It’s easy to say that diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging are important to an organization. But what does a commitment to DEIB really look like in action?
Our chief diversity and inclusion officer, Pamela Wheeler, sat down with Mike James, chief sales officer, for an open conversation about past, present and future efforts and initiatives for DEIB at NFP. The pair discuss the strides that NFP has made, but also take a necessary critical look at the past in order to charge ahead and continue to make real progress.
How have our efforts changed over time to be more effective, achieve results and create a work environment that benefits our people and contributes to a bigger movement across the workforce?
Here’s a look back and a look ahead into the state of DEIB at NFP.
Where We’ve Been: Channeling Momentum
While inclusion was always a value we aspired to achieve, the origin of our DEIB story has its roots in a push to bring more women to the forefront of leadership roles. Through this early initiative, we were able to add action to intention.
This push made a lot of sense in alignment with our values. This was an exciting start to our DEIB journey and opened the door for a much bigger conversation about where we needed to go next and how we needed to go about it.
Changing how our leadership team looked was a solid start, but it wasn’t the total approach to progress that we were looking for. We examined that effort, took the positives from it and established our PeopleFirst initiative, which helped to lead us down the road of a true framework. We channeled that momentum into our present and more expansive stride towards inclusivity at NFP.
Where We’re at Now: Expanding What We Think About Diversity
In 2021, a massive win for our organization’s overall strategy occurred when we brought on our current Chief Diversity and Inclusion officer, Pamela Wheeler.
Before she accepted the position, Pam needed to be sure that NFP was ready to fully commit to a total overhaul of the systems and cultures across the company to match good intentions with tangible actions. After meeting with the team, she realized that the organization was poised to act, but needed her guidance in implementing new initiatives that would vastly change the workplace and create a seat at the table for everyone, but also foster a true sense of belonging at that table.
Pam took the previous diversity and inclusion approach and added equity and belonging to bring us to our current DEIB initiative. Beyond just adding two new letters to an acronym, this changed the way that we look at diversity at NFP. Alongside this shift in thought, we grew our recruitment strategy and implemented more Business Resource Groups for different cultures and backgrounds to engage with each other, share resources and increase allyship for historically underrepresented groups across our company.
These important steps are demonstrating real change across NFP. But we are far from finished with our progress.
Where We’re Going: Living Out the Strategy
While we recognize that we’re off to a great start on our journey, we also know there’s a lot left to be done. We’re in a unique position to charge ahead and we have a huge opportunity to commit action to intention. If we fail to do so, we miss out on an opportunity to change for the better and we’ll miss out on business opportunities as well.
Going forward, we look to live out our strategy. We have the infrastructure in place to live out DEIB in every corner of our business, but we need to add accountability to the equation. In a global organization, this means something different to every individual, but it’s crucial that everyone recognizes their unique role in moving toward a more diverse, equitable and inclusive workplace. With this framework in place, adding accountability and metrics will help us grow towards belonging for everyone at NFP.
We’re excited to continue and committed to growth.