For the larger part of 2020, the diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) working group at Poll Everywhere spent a lot of time setting up the building blocks for what our DEI foundation would be. As we continue to build our foundation from the ground up with support from our company’s leadership, here are some big moments from our journey and the lessons we’ve learned along the way:
Launching a corporate charitable matching program in memory of George Floyd.
In the wake of the murder of George Floyd at the hand of police, we launched a matching donation program that supports and encourages PollEvians to contribute to charitable organizations of their choice. Setting up this process required all hands on deck across our Finance, People Operations, and Executive leadership teams! To set up a similar program, here are some things to consider:
- What are the minimum and maximums that you as a company will match per employee?
- What types of donations and organizations are eligible for your matching program?
- What does everyone at your company need to submit in order to generate the employer matching?
- Make an internal repository of organizations that employees can review if they need a place to start to know where to donate. Ask others in the company to contribute as well!
Our best recommendation and key tip is to constantly plug your donation program. Regular reminders at your company-wide meetings or quarterly updates about how much has been donated and matched is important! Reshare the internal repository to allow others to see what issues and organizations other teammates care about. This will encourage them to learn more on their own and may inspire continued action. This is vital to creating a program that is impactful and everlasting; not a one-time deal.
Redoubled support for our nascent diversity, equity & inclusion working group that formed in January 2020.
The early stages of forming our internal working group included laying a lot of groundwork for what daily work and involvement would look like for members:
- What type and level of involvement would those in the working group have?
- Due to the voluntary nature of the working group, how often would the group meet?
- Level set expectations and rules of engagement for group members, because building trust and rapport among this group of people is important.
- Establishing governance and purpose for the working group through internal operations (operating procedures, practices, and policies) and external engagements (public messaging and external engagement).
As we were in the thick of our working group’s early development, the People Operations team had to pivot and move to a fully-remote workforce amidst country-wide shutdowns and shelter-in-place orders which caused a pause on internal DEI efforts. After we launched our corporate charitable matching program in late May, the working group was reenergized and at our company-wide town halls there were questions being posed to leadership about what was next. With the outpour of companies pledging to support the black community and the Black Lives Matter movement, Poll Evians found themselves asking what else would we commit to as a company after making a public statement.
Our diversity, equity, and inclusion working group then decided that we needed to meet weekly to identify gaps and strategize what our DEI efforts would look like. Meanwhile, our executive leadership engaged on their own learning about being anti-racist leaders. Throughout the latter half of 2020, the working group and leadership team were able to take on the following:
- Provide recommendations of policies, procedures, and allocations of spend for the company to implement, including but not limited to:
- Review and research topics relevant to initiatives
- Understanding feasibility of initiatives in the context of Poll Everywhere
- Discuss prioritization of initiatives
- Invest in an outside DEI consultant for 2021 to help build our inclusion-centric culture. Hand-in-hand with this consultancy firm, build-out and efficiently streamline our DEI efforts, while providing best-in-class care and support to all Pollevians.
- Hire our own DEI & People Operations specialist to lead Poll Everywhere’s DEI priorities and commitments across all levels of the organization by driving and executing complex, values-driven projects that influence all aspects of employee lifetime value.
- Training on becoming Anti-Racism Leaders and executives for our C-suite.
There is no finish line to DEI work, but it is important to take a moment to reflect on the tremendous work and progress we have made thus far. As you move forward in creating a culture of inclusion at your organization is it crucial to make sure there is a shared responsibility from all corners of the organization.