Trevor Noah and Lattice Drop 17 Can’t Miss Best Practices on Inclusion

trevor noah keynote lattice

The world has changed a lot over the past six months. Which is one of many important reasons recruiters and human resource professionals gathered for Lattice’s Resources for Humans Virtual Conference on September 17th. 

As proud sponsors of the 40,000-person event, we were all ears to hear what these experienced HR and recruiting professionals had to say. Here are some of the most important takeaways that we’ll bring with us into 2021.

Building connection through technology is key

The opening keynote from Jack Altman, CEO of Lattice opened up the day discussing how much the world had changed and how many companies were working hard to adapt to the new normal. Figma, a collaborative design interface and Lever customer as well, is adapting to going all remote finding that team connection is key. 

As Lattice announced new connection features built into their products, we reflected on our recent survey showing that 71% say it’s more important than ever that candidate relationship management be built into their ATS. The need for connection and relationship building in this new remote world is a trend we plan to see more of as more companies work to adapt.

Companies will spend more time tackling unconscious bias

The killing of George Floyd is also influencing how others view workplace fairness to all employees. Tackling unconscious bias in hiring and performance management as companies focus to combat racism in the workplace will require some new tactics to do so. Grace-Ann Baker, VP of Human Capital at Annaly Capital Management offered the advice of creating a culture that polices itself and calls each other out when there is bias. Focus on pay equity studies and raw analysis on how the external environment is playing a role at this time. It’s also critical to have a forum for anonymous feedback.

Justin Phalichanh, Global Senior VP, Talent Development at Kinesso says that surveys are a great way to keep a pulse on the organization, ERG’s and offering office hours for people to come connect with their people team. Last but not least, JD Conway, Head of Talent Acquisition, BambooHR thinks about hiring a lot and how bias makes its way in. How do you identify how it makes its way into recruiting? Some come from systemic hiring issues, not addressing problems current systems create. Lastly, making time for interview training can help. “Everyone is dealing with problems all the time. It’s good to create a safe space to talk about where to make those investments,” JD says. And ensure you measure employee satisfaction through eNPS surveys twice a year, as feedback is never anything to be afraid of.

DE&I should be a part of learning and development

As the moderator of this session, Monica Chellam, Chief of Staff, People Team at Thumbtack, emphasized options are important to creating inclusion and a sense of belonging for each and every employee. Diana Jones, People and Organizational Development Lead at Plaid, said it’s critical to have leaders ready to put their money where their mouth is to drive true behavior change. L&D is a great entryway to do that. As Diana notes, career paths are so linked to who people are and their identity. Ensuring you have career path workshops and learning opportunities for all employees is important.

Joanna Miller, Lead of Learning & Development at Asana highlighted this as well. Oftentimes development is linked to identity and people’s deepest desires. You need to create spaces where employees can speak honestly. For instance, two-thirds of their Asana employees belong to one of the 4 resource groups. They learned in these groups that even using the word “parent” over “caregiver” was leading to employees feeling a lack of inclusion. You need to have a beginner’s mindset when it comes to inclusion and social justice, and it’s also important to know when leaders should step in and out of the conversation. Give lower level employees a voice and when it comes to learning about diversity, it’s all about intention, attention and repetition

Auditing team structures is a prerequisite to success

As Ed Catmull, Co-Founder at Pixar emphasized in his sit down with people & culture executive Katelin Holloway to talk about the people management principles, he mentioned that building innovative and creative teams is critical, the value of great feedback, and how to lead employees to new heights. His surprising insight? Employers can’t always get it right.

“How to get the right people with the right chemistry is a hard thing to do,” he says. He cautioned those attending the session not to walk away thinking that Pixar always did. You need to continually be in the process of analyzing, challenging and questioning. Don’t use the terminology of failure, but also don’t avoid it. Important to foster this positive experience of failure.

