By Laura Smith, Head of People and Culture
We’ve got a rainbow on our logo on LinkedIn this month – Pride month. It’s a big deal for us at Trade Ledger.
We’ve always been an inclusive bunch, but felt the need to be more organised as the company grew, and a year ago we set up a Diversity, Inclusion and Belonging group (DIBz for short). They’ve achieved a lot in a short time.
My approach to this is to lead off with inclusivity and belonging. If you feel like you belong, then, regardless of how you identify, you can bring your authentic self to work. Diversity is a natural outcome.
At Trade Ledger we’ve thought about and debated these issues endlessly. We don’t want to put people in boxes labelled with their race, gender, sexuality and so on. These things are definitely interesting, but as aspects of a whole person, rather than separated out. The result is that we find ourselves talking a lot about cultural, social, religious things, and not so much about people’s identities.
Last year we set ourselves this goal:
Together, we will build a culture where everyone feels like they belong. Everyone will feel empowered to bring their authentic self to work and feel valued for who they are.
During the year we ran three workshops. ‘Lifting the lid on diversity’ was the first one, looking at what diversity is and why we should care. For the second we brought in a brilliant external trainer to help us recognise and combat unconscious bias – the ways in which we judge others without thinking, such as conformity bias (closely related to groupthink or peer group pressure) and confirmation bias (our reaction to people who agree with us). The third was interview training. During recruitment we work on diversity and inclusion at every stage – advertising, screening, each round of interviews – and of course the working culture, so that our new hires will stay. We invested in Textio, a tool that checks for biased language and highlights gendered, ageist and over-complex wording. It’s a huge investment for a business of our size.
We made plans for the year, in a Celebrating and Engaging calendar. In 2021 so far, we’ve marked St Patrick’s Day, Persian New Year, Holi, International Transgender Day of Visibility and others. (International Cat Day and World Chocolate Day are coming up. As I said, we’re inclusive.)
For International Women’s Day we updated our policy on parental leave and removed references to gender, with ‘primary carer leave’ replacing ‘maternity leave’ and ‘paternity leave’. Our Head of Engineering ran a workshop for us exploring gender diversity in technology.
Finally, we set up a twice-yearly culture survey for employees, which included a question: “Can you be yourself at work?” Our February poll said 88% of them felt they definitely could, with a neutral score from the other 12%. We got a slightly lower score for “Are people managers in this company visibly committed to diversity?”, with 68% saying yes. Asking these questions has highlighted areas where we need to take action.
I’d love to see the day when we don’t have to talk about DIBz any more because diversity, inclusion and belonging have become natural to us.
Until then, we’re committed to working at it and making Trade Ledger a truly welcoming place for everyone.
Happy Pride Month!