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Building an inclusive culture – diversity is just not enough

The word “diversity” should be worthy of not being mentioned. This is the first sentence that came up when we kickstarted a series of meetings with our Head of Talent Sofia Torres to discuss diversity in our workplace. These bi-weekly meetings have unveiled valuable insights about our working environment and what we are doing to keep building an inclusive culture at LoopStudio. It made us aware of the fact that we still have a long way to go. That diversity must be nurtured every day and at many levels. But, at the same time, we found we are on the right track.

This post compiles the outcome of these initial meetings in the form of an interview with Sofia. It has set a wheel in motion and motivated us to do better.

Source: LoopStudio’s archive. March 2020.

What do we understand by diversity and a diverse workplace?

Diversity in the workplace refers to having people from different genders, age groups, study fields, and regions worldwide working together and contributing to the same working environment. Though it is relevant to the company to have this diversity, it is not enough. The real challenge is to build an inclusive culture. One in which everyone is accepted as they are. Where they are heard and valued. A culture in which you guarantee equal development opportunities to every member of the organization, and every member perceives it this way.

Why is this inclusive culture so essential to us? Are our values as a company aligned to this?

We believe that all individuals must have the same opportunities. Therefore, it is our responsibility to create and foster the right environment. This point is connected to one of our core values: fulfillment.

We look to be a home for all individuals who want to grow professionally and personally; we aim to support a healthy work-life balance.

Our team’s personal and professional development makes us grow and evolve as an organization. Thus, LoopStudio is a place for all individuals that seek professional growth.

What actions do we take to nurture a diverse culture?

First of all, you should treat everybody equally; inclusion is critical. Just as we mentioned before, diversity in the workplace goes beyond having a multicultural and multi-ethnical team. It is about not making any differences in the working environment based on somebody’s gender, age, religion, ideals, or any other criteria unrelated to their work. Everyone should feel included regardless of the traits they identify themselves with.

We use a recruiting system that searches for profiles based on skills, which makes finding the right prospects for a job much more straightforward. It contributes to diversity in our organization since we don’t consider any other characteristics. We must be extra careful when we talk about “cultural fit”, as it can become an element of unconscious biases. For this reason, we focus our selection criteria on profiles that are aligned with our company values.

This type of bias reduction should be present in every decision we make, including when we train our team members to build their career plans.

Loop’s mentor program is another crucial component of our inclusive culture. For many of our employees, we are their first working experience. Having an experienced mentor to accompany them helps to the onboarding process’s success. Our holistic onboarding process covers training in both skills and values.

How do we empower people?

Asking for feedback from our team is one of the leading indicators of how they feel. Asking them about their work environment, tasks, and teammates gives us insights into how we can continue improving and growing.

As an agile organization, we cherish self-organizing teams where all contributions are valued the same way. An inclusive culture has both workloads and results falling back on the team instead of on individualities.

Diverse activities and instances where every voice is heard and different perspectives analyzed also contribute to inclusion. Our monthly tech councils, Ruby meetups, and collaborative projects across areas are a few examples where different ideas and views meet each other and are valued equally within the company.

Although our management team has always been aware of our diverse workforce, today we decide it is time to do more. Let this be the first push that sets us in motion to continue working and moving forward. We are aware of the fact that we need to implement clear diversity policies, foster integration, and create the time to talk about diversity at work with all our team members. That is where we are heading towards.

“Diversity is being invited to the party. Inclusion is being asked to dance.”

– Verna Myers