How to Build a Workplace That Supports a Diverse Team

Press release – January 30, 2020

By Janey Zitomer, Built in Seattle.

Creating a workspace that supports diversity requires a multifaceted endeavor. Companies must combine education-based initiatives with resources that allow employees to feel accepted as individuals.

We recently spoke to five Seattle company leaders about in-house daycare programs and plans for gender-neutral bathrooms. They told us of dedicated mother’s rooms, a well-being stipend for remote employees to set up their office spaces and adjustable workstations.

Providing tangible resources is important, but they would be mere standalone benefits if executives didn’t also focus on increasing minority representation and encouraging ongoing inclusivity training in the workplace. Find out how these companies check both boxes, below.

OpenMarket

VP of operation isn’t Seujan Bertram’s only title at OpenMarket. She’s also the executive sponsor for the company’s employee-led diversity, equity and inclusion group. As such, she oversees both committee and company-led efforts to make OpenMarket as inclusive as possible. This year, the team plans to bring in expert consultants to help them work out the most effective long-term roadmap for their D&I mission.

What actions does your team and leaders take to ensure all your employees have the support they need to thrive? 

The name of the diversity, equity and inclusion group signifies the different aspects of our mission. Diversity means having representation of a variety of voices in our workplace. Inclusion means creating a culture that invites everyone to participate. Equity ensures fair treatment, equality of opportunity and fairness in access to information and resources.

Over the past few years, we’ve worked to increase the percentage of women at OpenMarket by function, managerial level and overall — and to attract more applicants from other underrepresented groups.

We also provide our staff with information and educational opportunities to promote a diverse and inclusive environment. And we engage with communities to support under-represented groups that want to enter tech.

Inclusion means creating a culture that invites everyone to participate.

Of these actions, what has been most impactful in creating a workplace that supports diversity?

Last year, we hired a global head of recruiting with expertise designing programs that attract candidates who may have been traditionally excluded from common recruiting practices. We have also been reviewing the tools and processes we use to evaluate candidates so we can move from looking for cultural “fit” and focus on cultural “additions.”

What physical aspects of your office are designed to support a diverse team?

In our new Seattle office, we offer adjustable workstations for each employee and a variety of food that meet diverse dietary needs. Gender-neutral bathrooms are in progress.