LRN Perspectives

Off the Shelf: Laura Sherbin Brings to Life the Academic Underpinnings of Culture at Work

April 14, 2020 LRN Corporation

“What I learned in academia is that, when you publish it sits on a shelf. Some of the joy I have at Culture@Work is working so closely with organizations who implement policies and programs. Your insights, your wisdom, doesn’t sit on a shelf – it really comes to life.”

 – Laura Sherbin

Laura Sherbin, managing director of Culture@Work, speaks with LRN's Ben DiPietro about the joy she gets from taking academic research about how people behave, and sharing it with organizations to help them improve their corporate cultures. She discusses the vital role diversity and inclusion play in creating strong, values-base cultures of ethics and integrity.


Guest, Laura Sherbin

Sherbin is an economist who specializes in the creation of advantage through inclusion and diversity. She earned her Ph.D in economics from American University. Most recently, she served as co-president at the Center for Talent Innovation in New York, a think tank and content provider that studies global workplace diversity.

Sherbin built a rigorous data analytics machine and team that have been core to innovative approaches to measuring and tracking employee experiences. She is known as a leading expert in applying diversity and inclusion data to human behavior in organizations, and using such data to quantify how workforce sentiments and satisfaction affect company bottom lines.

She taught "Women and Globalization" at the School of International and public affairs at Columbia University, and is a coauthor of Harvard Business Review articles "How Diversity Can Drive Innovation;" "How Gen Y and Boomers Will Reshape Your Agenda;" and "Off-Ramps and On-Ramps Revisited," and several Harvard Business Review research reports.


  • [0:51] What is the mission of Culture@Work, what does the firm do to help companies improve culture, and are there specific areas on which Laura focuses?
  • [1:53] What’s an example of a lagging indicator and one of a leading indicator?
  • [3:42] What inspired Laura’s interest in culture in organizations and what was the career path that led her to become the managing director of Culture@Work?
  • [4:54] One of the most important times to learn about ethics and integrity is before someone is hired. Do organizations pay enough attention to ethics during onboarding and recruiting, and how they can improve in that area?
  • [6:24] Is Laura finding that companies are shifting more towards this, or is there still resistance toward the expense, time and effort required?
  • [7:31] Younger people coming into the workforce are probably going to be more committed to some of these value-based standards. Instead of companies interviewing for employees, it’s employees interviewing for companies. It’s going to be the companies who are going to have to answer the questions and meet the standards of the employees more than the other way around. How has Laura seen that in play?
  • [8:36] If a strong culture is impossible without ethics, trust, transparency, and accountability, how can organizations work to establish these in their operations if they’re lacking. What are some of the ways they can go about doing that?
  • [10:51] What are two of the biggest challenges companies and organizations face when they’re trying to improve their culture? What can they do to overcome these things and make these improvements?
  • [13:44] what are two or three red flags that may signal that an organization is having issues with its culture, and why are these sometimes so hard to spot? Or are they actually there, but people just don’t want to acknowledge them?
  • [15:40] How can diversity and inclusion help build these robust cultures and how can that make a lot of these red flags disappear?

    Don’t miss our next episode! Be sure to subscribe to Principled on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Google Play or wherever you listen to podcasts.
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By combining values-based education, rich insights, and expert advisory services into innovative, comprehensive solutions, LRN can help elevate behavior and the bottom line for your company.

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