Pyramid Global Hospitality Creates a Ripple Effect with DEIB Program
Best in the Biz Award Winner
Who is Pyramid Global Hospitality?Pyramid Global Hospitality (PGH) is a leading hotel management company, operating in the US, Caribbean, and Western Europe. Their dedicated team of specialists manages all key business aspects –investment, asset management, and operations – with experience across full-service, select-service, luxury, and resort property types.
Primary ChallengeAfter going through a merger, key stakeholders felt an impactful DEIB program was necessary to build a strong culture among associates.
ResultsBy leveraging The BizLibrary Collection, Pyramid Global Hospitality focused on training their associates on what it means to have an inclusive mindset and create an equitable experience for everyone in and out of the workplace.
The Art of Skipping Rocks
You know that feeling where everything goes perfectly? Like hitting every green light or getting the last chocolate croissant at your favorite café? Or how about the perfectly skipped rock?
Let’s say you come across the calmest water and happen to find a round and smooth rock. We know you want to throw it (we would want to). Holding the rock firmly in the palm of your hand, you swing your arm back in a horizontal motion and bring it forward, releasing it when it reaches its starting point. The rock contacts the top of the water interrupting the stillness. Before you know it, it’s skimming across looking like tiny skips as it goes, eventually sinking to the bottom.
What is left are tiny ripples going in all directions with no end in sight. You feel a sense of pride you were able to get the rock to hit the water just right to create such a lasting effect and continue on your way not knowing the distance your ripples will go.
While we know this story sounds a bit philosophical, we believe it’s the best metaphor for a well-executed DEIB program. Creating ripples that go on forever because of impactful DEIB training is exactly what Pyramid Global Hospitality (PGH) does exceptionally well. The impact goes far beyond the workplace’s walls. DEIB training doesn’t solely apply to interactions between employees; rather, it gives insight into how to treat everyone with respect and kindness to create a more understanding world.
When the Opportunity Presents Itself
A couple of years back PGH was going through a merger. Several of the discussions surrounding this merger included how to build a cohesive culture between the two companies. Calvin Banks, Senior Vice President of People Development and Culture, realized that to be successful he would need to create a formalized DEIB training program for over 14,000 associates.
He got to work quickly, rallying together key stakeholders including C-Suite members and the executive chairman. After their meeting, everyone agreed that the key component they wanted to focus on was ‘Inclusion,’ so that everyone felt like they were involved and could be heard within the company.
Banks then began combing through the available content relevant to ‘Inclusion’ in BizLibrary’s robust content library. He mentioned how great it was being able to have hundreds of titles related to DEIB thanks to the easy-to-use search functionality within BizLMS. He found a course from Expert Insight Series presenter Justin Jones-Fosu titled The Inclusive Mindset.
After watching it through, he remembers a feeling of discomfort and thinking there is no way he could share something like that with his organization. But then he realized, if he was feeling uncomfortable and the course made him think differently, then perhaps this was the exact content his organization needed.
With that, he went into his next meeting and shared a story from Justin’s course on how the world is built for right-handed people and what having an inclusive mindset can do to change that narrative. His COO spoke up right away saying that he was left-handed and from there full buy-in was never in question. It was then time to build a plan around bringing this program to all associates.
Getting Ready to Toss their Rock
To emphasize the importance, the entire executive committee completed the program first. They used a top-down approach because showing that they cared about this training carried much more weight than telling.
When the program was ready to roll out to everyone, they created two different versions depending on someone’s role in the company. One was for managers and the second was for individual contributors. Banks then connected with property administrators –who would be assigning the lessons to the employees at their location—letting them know the purpose and cadence to ensure completion. They also created incentive compensation that relied on reaching a certain percentage of completion to help the program be successful.
Once property administrators were in the loop, the executive committee also came up with a communication plan that would be sent organization-wide. They leveraged global townhalls, posters, fliers, and weekly email reminders to emphasize the importance of this new initiative.
What to Do When a Rock Sinks Too Soon
When first mapping out the program, the team thought getting all associates to complete their assigned courses in 16 weeks would be plenty of time. They felt confident the program was ready to be rolled out, and the first assignment was launched. But hiccups came up that they needed to address. These included:
- Accessing the system – associates would contact their managers for help resetting passwords (we’ve been there!) and remembering where to go to access the training.
- Admin access – all administrators must go through training before being granted admin privileges in their training system. Many administrators realized they had never completed the training, so they were unable to assign the courses to their associates.
- Timeliness of assigning – those associates who did have admin access found that sometimes their day-to-day would get busy, and they’d forgotten to assign the next course in the training program’s series.
- Timeliness of completion – along the same line, associates would have things come up in their day that would take priority over completing their training.
- Non-native English speakers – for many of their associates, English is not their first language, so understanding the content did not come as easy as it does to those whose first language is English.
But despite these setbacks, Banks did not give up and saw that these were opportunities to grow and find solutions that truly made this program inclusive to all associates. After collaborating with his BizLibrary CSM, Banks came up with solutions to all of the challenges the team was facing.
- Because BizLibrary integrates with other HRIS systems and offers single-sign-on, they were able to eliminate the login issues they were experiencing.
- They were able to add the admin training on demand to make it easily accessible for admins to watch and then request access once completed.
- After realizing they could set up automatic assignments in BizLMS, it took the responsibility off the property administrators.
- BizLibrary helped Banks get in contact with Jones-Fosu to get his course translated into Spanish, so all employees could experience it the same way. Then, using BizLMS’ custom course upload feature, they were able to add it to PGH’s library and have it available as an alternative to the English version.
The Rock that Keeps Skipping
Despite a few setbacks, Banks persevered and kept iterating on his DEIB program knowing the value it would bring to all associates. And based on some very impressive metrics of success, he certainly has found the perfect rock to skip along the water to create a lasting impact.
Since implementing the changes, PGH has seen:
- 80% of associates complete the training (against a goal of 80% – goal accomplished!)
- 11,360/14,179 of all associates
- 83% of properties achieved the goal of having at least 80% of all associates complete the training (against a goal of 80% – goal beat!)
- 115/139 of all properties
Because they reached and beat their goals, they asked Jones-Fosu to film a celebratory video that was used to inspire associates to keep going on their journey to becoming more inclusive in their everyday lives.
Furthermore, because inclusivity remains a high priority for PGH, they assign Jones-Fosu’s Inclusive Mindset course to all new associates as part of their required onboarding training.
You Never Know How Far the Ripple Will Go
The thing about skipping rocks is you can see where the rock finally lets gravity take over, but you’re never sure how far the ripples will extend. Similarly, when instituting a DEIB program, change in the workplace is expected, but often the change goes far beyond that.
Banks shared a story with us that exemplifies this so well.
He recalls an associate reaching out to him letting him know the BizLibrary course had such a profound impact on her that she played it during a car ride to drop her daughter off for her freshman year of college. They listened to it all the way through, often stopping to discuss what was being shared. The associate felt it was important for her daughter to have an understanding of the environment everyone should feel responsible for creating no matter how old or where they are.
This glimpse into how the program has stretched past the cultural shift at PGH is exactly what we mean at BizLibrary when we say we’re on a mission to create a more compassionate and competent future. What started as a program designed to build a strong culture now has lasting impacts all over – bravo, Calvin and everyone at PGH!