A few months after I started at New Signature, I was approached by a colleague who graduated from the same women’s college as I had an idea— she wanted to form the company’s first employee resource group, a group dedicated to gender equality, diversity and inclusion.
We got together a few times (remotely via Teams, since we both work from home) and started chatting about what this group would look like, what steps we needed to take to get it up and running, and what the scope should be. Since we would be running this in addition to our day jobs, we decided it was important to keep the focus tight and work on making real differences where we could, rather than biting off more than we could chew and potentially not making any progress.
Once we opened the participation to employees for involvement, we worked together as a team to define our name (the Gender Equality Tactics and Inclusion Team — GET IT) and our mission:
New Signature’s Gender Equality Tactics and Inclusion Team (GET IT) is dedicated to building gender equality in the workplace and beyond through empowering, supporting, developing and investing in women and gender minorities. Our focus is on improving inclusion and equality for everyone on the gender spectrum, to help make NS the best place to work for all.
So, what have we been doing in the past few months since the group’s formation? We’re so glad you asked!
We focused our energy into the organizational and strategic tactics that forming a group requires in the beginning. Currently, our focuses are around:
- Educating – At our biweekly meeting, we begin with a different team member leading an ‘Education Corner’. The team member passes along some tidbit of information to share related to gender equality – a statistic, a research paper or a tactic for responding to conflicts and issues. This allows us to arm ourselves with knowledge and understanding as we develop our group initiatives.
- Empowering Our Task Forces – Much like committees in government, the GET IT group has also formed two initial task forces. The Hiring Practices Task Force has been tasked with investigating our current hiring practices through the scope of gender equality and comparing them to best practices from other companies worldwide. Their findings will be presented to our HR and People teams as suggestions to improve the applicant experience, to remove opportunities for implicit bias to affect hiring, and to ensure that our hiring practices treat applicants equally regardless of gender.
Our second task force is the Education Task Force, working on communicating to the entire New Signature community about gender equality topics, including implicit bias and how to be a good colleague to women and gender minorities. We are setting up an internal site for gender and bias resources and a Yammer channel for talking about these ideas. At our regional summits, this task force coordinated presentations on implicit bias – how to identify it and how eliminating it can be challenging and problematic.
The Education Task Force is also working on building a communication plan to release weekly education to our organization as a whole around various monthly topics, like microaggressions, bias, discrimination in pay or promotion, mothers in the workforce, and many more issues.
- Gathering Input and Participation – Our team has also developed a survey to send to the entire company to measure the progress we make in our gender diversity journey and to collect input on what all of our colleagues think are the most important things for us to work on in the future.
We are excited about the work we have done so far and are even more excited about what we are primed to accomplish next. We are thankful to work for an organization that encourages every team member to learn, grow and understand what a diverse and inclusive workplace looks like, and supports actions to improve every day.
You can learn more about New Signature on our Company & Culture page and check out our blog for continuing updates from the GET IT group.