Meaningful Inclusion: How to create it in your workplace

Photo courtesy of #WomeninTech Chat

Venture Out is proud to welcome Fiix Inc. as a Silver sponsor for the 2019 Venture Out Conference. As Fiix’s corporate social responsibility manager, Katie Allen writes about how Fiix is taking concrete steps to create a more diverse and inclusive workplace at Fiix.

Inclusive workplaces don’t just happen — they take deliberate work.

At Fiix, we’re always working to create a more inclusive, sustainable, and responsible company. We know that looking after people and the planet is good for profit and builds a stronger business from the inside out.

It’s been a journey of trial and error, but overall, we’ve grown tremendously and we’re always learning what it means to be truly inclusive. Below we’ve shared some of the ways we have created a more diverse and inclusive workplace for underrepresented people in tech.

1. Make Diversity and Inclusion a Priority

Commit to equity and inclusion in the workplace. To create change, there needs to be commitment.

The best way to prioritize and follow through on diversity and inclusion is to either hire a specific person who owns the responsibility or start a diversity committee. Fiix hired a corporate social responsibility manager (me!) to develop and manage an inclusivity program. This keeps us accountable to our goals and helps us remain transparent about progress through an annual report.

A diversity and inclusion committee can either be introduced in conjunction with or as an alternative to a manager. Committees allow for a variety of voices to be heard and create widespread engagement across the workplace.

In either case, own it! There is power in prioritization.

2. Be Diligent about Measuring Success

You can’t improve what you don’t measure.

This is just as true for business as it is for diversity and inclusion. It may seem strange to collect and analyze data on race, gender, and other self-identification measures, but when done correctly and consistently with a transparent plan of action, you’re honouring Canada’s human rights legislative framework and remaining accountable to your goals.

Surveys should be thoughtfully worded, anonymous, and must be designed to collect metrics year over year with the goal of improving those metrics. It’s important to do research to ensure you’re asking the right questions, along with clear reasoning for why you’re collecting the metrics.

Consider using surveys like Culture Amp and Gallup that are already available to ensure consistency. Project Include also outlines a list of demographic breakdowns to provide further guidance.

3. Create a Formal Policy on Diversity and Inclusion

Create a formal policy to show employees and stakeholders that your company is dedicated to improving diversity and inclusion.

Policies are a useful tool in creating accountability, legitimizing the program, and ensuring your goals remain top of mind even as the company grows and changes. The standard approach is to have an anti-harassment/discrimination policy, but companies can also develop a diversity and inclusion policy, committing the company to an overall vision or goal.

A policy in conjunction with a message from leadership will have a profound impact on the culture and attitude toward creating an equitable workplace.

4. Consult Others and Best Practices

If you’re not sure that what you’re doing is working or you’re concerned that you’re not taking the right approach, find out!

Ask your employees, ask community groups, consult best practices. Part of having an open dialogue around diversity and inclusion is ensuring you’re including the right people.

Start by asking people in underrepresented groups who are predominantly affected. Consultation is absolutely necessary to execute an effective strategy. You won’t know until you ask.

5. Educate Everyone around You — Including Yourself

A high degree of humility is necessary to carry out a long-term diversity and inclusion strategy.

There will be times when you’re wrong, allowing for ample opportunity to learn. Recognizing and using your own privilege is part of this, and necessary to understand the best ways to execute an effective strategy.

Yes, there will be times when it’s uncomfortable — and that’s ok. Educate yourself, educate management, educate employees, educate stakeholders. Diversity and inclusion is a team effort and only through open dialogue, consistent campaigning, and getting involved in the community will you be able to fully grasp how to improve.

Some of the tools we’ve used at Fiix include:

  • Cultural competency training and inclusivity training
  • Regular employee feedback surveys
  • Conferences, events, and (Venture Out!) career fairs
  • Meetings and safer spaces for open dialogue
  • Ongoing diversity and inclusion content sent directly to employees

6. Verify and Certify Your Diversity and Inclusion Program

To get a better understanding of how we’re doing, we measure our progress through B Corp, a third-party verification and certification tool for businesses to measure the impact of their decisions on their workers, customers, suppliers, community, and the environment.

B Corp has provided us with a guiding light and path forward so that we can understand how we can improve as a business.

Open, honest communication with everyone at your company is the key to staying accountable and ensuring you’re moving toward a more inclusive, equitable, and diverse workplace.

About Fiix

Fiix Inc. creates easy-to-use, intelligent maintenance management software that empowers businesses to organize their maintenance departments and turn data into actionable insights. Its innovative, multi-tenant cloud-based CMMS mobilizes the maintenance workforce with an unparalleled mobile experience and seamlessly interfaces with enterprise software to connect your entire organization — revolutionizing how thousands of companies worldwide schedule, organize, and track maintenance.

To learn more about Fiix’s corporate social responsibility efforts, view their annual reports or reach Katie Allen directly at CSR@fiixsoftware.com.

Get your tickets today for the 2019 Venture Out Conference on March 14 & 15 at MaRS!