Leave the world a better place. That’s one of our core values at Code42. Foundational to this value is how we interact with and treat each other in the workplace, which requires us to acknowledge our unconscious biases. To honor this value as a company, we aspire to create an inclusive culture – one where all belong and where our success is fueled by our unique differences and backgrounds.
That’s why we rolled out our first ever company-wide unconscious bias training to all employees in the fall of 2019. Our goal is to equip our employees with the tools they need to acknowledge, understand and adjust their automatic patterns of thinking and eliminate discriminatory behaviors. While we know it’s only one small step to making Code42 even more inclusive, it’s an important and exciting beginning designed to spark global conversations that inspire ongoing action and result in positive changes.
Unconscious bias training isn’t just a diversity and inclusion checkbox for Code42. There’s a big difference between knowing something cognitively and mastering it so deeply that it impacts your habits and actions. For us, genuine impact will be evident in what we do with what we’ve learned in our training. When, one person at a time, we do the intentional work of interrupting our thought patterns, rewiring our habits and challenging the validity of our automatic assumptions, we will create more equitable spaces within our four walls and beyond, where we all can thrive. This is us living out our values.
Guardians of Culture Program
After completing the required unconscious bias training, all Code42 employees are invited to take their unconscious bias learnings from theory to practice by participating in our Guardians of Culture program. With the goal of helping people move from inclusion knowledge to inclusive action, the program creates opportunities for employees to earn credits by completing activities at their own pace to build trust with colleagues and contribute to a more inclusive workplace at Code42 through completing inclusion related activities.
Guardians of Culture activities act as a vehicle for employees to connect with other employees they may not interact with normally. Connection with co-workers, who may have different job titles, hobbies, political views, beliefs, perspectives, backgrounds or personal interests, creates bridges of trust across diverse people and teams. Aside from new friends at work, this also creates opportunity for expanding perspectives, confronting personal biases and sharing knowledge.
Guardians of Culture also encourages engagement with our Affinity Groups — employee-led groups that prioritize and create space for underrepresented and marginalized groups in the workplace. Our Affinity Group participants are passionate about social justice. And on their own, they’ve facilitated so many great opportunities to talk about race, inclusion, equality and other topics in the workplace. Recently, our Affinity Group leaders created a book club and read, So You Want to Talk About Race, by IIjeoma Oluo. Again, engaging with our Affinity Groups provides space for connecting with colleagues, expanding perspectives, confronting personal biases and using new knowledge to take action to contribute to a more inclusive culture.
Building an inclusive workplace
Guardians of Culture encourages and creates accountability for employees committed to being inclusive leaders through practicing inclusive leadership behaviors. Noted diversity advocate Vernā Myers says, “Diversity is being invited to the party. Inclusion is being asked to dance.” We can create all the training, policies and public statements we want; but until our company is filled with the kind of people who welcome others in and “invite them to dance,” only then will we really see equitable experiences where all can contribute, grow and thrive. Our hope with Guardians of Culture is to facilitate moments of walking to the edge of the room, looking someone in the eye, extending a hand and inviting them to dance.
We are the guardians of our culture. We advance our mission of securing the world’s data by securing and protecting the dignity and value of every Code42 Guardian. We know there is more work to do – next for us is moving from a focus on mitigating unconscious bias to a focus on being anti-racist. We are excited about working with our Affinity Group leaders, executives, and inclusion experts to continue to grow as individuals and as an organization, and live out our value of leaving the world a better place. What is your company doing to create a more inclusive workplace?