When it comes to organizational initiatives that pay off, Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) brings home the bacon. Businesses that have above-average gender diversity outperform companies with below-average diversity and engagement by 46 to 58 percent, and companies with higher levels of racial and ethnic diversity outperform the competition by 35 percent. Diversity encourages innovation, and organizations that want to scale need to implement DEI programs that develop a culture that values diversity from recruitment through to top leadership. We sat down with Liongard teammates Marilyn Garcia, Fong Chau, and Jen Greissing to talk about what DEI in the workplace means to them, and why it’s so important for organizations today.
What does Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in the workplace mean to you?
Marilyn: For me personally, in a workplace setting, DEI means having those three categories present in our everyday lives. When I visualize diversity, equity, and inclusion I see them as gears. They’re what keeps our company running and, if one’s not working correctly, it’s going to prevent the other two from functioning as well. So, it’s putting careful thought and consideration into all of your processes to make sure you’re addressing each in relation to the other and they’re working together smoothly. At Liongard, this means listening to our internal voices and taking that feedback and acting on it.
Fong: As an employee, I feel it’s something companies are starting to value more. They’re realizing that there is value in DEI as a core driver in how a company operates, because it opens the door to new ideas and new opportunities that, beforehand, weren’t there. Knowing that a company holds diversity, equity, and inclusion as one of their core values provides a level of comfort and security for employees who aren’t straight, white men.
Jen: I really think it’s all about transformation. For instance, at Liongard, we’re all putting in the time and effort at every level, from C-suite down to interns, we’re committing to this initiative and the transformation is amazing. People are initiating conversations and wanting to educate themselves and are enthusiastic about learning about their teammates, and that’s awesome.
Does DEI have an influence on how you view a company as a potential employer?
Fong: Oh, definitely. It’s even simple things like, if I already know that’s what a company stands for, I feel comfortable just bringing, say, a date or my boyfriend to a company outing without having to ask if it’s okay. Just being normal and comfortable in who you are with the people you work with and not having to second-guess all the time. I can’t imagine going into a scenario where I’m uncomfortable even just living as a gay man in the workplace.
Jen: Just to add to that thought of needing to feel comfortable and accepted. Being able to bring my wife to events is how I test the waters with companies during the interview process.
Why are DEI initiatives or training programs necessary?
Marilyn: There are companies I’ve worked with before where everything seemed like it was running great, but the conversation just wasn’t happening in terms of DEI. There wasn’t a Slack channel, it wasn’t an agenda item on company meetings, it wasn’t something that was addressed at all, so everyone assumed there were no problems.
And what I learned about why programs are so important is because it gives that opportunity to have these conversations. It gives a place where people are allowed to voice that they’re unhappy or uncomfortable. And if you don’t have that, what happens is that people come to work as only part of themselves and just in a business sense, you need your employees to show up as their whole selves so they can do their best work. It’s important to have a program to provide an opportunity for people to join the conversation and also educate themselves. It provides a foundation for understanding DEI issues that can be intimidating or complex.
What can companies do to foster or promote DEI values in the workplace?
Jen: I think transparency is important. For instance, if a company has goals or metrics tied to their DEI initiatives, then it’s easy to present that to employees during meetings to show progress and the results of all the work the team has put in. I feel like seeing that progress is very motivating.
Fong: Making visual progress a driver. As an employee, seeing DEI mentioned in training materials and on company meeting agendas, and knowing there’s a Slack channel sounds so simple, but it makes a world of difference.
Marilyn: When we think about what a company can do, you have to have policies and processes to back up your initiatives. It starts with recruiting, through onboarding and making sure that all teammates feel equally welcome on their teams and within the organization as a whole and that everyone is reflecting the core values. Turnover is expensive and workers today have a lot more flexibility when it comes to changing jobs, so if you’re not fostering an inclusive workplace it can be costly, just from a financial perspective. If DEI is a core value, then there can be repercussions for not living out those core values, and you can start to transform the behavior in the workplace.
At Liongard, We’re Committed to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in the Workplace
Our culture isn’t just something we learn about during onboarding; we’re encouraged to live it every day! What sets our culture apart from the competition?
- DEI-Driven: Come to work as your full self at Liongard. We value diversity and have an active DEI program and training, Slack channels, and initiatives to make sure every employee is heard.
- Onboarding: In addition to posting to the major job boards, Liongard partners with DiversityJobs.com to reach 11+ minority job boards.
- Set up for Success: Liongard has recently partnered with Betsy Furler and her foundation ‘For All Abilities’ to assess our teammates strengths, needs and preferences in the workplace.
- Annual Pay Equity Assessment to ensure we continue to pay our teammates fairly and competitively against industry and company-size standards.
- Awareness: Virtual Social Hours combine fun and education.
- DEI Experts: Partner with DEI experts at Insperity to lead us in best practices and facilitating conversations.
- Slack Channel: Discuss range of DEI topics, always extending kindness and grace to all perspectives.
- Always Accessible: Our leadership team is active at every level, from participating in learning challenges to taking time for donuts with teammates, and they’re always a just a Slack away.
- Truly Transparent: Our 10-, 3- and 1-year plans help everyone across the whole team understand goals. Learning is encouraged, and meetings have open-door policies.
- Work and Play: We’re an energetic group that loves to use trivia, quizzes, scavenger hunts and other creative methods to make learning fun and information easy to retain.
- Deep Work: Every Thursday afternoon, the entire company is encouraged to participate in Deep Work, which means no meetings, no calls, just mindful focus.
- Stay Engaged: By calling out exceptional work, offering incentive programs, clubs and flexible PTO, or just mingling at a happy hour, it’s all about coming together as people first.
Want to love what you do every day at one of the Inc. Best Workplaces? Come work for Liongard—take a look at our current openings.