So much has happened inside and outside of the walls of Augurian since our first Journey Toward A More Inclusive Workplace post, back in January of 2020.
Outside of Augurian’s Walls
Outside of Augurian; calls for social justice have intensified, in the wake of the killing of George Floyd in May of this year. The swell of support has led to a heightened level of accountability. As consumers and constituents have started to flex their muscle on issues of inequality, we’re seeing unprecedented amounts of changes and values statements from sectors that had ,at one time, remained silent or on the sidelines when it came to issues of racism, discrimination and social justice. Now, more than ever pro sports team, celebrities and business leaders are standing up and speaking out.
Many businesses have responded with press releases and statements condemning racism and discrimination, while committing to take a close, hard look at their own policies and procedures in an effort to eradicate bias in their day-to-day practices. Groups and affiliations like #CommitToChange and the Minnesota Technology Diversity Pledge have been formed to reinforce these commitments and create a higher level of accountability.
Inside of Augurian’s Walls
Inside of Augurian we’ve been having courageous conversations about how, as an agency, we can work to ensure we’re proactively creating a more diverse and equitable workplace. We created a working group made up of team members and leaders with different identities and diverse perspectives. This group spent most of 2020 working together on the creation of a Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging (DEIB) Vision Statement and a DEIB Committee charter.
Being purposeful and getting uncomfortable is necessary to move this work forward
The process of creating these new DEIB structures and systems is where we learned first hand that being purposeful and getting uncomfortable is necessary to move this work forward. Throughout the course of the working group meetings there were times when it got uncomfortable.
the group grappled with:
- understanding each others perspectives
- what to include and not include in these new systems and structures
- how far to take possible scenarios
- when to seek legal counsel
- when personal experiences and historical bias was steering the conversation
- how to challenge one another directly while maintaining personal care and grace with one another
Early meetings were emotionally exhausting and as the group gained more trust and perspective the meetings became more exhilarating and rewarding. Once drafts were completed, they were presented to the entire company for feedback. Feedback was solicited in a number of ways; group sessions, 1-on-1, and via forms. Once all of the feedback was receive and incorporated, a final draft was submitted for review and then approved by leadership. Today we are proud to unveil some of this work.
Resulting DEIB Work
Augurian Diversity, Equity, Inclusion & Belonging Vision Statement
“We are committed to creating an enduring, more united and more profitable agency by investing and maintaining a culture in which all individuals can thrive and realize their full potential.”
Mission, Goals & Objectives of Augurian’s Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging Committee
“The mission of the Augurian Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging (DEIB) Committee is to create a more diverse, equitable and inclusive agency where differences are valued and all people have the same opportunity to belong, contribute and thrive.”
The working group didn’t stop at the DEIB Vision and Committee Charter. Having attended the Forum on Workplace Inclusion earlier in the year, working group members were able to incorporate the learnings from diversity, equity and inclusion work happening at other companies and in other industries. One of the key takeaways from for Forum on Workplace Inclusion was the benefits of Employee Resource Groups (ERGs). ERGs are groups of employees who join together in their workplace based on shared characteristics or life experiences. So, the working group also developed a structure by which any group of employees could create an officially recognized and sponsored ERG. This culminated in a Resource Guide for Developing and Sustaining Employee Resource Groups. This resource guide helps employees understand the steps they need to take, and the commitments they need to make, in order to establish a recognized and sponsored ERG at Augurian.
Augurian supports Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) for a number of reasons, including commitments to:
- A diverse workplace
- Addressing any imbalances that may exist due to bias
- Maintaining a culture of inclusion where employees can thrive
- Fostering a sense of belonging by all employees
- Valuing and encouraging different perspectives, styles, thoughts, and ideas
- Helping employees better understand themselves and their identities and how these relate to the workplace and the broader community at large
Employees benefit from ERGs because:
- they provide a safe space for employees to unpack their shared identities and improve and/or understand themselves better.
- they offer community, camaraderie, and connections within the ERG and the organization, giving employees a sense of belonging.
- they provide a platform for members to identify opportunities for Augurian to provide equitable resources in the pursuit of equal opportunity.
- they help build and maintain employee engagement and satisfaction.
- they provide employees with opportunities for professional development.
- they help identify and develop mentorship opportunities.
- they empower employees to constructively articulate their problems in a manner that helps the company solve them.
Today we’re excited to report that a number of groups of employees are already organizing themselves to apply and become recognized and sponsored ERGs at Augurian!
We’RE JUST GETTING STARTED
We recognize that we’re only getting started, after all this is only Lesson #2 on our journey toward a more inclusive workplace. However, now more than ever we’ve got a clear commitment along with systems and structures that have been created to ensure we’re proactively creating a more diverse and equitable workplace.
We’d love to hear from you about how your workplace is addressing diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging. If you’d like more information about the process that we’re undertaking, or the actual charters or resource guides we’ve created please contact us.