In June of 2020 companies in Massachusetts and across the globe began issuing statements condemning racism and promising an investment in “creating a diverse and inclusive workplace” within their organizations. Many B Corps made similar statements, including Tech Networks of Boston, with one notable difference: B Corps have already committed to investing in Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) within their companies. Tech Networks of Boston completed our recertification process in early 2020, which gave us another opportunity to look at our commitments, progress, and goals. This period of review and reflection has allowed us to assess what it means to be truly inclusive and how we engage in that work every day. We wanted to share 5 things we’ve done to become one of the most diverse companies in our IT Services industry.
1. Ask for input…and mean it
No, this doesn’t end with sending an annual or quarterly pulse survey to your staff. While anonymous surveys can be a good way to gather information on how your team feels about their job or the company on any given day, it is more meaningful when they are engaged in the decisions and changes your leadership team makes. Who at your company gets a say?
2. Provide resources and opportunities for staff
Happy employees lead to better performance, but that doesn’t mean you can set out free snacks or a beer fridge and call it a day. Providing your team with professional development opportunities, mental health resources, and genuine support and flexibility during difficult times can have a major impact on how they feel about their jobs.
3. Expand your hiring pool
When you’re looking for new people to join your team, where do you search for them? Do you post a job ad to hiring sites, LinkedIn, and your website? That’s a great place to start, but you’re probably missing out on a huge talent pool. If you want to bring people of different backgrounds to your company, consider starting with the way you look for job seekers. Things as simple as working with community colleges, job corps organizations, and city offices/programs can bring you new applicants with a variety of skills and experiences who otherwise might not have found you.
4. Create clear policies and stick to them
Company policies can help your employees know how to seek help when they need it and keep your leadership team mindful of your company values. You should have clear guidelines for your hiring practices, promotions, pay structures, internal and external communication etiquette, and more. Once these standards are set and communicated with your team, the guidelines must be followed for every employee in every situation. This counters favoritism and cliques, perceived or real, to create an open, fair culture.
5. Put your money where your values are
It’s one thing to have a value statement but another to live by them. If you say you value the experiences and skills of your BIPOC employees, actively seek out their input. If you say you care about the community you live and work in, spend your time and money investing in it. If you encourage your employees to take care of their mental health, give them the resources and time they need to do so. In June, we launched a nonprofit accelerator program designed to provide funding and technology support to organizations seeking formal nonprofit status; this program is for organizations that are Black-lead or who work to benefit Black individuals, families, or communities across New England.
These are just a few examples of how we commit to our staff. At Tech Networks of Boston, we care deeply about creating an environment that is welcoming and fair to all and we try to accomplish that through our programs, our policies, our actions, and our words. Through soliciting regular feedback from our staff and seeking third-party certifications, we continuously look for ways to improve and create a workplace that serves our people. Our small IT-services company can’t offer all the perks of a large tech business but we can strive to put our people first. How does your company create a culture of inclusivity?