NEW YORK, UNITED STATES — Francisco Tezén, CEO of the educational nonprofit A Better Chance, asserts that addressing modern workplace issues—like employee attrition and work-life balance—requires a strong focus on diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI).
Tezén’s organization, which works to diversify elite schools, finds common ground with corporate America’s challenges.
“Our greatest asset is our people,” Tezén said. “So I think it’s vitally important that we are responsive…”
Critical to his outlook is the weaving of DEI principles into the very fabric of business operations.
“Our DEI and justice and belonging strategy is really integral to who we are and the work that we do,” he said. “The lack of an integrated approach means that it can be something that is isolated, that is easy to go away, that has no heft behind it.”
He envisions DEI as a vital business investment with success metrics to ensure transparency and accountability.
“It’s about fundamentally who you are, what you do, and what you value, and then to what extent are you willing to marshal and make investments that are long-standing in the same ways that if you’re launching products or you’re launching services there are startup costs that you’re not expecting to recoup immediately,” he added.
Skip-level meetings—sessions where senior leaders meet directly with non-managerial staff—allow Tezén and his team to understand staff needs better.
On the role of the physical office, Tezén calls for a flexible approach. He dismisses rigid work-life dichotomies and notes that the pandemic has spurred important conversations around mental health and work-life integration.