Creating a company culture
THAT EMBODIES OUR MISSION
As Voqal is redefining how we approach the goal of creating a truly socially equitable world, we recognize that the work starts at home. It’s why we are embarking on a journey to better align our company culture and practices with our mission. Our boards and staff have committed to becoming an anti-racist, multicultural organization. And while we know this is a long journey, we have taken several steps to move Voqal in the right direction.
INCREASING KNOWLEDGE AND UNDERSTANDING
To become the anti-racist, multicultural organization we strive to be, we realize it is important that those working towards Voqal’s mission understand the culture of white supremacy that underlies so many organizations, including ours. As a first step, we looked to our Voqal DEI committee to provide guidance in this area. The DEI committee is offering regular educational opportunities and resources to help staff understand what white supremacy is, how it affects different identities in society, and how individuals can help combat it. These informational sessions, while just a first step in the process, provide a common level of understanding that will help us to truly live our mission internally.
As a result, we are taking a hard look at Voqal’s hiring practices and identifying what needs to change.
DIVERSIFYING OUR TALENT AND VENDORS
While education is important, it isn’t enough on its own. For years Voqal’s workforce has not reflected the diversity Voqal’s mission has strived to support. As a result, we are taking a hard look at Voqal’s hiring practices and identifying what needs to change. A shift to a remote work environment, initially due to the pandemic, has expanded our hiring pool, greatly increasing our ability to hire more diverse employees from all over the United States.
However, we also recognize that our employees aren’t the only ones who help us accomplish our work. With this reality in mind, Voqal created and distributed a diverse vendor survey. This survey is aimed at understanding whether our vendors represent the diversity Voqal strives to create in the world. While we are still analyzing the results, this process will help guide future vendor selection and ensure we are always keeping an eye towards supporting businesses and individuals that align with our North Star.
FOSTERING A MORE INCLUSIVE ORGANIZATIONAL CULTURE
Of course, attracting more inclusive and diverse employees means nothing if the culture is not in line with the values that attracted people to the organization in the first place. With this idea in mind, Voqal continues to take a serious look at the internal policies that underpin our culture with an eye towards making sure they are inclusive of everyone. For example, starting a few years ago Voqal introduced competency-based job descriptions to avoid some of the discrimination that comes with the older, traditional method of valuing educational background above all else.
Voqal’s DEI committee is also conducting an extensive review of Voqal’s employee handbook to identify and change any policies that are exclusive or perpetuate a culture of white supremacy. While this is an ongoing process, it has already led to many important discussions about — and recommended changes to — our current way of doing things.
We are excited to do the hard work of creating an organization that embodies the vision of a truly socially equitable world.
ENSURING ENGAGEMENT AT ALL LEVELS OF THE ORGANIZATION
Finally, while aligning Voqal’s day-to-day operations with our mission is important, we also recognize that change needs to come from both the bottom and the top. As a result, our board members have also dedicated themselves to advancing an anti-racist, multicultural vision for the organization. They have created a dedicated board committee for this work and continue to work closely with Voqal’s staff to ensure our DEI practices are aligned internally and externally.
Undoing decades of white supremacy and cultural practices that support it is not easy. However, as we face this reckoning with both the nation’s and our own past, we are excited to continue doing the hard work necessary to create an organization that embodies the vision of the truly socially equitable world Voqal strives toward every day.