children, let them do that. But I think focusing onthings like even though it's virtual, you must get perfect grades.And even though we haven't done practice, you must be really good at this. Those kinds of things really burn you out.It's unnecessary stress on yourself, on yourparenting relationship as well.Because you and your spouse may not have the same parenting styles. So that's what I would say is just give yourself a break.This is just hopefully a blip in our lives and that is what children need to see.You thriving as a parent, you being okay mentally as a parent, it's only then that they will, they feel confident, less anxious.So, like they say to fill your own cup before you can go to the others to fill their buckets or cups or whatever. So that would be my one piece of advice is you don't have to be perfect.Just get stuff done.

Jeffery Tobias Halter:That's awesome. anything to add?

Jessie Wei: Yeah, I think that's great. And it's about perception, and I'm working with a coach now and she asked me a question and I was like, that was a great question.She asked me how often during a day, do you tell yourself that you are doing a great job or you’re beautiful oryou're killing it? And I was like, I don't.She was like, well then how often do you actually do that?I don't remember the last time I did that.I tell my children, Hey, great job.Thank you for picking up.I think you did well here.I just want you to try or I tell my team, Hey, thank you.I think this, it looks great.But I forgot to give myself a pat on the back. You did great too.You made it through today.That's all that counts.You know, everyone survived.And I think we just need to, you know, like Smirti said, let it go, a knowledge that we're doing really well, and it's all about perception. I remember one of my bossesshared this with me, and I never forgot how he observed this.I was going through my divorce. And I told him, I don't think I'm doing so well. I don't think I'm getting things done.And he said, that is your perception because we did not notice a difference. So you need to take more time for yourself and don't kill yourself to get to the 110%.You know, when you can give us 80, we'll take 80. When you give us 110, we'll take 110, but not to be afraid to take more time for yourself and take care of what you need to take care of. It's your perception that you're not doing well from where I sit, you're don't well,you're still like killing it. And that I remember very clearly from him. And that was a huge compliment. And you know, also a confidence booster. So I would say, give yourself a pat on the back. You're doing great. Trust me, nobody notices something's not working. It's only you. So you're doing great. Keep going.

Jeffery Tobias Halter: That's awesome, Amanda,

Amanda Hammett: You know, for me, I actually started being very vigilant on two things. I've had an off and on relationship with meditating.I'm a 5 a.m. riser, which Jeff just cringes when I say that.So I get up and I meditate and then I go work out.But I'm off and on, but I noticed I was feeling very burned out during the early days of the pandemic.I was stressed, you know, I have employees to think about, I have their families to think about and I was feeling it.And so I started getting back into meditation and then I started noticing that. All of my meetings were zoom or WebEx or Microsoft teams or Skype. Well, not anymore, but anyway, it was just, it seemed more exhausting to me because I feed off of the energy in the room of other people and I wasn't getting the same.So I was more exhausted by the time five o'clock came around. I just wanted to just pass out.So I recognized that I needed to start taking 30 minutes at five o'clock or whenever my last call wrapped up and just shut my door and my bedroom and read, and it can't be a business book. It can't be anything that's going to make my brain start spinning. It has to be, you know, something where I really don't have to think, but I just need to go into my room and I just need to do this. It just needs to shut my mind off.And once I started doing that, I recognized that not only was I a better leader, I was also a better parentand I was also a better partner in all things.And so I was just taking those 30 minute net nuggets of time for myself, saved me really through this pandemic.

Jeffery Tobias Halter:That's awesome. That's awesome. So as we start to wrap up, I want to close out with really moving to action. And what do we do about this? And so, you know, this is for all of you. What is one thing companies need to stop doing tomorrow? And what is one thing companies need to either start or double down on and do more of. So who'd like to start?

Amanda Hammett: Well, I will go first. So I think that the thing, what I'm seeing across the board with all of the companies that I work with and all the companies that I'm researching currently isthey need to stop with the top-down decision-makingfor how we're going to manage this coming back to the office. That needs to stop. The policy really needs to be, everybody makes their own decisions, team to team. The other thing that I would like to see more of, and I think Jessie touched on this earlier is I would like for us to continue the focus on burnout, mental health how can we support employees holistically versus production, Numbers Because I think we've learned that the whole employee is all we care aboutis better than what you're going to get out as a burned out employee.Yeah.That's okay. So Jessie, Smriti?


