Holding Every Person Accountable for Workplace Inclusion

The D&I team doesn’t have to put in large-scale, expensive diversity initiatives or recruiting strategies in place in order to move the needle.

Inside Amplitude
July 28, 2016
Image of Nisha Dwivedi
Nisha Dwivedi
Lead Sales Engineer
Holding Every Person Accountable for Workplace Inclusion

Last month, we wrote about our search for the right kind of diversity and inclusion training for Amplitude. We knew that cultivating an inclusive workplace was going to take a lot of effort on the behalf of everyone at Amplitude, so we were really looking for a training that would meet our needs and help us put in place best practices for managing unconscious bias. That’s how we came to work with Danielle DeRuiter-Williams and the amazing team over at The Justice Collective.

To round out our three-part training (you can read more about that here), we recently completed our second workshop and a town hall meeting. One thing really hit home at the end of these sessions. The D&I team doesn’t have to put in large-scale, expensive diversity initiatives or recruiting strategies in place in order to move the needle.

Instead, every individual has to make a mental shift towards inclusion in order for the workplace as a whole to be inclusive.

One way we’re cultivating a more inclusive workplace is by figuring out how we can support the marginalized individuals within our own company, and how we can keep each other accountable for doing so.

Supporting the marginalized

How can those in the mainstream or majority group start understanding and supporting the needs of those who are marginalized in the workplace? Two things need to happen:

1.) Cultivate empathy for the margin.

The whole company went through a series of exercises that made each of us delve into previous work experiences that made us feel marginalized. We soon realized that at various points in our life, we’ve all been a part of the mainstream and we’ve all been part of the margin.

For some, being marginalized in the workplace means being an underrepresented minority in a room full of white males. It may mean being the only parent in a room full of young, unattached individuals. It may mean choosing not to eat meat or drink alcohol when the majority of your coworkers do.

Once we were able to empathize with each others’ experiences, we realized how important it is to be proactive about creating a more equitable experience for those who are in the margin at the workplace.

2.) Declare ways in which the mainstream can offer support.

At the end of our self-reflection, we shared with the rest of the group one concrete thing that each of us, as part of a mainstream, can do to support those who are being marginalized or in the minority at Amplitude.

Here are some examples of these declarations we shared:

  • “As a single person with no children, I will make an effort to schedule meetings earlier in the afternoon so parents don’t have to stay too late.”
  • “As a white male in a leadership position, I will make sure that women’s opinions are respected in the workplace.”
  • “As a male engineer, I will make sure the voices of my female coworkers are heard and understood.”
  • “As someone with no food allergies, I will make sure my teammate has things to eat when our team goes out.”

The declaration served a dual purpose of allowing each of us to recognize our own privilege, as well as forcing us to come up with actionable ways to help others. It’s much more concrete than walking away from D&I training with a vague sense of, “Okay, I’ll try to be a better person.” At the same time, it leaves you with one powerful goal that that you can actually accomplish on a day-to-day basis. Instead of coming up with an overwhelming or vague diversity initiative, this exercise put responsibility for diversity and inclusion on every person at the company.

Holding each other accountable

That brought us to the next challenge. Stating one’s intentions is a great way to get started, but how can each of us be accountable for improving workplace inclusion?

With the help of TJC, each of us teamed up with two other coworkers to be “accountability buddies.” Our tasks were to:

  • Share our personal D&I goals with each other
  • Regularly check in with each other about D&I and other work-related issues
  • Be each others’ support system and sounding board
    In addition, we’re working on crafting and getting regular surveys out to measure the pulse of Amplitude’s workplace inclusion.

Next steps

There is power in declaring your intentions aloud. It’s more likely that you’ll make a change or accomplish a goal you’ve set if you simply tell someone about it.

Each of us at Amplitude has thought about and shared with their peers one clearway they can help to create a more inclusive environment in our workplace. By making that declaration and staying accountable to each other, we’re slowly but surely making that shift towards an even better company culture.

While these series of trainings was really focused on shifting individual attitudes and actions, we’re also beginning to focus on the bigger picture and thinking about larger scale initiatives as well. We’ve begun to standardize our recruiting process across teams. We’re investigating channels from which to recruit diverse candidates and making sure that D&I has a place in the interview process. Diversity at Amplitude is now also a part of our new employee onboarding process.

Sharing Amplitude’s accomplishments and challenges through these posts is our way of keeping Amplitude accountable as a business for improving workplace D&I.

In our next post, we’ll talk about more concrete ways that we’re making D&I a central part of our work lives at Amplitude. Until then, to learn more about diversity at Amplitude, be sure to check out our previous posts:

About the Author
Image of Nisha Dwivedi
Nisha Dwivedi
Lead Sales Engineer
Nisha leads the Sales Engineering and Diversity teams at Amplitude. She graduated from the University of Michigan and has since learned to embrace warm weather, wine and hills.
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