More than machinery, we need humanity; more than cleverness, we need kindness and gentleness. – Charlie Chaplin

Last month as part of our monthly consciousness-raising activity we centered our conversation around Partners in Diversity’s Diversity Retention Project. We focused on the section entitled “Experiences at Work” and talked about our own experiences of diversity, or lack of, at work. We also reflected on what we have done to improve support and accountability, and what could be better for folks coming into the organization and folks who are already there.

As we looked back, we took time to notice the little strides we have taken to be a more human-centered organization. One of the first things we worked on has been our hiring and onboarding process, and benefits.

More than machinery, we need humanity; more than cleverness, we need kindness and gentleness. – Charlie Chaplin

A few examples from our hiring overhaul: We took cues from other organizations and practiced more transparency about pay, duties, the level of work required, and being open to candidates about our equity journey, steps taken forward and steps taken back. We’ve made it a practice to send out interview questions one hour before interviews for applicants to review. We’ve found that this has made the interview Q and A process richer and lessened the anxiety and intimidation factor for candidates. We’ve also made sure that each interview round has at least one BIPOC staff member to help interrupt white supremacy that is inherent in the hiring process. 

Once a person is hired, they are assigned an onboarding buddy to help navigate the culture of our organization. Many organizations have unwritten rules and practices and this is a way for us to provide a resource to the new employee that is not their supervisor or someone they work directly with, to answer questions that may not be covered in a more traditional onboarding process.

We are also intentional about the review process, even changing the language around it to help take away from the inherent power imbalance that is baked into it. Instead we call it an accountability cycle, where both parties–supervisors and supervisees–are involved in the planning process, goal setting, and expectations for both supervisor and employee. 

We’ve attempted to make the conversations around pay raises easier and more transparent, setting aside a time where every employee, as part of the accountability cycle, can raise up the issue of their wages and job duties. We provide a clearer structure on how to ask for raises in an attempt to empower employees, using data, job descriptions, and 360 feedback as a starting point for conversations and requests. 

These are just some of the things we’ve implemented. There are so much more we could be doing and the Partner’s in Diversity report really helped us along in seeing what we’ve done right but more importantly, what more we could be doing. I think it is worth listing now, as a form of accountability and reflection:

  • Hiring pool diversity: Where are we doing outreach? Where do we post jobs? Are we satisfied with our outreach to BIPOC and other marginalized communities? 
  • Conflict and feedback: We need better models for handling conflict and feedback
  • Development: We need better support for BIPOC employees in terms of building them up for supervisor or leadership roles

What has your organization done to become a more human-centered workplace? We love to learn from other folks doing similar work! We love to share what we’ve done. Reach out to Derrick at 

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