Skoda Minotti Diversity & Inclusion Journey
We recognized the need to foster a diverse and cohesive workplace. We want to attract and retain top talent regardless of their background, and create an environment where all feel welcome, accepted and appreciated.
In 2014, Skoda Minotti invested in having each employee take the Birkman assessment to learn about their own behavior as well as the behaviors of others. The Birkman Method is a Diversity Tool. It helps us in respecting and celebrating our similarities and differences. We now invest in the assessment for each new hire, whether they are an intern or full-time employee and include a component about Birkman in all the courses we teach in our University of Promise.
The second part of our journey began when one of our executives suggested we dive into the female perspective of the workplace by reading the book Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg. Our team decided to host small group discussions on each chapter during 2016. The book focused on encouraging women to pursue their ambitions. This book also focuses on how men can help support the women they work with as well as and their wives and daughters at home.
We asked ourselves what topic would further support our core value of Teamwork which ensures that Skoda Minotti maintains a dynamic working environment where everyone is respected and valued. Our solution was to broaden our scope by learning about each generation and how events during their formative years shaped the way they view the world and what they value in the workplace.
Further, we learned that generational harmony is created when we get to a place where we appreciate and respect the differences each generation has and capitalize on each generation’s strengths. To do that, we learned that we have do the following things:
- Show respect
- Be flexible and adaptable
- Avoid stereotyping
- Learn from one another
- Adjust your communication style
- Appreciate and value differences
- Be more open minded
Lastly, we began discussions this year around unconscious bias. Unconscious bias happens when our brain makes incredibly quick judgments of people and situations without us realizing it. It is influenced by our background, cultural environment and personal experiences. Did you know that we unconsciously process 11 million pieces of information per second? Our goal is to create awareness that it does exist, uncover the different types of unconscious bias, and determine the best way to recognize our own unconscious biases and how they affect our decisions. If we can accomplish even a fraction of that, we are opening ourselves up to being more diverse and inclusive and seeking to understand people as individuals.
Skoda Minotti had over 50 people (about a quarter of our staff) attend the Lean In book discussions. After the series, we compiled a top 10 list of lessons learned:
- Speak up
- Find an advocate
- Be confident
- Challenge yourself - Set personal goals
- Take risks
- Support/encourage each other
- Be authentic
- Solicit/give feedback
- Set boundaries for yourself
- Be aware of unconscious biases
Based on lessons from that series, we created the Unconscious Bias series, where we have already had over 40 people start the course, with several more signed up for the next round.
Diversity and inclusion is about respecting people for who they are and using descriptive characteristics to help us understand people, not to help us define, stereotype, or generalize people.