He then covered some areas of learning at Pixar. One was a structural oversight that they uncovered in not allowing teams to own the casting when they owned the delivery of a film. It’s critical to audit who owns what, and everyone at a company genuinely wants to believe that someone is looking out for them and has their back. He left the audience with one final note — can we value what we can’t always see? He prided himself on creating teams that felt comfortable calling him out on any mistakes he made along the way.

In times of extreme change, go back to the basics

As Kelli Dragovich, Chief People Officer at Looker put it in her session around scaling HR, “a lot of teams need to go back to base camp to understand how the business can move forward. And it’s a confusing time for sure.” Her company relies on these fundamentals: 1) companies and people teams going back to the basics, 2) meeting the organization where it’s at, and 3) knowing how to stabilize and capitalize on what’s happening. For Amy Roy, Head of People at Namely, that involved a focus on communication early on. It’s important for teams to focus on what’s in their control and put resources where the company needs it the most during this time.

It’s time to reconsider employee benefits

The pandemic is changing what employees are looking for when it comes to employer benefits. Benefits that focus on financial wellness, that help navigate the unexpected, and that strengthen social connection will be increasingly prioritized in “the new normal” of work. 

This recent report from Zippia and what Gen Z wants, we also found particularly interesting to reference. Here are some of highlights from the study:

  • 59% of Gen Z prefers to work remotely or in private offices
  • Gen Z’s three most desired benefits are: health insurance, remote work, and 401k/retirement benefits
  • Nearly 1-in-3 Gen Zers say they would turn down a job due to a company’s negative social impact
  • Gen Z is the “most stressed generation”, due to long work hours that do not match their work life balance expectations

As Nicola Taggart, Founder of Nicola Taggart & Co. mentioned in this session, it’s important to be intentional and creative with your benefits plans. A lot of perks previously prioritized onsite like lunches, retreats and happy hours are no longer relevant. Employers need to be thoughtful to the unique ways they can provide support for employees during pandemic.

HR will shape the future of companies

This leads us to the final session of the day. A conversation with Trevor Noah, comedian and host of “The Daily Show” and Jack Altman, CEO and Co-Founder of Lattice. Trevor believes that HR is the more important department at organizations in the future.

Trevor Noah’s 10 Best Practices for Inclusion

  1. Don’t talk in hypotheticals of when things will go back to normal. Talk about what we could do from home to engage with one another and lead to more innovation. If we are open to the idea of doing something differently, then it becomes less of a restriction.
  2. Allow people to come together in their own ways to connect.
  3. Be aware that Coronavirus has left society with a short fuse and a world that we’re not comfortable with just yet.
  4. It’s moments like this when you learn what leaders are meant to do and that’s to bring people together. 
  5. Don’t try to be a family at work. Work hard, so employees can go spend time with their families. Treat it like a sports team.
  6. Language is one of the things that can divide us or bring us closer together.
  7. Create a “we” culture.
  8. Don’t take credit for someone else’s work product.
  9. Prioritize open-mindedness and adaptability.
  10. The lowest common denominator is always gonna determine how fast we can move forward in society. The same is true in companies as well. When you give benefits to those struggling, like caregivers at this time — it benefits all of us. More purpose in a child, for instance, enables that child to become a more positive force in society.

When Jack asked Trevor how he’s been able to tell jokes to connect with people at this time, Trevor responded: “Jokes are all about context. If you aren’t careful, you can tell the wrong joke to the wrong person.” For instance, you can say things to a friend that you’d never say to anyone else. Humor cannot exist without humanity. He’s been lucky in connecting with his audience going on 14-15 years in his ability to read them and in turn — grow his audience. It’s also heartening for him to see all people fighting for equality and freedom during this time.


Lever created a list of inclusion resources in partnership with Torch, Checkr, and Lattice. Inside this list, you’ll find resources to guide your path forward in 1:1 meetings, inclusion best practices, recruitment initiatives, and employee development. We hope you find both of these documents useful and share them with your network.