So go ahead.


Smriti Rao: Yeah. I was just gonna say, I agree with the top-down policy that companies are just not in a position right now to issue those mandates, asking their workforces to return to work.So I think a top down policy, it may not be that beneficial on andon the, on the other side of it, I think companies need to take a more proactive approach to providing support to working parents, whether that is either tying up with daycares or children care center to provide thosebackup care options for children or even for adults that may need extra help.They need to take a more proactive approach toward that because how are you going to keep women engaged?And in the workforce, if working mothers don't have the support that they need from, you know, from where they're spending the most time of the day, like I spent like almost eight or 10 hours a day at work.And if I don't get support from my work to carry outmy work, like, why would I, why would I be a hundred percent productive? Right. So that's something that companies need to think of no top-down policies or be very mindful of that.And the second thing is having those parental programs to support working parents, especially working mothers.Jessie.

Jessie Wei: My stop doing is stop thinking going back to the old way. That is gone, that ship has sailed.I think everyone, personally or companies, really have to stop thinking that things would go back to where they were. It's just never going to happen.Whether it's work, whether it's how to interact with their own customers and stakeholders.I would suggest all companies and everyone, including me, to start havingmore conversations, to continue having those conversations about what works and what doesn't work and really understand from all levels, all areas.Also cultural differences, right?People from a different region, if you were working for a global company, we experience very differently than people in the US where we're sitting today.So I think it's appreciating, acknowledging and really learning how to make it work and continue to grow and start bringing everyone like Amanda said, bringing your whole self to work.How can we enable and champion our employees to bring their whole self to work.And that includes the families,who have been our co-workers for the past year and a half or so. Continue to let them come into work.Right.Appreciate.And I wanted parents to feel okay, your kids are your coworkers, and they should see what you do, because that's what they will be doing when they grow up. I love that.

Jeffery Tobias Halter: They're your coworkers.And I'm going to chime in on this one.I think companies need to just stop using the word working mother. There's a lot of research around the negative connotations, you know, it's rarethat someone says, well, you know, he's a working dad and all the connotations, like, you know, I love Smirti the way you were always using working parent.And so if we can just shift this dynamic and pick that word and all thenegativity that corporations see and working mom and shift that to working parents, I think that could be huge.I think they need to start new employee resource groups around young parents. There are so many challenges and where are you going to build this village?And, you know, we, we know there's the traditional ERGs that are in most companies,very few companies have a new parent ERG.And I think that could be one thing that we could start with.So as we start to wrap up, I want to share a quick story that you may find humorous. And this was pre-pandemic and I was invited to a women's conference. I was one of the speakers, but Brene Brown was the keynote. Everybody knows Berne, and she's an amazing keynote. And the room was, picture 500 C-level, high level women, and Brene’s talking about, So as you got ready to come to the meeting today, did you put little post-it notes on your admin’s office wall.And did you call your admin on the way to the airplane? Did you call your adminas soon as you landed to check up on them?And of course the women said, no, we've got great staff. We trust them. And then Brene said, how many of you have done this with your husband or your significant other?Where you leave notes for them, you make sure thatthere's food in the refrigerator and that the laundry is done and you call them nine times while they're traveling. And of course, all of the women laughed and said they are all guilty of this.And I'll tell you, as I heard this story, what went through my mind as a man was, oh my God. The last thing I want to do when you call to check-in is I have to utter the words I've killed the children. I forgot to feed them.Oh my God. You know, Jenny went to work in and to play in a dirty soccer uniform and she died.Men don't want to kill your children.Right?But you've got to stop coddling us.We're going to feed them.They're going to get their homework done.They're going to go to school.And as we return to a new normal and people are getting on airplanes,again, just stop coddling, but also realize we might do things a little differently than you do.And pizza is actually a pretty good meal, three days in a row for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.Okay.So with that, this has been an absolute pleasure.This is a topic we're going to continue to revisit as we go into, I'm not even gonna use the word anymore,Amanda, you did with the new normal, we're going to call it work today.So, I just want to close by thanking you all andone last word, if you could give one last word to help people get through this and see the light on the other end, what would that be? So, Jessie, you're shaking your head. What would that be?

Jessie Wei: Take care of yourself. Take a five-word answer. Absolutely.

Smriti Rao: I would say done is better than perfect. Love that.

