How To Establish An Inclusive Culture Of Feedback

Original Article and Podcast by Becca Banyard via

People managing people podcast with rosina racioppi

Original Article and Podcast by Becca Banyard via

Studies have found that managers are more likely to give kind but generic feedback when it’s directed to a woman. This unconscious bias is causing women to miss out on valuable learning and development opportunities. So what can we do about it?

In this episode, host Becca Banyard is joined by Dr. Rosina Racioppi—President & CEO at WOMEN Unlimited, Inc—to talk about how to identify and remove unconscious bias, what it looks like to have an inclusive culture of feedback and how to establish one at your own organization, as well as some tips for what women can do if they feel they aren’t receiving the constructive feedback that they deserve.

Interview Highlights

  • Dr. Rosina’s background [1:06]
    • Spent the first half of her career leading HR in manufacturing.
    • She bought WOMEN Unlimited – partnering with corporations who desire to see more women to grow in the organization.
    • They’re helping organizations create an inclusive culture that allows women and their managers and the organization’s leaders to understand their role in creating momentum in a woman’s career.
  • Why is receiving feedback so critical for women in the workplace and in their careers? [2:42]
    • Feedback is critical for everyone.
    • Not having feedback is like driving a car without a dashboard – you don’t really know where you’re going.
    • For many women, they’re not asking the right questions nor are they getting the right guidance that they need.
    • Research shows that men tend to get aspirational guidance – women tend to get more transactional feedback.

We can control our destiny if we ask the right question.


  • Why are women not receiving the same type of feedback as men? [4:45]
    • There’s a lot of bias in the system.
    • Men tend to be much more comfortable saying exactly what they want, while women don’t like to talk about themselves – they like their work to speak for them.
    • We have to wrap our voice around the work in a way that highlights our aspirations and our interests and we need to ask questions that help us understand what we need to do differently.
  • What are some of the questions women should ask and what are some of the practices they can build into their career in order to see growth? [6:53]
    • You just have to get comfortable with asking the questions.
    • Take a step back and think about the work that you enjoy doing and be honest with yourself if you want to spend the majority of your time doing it. Then you just need to start asking questions.
    • Your Board of Directors, your network, people that you can go to and ask for guidance, those relationships help you get outside your own head, get insight that you cannot get on your own, and it is a critical engine for your career growth.
  • How can organizations identify and remove unconscious biases? [10:02]
    • On an organizational level, it’s very difficult because we are all biased.
    • There are a lot of things organizations can do. Like identifying senior leaders, male leaders in particular, to participate as mentors to the women in their program – by doing so, they’re able to see the barriers and challenges that are different than the ones that men see.
    • Organizations can build cross mentoring relationships to help male leaders have more sensitivity to understand that women and people of color have a very different experience in the organization and they need to be more curious about that rather than judge them.
  • If an organization wants to build feedback into their culture that’s continuous and inclusive, what are some steps that they can take to do this? [12:32]
    • Creating a process or a corporate philosophy on how we provide feedback on a continuum.
    • In order for an organization to be robust, it needs to have a learning culture. We learn both from the success and the failures. But if managers and individuals are taught to be comfortable with that learning process, then it becomes much more organic and ongoing.
  • Examples of stories of when Rosina has worked with women who have experienced career growth as a result of increased feedback and how this has impacted their development [15:11]
    • When she was doing her research, one woman had shared her goal to move into the senior ranks in the organization. She had a conversation with her senior leader saying she’s hoping to get to this position. And he said, “I would love to promote you, but no one knows you in the organization.”
      • So it wasn’t a developmental issue, but it speaks to what a lot of us do – we stay in our own world of comfort, our department, our side of the business – we have to be known across the business in order for people to support our advancement.
    • There was also a woman that was in one of their programs who is a woman of color, an engineer, very direct in the way that she speaks. She was struggling with feedback and people were uncomfortable with her style. She was not doing anything wrong, but it was the tone of her voice, the way that she communicated.
      • If you want to create strong relationships with people, you need to communicate in a different way and be more mindful of not what you’re saying, but how you’re saying it. It’s a game-changer.

As you’re moving up, it’s not so much about what you say – it’s how you say it.


  • What can the manager and the employee do in order to create more comfort so that they can have more free communication? [19:29]
    • One of the things that we fail to do when we work in organizations is to have conversations with our manager on how we want to work together.
    • We’re all working so hard and we focus on the work itself, but not on how we communicate to discuss the work. If we just have that level setting conversation, we’ll be able to achieve so much more together.
  • How do you match the right people? What departments are best suited for each other? [20:38]
    • Developmental relationships, one being mentors, are a gift. The best mentors are someone who is very different from you.
    • The best mentor programs are cross organizational. You’re not from the same department, you’re not from the same function. The more different the mentor and mentee are, it becomes a richer conversation.
  • What are some things that female employees can do if they feel that their career growth is being stunted by a lack of feedback or other gender related biases? [22:05]
    • They should create opportunities to meet with different leaders in the organization just to learn more about the company, but also to ask some questions about opportunities.
    • Sometimes we don’t realize that people may think we’re just happy where we are if we’re not advocating for ourselves. You have to let them know what you’re bringing to the table so that they can give you opportunities.
  • How can you actually share the success that you’re experiencing without coming across as proud in a negative way? [23:24]
    • You need to get over yourself. Because if you keep what you do a secret, then no one knows. That’s a problem. You need to have a way that you’re comfortable in sharing your success.
    • We also need to sing our praises to our chain of command.

We need to be mindful of who needs to know about the work that we’ve done because we are not working in isolation. We need to cooperate with the people that we work with to achieve bigger goals.


  • What is the number one thing that keeps employees happy in the workplace? [26:39]
    • People want to know that they’re valued and that their contribution matters.
    • If you create that rhythm in your organization where you celebrate the successes and celebrate the people that contribute, then people feel valued.
  • What do you personally need to be a successful leader? [27:26]
    • You need to know where you’re going – have a clear vision.
    • To have a group of individuals that have a shared vision.

Meet Our Guest

As President and CEO of WUI, Dr. Rosina Racioppi leads initiatives to help Fortune 1000 companies cultivate the culture and talent needed to achieve greater growth and profitability. Under her direction, WOMEN Unlimited, Inc. successfully partners with organizations across a wide range of industries to develop their high-potential women and build a pipeline of diverse talent.

Rosina’s past experience helps her lead the WUI team in creating impactful offerings to global organizations. Prior to joining WOMEN Unlimited, Inc., she held executive management positions in human resources at Degussa Corporation, Nextran (a division of Baxter Corporation) and Beechwood Data Systems. She has over 25 years of experience in Organization Planning and Development, Compensation and Benefits, Training and Development, Safety, Quality Management, Staffing and Employee Relations.

Rosina earned her doctorate and master’s degrees in education from the University of Pennsylvania. Her dissertation, “Women’s Mentoring Wisdom” focused on how women effectively use mentoring at the all-important mid-career level.

In addition to serving on the Advisory Council for the University of Pennsylvania CLO Alumni Network, Rosina is on the Advisory Board of The New Historia. She is a member of The Women’s Business Collaborative where she chairs the Training and Development Committee. Rosina is a seasoned keynote speaker, an author of several books, and a key contributor to major business publications.


Interview and Podcast URL via