Why are we doing this work? This is the first step on the journey of building better workplaces. Once you understand why you’re doing something, it is easier to explain it to others and know where to focus your energy. As we develop our analysis of this work, we are embracing these “why’s”:
- To recognize that organizations lack perspectives from any community that is not well represented on the team – and that this lack of perspectives is an organizational deficit that needs to be addressed intentionally.
- To acknowledge that a homogeneous workforce (across race, class, gender, orientation, ability, or any other identity) is based on entrenched and biased hiring, culture, and retention methods and needs to be proactively changed to achieve a different result.
- To work towards Racial Justice, Gender Justice, Disability Justice and other forms of Social Justice by building an inclusive workplace that embraces diversity and enables everyone to feel safe, valued, and like they belong. This must include inviting new perspectives, work styles, and cultural norms to impact the workplace.
- To affirm that team members holding underrepresented identities feel isolated, tokenized, or worse. Representation for those identities is needed at all levels of the organization AND those voices must be empowered to influence the direction of the organization.
It is important to state these “whys” explicitly. Candidates will want to know what we’re doing and why. Everyone in the hiring process will need to be able to describe the work we’re doing and be able to converse about our why. And we are also including information about this in our onboarding materials.
Being this transparent feels uncomfortable and we’ve been taught not to talk about bias and oppression in the workplace. However, as James Baldwin said, “Not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced.”