Jeffery Tobias Halter: So Amanda, bring us home.

Amanda Hammett: Well, just gratitude. I'm thankful for everybody in my life that has made it possible to get through this pandemic.possible to get through this pandemic. So I'm incredibly grateful to everyone. And I'm grateful to all of you on the screen with me today, this has been a really fantastic conversation and I have truly, truly enjoyed it. And I want to thank Jeff for being the guide through this one.

Jeffery Tobias Halter:Thank you for that. You know, it is interesting having two millennial children. uh, two millennial children.Yes. And watching the struggles that they have, this topic is actually very near and dear to my heart. But I'm seeing firsthand the day-to-day decisionsthat they've got to make andI'm doing everything in my power to talk to corporations and senior leaders. Amanda, I know you are, and I know, you know, Jessie and Smirti, you are too. So, thank you for your time and thank you for coming on. I know how busy you are. And so we're going to let you get back to your days. So thank you all for joining us for Wine Down Wednesday.

Disclaimer: This transcript was created using YouTube’s translator tool and that may mean that some of the words, grammar, and typos come from a misinterpretation of the video.

Win(e)d Down Wednesday Podcast with Jeffery Tobias Halter and Amanda Hammett

How are moms coping during the pandemic? Parenting Panel – Part I

How are moms coping during the pandemic? For working parents, especially moms, COVID has been the great disrupter. Smriti Rao and Jessie Wei join Win(e)d Down Wednesday hosts Jeffery Tobias Halter and Amanda Hammett for a candid conversation about their experiences at work and at home. Bring your favorite beverage and join the discussion on career transitions, parenting during a pandemic and getting it all done from the kitchen table.

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Disclaimer: This transcript was created using YouTube’s translator tool and that may mean that some of the words, grammar, and typos come from a misinterpretation of the video.

The Transcript - Parenting Panel: Part I

Jeffery Tobias Halter: Yeah, well, happy Wednesday. Can you believe it's Hump Day already? Is that even a relevant term? We're all working 24-7. This panel today is going to talk about parenting in a pre-and post-pandemic world. And does Wednesday even matter anymore? Is it just another day of the week? So as always, I'm really excited to be here with my co-host, Amanda, and we've got two special guests. And so I'm actually going to let them introduce themselves and their background. And then we will talk about what our beverage of choice is before we jump into our subject. So, Jessie, would you like to start, please?

Jessie Wei: Yes, of course, Jeff, thank you for having me on the podcast. It's really great to be part of a panel to share my experience as a working parent. My name is Jessie Wei. I'm a senior manager working at EYs audit practice. I'm actually in transition. So I'm relocating to Charlotte, North Carolina. Next month, actually in a month, I will be moving to a new house. I'm a mother to two little boys. They are six and eight. My older son is Henry. My younger one is Preston. I'm having a struggle mom moment this week because my oldest just told me that I can no longer call him a baby anymore. So I'm struggling as a mother emotionally that he's no longer a baby. And my beverage of choice today is just sparkling water. That's a good one though.
All right.Thanks.

Smriti Rao: Hi, everyone.Thanks so much for the opportunity. So my name is Smriti, which is pronounced exactly the way that it is written, and I'm actually Jessie's kinda-sorta neighbor. I live in North Carolina as well, and I lead a team of content and editors over here at Red Hat based in Raleigh. It's been an interesting sort of time so far. I'm happy to talk all about it. I have two young children. The younger one is two. She just turned two and the older one is seven. Lots of adventures during this pandemic dive in. I'm sure I'm not the only one.

Jeffery Tobias Halter: So thank you for that. And what's your beverage of choice this afternoon?

Smriti Rao: Yeah, so usually I love a good Pinot Noir from Oregon, but I just got back from a wine trip. I'm all kind of tapped out and I'm going to stay, stay close to caffeine, and have a steady drip of caffeine in my veins.

Jeffery Tobias Halter: As I did the podcast I want to kick this to Amanda now. Amanda is usually the co-host, but you're also a parent, a working parent. So give us that background.

Amanda Hammett: Yes. So my name is Amanda. If you've been on the podcast before, my name is Amanda Hammett.
I'm the founder and CEO of a company called Core Elevation. I'm actually better known as the “millennial translator”
because I am an expert on generations in the workplace. My little boy is now as tall as I am. He is 14. He has had a major growth spurt during the lockdown in quarantine. He grew 10 inches during that time. Yes, no longer a little, but he's 14. And we had a very interesting experience of quarantine as well. Today though, my beverage of choice is a lime Perrier with lots of extra lime. So yeah.

