As I reflect on the last few years, I realized how many of us felt that spark of empowerment to lean into our “authentic selves”. I’ve always felt our stories, lived experiences, and voices are the secret sauce to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. With the spark of empowerment, we were able to relearn what “bring your most authentic self to work” means in the workplace. As a queer woman of color, I am honored to lead the charge for Dutch Bros!
First off, listening and learning from (and with) each other is what it is all about! Creating an environment where employees feel psychologically safe to share their stories, real work experiences, and lived experiences unlocks innovation and creativity throughout the whole company. I am so thankful for a company that is massively proud of its employees to the fullest of their identities. I am stoked to be part of a company that supports me in pausing to listen and learn from the voice of the employee through meaningful surveys, conversations, and raw feedback!
People First, Baseline Second
Investing in programs, events, reviewing policies, and procedures is all great but always start with what your people are saying, thinking, and wanting. Listen to them- they are taking companywide culture surveys, they are self-identifying in your HR systems, and lastly, employees want their voice, thoughts, and ideas to be part of the company DEI strategy. Build an environment where employees can have an open dialog about what DEI is to them, and how it shows up in their roles, team, and jobs- create space to be heard. This, I promise you, is the key to helping employees feel they are a part of the strategy.
“Dive deep into the data and make sure the majority voices are not overshadowing the minority. The diversity of the voice matters to the diversity of your people”
If you start with listening and learning to your employees- the DEI framework, structure, and governance is easier for all employees to understand how they “show up” as individuals, on a team, within the company, and community. Bringing awareness and breaking down a high-level DEI strategy is simple when you’ve created the strategy with the voice of the employee. Second, bring everyone to a baseline, a starting point of where the company is going and how they are a part of the plan! I personally love this part of the process, bringing everyone along and creating individual ownership across the company. The magic starts to happen, employees feel the progress, and they are part of the movement.
Your Voice, Our Strategy
As humans, we all need to feel like we belong and want to know how we’re part of the journey. I encourage you all to go back to your DEI strategy and framework to make sure your employees' voices are part of the structure and the success measures of the progress. Making your employees feel heard, seen, and valued within your DEI Strategy will help with meaningful change.
Lastly, but most importantly, dive deep into the data and make sure the majority voices are not overshadowing the minority. The diversity of the voice matters to the diversity of your people. Building muscle (actions and behaviors) will be hard but going through the workouts (leading your people) is so worth it!
You got this!