Weaving Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Into Our Business Strategy

by Patrice Brown, Yellow | Sponsored Content, on Dec 17, 2021 10:13:18 AM

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Patrice-Brown-300x00Diversity, equity, and inclusion are multifaceted issues. As leaders, I believe we need to tackle these subjects holistically to better engage and support all underrepresented groups within our businesses, communities, and industry. We need to do more than bring everyone to the table. We need to recognize the value of each person’s unique voice, perspective, and experience. To listen as we seek to understand. And address honestly and head-on the concerns of our diverse employees and communities as we work to increase equity for all.

It starts with recognizing that our most valuable asset is our people and that their unique employee experience matters. We must make our workplaces trusting, safe spaces to have honest, courageous conversations about diversity, equity, and inclusion. We need to be willing to take action to cultivate a workplace culture where our people feel comfortable collaborating with colleagues so that they may be inclusive of each other’s experiences, backgrounds, needs, and perspectives. A workplace where we encourage compassion, open-mindedness, and empathy. A workplace of ongoing dialogue in which we all agree to hold one another accountable to our values of inclusion, integrity, and respect.

As we envision our strategic roadmaps for 2022 and beyond, we must intentionally weave diversity, equity, and inclusion into our business strategy and goals. These interwoven strategic priorities should be shared openly and often with our teams so that everyone understands diversity, equity, and inclusion are not just a trend, but the key to our future success.

I believe it is our responsibility to model what a true champion of diversity is. A person who ensures that everyone can contribute their best. A person who seeks first to understand and demonstrates consideration through language and actions. A person who proactively identifies and remove barriers and who advocates for others to enable their development and success.

We have to get comfortable with being uncomfortable as we work to define what diversity, equity, and inclusion mean to our companies. Recognize that there may not be a simple fix or easy answer to some of the challenges we encounter in this important work. Accept and explore our own unconscious bias through meaningful education. Normalize addressing bias through guided discussions and workshops. And use this newfound knowledge to consider how to improve current structures and systems to level the playing field and ensure fairness in opportunities for all.

Last year, a group of 12 leaders from diverse functional areas and demographics, including but not limited to race, ethnicity, gender, veteran status, and generation, came together to form a Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging (DEIB) Advisory Council at Yellow. The DEIB Advisory Council funnel their passion and commitment to diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging into concrete actions that led to our Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging Commitment Statement, the addition of inclusion to our core values, our Yellow Inclusion Network Employee Resource Groups, and committees focused on all facets of the employee experience.

A testament to their ability to drive change and inspire others to take action, the DEIB Advisory Council has grown to 18 members, engaged senior leadership partners to support each committee, and is currently forming focus groups of employees across our North American network. I also credit this group with creating the new role of a Vice President of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion for our organization. Together, we are collaboratively building accountability systems within our company to track progress on our goals, catalog effective programs, and measure what matters. Exploring what we learn as we go and sharing transparently will strengthen our new initiatives and demonstrate our commitment to serve the needs of our employees.

At Yellow, we believe together we achieve greater results, build stronger partnerships, and deliver meaningful impact by demonstrating our commitment of diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging to our employees, customers, and communities. We intentionally seek out, attract, and engage with those who want to collaborate in our mission to create a culture of belonging that celebrates diversity and ensures all our employees can thrive. Our inclusive workplace is courageous, innovative, and bold. We hold one another accountable to the highest standards of integrity, transparency, and equity in every one of our actions.

Let’s come together to make good on the inherent promise that all our people should be able to bring their best selves to work and unleash their full potential to be happier and healthier. By working together toward diversity, equity, and inclusion within our workplaces, industry, and communities, we will cultivate meaningful change for everyone.

Written by Patrice Brown, Assistant General Counsel and VP Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion, Yellow

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