Industrial/Organizational Psychologist and Kaleidoscope Measurement Specialist Pia Tomasello helps our clients understand how to better engage employees as part of their diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts. Working with a team of fellow data scientists and I/O experts, Pia’s deep expertise in operations rounds out our dedicated team of committed change enablers and analysts.
Tomasello joined the Kaleidoscope Group as a specialist in 2022 after completing her Master’s degree in I/O Psychology. Before graduate school, Tomasello had a career in Operations. Her experience managing others in operations spurred her curiosity in DEI when she ran into situations that appeared to some degree to be “unfair;” but were not within her scope of responsibility to address or resolve solely in operations.
One of the examples she cited focused on the somewhat vague criteria of a candidate’s ‘cultural fit’ as part of the hiring process. “Things like that just weren’t sitting well with me,” she confided. “Since I was responsible for hiring and people management, I didn’t know how to tell someone otherwise qualified that they weren’t a cultural fit. I was unsure what that implied or if it was even legal.”
“I hadn’t intended to pursue DEI,” said Tomasello. “My career started in operations management, so I spent a lot of time managing people and processes within organizations. I think through that work, I kind of realized how inherently unfair or subjective personnel decisions can be in practice. I was really curious about how that affected people’s experience of work and wanted to learn more, and felt the most comprehensive work being done in that space just happened to be in DEI.”
That intellectual curiosity and bias for action ultimately led her to her interest in I/O Psych, a well-established practice area that has influenced workplaces for generations. While interning for a healthcare company she was able to sharpen her data collection and analytical skills, including conducting deep dives into people, policy, and practices of highly regarded companies. In that role, she not only interpreted quantitative and qualitative data but also was able to design a mentoring program aimed at increasing diversity in senior roles.
Having strengths in both quantitative and qualitative measurement provides Tomasello with unique analytical gifts. “I’m an analytical person by nature, so I enjoy solving puzzles using different data points to kind of come up with conclusions or insights that clients find of great potential value.”
According to Tomasello, quantitative data is perceived as easier to digest and interpret since it’s numbers and math based, “two plus two always equals four . . . and there’s comfort in that,” she added. However, contrary to what a lot of people believe, there’s still a great deal of subjectivity involved in quantitative analytics. “I can look at a quantitative finding that’s showing me a rating of 75% positive, but there are qualitative data points that might impact how I interpret that for more accurate and objective analytics, conclusions, and recommendations,” she continued.
Getting Agile with Your Qualitative & Quantitative Data
At Kaleidoscope Group, Tomasello is the ‘go-to’ team member responsible for what market researchers refer to as Agile Qualitative Research (‘Agile Qual’ for short). Originally used as ubiquitously as a term in software engineering, Agile approaches avoid inefficient processes bogged down too often with organizational bureaucratic approvals and reporting structures. Agile approaches allow developers to use a more efficient and proven ‘test and learn,’ iterative approach that includes more stakeholder involvement at every stage of a project, making it more focused and more inclusive in design and implementation. The result? Quicker and more continuous improvement and greater innovation.
There are any number of providers and vendors offering Agile Qualitative software and tools to conduct large-scale, real-time, qualitative data. Kaleidoscope uses technology provided by a company called Remesh™, a data collection tool that allows you to ask a range of question styles including close-ended multiple choice, rank order, and open-ended opinion. Conversations are completely anonymous and hosted live in under an hour. They allow the discussion moderator to pivot in the moment depending on the responses they receive. The platform uses natural language processing (NLP) to organize and analyze data for large sample groups of up to 1000 people per session in real-time.
“We’ve had great success so far with Remesh because we can probe respondents in the moment to get at why they’re giving the responses they are,” Tomasello said. “Surveys can be more time-consuming since they’re typically open and collecting responses for two weeks and therefore aren’t live, although they remain a very effective tool for our clients.”
Another benefit of the agile qual approach is the strict adherence to anonymity embedded in the technology and methodology because it mitigates sample and data pollution based on sample collection and peer-to-peer influence—which can and does skew results and findings.
Further, the platform and approach visualizes the data immediately, significantly speeding up the time it takes to generate reports and interpret data. She adds, “You’re seeing the data play out in real-time and you’re reaching conclusions and insights pretty much immediately, where it would take weeks using more traditional methodologies where you have to clean the data, manipulate the data, see what the visualizations look like, etc.”
Which Approach is Right for You?
Now that you’ve met another of our Assessment and Measurement team, you may be asking yourself, “Which approach should I be using in my DEI measurement—an Agile or Traditional approach?” Every client is unique, there’s no simple answer to that. But rest assured that The Kaleidoscope Group has the expertise combined with years of experience to help point you in the right direction based on your organizational needs. Just fill out this quick get started form or call us at 312-274-9000. Pia Tomasello and the rest of the Assessment & Measurement team at the Kaleidoscope Group are prepared to help you figure it all out.