Sometimes, issues people face might not even cross someone’s mind until they are in the same situation and feel the impact. It’s helpful to have ongoing conversations to share our experiences, and in turn, recognize someone else’s experiences. Even if their reality is not your reality, it’s essential to come from a place of understanding. Recognizing that everyone has a unique perspective is when real change will happen.
George Floyd’s murder last summer was a catalyst for change across the country, including HealthEdge. Our Human Resources team initiated individual and group conversations with the African American employees to share our experiences, feelings, and how the company could do better. These were raw conversations. Everyone listened. Similar to what was happening across the country, these conversations led to a broader, thoughtful dialogue that could focus on how a company can influence societal change.
We needed a safe forum to create more conversations about diversity and inclusion and sharing our experiences. It was clear that the HealthEdge leadership cared and did not want diversity and inclusion to just be a moment or hot topic. They were invested in taking steps to make a change and do it the right way.
HealthEdge signed the Mass TLC Compact for Social Justice aimed at increasing diversity programming and training, self-reporting demographic information, and expanding their talent acquisition pipeline resulting in more diverse hires.
After a few meetings, we decided to add more structure to these discussions and open them up to everyone. This sparked the idea for IBelongHE, an internal group that has regular, open conversations about diversity, equity, and inclusion. I serve as the employee champion of IBelongHE to ensure our employees feel heard and have a voice in charting our path forward to real change.
We’re making progress with the monthly IBelongHE meetings and recently launched a speaker series bringing in outside experts to guide our company in tackling such topics as unconscious bias that help us think of others’ perspectives and experiences.
Our work is not yet done. The first step is acknowledgement followed by making a plan to do better. We’re best served by being thoughtful and purposeful in what we’re doing. We will continue to have conversations, learn from each other, and move toward being a more diverse and inclusive workplace.