Jeffery Tobias Halter: And you know, me, I'm Jeff and I'm actually enjoying a Sauvignon Blanc from Monterey, it's called Sunny With a Chance of Flowers. It is a no sugar Sauv Blanc and so it fits in your Keto diet quite nicely.
And so go out and enjoy a bottle, something about me and this parenting panel. I have grown children. But both of my children have children of their own. And so, my daughter has a four-year-old named Harlan.
And my son has a now one-year-old named Alexandra Cadence. And so they are both working parents. It's just fascinating to see what goes on today. And one of the things I want to do when we kick off this panel, realizing that this is going to be going out to a corporate audience and in my work at YWomen, one of the things I try to do is just get senior leaders and specifically, men to ask a simple question, what's going on that I don't understand? What's going on in your life? What's going on at work. And I guarantee you many senior leaders do not have the exposure to the challenges and just day-to-day issues that women are facing in just their normal lives. And so I would just love you to spend a couple of minutes and walk me through a day in the life from the time your feet hit the ground until you basically pass out at night and get it up and started again. So, Jessie, would you like to start?

Jessie Wei: Of course. That's a really great question to ask, like, Hey, what's going on in your day? What's happening at home? How are you doing? Simple questions, really, and really meaningful during the pandemic. And it means a lot to everyone, men and women. My day starts when I would get up super early. I'm a 6:30 in the morning person and my alarm will go off and I will do my self-care. My meditation, I'll get up and exercise and then get my coffee ready. Then I'll try to work for about an hour before my kids are up and running and you can hear them throughout the house. We'll do breakfast together. I used to be able to drop them off at school. During the pandemic, they're just staying at home with mom. I'm actually fortunate. I was able to work from home actually about a year before the pandemic started in March 2020. So the working from home transition for me wasn't a huge difference in terms of me working and having my own set up in my home office already. The biggest difference is what am I going to do with the boys? Because I never had to plan their entire day. I felt a lot for our teachers and I still don't know today how they do it because they were able to plan activities and lesson plans. So I went into Mom mode of trying to manage their every hour at the beginning of the pandemic before summer. Trying to do that with them and trying to work. And then every hour, Hey, you got to watch this drawing. Oh, there's this like Zoom meeting with your teachers and your classmates. It was just a lot trying to balance all that and get them ready. And my kids are six and eight, so I have to get the computer up, I'm making sure that they know how to log on. So a lot more hands-on on the day-to-day for them. I don't have after-school care anymore, I didn't feel comfortable with having the nanny there.
So they're actually at home with me all day, and it's really challenging for me to be able to do my calls. I used to be able to close my door. Or Only one at home and do my calls. And now my kids are constantly coming in, Hey Mommy, can I do this?
Hey, mommy, I needed help with this and break my legos apart. So I juggle all that during the day. I have to say I'm blessed.
My mother actually lived with me and came in to help during the pandemic and she's still here and she'll do the breakfast, she will make the food and that takes a lot of stress out of my day to day, not having to figure out what am I going to feed them? Boys are hungry all the time. So you have a steady stream of food you have to keep coming. But you know, my work doesn't really stop at five, but I make a point to stop by six so that we can eat dinner. There are very scheduled parts. And there was I, 6:30 is dinner time You got to come and do dinner. We'll do dinner, we'll do nighttime activities, we’ll read, we’ll clean up, do their bath time and I'll watch TV or watch them play games. And now put them to bed at nine and read them their bedtime stories. They still enjoy that today. So I'm trying to do that. And after that, I go back downstairs to my home office and do more work because I felt really bad that I haven't been able to get through a lot. So I'll work until I'm really tired and realizing, okay, I'm staying at that email for five minutes. It's not going anywhere. So I'm going to go to bed and now get ready for bed and try to go to bed and start my day again. So that's how my day went.

Jeffery Tobias Halter: And on average, how much sleep do you get a night?

Jessie Wei: I would say less than seven hours, so it's not the recommended number.

Jeffery Tobias Halter: Alright, well, thank you for that. Thank you for sharing. Smriti?

