It's no secret that a diverse workforce encourages more beneficial workplace outcomes. A mix of backgrounds, cultures, ideas, ways of solving problems, and opinions is a recipe for success. People, HR, and recruiting teams around the world have recognized the need for an equitable and inclusive work community. According to Deloitte Insights, a piece of Global Human Capital Trends research showed that 78% of employee respondents believe diversity and inclusion is a competitive advantage.
We spoke with Scott Domann, Chief People Officer at Calm, to learn the importance of diversity and equity in the workplace, as well as how to foster inclusion at work.
Calm: Thanks for taking the time to share your insight with us, Scott. How do you think organizations should view diversity and inclusion regarding overall workplace success?
Scott Domann: I encourage people not to talk about diversity, equity, and inclusion (DE&I) as something that is ‘othered.’ A lot of people and businesses view DE&I as something they have to do, or are forced to think about now and then—and when they do, it's momentary and typically someone else’s responsibility. DE&I, and the creation of a culture and workforce that practices DE&I, should be woven into the fabric of a business.
C: That’s a great call-out. Do you believe certain industries are prone to more or less diversity?
SD: I don’t know the right answer. There are a lot of articles about why tech companies should be the place where systemic discrimination shouldn’t exist—yet it does. Many of the tech companies who pledged to do more (in numbers and practices) haven’t seen much progress either. You can also look at companies with longer histories in more established industries who celebrate diversity in their content, annual reports, etc.—yet when you dig deeper, the diverse populations aren’t in the management or leadership roles. To me, regardless of industry, seeing progress on all aspects of DE&I is about long-term commitments and actions.
C: In that vein, how do you keep this topic top of mind when sourcing and retaining talent?
SD: A few things. As referenced above, we don’t ‘other’ DE&I—it's everyone’s responsibility, every day. Now that Calm is a remote-first company (meaning you can live anywhere in the world and still work for Calm), the Recruiting team is able to treat the world as our sourcing pool. We’re holding ourselves accountable for having a diverse sourcing pool for every job, diverse interview panels, objective insights into someone’s ability to be successful doing the job at Calm, and ultimately making a bet on the person who will materially impact our business and culture for the better.
C: What role does DE&I play in employee engagement?
SD: I think that employees who commit to a company as their professional home are looking for places that respect them for who they are and reward them based on the impact they make to the business. Having a DE&I strategy can support this, but companies and leaders have to make real commitments and take real action to build the culture and retain employees. Calm is a culture where you can be yourself, and feel respected and supported regardless of your personal identifiers.
C: Given Calm’s stance on mental fitness as a tool for employee resilience and happiness, how does mindfulness factor into diversity and inclusion in the workplace?
SD: Mindfulness and mental fitness are more important now than ever—both personally and at work. I tend to find parallels between mindfulness and having high emotional intelligence—and high emotional intelligence makes you more aware and able to regulate your emotions, stress levels, acceptance of feedback, and ability to collaborate and communicate effectively at work. From a DE&I standpoint, it makes you aware of your biases, how you engage colleagues, and your ability to solve problems with and learn from people who think, act, and are different from yourself. Without mindfulness and the requisite mental fitness to keep pushing yourself to be more and more mindful, you can easily become complacent.
Promoting diversity, inclusion, and equity in the workplace is a team effort that doesn’t end in the recruitment process. From employee engagement to benefits and beyond, creating a conscious community that fosters acceptance and invites differences is the first step toward building a resilient workforce.