Creativity and innovation come from a diverse and inclusive workplace. Read more about how California-based IT cost management company and CompTIA member vCom Solutions approaches DEI’s initiatives.

A simple Google search for “DEI” yielded more than 176 million news articles supporting the claim that the term diversity, fairness and inclusion (DEI) is widely and widely used. Although the popularity of DEI initiatives is growing in various industries, it is important to understand the concept and intent of DEI as more than a trend or a popular word. A diverse and inclusive technological workplace offers more creativity and innovation and enables employees to have the freedom to present their best and most authentic selves in the workplace.

A California-based IT expense management company and a member of CompTIA, vCom solutions, can confirm this. The company first committed to DEI in 2019, when President and CEO Gary Storm set an organizational goal to become a signing company for Action of the Chief Executive Officer. CEO Action is a group based on the shared belief that diversity, equality and inclusion are a public issue, not a competitive one, and that cooperation and bold action by the business community is vital to fostering change on a large scale.

Starting from scratch with DEI initiatives can be huge, but the Diversity Committee at vCom Solutions says the best advice they can pass on to other organizations is to simplify and do it step by step.

Rotate the ball

DEI is not a one-size-fits-all approach, and because of this complexity, organizations may find it difficult to decide where to start. vCom began its journey by setting up a DEI commission. To stir things up, they sent an email survey asking employees to volunteer. The answer was greater than expected.

Miranda Rouane, executive director of vCom, said they checked the volunteers to ensure a cross-section of different points of view, finally selecting nine employees, including an executive sponsor and two co-chairs, representing a staff of approximately 140. Rouen says it has taken them some time since the committee was set up to really get to know each other – something she believes is key to their eventual success as a group.

“Liaison as a committee was important because difficult decisions had to be made when we started to immerse ourselves in our work,” Rouane said. “Taking the time to learn more about each other really opened the lines of communication.”

Redirection of assets and resources

The good news is that you don’t have to recreate the bike. If your organization already has programs that might be suitable for DEI initiatives, research what could be reassigned.

“Philanthropy has always been a big part of vCom’s mission,” said Cassandra Allen, director of talent management. “This was a chance for us to make some existing efforts and refocus them specifically on DEI initiatives.”

This awareness has led the Comprehensive Diversity Committee to decide to set up smaller subcommittees with three members and one of the two co-chairs, with some overlap in related cooperation support initiatives. The purpose of these smaller groups was to inform specific actions related to programs that will bring back to the community, support small to medium-sized businesses, provide internships and scholarships, and partner with schools and students.

Stressing the need to simply start and build on the basics, Rouen says understanding the layers of responsibility is key at this stage. She explains these layers as waves. “First you have to look at yourself, then the company and the community it serves. “You start with the smallest circle of influence and then you build that effect of waves outside,” she said.

Build an example of use

Like everything else in business, DEI’s argumentation is essential. Building a use case is not only useful for communicating the benefits of your programs and initiatives, but can also create momentum from the leadership team.

For example, last year Ruane led a data collection initiative. The aim was to confirm the suspicion based on observation that there is a need to diversify the company’s customer base, which could mean more business opportunities. Quantifying customer demographics has given the green light for change. Among its first initiatives, vCom’s DEI commission has moved to expand its existing rebate program by adding a focus on more diverse customers. The company has also joined Tech for Black Founders, which aims to remove barriers for black technologists and entrepreneurs by providing free services.

“Comparing our specific data with larger data has made it clear from every point of view that this is what we need to do,” Rouen said. Read more about making data-based decisions about DEI in your technology company.

Although this use of data analysis has led to the realization that diversification among vCom’s customer base is necessary and concrete steps will need to be taken to remove barriers for their customers, Ruane says it is not necessary to launch all your indicators immediately. by bat, instead she encourages organizations to start with something simple.

“We started using data by looking at gender and ethnicity in terms of who we recruit as candidates and then who was hired,” Rouane said. “That was no reason to sue; he was just collecting data and starting to make sense of it. ”

Keeping it fresh

Now vCom is taking stock of its DEI committee and asking if everyone is still committed, able and willing to take their time. They understand the need to keep cooperation fresh and engaging, and sometimes introducing new blood is the way to achieve that.

The company is also finding new ways to disseminate DEI’s message internally. Allen says they apply company-wide training and use other resources and frameworks to suggest sessions in which groups of employees watch a video and then discuss what they observed in the breakdown room. The plan is to expand this type of training.

“These efforts are time consuming,” Allen said. “You don’t have to finish it in one day, but we understand the desire to act as quickly as possible. Start by looking at the data you already have and involve your employees. They want to be a part of it. They will be excited to be given this opportunity. “

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