Recently, we launched our “Uncommon Conversations” series with the purpose to nurture ambiguous, vulnerable and open dialogue that celebrates differences and cultivates a shared human connection. This will be a quarterly, free-to-attend series that will eventually move to the UnCommons space in person.
Our inaugural UnCommon Conversations focused on diversity in the workplace with guest local experts, Dani Badgett, the co-founder and educator of The Fire This Time, and Gabriela Valverde-Rivera, people and culture leader who has worked in human resources for companies including Target, Chipotle and WeWork.
The conversation covered a wide variety of topics as related to diversity in the workplace and addressed some incredibly insightful questions from attendees including on the benefits of a diverse workforce, if the workforce diversity should mirror the location of the company, how to support diversity internally and recruiting for new hires.
Although few may argue that diversity isn’t important, it actually does help companies perform better. More diverse workforces are shown to have lower turnover, more creativity and more often promote from within.
Gabi recommended that the diversity of the work force shouldn’t reflect the diversity of a company’s geographic community but rather that of its customers. A company does best when it best understands its customers, and to understand customers, you have to employ people with similar backgrounds as they.
Dani provided actionable steps to support diversity in a company. You have to know where you are in the work of change to then determine how to get to where you want to go; many companies have inflated ideas of their diversity initiatives without the right building block for action. Gabi suggested hiring an outside vendor for an inclusion survey to get more realistic views. Dani encouraged leaders to get feedback form employees on potential diversity initiatives before initiating; thereby, getting buy in and ownership from employees before the program is rolled out. She also emphasized that those in charge of diversity and inclusion in a company need to be given power and investment like any other executive would.
Gabi challenged leadership to stop looking for a “cultural fit” when recruiting and instead look for a “cultural add” which will reframe the objectives when hiring and keep companies from continuing to hire the same kind of people simply because they “fit.”
This panel and future discussions are moderated by UnCommons’ community engagement lead, Amalie Zinsser. With Zinsser as the catalyst, these pieces will come together to offer an elevated experience that enables people, teams and businesses to operate in harmony with each other, accelerating performance and growth.
“I’ve found that, all too often, people shy away from hard conversations because they feel like they might say the wrong thing or feel cornered,” said Zinsser. “We will ensure that Uncommon Conversations is a safe environment for people to not only share their perspective, but to get outside of our comfort zones and challenge the way we think and act – all for the betterment of our community.”
If you missed the conversation and want to watch, see the full recording below and be sure to stay tuned our social channels for our next Uncommon Conversation.