Participating recently in CEO Action’s third annual Day of Understanding was just one in a series of significant actions by Haskell Together, an initiative launched in 2020 to solidify Haskell’s commitment to advancing diversity and inclusion in the workplace.
In announcing the formation of Haskell Together, CEO Jim O’Leary said, “We endeavor to continue to cultivate a workplace where diverse perspectives and experiences are welcomed and respected, a place where team members feel comfortable and are encouraged to discuss diversity and inclusion.”
A strategic pillar of Haskell’s long-term vision, expanding diversity provides a bedrock to creating a team member experience of significance, success, and satisfaction.
“We have been passionate about how important it is to our business to expand our thinking to influence positive change,” said David Thaeler, Chief Human Resources Officer. “The combination of the Diversity Council and Haskell Women’s Network (HWN) in Haskell Together will allow us to enhance our focus promoting change through education and engagement, awareness and culture, and talent acquisition. With the combined power of 40 team members as Haskell Together ambassadors, we believe we will be a better and stronger company providing a sense of belonging to every team member.”
Education and engagement coordinates workshops and training sessions involving topics such as overcoming unconscious bias, standing up to bullying, embracing diversity and inclusion, and preventing workplace harassment. In 2020, team members completed 3,700 hours of diversity and inclusion training.
“The different trainings are offered to make sure folks are aware of what’s happening, not just in our community but on a national and international level and how to best approach that in the workplace, from unconscious bias workshops to microaggression workshops,” said Brooke Jones-Chinetti, Director of Learning and Team Member Engagement. “What we are doing is looking for a fresh perspective on the training that we can do, and we want to make sure every team member at Haskell is fully engaged in the workplace.”
Culture and awareness addresses Haskell’s values of Team, Excellence, Service, and Trust and focuses on supporting these values through encouraging individuality, sharing opinions, respecting and appreciating what makes team members different, and creating a safe space within Haskell.
“The Day of Understanding, during which members of Haskell’s Executive Leadership Team (ELT) held group meetings with more than 250 team members to answer questions about diversity, working across teams, mentoring opportunities, and improving communications, was a significant initiative of culture and awareness,” said Loraine Rice, Director of Human Resources.
Talent acquisition, the third component of Haskell Together, most visibly tackles diversity and inclusion. While these terms are often thought of as focusing on gender and race, they also include age, education, background, and experience, all of which lend different and valuable viewpoints.
“We’re focusing on bringing the best, most qualified candidates into Haskell, and that involves looking at different platforms and networks to make sure we’re getting more diverse candidates applying and interviewing,” Director of HR Services Tania McCarthy said.
The Haskell Together team is measuring success by many qualitative and quantitative metrics. For talent acquisition, that means looking at diversity across Haskell’s workforce. For education and engagement and culture and awareness trainings and events, it involves awareness of and participation in events, as well as continuing to build on and shift the types of events offered as society changes.
Perhaps the most important measure of success is the 2021 Q12 Team Member Engagement Survey, administered to Haskell team members by Gallup. In addition to measuring engagement against the industry average, Haskell also included questions that compose the Inclusivity Index:
- My workplace is committed to building the strengths of each associate.
- My supervisor creates an environment that is trusting and open.
- My company treasures diverse ideas and opinions.
- At work, I am treated with respect.
- I always trust my company to be fair to everyone.
With more than 1,300 team members responding, the mean score for each question in the Inclusivity Index was greater than four on a five-point scale. Haskell’s scores for 2021 increased over 2019 for all questions in the Inclusivity Index.
“There are always improvements to be made, but we’re really excited that we improved across the board and are making sure that we are true to our word that we’re making this the best job of your life,” Jones-Chinetti said. “This is a place that you can come and be yourself fully. If you’re not coming to work as your authentic self, then you’re not going to be fully engaged. I’d say it’s a success story.”
The programs that address diversity and inclusion are not one-time events but rather part of an ongoing dialogue. Haskell Together will continue to change and grow along with Haskell’s team members’ needs.
“As a company, I am proud of our values,” O’Leary said. “I am proud of our great culture; it truly defines who we are. More than ever, we need to make sure that our culture continues to foster and embrace our commitment to diversity and inclusion everywhere – at work, at home, and in our communities. Our differences – our beliefs, the way we look, the way we think, where we came from, and how we were raised – are what makes Haskell such a great company.”