Dr. Steven Jones, CEO & Founder, JONESDr. Steven Jones, CEO & Founder
“I established JONES to help organizations create work environments where people from all backgrounds can thrive and do their best. To achieve that goal, we set out to create consulting services that are a unique combination of the best of what we know from the field of industrial/organizational psychology with the best of what we know about diversity, equity, and inclusion. This combination has resulted in unprecedented results according to many of our clients,” begins Dr. Steven Jones, CEO, and Founder, JONES.

Founded in 2000, JONES is a leadership development, diversity, and organizational change consulting firm committed to supporting its clients in achieving success through unleashing the potential of a diverse workforce. Large and small corporations, non-profits, and educational institutions seek out JONES to help them build a stronger company culture, eliminate organizational silos, strengthen the leadership skills of their managers, and interrupt conscious and unconscious bias in the workplace. JONES’ mission is to develop leaders and organizational systems that counter oppression through diversity, inclusion, and organizational excellence.

In an interview with Manage HR Magazine, Dr. Jones shares insight into how the company accomplishes its mission and aligns itself with the evolving HR landscape.

How does JONES help organizations spur diverse and inclusive environments for their employees?

Covering the entire length of the leadership funnel, we support leaders at all levels with tips, tools, and techniques that help them understand how to bring out the best in people from all backgrounds through building psychologically safe teams. Fear, hierarchy, and lack of trust create strangleholds on high performance in many organizations. JONES’ highly skilled team of consultants collaborates with the leadership of our clients to increase trust and reduce the weight of hierarchy that relies on positional power instead of authentic leadership. We help companies understand they can have diversity and not have inclusion. Reciprocally, they can also have inclusion and not have diversity. The winning formula for higher performance is when an organization has diversity of people, thought, talents, and backgrounds operating in an inclusive workenvironment.

We have also found that many managers and supervisors were high performing individuals who were promoted and never taught the leadership skills necessary for them to empower employees and inspire them to perform at their full potential. Some of the skills JONES equips these individuals with are inclusive leadership skills, emotional intelligence skills and

cultural competency skills. These skills catapult leaders with the ability to recognize and develop the talents of a diverse workforce.

JONES has a global footprint providing coaching and training services to organizations across countries, cultures, and time zones. We have provided services to leaders and companies in the U.S., Australia, South Africa, Singapore, Mexico, Brazil, Spain, China, Japan, and the U.K. Through leveraging technology, as well as, in-person training, we have been able to help our clients grow their local and global leadership. Interestingly, reliance on virtual meetings during the COVID-19 era has proven to be as effective as in-person pre-COVID times.

What separates JONES from other consulting firms? Also, how do you monitor or assess the developmental growth of a team or an organization?

To assess the growth of individuals and teams, we conduct pre- and post-workshop surveys and evaluations to collect and analyze data to track progress. Using employee engagement and climate surveys, we encourage our clients to collect demographic data about those surveyed to determine whether there are any significant differences in the reported scores of their workforce based on various parameters such as departments, generational differences, tenure within the organization, racial differences, gender identity differences and many others. Lastly, we conduct qualitative data analysis by periodically conducting focus groups and listening sessions to help the organization learn from other's experiences within their organization.

Could you share with us a customer success story?

One of our clients reached out to us because they were facing challenges with the morale and performance within a particular office in the U.S. We quickly realized there was a huge trust gap between the senior leadership and the employees. There were also significant differences in the cultural backgrounds of the managers and employees: the majority of managers were White and the majority of the employees were People of Color.

We interviewed the managers, conducted focus group interviews with the employees to identify themes and recommendations to gain an in-depth understanding of the history, culture, and dynamics occurring within that location. Based on the assessment’s analysisand key findings, we learned a few of the root causes were low levels of leadership skills, cross-cultural communication, and inconsistency in policyenforcement.

After gaining a comprehensive understanding of the challenges at hand, we created and implemented an Inclusive Leadership Academy (ILA). The ILA included a series of five workshops that taught supervisors and managers the leadership skills that allowed them to set clear expectations, effectively recognize and reward their employees, hold the difficult

performance coaching conversation, and cross-cultural communication skills. We also supported the leaders through our emotional intelligence training and personality tests to help them understand how to lead people across different styles and personalities.

We also created local action teams to empower employees’ voices. This helped workers raise concerns and provide suggestions that effectively bridged the trust gap. As a result of a dedicated three year commitment, this location scored the highest on its employee engagementsurveys.

What are some of the differentiating factors that steer JONES ahead of the curve?

We, at JONES, perceive the ability to lead a diverse team in this global reality to be a skillset, similar to math. We’re not born knowing how to do math but through practice and hard work we can develop expertise in math. If a person takes a math 101 class and someone hands that person a calculus problem, you wouldn’t be surprised if the person struggleswith thetask.

We find leaders across many organizations with a math 101 skill set regarding how to lead five generations at work or how to recognize and interrupt unconscious gender bias in their hiring and promotional practices. These leaders face calculus levels of complexity with their math 101 skills that often fall short from being effective.

A big part of what we do at JONES is help leaders at all levels “skill up.”

We strive to combine the best of organizational psychology with the best of diversity and inclusion to create thriving work environments and leaders that bring the best out of all people

Another differentiating factor is our philosophy of ‘leading with listening.’ For us, it’s highly imperative to understand each client’s unique culture. By listening to our clients’ perspectives—their senior leadership and employees— we’re able to gain a 360-degree insight into the challenges they’re facing.

JONES’ ability to leverage the best thinking across multiple industries sets us apart. Having served some of the top MNCs such as Toyota, Edwards Lifesciences, Honda, Qualcomm, NBA, ResMed, Sony, TikTok, Viacom CBS, non-profits, universities, K-12 schools, hospitals and government agencies, we’ve garnered a deep understanding of the complex dynamics of multiple industries and leverage that knowledge to nurture the best thinking within each of ourclients.

Lastly, JONES has a dynamic, impactful, and diverse team of consultants who are always at the forefront of innovation to support the success of our clients.

What have you envisioned for the future of JONES?

Modeling the future is a core part of what we do at JONES. As part of our growth strategy, we will continue to expand our global footprint by building offices in the UK, parts of Central America, and the Asia-Pacific region. We, as a firm, continuously aim to increase the global impact of JONES by helping our clients achieve organizational excellence.