LRN Perspectives

Courage of Conviction: Rashmi Airan’s Journey From Convicted Felon to Ethics Evangelist

June 24, 2019 LRN Corporation


This episode of the Principled podcast finds our host Marsha Ershaghi Hames interviewing Global Head of People at LRN, Danielle Schlar.

In this episode, Danielle talks about people management and organizational culture. We learn the part Human Resources plays in creating a values-based company culture that is supportive of it’s employees. Danielle and Marsha discuss the role the #MeToo movement has played in shaping the conversation surrounding diversity and sexual harassment in the workplace. Danielle talks about the responsibility leaders and management have in driving the conversation forward, and instilling values in those under them.


  • [1:50] How do you see your role within an organization crafting and charting organizational culture?
  • [1:57] Culture is the number one thing people talk about when they want to join a new company. It is up to the “People Leader” and “People Team” to make sure that the culture is inspiring and that it celebrates their employees.
  • [2:51] Who are the mentors that have helped influence you in your journey?
  • [2:57] Danielle was able to join with someone she’d worked with for the past 10 years at other jobs. It is so important to have people who support you and know the work you do.
  • [3:47] In light of some of the outcomes of the Me Too movement, there is a significant focus on diversifying. How can that impact and help the business?
  • [4:08] Diversity is always a challenge in an organization. If you don’t already have diversity amongst your staff, it’s hard to create a place where people who are diverse want to work. We want to make sure we are a place where everyone feels included. From the leadership perspective, it’s gonna continue to be a part of the conversation until real changes are made.
  • [5:37] In relation to bias and sexual harassment, where do you see the overlap in reponsibility between compliance and HR going?
  • [5:53] There’s a lot more collaboration between compliance and HR. It used to be that compliance was doing the programs but there was never a real focus on behavior change. Now we’re seeing compliance officers and HR leaders really working together to not just do “check the box” solutions but to really engender behavior change within organizations.
  • [6:27] What role do leaders play in helping drive that conversation forward?
  • [6:43] It’s all about tone from the top, especially when it comes to sustaining ethical business practices and behavior in the workplace. Employees are going to modify and practice their behavior based on what they see from their leaders, mentors, and managers.
  • [7:29] How do you develop and coach leaders on the skills they need for the 21st century organization?
  • [7:38} It’s all about training. Utilize conferences to ensure that leaders are trained to not only practice hard skills, but also in the soft skills. In addition to sexual harassment training, things such as “tone from the top” and making sure employees feel supported are all part of developing an ethical company culture.
  • [8:38] What is some of the advice you have for listeners on dealing with implicit bias and developing greater sensitivity?
  • [9:02] It’s about training. Everyone wants to prevent bias, but not everyone is equipped with the skills to do so. Additionally, there are currently four different generations in the workplace. Everyone has been raised different, and needs to be trained on implicit bias and how to communicate issues.
  • [10:11] How much do you think the application of what is learned in the training is effective? Does measuring matter? Should there be ways for measuring the effectiveness of the training?
  • [10:36] Adding the evaluation of respectful communication skills and other soft management skills as part of the performance management process is an effective way to measure the training’s effectiveness.
  • [11:43] Where do see you the opportunity in connecting values to behavior and management? Practically speaking, what can companies do to put values into action?
  • [11:55] You can make sure that those values are trickling down throughout the organization. Train your employees on them. Have managers trained on them and then have them train and mentor the people under them, or even put them on the wall. Make sure your values matter to the employees.
  • [13:39] What is the importance of recognition, both formal and informal, in building a healthy company culture?
  • [13:47] Recognition is the number one thing you can do for employees that costs very little. It’s a great way to show your employees you care and that they are valued, without draining your resources.

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