After years of increased automation of processes, followed by a global pandemic resulting in difficult economic times, maintaining a focus on diversity and inclusion has been challenging. In particular, reductions in operational staff negatively impacted the percentage of diverse populations within the employee base. Campbell and Company now finds itself in an unusual position within its history, which includes female and minority leaders, of having less diversity of thinking than we know we need. Recognition and awareness of the importance of diversity of ideas and thoughts (along gender, racial, age, and even political lines) within the employee base is a continual challenge.
As new signatories to the CEO Action for Diversity and Inclusion, our internal D&I Team fully embraced participation in the Day of Understanding in April 2021. The D&I Team felt it important to coordinate the Day of Understanding with our monthly “Think Days” where employees are given a day, free of meetings, to focus on a specific task or project. Additionally the team felt it important that we conducted the instruction ourselves, to avoid the “one and done” concerns when an external instructor is used.
The D&I Team coordinated three workshops, utilizing the resources available through the CEO Action website. All employees participated in at least one of the workshops and a focus was made to ensure the workshops were interactive, utilizing Zoom breakouts rooms and Mentimeter presentation software to enable real-time, and anonymous, participation.
1. I Am Who I Am
An opportunity to learn about the diversity that you can’t see, within the peer group. Participants were asked to write a short paragraph about what makes them unique, and then small groups were formed using Zoom breakout rooms, to encourage sharing the information.
2.Fighting Gender Bias
Utilizing the 50 ways to Fight Gender Bias produced by leanin.org, the D&I team coupled video, scenario discussion and quiz questions via a Mentimeter presentation, to encourage participation and keep remote participants engaged.
3.The Only One
With a focus of identifying blind spots, unconscious bias and introducing the perspective of minority employees who are often the “only one” in a group. Utilizing a variety of videos, questions and polls through the Mentimeter software participants were kept engaged and able to ask sensitive questions anonymously.
Campbell and Company has modest goals as to what kind changes we can expect can occur in a short period of time. Our commitment and focus is to ensure a consistent reinforcement to ensure diverse groups and opinions are recognized and included. Feedback from the Day of Understanding was solicited via surveysparrow.com to ensure anonymity and the feedback was broadly positive. The D&I Team plans to continue the theme of the “I Am Who I Am” workshop with “Buddy Meetups” throughout the year, where employees are encouraged to sign up for randomly-assigned, 3-person coffee or lunch meetings to build relationships and encourage diversity discussions among employees.
Success of our D&I initiatives depend upon consistent and genuine “home-grown” actions. Some actions will be more successful than others, but continued visibility of the initiatives, and the support of our leaders and D&I Team will lead to long term success.