Back in June, Pagefreezer’s CEO Michael Riedijk posted our Stance on Racism. In that post we made the following promises:
“In the coming weeks, we will implement a company-wide program about discrimination prevention including mandatory training for management, educational initiatives and conversations around the topics of racism, discrimination, and equity. Additionally, we are evaluating how Pagefreezer can increase the number of Black and Indigenous employees on our team by supporting and promoting local organizations that represent People of Color in our community. We will post more details about our program and progress on our website in July.”
We missed the July deadline and here’s why: As we dove into the process, we realized we shouldn’t act hastily just to meet a deadline. As a team, we needed to do research, educate ourselves, and spend a lot of time thinking about how we could enact true change.
We didn’t want to make purely symbolic gestures or implement rushed programs. We wanted to create meaningful programs and changes that would truly address the issues of racism and discrimination, and improve diverisity, equity, and inclusion within the organization.
So instead of hiring an external consultant to give a quick implicit bias seminar so we could check off that box, we slowed down and spent time thinking about what meaningful, measurable change would really look like. In other words, we asked ourselves: “How can we integrate Diversity and Inclusion practices into the very fabric of how we do business?”
With that in mind, here’s what we’ve done since we posted our Stance on Racism blog in June:
- HR was mandated by our CEO to focus time and effort on research and education with regards to Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging (DEIB). This included our HR Manager (me) enrolling in an Inclusive Leadership certification program and using the HR Tech Group’s D&I Resource Hub
- The HR team shuffled goals, projects, and deadlines to prioritize Diversity, Inclusion, Equity, and Belonging program creation and launch initiatives
- Baseline diversity metrics from our Human Resource Information System (HRIS) have been gathered and reported to the team
- Added a Non-Binary option in addition to Male, Female, and Not Specified for gender demographic in HRIS
- Added section to select pronouns in HRIS
- Added an employee-initiated change request to update demographics such as name, gender, and pronouns in HRIS
- Pagefreezer announced the creation of a DEIB Council that will be comprised of nominated (or self-nominated) employees, with executive and HR representatives sponsoring the Council, including outlining duties, qualifications, and benefits of serving on the council
- Announced the process of forming Employee Resource Groups, including highlighting the purpose of aligning with DEIB efforts and how Pagefreezer will support these groups
- Executive and HR drafted DEIB strategy and plan document for review, feedback, and input of the Council, once formed
And here’s what we’re planning to do next:
- Complete an audit of HR systems and policies in conjunction with the DEIB Council, including reviewing our structured interview process, compensation philosophy and process, performance review process, and more, through the DEIB lens
- Hold a kickoff strategy and planning meeting with the newly formed DEIB Council to create a joint mission statement and vision, elect chairs, and create Pagefreezer’s first DEIB Objectives & Key Results (OKRs) to set and measure progress
- Provide skill-based training and raise awareness of DEIB topics to the Council and Managers
- Raise awareness, host small-group roundtables, and provide education opportunities for all team members about DEIB
- Publish our DEIB Mission, Vision, and Strategies internally and externally
- Launch our first Employee Resource Groups, after providing a workshop for ERG chairs on creating community guidelines and other resources and skills
We know this work will never be done. We’ll be continuing to learn and iterate, and we’ll always provide opportunities for employees to lead or participate. There are metrics that can help give us insight into whether or not our plans are working. There is also feedback we’ll ask for and receive that will indicate success or failure. But ultimately, we believe DEIB is best approached like going to the gym, eating healthy, or meditating: it’s a dedicated lifelong practice with fluid goals that help us accomplish different outcomes for the better.
We are looking forward to getting started.