By Jim Kaskade
This week kicks off Black History month—and it reminds us about the importance of black lives, the growing movement around Black Lives Matter, and the call for diversity, equity, and inclusion for all.
In continuing with my commitment for change, Conversica is following through its promise to share our Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (DE&I) goals, as well as our progress against those goals. Those who know me, know I am a student of change leveraging the power of minorities. I truly feel that diversity in the workplace (and in the world, in general) is a path to not only doing what is right—but also a path to building a better business.
CEOs who still believe that they will win based on their application of innovative technologies, superior go-to-market strategies, or purely by out-investing with large amounts of capital, will ultimately lose to those who believe in the one key competitive advantage that matters—their company’s people.
The power of diversity is real. Our staff at Conversica is far past the debates of equality. And although it may be front and center for our nation—with a clear disconnect in the fight against racism—we at Conversica are leagues ahead of that talk track. We’re focused on how to close the gap that we have long believed in solving. There is no debate, there is only execution.
In order to rally our actions around positive change, we organized ourselves around nine discrete initiatives—our pillars for Diversity, Equity & Inclusion:
- Conversica’s Employee Days for Diversity: Set annual goals for diversity, equity, and inclusion within our organization each year on Martin Luther King Jr. Day and revisit those goals mid-year between May 25th (the anniversary of George Floyd’s untimely death) and Juneteenth June 19th.
- Conversica’s Services for Diversity: Provide minority-owned businesses and charities supporting minority advancement with free augmented workforce solutions.
- Conversica’s Recruiting for Diversity: Achieve our employee diversity mix targets by requiring a diverse selection of candidates for every role.
- Conversica’s Training for Diversity: Promote management training on diversity, inclusion, and equality will be provided annually, and maintain zero discrimination complaints/incidents by employees.
- Conversica’s Community Support for Diversity: Encourage employees to volunteer in external diversity initiatives and reward them for their community service. Conversica will sponsor events and webinars to support our continued education and community participation in diversity, inclusion, and equality topics.
- Conversica’s Metrics for Diversity: Report Conversica’s progress on its diversity KPIs to employees, and to the public, ultimately holding ourselves accountable with transparency.
- Conversica’s Retention and Advancement for Diversity: : Increase career development for underrepresented group members, as well as retain employees and measure/manage the time and rate of promotions.
- Conversica’s Trusted Exchange for Diversity: Offer an environment where all ideas are welcomed, and employees feel comfortable and empowered to have discussions about diversity, equity, and inclusion.
- Conversica’s Ecosystem for Diversity: : Enforce our diversity, equity, and inclusion by “firing” customers or partners who don’t adhere to our values. Encourage the use of minority-owned, women-owned, veteran-owned, LGBT-owned, and differently abled-owned businesses as suppliers to Conversica.
We’ve made important strides in each of these areas. I’m proud to say our team of Conversicans focused on rallying and leading the whole company to create change behind each.
To provide a sample of our efforts, our employees commit themselves to serve and volunteer at local community events for the underrepresented. This past year, not only did we raise enough money to feed 72,000 people partnering with Feeding America, but we also volunteered at several organizations, some of which included Third Parent Family and Youth Day and Seattle Salvation Army Food Bank. In Bellingham WA, we participated in Handbags for Housing with Lydia Place. I get goosebumps every time I see the pictures of our employees making a difference in the community.
As part of our commitment to transparency, we have committed to reporting on our progress within Conversica itself. So here it is…
Let’s set the end-of-year baseline. How many people within our company contribute to our diversity goals as a company? Answer: 244
Here is our progress on gender diversity. We have a goal of 50% male and 50% female across all functions—the Board, our executive team, our broader leadership team, and the company as a whole.
Here’s where we landed at the end of 2021. Our company is composed of 60% male and 40% female Conversicans. See the details across groups below.
Now, the equally important measure of success in our diversity efforts at Conversica—our progress on racial diversity. At the company level, we still have a majority of white workers at 55%, followed by Latinx at 31%, Asian at 9%, and African-American at 1%. See the details across groups below.
As we continue to grow Conversica (our team target this year is 39% year over year growth), we have aggressive initiatives to drive recruiting and, ultimately, our selection of new team members to achieve our targets for race as follows:
- White: 55%
- Asian: 20%
- Latinx: 15%
- African-American: 10%
If you are a peer CEO reading this, transparency leads to change. So, what are your commitments to much-needed change, and how are you performing against your Diversity & Inclusion goals?