Most organizations understand the concept of diversity and its importance. However, as we have become more diverse, we are now seeing and understanding the true importance of inclusion. Our challenge has been learning how to empower others and ensure everyone's voice is heard, regardless of race, color, religion, age, gender, national origin, disability status, sexual orientation, gender identity, or protected veteran status. Verna Myers said it best, “Diversity is being invited to the party, inclusion is being asked to dance.” How does an organization effectively ask their employees to dance?
Nikola has begun to conquer this challenge by raising awareness about inclusivity through training and providing a platform for people to (1) share their stories, (2) learn from each other, (3) educate the organization on ways it can improve and be supportive. Within the last two months, we have created 4 employee resource groups and still growing. In addition to providing an open-door for employees to share their inclusive ideas and feedback.
Participants now have a voice to express who they are and what they need. They have given themselves permission to be authentic and to 'bring their whole selves' to work. Group leaders are now collaborating and working together to create genuine belongingness and to share best practices.
My drive for diversity comes from my own personal experience. I've seen first-hand the unmatched potential of a truly diverse and unified team. It is not just the right kind of team, it's the best and most powerful team, period. That's why we aspire as an organization to capitalize on the ideas and efforts of everyone, and to build teams that value each individual, and enable them to do their best.