How to Build a Workplace That Supports a Diverse Team

by Alton Zenon III
January 17, 2020

“Our diverse team includes working couples, single parents, new college graduates, employees taking care of elderly family members and others with unique needs,” said Compeat Senior VP of People and Culture Carol Dunnigan.

Dunnigan said Compeat, a restaurant software solutions provider, recently enacted a work-from-home policy to directly support team members in different stages of their lives.  In addition to giving existing employees more flexibility and a greater sense of work-life balance, remote work can also diversify the candidate pool. 

Remote-work policies create opportunities for more individuals with diverse skillsets and backgrounds to apply because their employment is not dependent on whether they can  physically come into the office each day. This opens the door for individuals living with disabilities and those who live in different countries.

End-point protection company CrowdStrike has offices in multiple continents, but Leslie Stine, manager of corporate sales, said a significant portion of its staff works remotely. Stine said the company encourages remote work to help create an environment that encourages team members to feel fully engaged both personally and professionally.

Supporting diverse teams goes well beyond letting employees telecommute, however. There are a number of other actions leaders can take to create a diversity-minded environment. 

 

Crowdstrike team in group photo
crowdstrike

CrowdStrike Manager of Corporate Sales Leslie Stine stressed the importance of listening. She said a leadership team that’s receptive to the concerns and appeals of its diverse team members is one that can create impactful initiatives like evolved benefits and internal programs. 

 

What actions are taken to ensure all employees at your company have the support they need to thrive?

We encourage connection — whether that be through our workplace employee resource groups, company-facilitated events or our mentorship program — as we want everyone to feel a sense of belonging. We believe true inclusion is achieved by actions, programs and organizational shifts, not by a one-off training. So we strive to constantly evaluate benefits, employee programs, company offerings and policies to ensure we’re being as inclusive as possible. 

 

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

Diversity requires a commitment from leadership, an openness to change and a willingness to hear new ideas and develop new habits. If you have executive support and a community of people committed to making those changes, it’s important to listen and be open to the change your people are looking to see. That, coupled with data and investment in formal programs, has been successful for CrowdStrike.

It’s important to listen and be open to the change your people are looking to see.”

 

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

We have workspaces designed to support all of our people. We have rooms for prayer and nursing mothers. There are varied meeting spaces with rooms for 50 or a booth for one because we want to provide an environment that facilitates multiple ways of working. 

We embrace a flexible schedule arrangement to help people balance the needs of work and life. We are a remote-first company, with a major portion of our workforce working 100 percent remotely. We want our people to be able to feel fully engaged both personally and professionally and we strive to provide an environment that supports that.

 

Compeat team chatting
compeat

Senior VP of People and Culture Carol Dunnigan said Compeat keeps diversity top of mind for staff through its generous work-from-home policy, as well as its office spaces dedicated to satisfying a variety of personal needs and work styles. 

 

What actions are taken to ensure all employees at your company have the support they need to thrive?

Creating cultural interview teams to assess the fit of new candidates has proven to be one of the best actions we’ve taken to ensure high-quality hiring and long-term fit. The relaxed interview sessions allow candidates to be themselves and get a more authentic feel for what it would be like to be a part of the Compeat team.

Our diverse team includes working couples, single parents, new college graduates, employees taking care of elderly family members and others with unique needs. So the recent implementation of our work-from-home policy has had a huge impact on the ability of employees to better balance their home and work lives.

The recent implementation of our work-from-home policy has had a huge impact.”

 

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

Our office was designed with our diverse teams top of mind, with spaces that cater to different personalities and needs. We have a mother’s room, several private huddle rooms, cozy spots for quiet reading, a coffee space to mingle or put headphones on and work in a comfy chair and several conference rooms where groups can come together and learn or collaborate.  

 

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