Strong diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) initiatives help cultivate an environment where every employee feels comfortable to be themselves. There are a few deliberate lessons and steps organizations can implement as their DEI programs hit the ground running, but I’d like to dive into making spaces for employee voices, rethinking the diversity training approach, and focusing on philanthropy.
According to Alem Tedenke, the World Economic Forum’s media lead for Canada and Latin America, monthly observances such as Black History Month create an opportunity to understand the histories of marginalized groups beyond stories of racism and slavery. An individual’s background shapes how they see the world, identify opportunities, and develop solutions, which is why celebrating your people year-round—and not just during observance months—is a must.
An employee spotlight series throughout the year creates opportunities to do just that. For example, Will Kirkland, a research and development project leader at BMC, shared in a recent LinkedIn interview that his experience as a former Navy Seal and National Football League (NFL) player have shaped his perspective in adapting and learning in his role.
In a recent article in the Harvard Business Review (HBR), Denise Lee Yohn advises that employee training is not a one-size-fits-all approach. She says that traditional training approaches that persistently tout organizational values or collect annual survey results will fail to generate a change in culture. The new normal created by the global pandemic has posed many challenges for connecting employees, and on top of that, the push for DEI has created an environment of competing requirements.
A newer approach to training and culture-building is to empower everyone in the organization, where people at every level and across every department play different roles in developing and maintaining an inclusive culture. Employees need to be involved, have the opportunity to provide candid feedback, and most importantly, help champion the desired company behaviors.
During a guest speaker series at BMC, Melissa Dobbins, CEO of Career.Place enforced that we can cultivate change in the organization by identifying and executing actions, evaluating results, applying lessons, and then repeating it again and again.
Giving back to pay it forward
As a global organization, we at BMC have an opportunity to engage, shape, and produce decades and perhaps centuries of positive impact for our organization and society. During monthly observances, like this past Black History Month and now, Women’s History Month, we should take this as an opportunity not only to learn, but to give back to the communities and people we are celebrating.
When you support underrepresented or underserved communities by contributing to professional organizations, you’re seeding action, creating opportunities, and fueling progress in the lives of many. Here are a few where your contributions will make a difference.
- Black Girls Code
- Algorithmic Justice League
- Camara Education Inc.
- International Rescue Committee
- The Garden Foundation
Our cognitive diversity is the by-product of including ALL of our people. As Crystal Daniel, finance manager at BMC, said in a recent LinkedIn post, “I think representation is very important. Leadership comes in all forms. It is necessary that we see people in positions of power from multiple backgrounds.”
Core to our company values and as global citizens, we at BMC advocate for awareness, empathy, and curiosity to understand each other. With monthly observances that celebrate diversity, we are committed to playing a role in our collective future. After all, the Autonomous Digital Enterprise includes everyone.