Smriti Rao: I mean, hearing Jessie speak, I'm just the does the opposite, which is kind of, which is kinda weird to see because, and also I think hearing Jessie's speak, I just feel like there's so much in common and so much that we do differently as mothers. Right? I'm also pretty fortunate. My mother lives with us. So there's that extra benefit of not having to think about food or what will the children eat, there’s someone else thinking about that. So I'm able to offload that. But for the most part, it is similar to the extent that, you know, from the time you wake up, the children are always front and center of your mind. I think it's something that women tend to do a little bit more than men. I think what has been interesting for me to see during this pandemic is how gendered our roles are. My husband's really supportive. He's a great dad. He's a great husband, but when he goes to work, he goes to work, he's in his office at home. He's fully focused. He's in there. Whereas when I go to work, I'm constantly thinking about did the children need, is there, you know, my older one was in virtual class for the whole year. She was in first grade. Is she logged in? Did she get her snack? Did she finish her homework? I think the amount of multitasking that mothers do is just, I think, that just is greater than the dad. This is not a knock on any father whatsoever, but I just think that during this pandemic, what I realized was how gendered our roles were. And for me personally like looking at my day, it was, yeah, very much similar to Jessie's right? Like the kids need to be fed, they need to finish their work and they need to go to bed on time, which was another important thing for me. But yeah, I think, I think it's just been, it's just drawn into sharp relief, the way we behave as parents, as, men and women. And I think that it's just been interesting to see.

Jeffery Tobias Halter: Yeah, it's interesting. I have a colleague David Johnson, and he talks about the fact that women should go and ask their significant others for a spousal employee review around how supportive they are at home because what the research is showing that men are stepping up, but women are stepping up X plus plus plus, and so it presents an interesting dynamic. So I wouldn't ask you to rate your significant others. But I think for our listeners, it's kind of a fun, easy, element. So Amanda, what about yours?

Amanda Hammett: I would agree with what Smirti said about the gender roles. My husband is phenomenal. We have worked from home pre-pandemic, so we didn't have the issues getting set up like Jessie mentioned earlier. However, when my son was all of a sudden home from school, dad would go into his office, but my office has been, you know, the island or the kitchen table, or because I was usually on client sites or traveling.So, you know, my office was more fluid and so the constant what am I going to eat for snack? I'm hungry, I'm hungry. And I was just constantly like, okay, I've got to move out the kitchen. We had to build out and put up barn doors in our open office or open house concept, uh, so that we could, I could shut him out. And even that, he does not seem to understand that a closed-door is there for a reason, but it, you know, it was a constant, is he logged into class? Did he get everything turned in? Did he do what he needed to do? And it was a very constant thing. Now he did not go and ask these questions of my husband, which I found interesting. And I would ask my son, why are you coming to me? Why not your dad? Well, he's working. What am I doing? You know, it was a constant, it was a really interesting conversation to introduce to my son and my husband actually started becoming much more aware of, Hey, mom's not the only one here. Like, come to me. Ask me. I make decisions here too. So it was, it was interesting to say for sure.

Smriti Rao: You know, which reminds me, Amanda, is that I was on a call with a colleague and I had to keep ducking in and out of that call. Cause I had to go pick up a prescription and come back. And in that moment I was running late to a call and I was just like, you know what? I have never ever thought about this, but I am a working mom. I am working plus I am a mom. Like it's just that term like never resonated more strongly than at a moment. I was like, oh my God. Like, I can't shut one thing off and be the other person because I have to do both at the same time. You know,

Amanda Hammett: I felt like this experience grew my to-do list exponentially. Yeah, yeah.Yeah.
Yeah, yeah. Yeah. You were now more worried about classes that you didn't think about before, so yeah.

Jeffery Tobias Halter: So, as we now go back to a new normal, and there is no more new normal, what does this look like? What does this look like for you all, for your companies? Where's this going to go?

Amanda Hammett: Smriti, why don't you start?

