It’s been 73 days since George Floyd was killed in Minneapolis. In those days there has been a true calling to address racial injustice in American in a way that we have never seen before. While many companies, Holler included, didn’t know exactly what to do at first, we did know that something had to be done. The lack of diversity and biases that exist in the workplace must become a thing of the past. It’s time for a true reform within organizations and it’s up to leadership teams across the country to make fundamental changes to their cultures to allow for that change.
Following a couple of days of reflection, Holler’s CEO (who is also a black man) sent an email to our staff. Since, it has been picked up by publications like Fortune, Entrepreneur, and Business Insider, cited by members of the human resources community, and heavily viewed and shared on LinkedIn.
The days following George Floyd’s death lead to protests, riots, social media campaigns and calls to reform the police force in the external world. Internally at Holler, we were immediately at work providing resources for our team to get educated on the movement and access to training on diversity and inclusion in the workplace as well as understanding biases. However, in the first week we spent most of our time listening. Some of the greatest ideas we have had for our program have come from our employee base and we wouldn’t be where we are today without their input and recommendations.
We knew early on that we wanted to build a Diversity, Inclusion and Belonging program that was unlike anything else any of us had seen before. In the process of putting together our stance, guiding principles, and ultimately what would become our program, a few things we knew for sure:
1. The approach to diversity that had been so many companies' strategy was not working. Gone are the days of setting goals for percentages of minorities or women in the workplace and reporting on them annually. We needed to start from scratch.
2. The death of George Floyd sparked an immediate change within our business that, admittedly, should have been done sooner. It sped up our process in creating new opportunities for everyone regardless of race, gender, or sexual orientation.
3. We have an obligation to our team to provide learning opportunities about racial injustice and suppression of various groups, but we also have an obligation to celebrate the diversity of each of our team members. We set out to get the team the training and resources they need to be educated while putting an emphasis on creating excitement about adding diversity to our culture.
4. As a company, we have the ability and responsibility to positively impact our community and create change for the better.
Knowing this, we created our Diversity, Inclusion and Belonging (DIB) position. “We are consciously and fundamentally changing our culture to be more inclusive. At Holler, we foster empathy and understanding between all people, so diversity is never an awkward topic. We educate and break down barriers so we can have conversations about diversity internally and celebrate cultures and experiences different from our own.” And our guiding principles are:
We believe our workplace needs to be diverse in its makeup. So, we ensure our recruiting and sourcing efforts are diverse and inclusive.
We believe in order to foster understanding, we need to provide education and a safe space for conversations around diversity, inclusion and belonging.
We believe that in order for people to feel a sense of belonging, we need to create excitement about each other's differences.
We believe that businesses have the power to shape society. Therefore, we need to be active members in our communities to create change around us, not just within us.
We delivered this to our team on June 17th in a company wide town hall, with the promise that everything we do at Holler will be checked against this position and these guiding principles. From there we got to work.
We plan to share our learnings and resources with the larger community as this initiative progresses. This is only just the beginning, and we will keep you all updated along the way.