Designing a new approach to Diversity and Inclusion

At Culture Amp, we’ve helped over a thousand organizations take action on employee feedback. It’s given us an in-depth look at how different organizations use data to shape their company culture. These organizations have taught us that Diversity and Inclusion is an infinitely complex task; and no company claims they have the secret formula for success.

As we continue to grow and surpass 200 employees, we decided it’s time to design a new approach to Diversity and Inclusion. Our approach will be backed by evidence-based research and a willingness to experiment.

Here are three things we’re going to do differently:

1. Our Head of Diversity and Inclusion position will rotate annually

We’ve worked with over 50 Diversity and Inclusion leaders that have implemented the Culture Amp and Paradigm Inclusion Survey in their organizations. A noted best practice when taking action is to involve a diverse team of employees to communicate the results and champion the resulting initiatives. Not even the bravest D&I leader will go it alone because a single person has both a limited amount of empathy and an acute awareness of their blind spots. Our Head of Diversity and Inclusion will rotate annually, introducing new perspectives to the function and developing more advocates across the organization over time.

Diversity and Inclusion is something that, in a company or as a society, we need to tackle together. Diversity and Inclusion leaders need a wide array of skills to be effective: analytical chops to manage complex data, HR domain expertise to navigate difficult conversations with empathy, and an influencer that can tell stories to affect deep-seated mindsets and beliefs. We believe that having multiple perspectives, rather than only one person, is a necessary part of the solution that is often overlooked.

2. Build internal Diversity and Inclusion workshops from the ground-up

In our own Engagement Surveys, we collect anonymous comments about the state of Diversity and Inclusion in our own organization. When reading the comments, we noticed a wide range of opinions from our workforce. Some employees are clearly champions, people that are committed advocates and allies that know the issues and work towards change. On the other hand, some are bystanders: those that would probably support diversity initiatives if they knew how.

This is true of all organizations, explains Peoplism founder, Amber Madison. Employees tend to fall somewhere in the Diversity and Inclusion Matrix; some are pro-diversity, some aren’t. Some are informed, some aren’t.

In 2018, we’re going to build internal workshops from the ground-up that are specifically designed to “meet our people where they’re at.” We’ve gotten lots of recommendations of what works from the Diversity and Inclusion Slack Channel. Our employee workshops will be optional, available globally, and designed to highlight the uniqueness of every employee.

3. Make our own Diversity and Inclusion metrics

Traditional diversity metrics don’t work if they focus only on representation, ignore our unique combination of traits, and ostracize white men. When achieving diversity becomes a target, rather than an ongoing part of what makes a company a great place to work, we lose sight of why we care about diversity in the first place.

Our Diversity and Inclusion metrics will be designed to measure the state of diversity and inclusion at Culture Amp, against our own challenges and successes. For example, we’re not going to have the same race and ethnicity diversity targets as companies headquartered in the United States. Our headquarters is in Australia (which is over 85% white) so we’ll be looking for a different way to hold ourselves accountable for building a culture that embraces racial and ethnic diversity.

What would you do if you weren’t afraid?

This mantra comes from my time at Facebook, where thinking without fear drives innovative thinking, and ultimately commercial success. However, when Diversity and Inclusion leaders or teams experiment with their methods, they often risk facing swift backlash and criticism.

We believe our methods can be effective, so we’re going to give it a try, document and measure our progress, and let you know which practices are successful. If you’d like to get in touch on what’s worked (or not) for you, we’re open for feedback. Reach out to us at inclusion@cultureamp.com.

-Steven Huang, Head of Diversity & Inclusion (2018) at Culture Amp

About Culture Amp

Culture Amp helps you make your company a better place to work. By making it easy to collect, understand and act on employee feedback, we enable HR leaders to make better decisions, demonstrate impact, and turn company culture into a competitive edge.

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