The Data Founder Story: The Subtle Difference
Kalin Naidoo, Founder Subtle.how
About the Founder
My name is Kalin Naidoo, and I am a data founder.
I am a database developer by trade and have been working as a database developer since 2014. I am creating a trusted workplace application for people of diverse backgrounds leveraging available disclosed data.
With my professional domain expertise in database development, I think it will be something of value with sourcing the disclosed workforce data and standardizing it for Subtle customers to be able to compare companies against each other. I also have personal domain experience.
At a previous job I experienced racial discrimination. My manager at the time would pick on myself and another diverse coworker for taking a 5-minute coffee break in the morning and began asking me to do things, not in my job description.
I felt uncomfortable saying no, and to be safe; I started saving emails from him where he was asking for me to work out of regular work hours. He asked me to work off the books and told me he would give me back time later in the month. I waited until I was there for an entire year so it wouldn't look bad on my resume and gave my two weeks notice.
The day I put in my two-week notice, I spoke to HR and gave them all of my emails. I told how uncomfortable he made the diverse staff under him, and I was escorted out of the office.
I realized that day, that HR works for the company, not the employees. I know people need what I am making because I am one of those people.
A study done by a UK company called the vault highlighted the problem as a trust gap. They found that roughly (37%) of US office workers believed their organization would brush aside at least one form of workplace misconduct if it were likely to impact profit or reputation. What was more troubling was (30%) of US HR and compliance DMs surveyed believed their organization would look to ignore at least one form of workplace misconduct if it was likely to impact profits or reputation.
https://f.hubspotusercontent20.net/hubfs/4979575/Whitepapers/The Trust Gap Report.pdf
What is Subtle?
Subtle is a mobile application and social network that helps consumers, employees, and employment seekers of diverse backgrounds measure corporate authenticity towards diversity, equity, and inclusion by using the latest news, disclosed workforce data, and employee reviews.
A centralized repository where users can get all related and relevant data in one place. Our goal is to remove the fluff, normalize the data and allow consumers to compare companies to each other and get a rough estimate of the companies to stack up against each other and how they have done against the leaders in industry and sector.
We offer a high-level summary of authenticity and access to underlying datasets as to why. EEO1 insights allow customers to see if people of color are leaving at higher rates and if demographic is being promoted to managerial roles at higher or lower rates.
The EEO1 report is a demographic report. All companies with 100 employees have to report to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), which breaks the company’s demographics down to 10 job categories and eight racial demographics.
It is something companies fought to keep from disclosing in the past but have recently begun to disclose it on their own after the murder of George Floyd. Subtle is a community where consumers can lean on each other for advice and share lived experiences.
Subtle is a resource + tool to help people of diverse backgrounds navigate and succeed in corporate America. But more than that, Subtle is a social movement. There is a change in mindset that’s taking place, a greater recognition that we can do better.
Meeting the Moment
It’s very important for us to take the momentum that has been created as a society, as a country, and say let’s use this to finally have an impact.- Obama after the George Floyd murder.
Our big audacious goal is to make corporate disclosures of EE01 report standard practice for all companies.
One of the reasons I know people need what we are making is because of the moment we are living in. With Covid and the Great Resignation, people are finally sick of being mistreated. They are over being discriminated against at work and have decided there are better opportunities than the ones they are living with now.
An MIT study found that toxic culture in the workplace was driving the great resignation and that it was not just about not a pay increase. Another reason why the moment is now is that before the murder of George Floyd, it was taboo to discuss race and discrimination, especially in the workplace.
The Current Process
Doing research on corporations and the company culture is difficult and time-consuming.
The frustrating part is that it's still not easy to navigate diversity and discrimination on the current solutions like Glassdoor, Teamblind, and Fishbowl. These websites cover racial discrimination but more so as an afterthought.
Before I take a job, I do my research on the company. I usually start on the company’s website and look for their diversity and inclusion page to see if they care about diversity. Then I check the reviews to see what people are saying about the company but usually, there are not too many race-related reviews.
Glassdoor failed me when I researched the company I mentioned above. I recently read a story from the Washington Post that helped me understand I was not alone, and this research was commonplace for people of color. It described the lengthy process people of color started to vet a company before accepting a position.
The Subtle Difference
With Subtle, we are creating a one-stop-shop that captures each part of the research phase a person with a diverse background might take.
First, we gather existing corporate news a person would find when googling a company during the research phase.
Second, we gather the diversity and workforce metrics an employment seeker would find when going to a company's website. This part of the process can be tricky because it’s hard to tell how the company being researched is doing against others in the space without a baseline.
Finally, we create a place for employees and past employees to leave reviews on companies they used to work for. Employment seekers can navigate this page and find relevant reviews that could impact their experience at their future place of work. Previously, said employment seeker would check Glassdoor reviews, but if the reviews didn’t explicitly say racism or discrimination, they could be hard to find.
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