While it’s disappointing to see how recent events in America validates that racism and discrimination still exist in our society, it’s encouraging to witness individuals worldwide stepping up and saying, “Enough is enough!” Momentum is gaining for sustainable change that can have a lasting impact.
For organizations taking a stand against social injustice, how do you start? What steps can companies take to evolve and provide a better environment that fosters inclusion, diversity, equality, and allyship (IDEA)?
This societal turning point encouraged us at AvePoint to take our IDEA initiatives to the next level. Here are the five steps that we took:
1. IDEA Must Be a Part of Your Organization’s DNA – It Can Never Be a Flash in the Pan
From the moment AvePoint was founded in 2001, inclusion, diversity, equality and allyship has been embedded within the fabric of our organization. We are made up of 1,500 unique individuals from various backgrounds, experiences, and cultures serving over 17,000 customers worldwide.
Our mission to “Unleash the Power of You” and core values: agility, passion, and teamwork, serves as our north star that inspires each one of us to be our authentic selves. It drives us to be change agents for people we engage with internal and external to AvePoint. Click here to learn more about our mission and core values.
What about you? How can you make IDEA as a part of your organizations’ guiding principles?
2. Commit to a Diverse Workforce
Be intentional in your hiring practices and retention efforts. It is essential to commit to fostering, cultivating, and preserving a culture that celebrates IDEA across your organization.
Embrace and encourage each other’s differences in age, color, disability, ethnicity, family or marital status, gender identity or expression, language, national origin, physical ability, political affiliation, race, religion, sexual orientation, socio-economic status, and veteran status.
Be intentional in your hiring practices and retention efforts.
3. Listen, Reflect, and Learn (And Unlearn) – Don’t Be Complacent and Allow Willful Ignorance as an Excuse Not to Do Anything
Inclusion is an intentional act. Inclusive environments are the result of the purposeful acts of individuals that make others feel valued, heard, and included. At AvePoint, our culture calls on each of us to be open to learning our own biases and changing our behaviors so we can tap into the power of our diversity.
Empathy requires our willingness to listen, openness to learn, and humility to change.
For example, recent events have opened conversations within our AvePoint family to the reality of unconscious bias. Daily work activities that most of us take for granted can be challenging for some of our colleagues. (Learn about unconscious bias through Microsoft Learning here.)
It is important that organizations provide a safe forum for everyone to learn and have conversations. The goal is to get to a point when people are comfortable sharing their ideas, offering their own perspectives, or discussing their passions because they know that they are heard.
Continuously listening and learning from each other not only enables us to grow internally, but effectively allows us to better serve our customers and the broader community.
4. Empower Your Colleagues to Lead and Act
Without the ability to act, listening and learning are futile. How can organizations best facilitate and organize ways for your colleagues to act?
For us, our people team established our IDEA committee. It’s represented by colleagues from around the world with diverse backgrounds and skill sets. The goals are to enhance our global collaboration, foster camaraderie, and lead cultural initiatives within AvePoint.
Not only does the committee regularly meet and learn from each other, but they also engage with the broader organization by sharing knowledge, soliciting ideas, and encouraging fellow AvePointers to take their ideas and make it a reality.
For example, through the IDEA committee, colleagues are taking the lead in educating the AvePoint family about global cultural and/or historical events and the impact they have on our society. Another example is a colleague in Washington, DC who’s launching a laptop drive to donate to a local non-profit to help children in underserved communities so they will have means to participate in online learning during this pandemic.
5. Consistently Give Back to the Community
Giving back to the community should be a part of your IDEA initiatives. If you’re concerned that you may not have enough resources or people to commit, the good news is that your colleagues will willingly step in and help to make this happen.
For us, we established AvePoint Philanthropy a few years ago with the mission to impact humanity and drive change through technology, community, and education:
- Technology: We’re committed to donating our software and services to causes and not-for-profit organizations to help them achieve their mission.
- Community: We’re proud to support our local communities through employee volunteering, partnerships, and donations.
- Education: We’re passionate about educating people around the world on the benefits of technology and the opportunities it offers to make a difference.
“Each human being, however small or weak, has something to bring to humanity. As we start to really get to know others, as we begin to listen to each other’s stories, things begin to change. We begin the movement from exclusion to inclusion, from fear to trust, from closedness to openness, from judgment and prejudice to forgiveness and understanding. It is a movement of the heart.” – Jean Vanier
It’s never too late to start and further IDEA in your organization! I would love to learn and hear about your journey; feel free to share below ?