Diversity, Equity and Inclusion is about so much more than what you can see. This is true in the “real world” and it’s been especially true as we’ve continued to build a workplace culture centered on the idea that you are valuable as a whole person, not just as an employee.
The belief that your lived experiences, ideas, background and opinions matter and that there’s a place for you to express these ideas safely in the workplace is incredibly powerful. I’ve had some vulnerable and honest conversations about my experiences as part of the LGBTQ+ community with colleagues and with leadership at Saxum. Not only have they eagerly listened to what I shared but they took action — reworking the parental leave policy and updating language in handbooks to avoid heteronormative language among other things. These were things that were important to me and they became important to Saxum. They were also things that indicated to me that they saw me — all of me — and that kind of support is rare in an employer.
As a dedicated DEI Champion at Saxum, I can tell you that we have been very intentionally focused on authenticity. We care about DEI and actively promote DEI across the agency because it’s the right thing to do.
- We’ve created a playbook that outlines how we promote and implement our DEI principles, how we keep it top of mind for the organization and how every employee at Saxum contributes.
- We’ve elevated DEI in our organization by formalizing it — we have an official DEI logo, Saxum-specific DEI badges to celebrate and visibly show support, formal and informal committee meetings, and emphasis on regular staff surveys with data sharing.
- Lunch & Learns have been some of my favorite DEI activities we’ve hosted so far. I am proud to have co-hosted and led Saxum’s first Lunch & Learn on LGBTQ+ Pride Month and I loved the open dialogue the presentation encouraged. These open opportunities give individual team members a chance to share something about themselves but also to provide a safe space and learning experience for the rest of the team and a chance to celebrate others.
One thing I’m most proud of as Saxum’s DEI efforts have evolved over the past five to ten years is that we understood the assignment. We get that DEI isn’t a one-off initiative and instead we treat it as a foundational aspect of our organization that requires a deep commitment and support, and we recognize work in this space is ever-evolving and iterative — something that is deeply embedded in the identity of our company. When it comes down to it, our DEI initiative is obsessed for good. We will never stop striving to learn more, to understand more and to connect with each other. After all, in the end, we’re stronger and better together.