Smriti Rao: Oh, that's, I've been thinking a lot about this. I have been fortunate in the sense that when I moved to the Raleigh area to work for my previous company, they were like, Hey, can you move here to take this job? I was like, sure, we'll move. But then I immediately got put on a team that was based in Europe. And so my first team was based in Europe. My second team, my manager was in New Hampshire. So I've always had the experience of working remotely. And as I moved to this other company that I'm working for, for now, it's continued. My team is mostly remote. So when I see the conversation about returning to work, I think that for me personally, it doesn't make any sense because my team is remote, but, as I kind of think more deeply about this, it is, such a complex issue for companies to deal with. Like what is the new normal? And the fact is that is no new normal. Like this is normal right now. The hybrid work culture is the normal, and it's interesting to see companies saying hey, you know what we know, you guys are all eager to get back to work. And then this is our start date. Everybody comes back to the office like they're trying to reset the clock back to whatever pre-pandemic was. And that's not how time works and that's not how people work, you know, people adapt, people move on. And then when you find something that works for you, people are very hesitant to let it go. So I think it's going to be interesting to see how corporations navigate this, how senior leaders really reach out to their workforce to ask them for their input on what is it that will make you productive. And what is it that will help the company reach its bottom line and goals? I think senior leadership should be paying more attention to how the workforce wants to work and build in those mechanisms so that they're productive, but I have a lot of thoughts about this clearly, but it's just, uh, I just think and I cannot stress this enough, which is I think senior leadership, or it also depends on the makeup of senior leadership, right? So if you have mostly men in your senior leadership, the view that they're going to get out of flexible workplaces, or how employees should work, it's going to be very different from if you have women in your senior leadership and how they're going to view what women in the workforce are going through and how the hybrid-like flexible work culture is more important. So I think that there is no new normal, at least in my sense, this is the normal, this is how we need to be. And I do think that. Corporations have a hard task at hand, and that is no one size fits all policy that works for us as we think of returning to work. So, Jessie, what do you think?

Jessie Wei: Yeah, I think you brought out a few good points, thereof what, what you seeing in the market and what I'm seeing as well, that everyone and every company and people implement strategies differently, at different times, but this time around everyone is implementing and trying to implement the same strategy. How are we returning to work? And what does it mean? I think there's a new definition. What does work mean, what’s working environment mean? I am pretty fortunate that EY just rolled out our new way of working. We called it the EY Wow. We have an acronym for it. It's building on three guiding principles or concepts. It's rethinking about where you work, the break model, the one of the Bs, and then behavior. Right? We’re talking about how we historically wanted everyone to come to the office for meetings. Everyone goes to the client all the time, five days a week. Is that really the behavior we want? What is this kind of collaboration, a teaming that we're trying to get out of it or return to? Right? Which is collaborating, but it's not every single day in person, it’s not every hour in person anymore. How do we change our behavior a little bit? And then the last B is the bytes, the technology. We have spent so much money on technology this past year and a half. How do we capitalize on it? Because we cannot un-spend that money. So companies that implemented Zoom, implemented Microsoft teams or whatever technology it is. It's really continued to utilize those. I would say there's really like Smirti mentioned, there’s no one size fits all. For me, my team, I have a huge team right now and I have to collaborate with my client, who's thinking about the same thing. Historically, my team always traveled to the client about five days a week, and it's an hour's drive outside of Charlotte. So, um, one way, so no one is really excited about that commute anymore including the client. So we're really in a unique position as well as having a great opportunity to rethink how they want to work with us and how we’re returning to work. So I’m in a very great position to actually help influence that process as well as I'm making plans with my client on how they want to work with us so I can come up with a plan, collaborate with them and my team so that we have our plan that fits our team's needs and our client. And it's only for our team and our client, all the teams in the US and around the globe are going to be doing something different. But I think we have to not be afraid to go back to the drawing board if this is not working. And I think that's one thing, most companies rolling out the plans, but we need to probably think about how do we put in measures along the way so that, hey, let's go back to the drawing board because it's not working. Like, let's, let's go back and also we don't know what's going to happen. In a few months, hopefully, everything that we will get past this and move on. But if we have to go back again, how do we, we adjust that, you know, how do we continue to do this and keep everyone kind of mentally, I would say mentally, healthy and taking care of themselves, all those programs that we rolled out due to the pandemic to support parents in general. Or those caring for elderly parents or family members. We continue to need to expand on those because those cares exist. No matter if you're working in an office or working from home, we really need those programs. And for all the working parents, so that we can feel like we can do the work at work and do contribute to work. And also not having to worry a lot about the home until we have to. So I think having that level of support will be very helpful for all working parents and the company to really think about expanding that benefit.

Disclaimer: This transcript was created using YouTube’s translator tool and that may mean that some of the words, grammar, and typos come from a misinterpretation of the video.