Making Diversity & Inclusion
an Everyday Practice

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Making Diversity & Inclusion an Everyday Practice

Brittni Lundie knows a thing or two about diversity and Inclusion in the workplace. For more than a decade, she’s helped companies like Boeing, Tesla, and now Uber, find ways to switch up the status quo in their recruitment and retention practices. As the Diversity & Inclusion Program Manager at Uber, she helps build teams with a variety of perspectives and experiences, to ensure that the people creating the product look like the people who use the product.

Many people think of “D&I” as being an all-encompassing idea, but Lundie says it needs to be broken down to understand how it impacts your organization. She explains that diversity is “having a little bit of everybody, everywhere.” In contrast, Inclusion is ensuring that everyone in a workplace feels “like they can be authentic and comfortable being themselves.” The two go hand-in-hand in building a strong company culture, but they’re not easy to achieve in referral-heavy industries like tech. “People in your circle usually look like you – it’s not right or wrong, that’s just how it is,” Lundie shares.

To embrace diversity and Inclusion in the business space, we need to turn some entrenched leadership practices on their heads.

Find out what they are here:
Should Diversity and Inclusion Be an Initiative or a Mindset?

So how does an organization approach diversity and Inclusion in an authentic way and at every level? “It’s being inclusive right where you’re at – you don’t have to have a D&I title to do D&I work,” says Lundie. In her role, she’s able to diversify her recruitment pipeline by making sure she recruits from universities that serve minority populations. Lundie explains that “the best way to increase diversity in a company is to ‘funnel up’—start (with recruitment) at the university level and then make sure that your environment is inclusive.”

Making Diversity & Inclusion an Everyday Practice

Prairie View A&M University is an HBCU (Historically Black College and University) in Prairie View, Texas. When Lundie noticed that Uber’s recruiters were driving right past it on their way to events at Texas A&M, she saw an opportunity to access a different group of talent. Adding a recruitment event at Prairie View’s College of Engineering has widened their pool in a critical way on those Texas trips.

Lundie feels lucky to work at Uber. “Uber has been so open to trying new things out,” she says. There’s an art to her success, though: she approaches the problem with a solution already in mind. She also makes sure her solutions are “cost-effective, free, or involve something (they’re) already doing.” Budget is a big issue for most companies, but Lundie explains that there are so many ways of working diversity and inclusion into existing practices. With Prairie View, Uber’s recruiters already had a budget in place for their Texas A&M trip, so including an extra stop on the way with a big impact on their diversity and inclusion initiatives made perfect financial sense.

How using Thoughtexchange can kickstart your D&I initiatives:

  • Getting to know employees’ needs and concerns
  • Increasing awareness of different viewpoints
  • Measuring success: initiative strengths and weaknesses
Read our use cases here.

Making Diversity & Inclusion an Everyday Practice

But Lundie has encountered obstacles on the way. Moving a company culture forward to a more inclusive space means bumping up against established practices and perspectives. “It’s trying to create awareness where there isn’t any, trying to get people to expand beyond what they’re used to doing,” she says. Unintentional bias is a difficult thing to tackle because it requires us to ask ourselves difficult questions about both our work and home lives. Creating diversity and Inclusion in your workplace can start in your home – “Who sits at your dinner table?” asks Lundie.

Furthermore, says Lundie, if there are a variety of perspectives being brought to the table, does everyone here feel comfortable being themselves? A great way to foster a sense of Inclusion at your organization is through Employee Resource Groups. With a focus on a shared perspective but open to all, ERGs are an excellent way for employees to foster community at work, and also for allies to better understand different perspectives.

Lundie adds that Uber has a wealth of ERGs for employees to join, spanning race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, ability, socioeconomic status, and more. Allies are encouraged to participate and listen to the ideas and viewpoints of others to better understand them. “It’s important that we have proximity to people that are different from us to be able to widen our lens,” says Lundie.

Through implementing initiatives like ERGs, many organizations are making great strides in diversity and Inclusion, but there’s still a great need for deliberate focus and strategies around it. Measuring success in D&I is difficult, and it’s hard to point to one metric that tells you when you’re there. “When you get to the point where we don’t need D&I because it’s just ingrained in every company’s DNA, then we can say we’re truly successful,” says Lundie.

Getting to that point means being open to multiple perspectives and taking the initiative to include those perspectives in your organizational structure. Having someone like Lundie on your team means you’re able to find authentic ways to build trust with your employees; trust that’s not based on traditional hierarchies, but on mutual respect. And that’s a workplace we’d all like to be a part of.

Diversity & Inclusion starts with listening to the voices that have traditionally gone unheard—and Thoughtexchange amplifies those voices in an authentic and impactful way. Book a demo today.