In the wake of the current civil unrest occurring throughout our country, many companies are now seeing the gaping corporate hole where cultural diversity and inclusion initiatives should have been. Some may think it’s too little too late or be timid to jump into the discussion, but now it is imperative for companies to take the first step — admit past faults, take action and begin to create change.
At Power Home Remodeling, our purpose is to improve everything we touch from our customers’ homes to our employees’ lives to our communities in which we live and work. But when we looked at our efforts in diversity and inclusion, it became clear we needed a formalized program to attract, retain and grow diverse talent — making Power an inclusive place to work for everyone. In 2017, we launched our Cultural Diversity & Inclusion Initiative (CD&I) to breed open, educational dialogue and awareness, while developing formalized programs to drive more diversity within our walls.
Like many others, we still have a long way to go. Research studies show that around 30% or more diversity is a proven organizational tipping point when it comes to large-scale social change related to a minority group. At Power, our goal this year is to exceed 30% with hope to strongly exceed that proportion in the years to come as we continue to grow our programs, push for honest dialogue and make Power a place where everyone feels comfortable in their skin, without alteration. It’s something we strive to be better at every day, and hope to empower others to do the same.
I recommend starting with listening. When you foster an open and safe workplace, employees feel comfortable sharing their voice and speaking their mind. But in order for these voices to be heard, you must encourage active listening from all parties. It is then you can strengthen your awareness and understanding and take this candid feedback to help shape how you address topics moving forward with your employees.
One way that we encourage listening and sharing is through our annual Cultural Diversity & Inclusion Summit. Natasha Maye, scrum master, started at Power the same week of the annual CD&I Summit in 2019.
“Looking back, to see hundreds of diverse individuals come from all branches of the company, to have conversations about their diverse realities — all to break through personal bias — this made me very emotional,” said Maye, who is Black. “To top it all off, this coalition was started and led by a woman who looks like me. At that moment, I knew Power was a place I could stay for the future of my career.
“The conversations that are fostered by Power are the conversations I’ve prayed for — especially to have them with individuals whom we spend more time with on a daily basis than our own family.”
Much of the acceptance and positivity surrounding our differences within our walls is largely due to both leadership and employees who have created that space for our diverse colleagues. Not only does this foster an inclusive workplace from a company perspective, but it is championed down to a department level.
Power’s Business Technology (BT) department is a group where its leadership is steadfast and determined to hire and onboard more diverse employees. Tim Wenhold, COO and partner at Power, makes it a point to consistently recruit for diverse tech talent — and when we can’t find it, we build diverse tech talent from within. Through Power’s Code Academy — an immersive six-month coding bootcamp that trains employees from other departments at Power for entry-level developer roles on the BT team. Recruiting and retaining diverse talent is critical, but what you can’t lose sight of is developing that talent — and Code Academy is one way we remained committed to that.
Jonathan Levy, a Nitro support ninja, has seen this push for more diversity firsthand since coming onboard in 2017, both from a hiring perspective and from an educational perspective.
“Our CD&I Initiative enables and fosters conversations about race and equality,” said Levy. “Specifically, in BT, we’ve had members of our team present and educate our group about members of their own community that have been pioneers within the technology space, and how they contributed to the betterment of society. I’ve learned quite a bit from Kelly Tran, a [committee] member of CD&I. She continues to educate me personally more and more each month on her Asian Pacific American heritage, and how women from her culture have contributed to the industry.”
Being an employee at Power and being exposed to the CD&I Initiative has allowed for continued personal growth for Levy and a deeper understanding of why racial equality in the workplace is so important, believing that “all communities must have the opportunity to display their talents and contribute to the betterment of that business and the success for all.”
“CD&I has changed me in a myriad of positive ways,” said Levy. “One that stands out is my approach to others outside of my own community. I have learned to be patient and to foster conversations that educate others, so that we might come to a better understanding and be more successful together.”
For companies that have already been prioritizing diversity and inclusion within the workplace, do not take your foot off the gas. And for those whose eyes have just been opened, start today. Listen to your employees to make your workplace an inclusive one. Make it a goal to recruit diverse talent. Develop programs that help retain and develop that talent. And, keep listening, learning and growing with your entire workforce.
Power Home Remodeling is committed to fostering and supporting an inclusive and diverse workplace for all. To learn more about career opportunities at Power, visit workatpower.com.
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