IDEA: Our approach to Inclusion, Diversity, Equity and Advocacy at Human 🌈

TLDR: We believe in absolutely everybody, and we understand the value that diversity brings to not only our company but our world. 🌏 So no matter a person’s racial or ethnic background, their gender, sexual orientation, religion, disability status, age, or family status; we strive to create a working environment where everyone feels valued for their contributions.

At Human, having a diverse and inclusive team has been one of our biggest goals from the get-go (see here). However, as an early-stage startup, we recognise that we have a lot of work to do to create an acceptable representation of our society within our team. That’s why rather than saying we want to be diverse, we as a team are constantly refining what inclusion, diversity, and equity mean to us; and also how we as a business can better advocate for people from minority backgrounds. We call this the Human IDEA policy. 🌈

Right now, a successful IDEA for us is:

  1. Diversity and equity in all teams at Human. This includes having diverse leadership.
  2. An inclusive culture where all of our team feel like they are safe and belong.
  3. Guidelines and procedures to ensure that we are scouting, interviewing and recruiting diverse talent without bias.
  4. Members of our team actively advocate for groups of people who may be in less fortunate positions than themselves. This includes inside and outside the workplace.
  5. An evolving approach to DEI - we will never 100% reach our goals, however, we will remain committed to improving ourselves forever.

So, what do we mean when we say IDE?

Inclusion- Inclusion refers to the action of including everyone within our group structure. This includes the behaviours, values and social norms that people in our team use.

Diversity- Women, people from diverse racial and ethnic backgrounds, LGBTIQ+ and non-binary people, neuro-diverse people, people from lower socioeconomic backgrounds and people with disabilities are often underrepresented and subject to prejudice in tech workplaces. To be diverse means to increase the representation of underrepresented groups in our workplace. At Human, we are constantly refining the tools that we will use to measure and keep ourselves accountable in this regard.

Equity- Equality is giving everyone the same opportunity, therefore equity is giving people the resources they need to have the same experiences as others in our workplace. We understand that not everyone starts in the same position, so we want to level the playing field.

And, what do we mean when we say A?

Advocacy- Whilst we all bring our unique skills and experiences to the team; we recognise that the majority of us have been fortunate enough to not be subject to the forms of cyclical or structural discrimination as many others. That’s why we encourage our team to advocate for the rights and interests of groups or communities that may require additional support for their voices to be heard. When advocating we encourage our team to listen before they speak; ensuring that they are speaking out, rather than speaking on behalf of others.

How are we aiming to put this IDEA into practice?

  1. We don’t make assumptions about each others’ cultures based on stereotypes
  2. We champion inclusive language in the workplace, for example, we don’t say “hey guys”- we prefer to say ‘team’, ‘folks’, ‘people ‘y’all’ or ‘everyone’.
  3. We use the word ‘partner’ until our colleagues inform us of the word they use for a person they are in a relationship with.
  4. We allow carers in our team to schedule meetings when it suits them so that they aren't forced to pick between their family and their work. This includes being flexible about “all hands” meetings.
  5. As an Australian company, we acknowledge, accept and understand that no matter where we are across this nation, we are living and working on First Nations peoples’ land. As such, we make monthly payments to pay the rent to support community-based Aboriginal organisations.
  6. We don't assume that a person celebrates certain religious holidays because of where they live or their ethnicity.
  7. We have engaged specialist recruiters who spend their time finding and contacting diverse candidates in the market.
  8. We ensure that our interview panels are as diverse as possible so that candidates from minority backgrounds feel seen and heard before they are a part of our team.
  9. We have developed standardised interview templates and scorecards so that bias is removed from our interview process.
  10. We don’t assume that because a person identifies as a woman they are the primary caregiver for their children, or that they want to have children.
  11. We communicate asynchronously wherever possible, so our team feels like they can work when it is convenient for them without missing out on crucial information
  12. We encourage neuro-diverse members of our team to choose alternative ways to communicate, give, or receive feedback that works for them
  13. We encourage our team members to volunteer their time, skills and resources to charities and Not-for-profits that they care about. To do this, Human offers employees a number of paid volunteer days a year.

Practically, we hope the above guidelines will help:

  • Team members call out inappropriate comments or behaviours in our workplace or online.
  • Team members discuss their own experiences of sexism, racism, or discrimination to help other team members recognise their privilege
  • Team members feel like they can prioritise their loved one’s health and wellness over work on certain days without backlash
  • Team members in same-gender, same-sex, or non-heteronormative relationships feel comfortable bringing their partners to team events without fear or embarrassment

Again, while we are aiming to do all of the above, we know we have a long way to go to ensure that our team is as diverse as it can be. However, we hope that for now, these steps help all of Humans’ current and future employees feel safe, supported and valued for who they are, and not the work they produce. 🌎

Contributors
Hugh Barrett
People & Engagement @ Human