By Garima Bhatia, Test Manager – Appliance QA, Endace
Endace has recently started an exciting initiative which we wanted to share.
We have always been a culturally diverse workplace with people from all over the world representing many different nationalities and cultures. We are proud of this and want to recognize and celebrate the diversity we already have at Endace. Each of our individuals has unique perspectives, skills, experiences and backgrounds that bring valuable contributions to the organization.
Supporting this diverse set of individuals to feel included is important; so people feel they truly belong to the organization they are working at and can achieve their maximum potential. For Endace as an innovative organization, this means reaping the rewards of diverse thinking, and a stimulating work environment that leads to a satisfied team with strong collaboration and teamwork.
It is important that diversity is not only accepted, but celebrated, in ways that gives this diverse group of people a strong sense of worth and belonging. Everyone should feel accepted and valued for who they are in order for Endace to build a corporate culture that demonstrably supports and celebrates every individual’s self-expression.
What are we Doing?
Our approach to making diversity at Endace inclusive, by embracing our different mix of people, is a bottom-up approach. Our People team conducted an internal survey, and a series of discussions and presentations, to encourage input from people across the organization. In these sessions, we examined and discussed what diversity means and how acceptance and celebration of diversity go hand-in-hand with inclusion. We discussed how this benefits the business by allowing it to tap into the potential a diverse workforce has to offer, and how it benefits individuals by encouraging their individuality in a productive way.
This process was widely supported across the organization and led to agreement across the board that an active focus on Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) was an important initiative for everyone at Endace.
As our CEO Stuart Wilson said “this initiative is to ensure everyone has an equal voice so the business benefits from the best of the abilities that we have as a diverse team at Endace. I am motivated to give a voice to those who may be reluctant to step forward and I am looking forward to seeing what we achieve together.”
The D&I Committee: and Our Voices
D&I can be “in the eye of the beholder”. So our challenge was to gain an organization-wide perspective of what diversity means to everyone at Endace. We needed to understand where we are now and what we want to focus on improving.
We established a community-led group, by calling for volunteers from across Endace, to collect input and ideas from across the organization, that could be implemented in conjunction with the People team. We found we had many people that are enthusiastic about this initiative and who wanted to be part of the group proactively taking steps to better understand and support our team members.
As Sam from the Software team says, “the differences that exist between us all are a strength, not a weakness. The D&I Committee provides a platform for us to celebrate and better understand this.”
We had people who wanted to voice opinions on many different issues and were willing to dedicate time and ideas.
As Michael in the Support team said, “being part of Endace’s Diversity & Inclusion team resonates strongly with my personal commitment to breaking down barriers for marginalized and vulnerable communities. I am passionate about making a positive difference, whether it’s in relation to gender, age, ability, sexuality, or cultural diversity.”
One very motivated volunteer, Kate, provided a very perceptive insight; “I believe acceptance of difference makes us stronger and smarter. It is not the diversity that is key, it is the openness to it.”
We were also fortunate to have a senior leadership team member, John Attala, Endace’s VP of Worldwide Sales, sponsor the initiative as the D&I group leader. John said,
“As the son of a first-generation immigrant, our family’s diversity stood out. My parents became leaders in their careers and community and I believe our cultural differences educated our community in a small way. Diversity and inclusion are important to me and I’m excited to be part of the first Endace D&I Committee. I hope together we can help facilitate a workplace that is safe, welcoming and where ideas are freely shared because I believe diversity is the one true thing we all have in common”.
Once assembled, the group was trained by the people team on D&I fundamentals and tasked with identifying focus areas and specific objectives Endace could undertake to ensure D&I are embedded across the organization.
So Far: and What’s Next?
The experience of being in the D&I committee so far has been a unique one. We have identified the focus areas we collectively agreed to work on and identified teams to work on each of these focus areas. These teams are responsible for ensuring the overall group makes progress by firstly building awareness of issues in their specific focus areas and then by identifying actions that will address those issues and ensure diversity is not only accepted but overtly celebrated across the organization.
We have taken our first steps – including having all managers participate in an “unconscious bias” workshop. This workshop helped attendees to understand that biases do exist, how they can identify and become conscious of them, and how to be mindful that these biases don’t get in the way of everyone being treated fairly.
As we move forward, we are driven to actively support our organization becoming a place where individuality is celebrated and everyone has a sense of belonging, of having a valued voice, is accepted and respected, and has opportunities to develop. Change happens over time, but we know this can be achieved through our commitment to community-led initiatives and the hard work of our D&I Committee.