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20 Ways we Strive to Create a more Diverse and Inclusive Workspace

13 January 2020
  

A strong diversity and inclusion (D&I) strategy can help organisations drive innovative results, yet D&I continues to be one of the biggest challenges facing the technology industry. In efforts to push for cultural inclusion and equality in the workforce, here are some of the ways ClearPeople is putting D&I at the forefront of how we do business.

 

1. Make a commitment 

In 2018, ClearPeople became a signatory of the Tech Talent Charter, a non-profit organisation aimed to drive diversity and inclusion in technology roles. In January 2019, at an event led by TTC, we made public pledges reaffirming our commitment to D&I and our continued fight to raise awareness and highlight challenges and solutions. 

 

2. Be intentional

We believe it is critical to be firm about the culture and environment you want to create in your workspace. ClearPeople is built on six distinct values that completely embody our culture. “One Family” was established specifically to highlight the supportive, integrated and collaborative environment we wanted our organisation to represent. 

 

3. Educate staff

We are choosing to make D&I the driving force in the new direction ClearPeople is heading towards. With respect to this, we have initiated dialogue between our employees to ensure everyone understands what D&I is and its importance to our organisation.  Making sure there is a shared understanding is essential.

 

4. Don’t forget the “I” in the D&I conversation

Create a diverse workforce and then establish an inclusive culture in which your diverse teams can prosper in. Whether it’s our Monday or Wednesday company-wide lunch, our running club or even Friday drinks at the office, we try to create a safe and inviting environment for everyone, by everyone.
 

5. Look for culture fit…and then some. 

Hiring employees based on what could be a narrow and undefined idea of “culture fit” can foster unconscious biases and lead to a homogenous workplace. When recruiting, we work hard to look for people who align with our core values and can also uniquely add to our culture. 

 

6. Provide Training

Working towards creating a diverse and inclusive workspace requires an awareness of our own unconscious biases and dealing with them effectively. We currently provide training sessions for our managers regarding several topics and one of the future sessions is on the hidden biases in recruiting. 
 

7. Establish diverse interview panels

Another way to demonstrate your organisation values diversity is for it to be visible – representation is key. Diverse interview panels offer diverse viewpoints and experiences. At ClearPeople, we aim to provide a mix of women, men, younger staff and older, etc. when we interview so candidates also feel more comfortable. 

 

8. Speak up against inappropriate behaviour

It is important that every employee feels protected and supported, so we encourage our team to speak up if they witness or are concerned about something being said or done inappropriately. Offensive language or jokes are never ok, even if the speaker did not mean to be offensive. When in doubt, here’s a helpful phrase our HR team suggest: “I am not sure I understood; what did you mean by XXX?” This forces the speaker to think twice and reiterate or rephrase his or her statement, which can clarify the intent and give people a chance to think better of an off-hand comment. 

 

9. Encourage candid conversations about diversity and inclusion with staff

To continue to fight our blind spots, we try to lead healthy and professional conversations with our team. Despite the discomfort it creates, these conversations are critical in recognising our biases and will contribute in creating an environment that is inclusive for everyone. 

 

10. Interact with different groups

Encourage employees from separate departments to mingle and collaborate with one another. For example, we are considering running a “have lunch with someone new” campaign, which builds on commonalities (eating lunch) which can help people build their internal networks and share ideas on both personal and professional levels. 

 

11. Celebrate employee differences

An important way to show your employees you respect their unique backgrounds and traditions is to encourage them to share them in the workplace – at ClearPeople this is done in various forms. We highlight the different nationalities represented in our company by recognising different holidays celebrated. Once a month we feature an employee with a fun interview where we get to know the individual and the team provide positive feedback on what the person has shared. 

 

12. Transparent communication

Be transparent in your communication and resources so that all employees can find what they need to learn, grow and succeed. We use our intranet to help share our internal communications strategy where all employees can find important information about the organisational structure, roles, processes, company numbers, knowledge sharing, etc. 

 

13. Enable authenticity

At ClearPeople, we use tools such as Yammer to bring people together from around the organisation to create company-wide transparency and promote authenticity. These tools can drive two-way engagement that is inclusive and non-invasive, all while offering a friendly and familiar experience.

 

14. Flexible working

Today’s technology opens the door for a wide array of flexible work arrangements that can help organisations attract and retain a wider range of applicants and employees. We contribute to flexible working by providing our staff the option to work from home up to two days per week as well as cater for a number of part-time positions. This makes it possible for a variety of talented professionals to pursue career opportunities that would not previously have been available. 

 

15. Mentorship programs

Mentorship programs can play a key role in retaining diverse talent and assisting in employee growth and development. At ClearPeople, our new hires are assigned a “buddy” to serve as a mentor, offering advice and guidance, as well as encouragement and knowledge resources. 

 

16. Build community partnerships

Putting D&I efforts into action should incorporate the people and communities we want to reach. This year we partnered with ‘Purple Tuesday’ and their call to change the customer experience for disabled customers, where we publicly committed to two actions of change in web accessibility and on-site accessibility for those who are disabled.  

 

17. Provide opportunities beyond your org

In addition to a number of programs and resources offered in our organisation, we find it crucial to provide opportunities for our staff beyond just ClearPeople. One of the ways we demonstrate this is with our recent corporate membership  to the WIT Network (Women in Technology). WIT offers the women (and men) in our organisation support by a community of professionals, the chance to connect, grow and expand careers as well as  the opportunity to make a difference in the gender equality conversation. 

 

18. Visible recognition 

Employee recognition is essential to sustain an inclusive environment as it represents what is valued in our culture and can influence who will thrive. At ClearPeople, recognition isn’t limited to hitting sales goals or closing deals, but anytime an employee goes the extra mile or embodies any of our company values. Normally praise is showcased through company-wide appreciation via Yammer, or through our ClearPeople Values Award.

 

19. Measurement aides change

Are the changes you’re implementing in your organisation, effective? Establish clear, strategic goals and then measure progress. One of the ways we solicit feedback from our organisational changes are through annual employee surveys. This helps us identify areas we’re thriving in, and pinpoint areas that need serious help.    

 

20. Practicing what we preach

With our development of Atlas, the people’s-first digital workspace for Office 365, we wanted to build a platform capable of assisting users with communication, knowledge and collaboration – but driven by inclusivity. Through Add It, Group Explorer and Atlas Connect, we are providing accessibility by allowing people to contribute and collaborate their ideas across a variety of areas. This is how we choose to drive change – starting with us. 

Author bio

ClearPeople

ClearPeople

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