On Wednesday, we hosted a Virtual Think IT Panel Event on the topic, Personal, and Corporate Diversity Responsibility. A huge thank you to our esteemed panelists, Julie Devine, CIO at Medulla, Silvia Hinton, VP Program Development, B2E at York Solutions, Jeff Smith, Director, Production Operations at Centro for having an open and honest dialog.
Below you will find an overview of the most popular questions from our members and a summary of what was discussed.
How do you define diversity?
Diversity encompasses so many things. It includes the diversity of thought, diversity of perspective. This includes everything from race, color, ethnicity, national origin, religion, disability, sex, gender, expression, gender identity, or sexual orientation, and so many more. It even includes the difference in personalities.
What does your organization do differently, in regards to DEI, than most organizations?
Many companies are working to improve their diversity and inclusion efforts. The biggest thing is being open and honest about where you are at as a company and discussing where you want to go and how you will get there. Show your employees what you stand behind.
How has your organization responded to the racial tensions in the US and the world right now?
There are many things organizations have done to respond to the tension right now. Some have sent letters or spoken out to take a public stand showing who they are. Many are finding ways to show support to their staff and leadership teams, whether that was bringing in speakers from the outside or having internal conversations.
Are people afraid to engage on the subject of diversity, for fear of being shamed, or losing their job? How do you speak to that?
Organizations have to model the behavior that this is ok to talk about and ensure they are productive and safe conversations. There needs to be trust and mutual respect established before any discussion takes place. Everyone involved needs to come with an open mindset and consider how they are approaching the conversation.
How do you differentiate between ignorance vs. bias about something like gender, race, ethnicity, etc?
You always have to assume the best intentions but do not be afraid to have the conversations. One recommendation from our panel was to challenge requirements on your job descriptions to make sure they are applicable skills before hiring. After interviews take place, each person who participated in the interview process should give specific reasons if they feel one way or another about a candidate.
Beyond attracting diverse talent, what methods do you use to retain and grow diverse talent?
One way to attract diverse talent is to listen to that talent. Start focus groups within your organization to ensure those individuals are being heard, and to better understand why talent was leaving. One example was to allow employees to share their culture with others in the organization during a luncheon. It is so important to continuously connect and support those individuals.
While these may be tough conversations, they are conversations that need to be had. We all need to be aware that we don’t know what we don’t know. We all have personal and corporate diversity responsibility.