Posted by Lindsay Hershberger and Ivan Hsiao-Suignard on October 30th, 2020.
If you’ve been reading the various articles in our “People First” series, you’ve no doubt learned that fostering an open, inclusive, and diverse environment is ingrained in our culture. It’s one of our core values and we hold ourselves accountable by including it in our regular Values Survey, which you can learn more about here.
For us though, diversity, equity, and inclusion are far more than a question on a survey. We work to live those values each day, and we’ve built an ongoing initiative around them: our Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Initiative. Here, we take a closer look at what the DEI is and how it works.
While these values were core to our founding and have guided the company’s efforts from Day One, we never had a formal initiative around it. That began to change in 2018 when a few passionate team members raised the idea of creating something more formal and organized. One thing led to another and the DEI was finally launched.
The DEI’s mission basically involves five key efforts:
- Articulate the strategic short- and long-term vision for DEI and Blue Matter.
- Benchmark where Blue Matter stands globally with regards to DEI. Not surprisingly, we are a strong performer in this area.
- Execute a regular “pulse” as an extension of the benchmarking effort to ensure that we remain a leader in DEI. This pulse is done on a quarterly basis.
- Create and monitor anonymous communications channels so team members can feel comfortable reporting any DEI-related concerns they may have.
- Encourage and support the creation of Employee Resource Groups (ERGs). These groups are created and run by the team members themselves. Each is focused on developing, leading, and implementing resources designed to help enable the success of a minority group. Team members do not need permission to form an ERG, and they are fully organic in how they come about.
Currently, there are three ERGs at Blue Matter. They are:
- Racial Equity Committee (REC)
- Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Employee Resource Group (LGBT ERG)
- Blue Matter Women’s Initiative (BMW)
These ERGs all have their own approaches and activities. However, most of the work they do could be organized into a few key areas.
The first area basically covers professional development and training activities. Examples include peer-to-peer mentoring programs, training programs, and even creating documentaries and other educational tools.
The second area focuses on fostering team camaraderie and social networking in a positive environment. The ERGs organize volunteer activities that align with their efforts, create speaker programs, and organize social events.
Finally, fundraising is an important focus, as well. ERGs often raise money for non-profit organizations that share their mission. In most cases, Blue Matter is also able to provide a company match.
The Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Initiative is very important to us and will remain an integral part of our business forever. It’s just one more aspect of our “People First” culture that makes Blue Matter such a great place to work.