Building a diverse and inclusive organization sounds simple in theory — you hire the right person for the right job, independent of who they are and what they look like.
The reality is so much more than this.
Your diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging (DEI & B) efforts don’t end once an employee is through the door. Creating an organization with DEI & B at its core means giving underrepresented groups a safe environment to be their entire selves while breaking down silos between employees.
When you factor in that many organizations today have remote or hybrid teams, it becomes even more important for them to be intentional about building an internal employee community that fosters inclusion and a sense of belonging.
“Remote companies have the ability and willingness to hire from almost any country in the world, which means they can tap into talent from all sorts of backgrounds and identities,” says Glenda Gataleta, Global People Ops Partner at Commsor.
“However, as you keep building a remote-first and asynchronous team, it becomes more and more important to ensure you are supporting a diverse workforce, using inclusive language, breaking stereotypes, and being respectful of others.”
A vital part of this is giving employees the spaces and opportunities to really get to know one another and build strong relationships. Meetsy provides organizations with the tools they need to build inclusive communities that connect and include employees, providing a sense of belonging.
Before we dive into the different DEI & B programs you can host on Meetsy, let’s lay the foundation for how your team can easily create and facilitate these spaces. After an initial setup, Meetsy can automate much of the process to create continuous connections.
If you’re using one of Meetsy’s HRIS integrations, every new employee to join the company will automatically be added to your Meetsy group, with much of their profile completed. You can set a few more questions for them to answer when they first log in to Meetsy, which you can then use to include them in specific DEI & B conversations (more on this later).
Depending on the programs you want to run, you can ask them if they want to join (or are already part of, for existing employees) any Employee Resource Groups or specific DEI & B programs.
If your organization starts new ERGs or DEI & B programs, you can simply create a new universal signup question asking whether employees would like to join. All employees will be asked to answer this question the next time they log in to your Meetsy group.
If employees don’t want to join any ERGs or DEI & B programs, that’s OK too. Just set up the question to be optional.
Once your signup questions are set up, you can create different audiences for each ERG or DEI & B program. You can set it up so that employees are automatically added to the audience if they select the corresponding ERG or DEI & B program while answering the signup questions.
Employees can be part of more than one audience, which means they can take part in as many DEI & B programs as they’d like to, without restrictions.
You can also manually create and add people to audiences. If you’d like to add only specific people to an audience — say, every team member who leads an ERG — you can do so from the Members tab in the admin panel.
Now that your basics are set up, let’s start making connections!
Meetsy can host between three and 200 people together for group conversations, providing the perfect platform for your ERGs to host weekly or monthly meetups. Any employee can start and host a Group Discussion, and this will empower leaders in your ERGs to organize meetups based on what works best for the members of the group.
The host can even choose whether or not to set an attendee limit of up to 20 people or leave it open to the maximum 200 participants allowed. Like with Match Programs, Group Discussions can be one-time events or recur at a cadence of the host’s choice.
Group Discussions can be private (allowing only certain audiences to join), visible to all employees, and even visible to people outside your organization who have the link. There’s even a chat tool built into Meetsy so that, if there’s a large group of members on the call, they can add comments or ask questions in the chat to keep the conversation going without interruptions.
A private meetup, visible to only members of that ERG (using the audience you created earlier), gives these members a safe space to connect and discuss the issues and experiences unique to them.
While any employee can set up a Group Discussion, only admins can allow it to be private or visible only to select audiences. Admins can work with ERG leaders to set up Group Discussions that are visible to members of that ERG only.
If ERGs want to create a space that also allows allies to join, simply set a Group Discussion to be visible to everyone in the company. Use the Group Discussion’s title and description sections to share what the topic of conversation is and who is welcome to join.
Public ERG meetups provide meaningful opportunities for discussion between members of different groups. They can connect members of different underrepresented groups with one another and with the whole company, helping remove barriers and foster open communication.
Match Programs pair two people for a one-on-one call based on criteria you select to make the connection. For DEI & B initiatives, you can create specific Match Programs — using the audiences you created — which will help underrepresented employees connect with others either within the same audience or another audience you choose.
Match Programs can connect people at intervals of one week to three months, and you can set the cadence while creating a Match Program. You can also choose to let employees override this so they can decide for themselves if they want to connect more or less frequently, depending on what’s on their plate at any given moment.
Creating a diverse workforce is just the first step of your DEI & B efforts. Companies need to be intentional about building an inclusive environment that breaks down silos between employees. Part of that is making it easy for underrepresented employees to connect with others and be integrated into parts of a company they might not otherwise have access to.
You can use Meetsy to build connections across cultural differences in multiple ways:
You can use your signup questions here to ask employees to share their interests, and when setting up the Match Program, have Meetsy ignore the answers while creating matches. Not only will this match members of different groups, but they’ll have different interests as well.
You can create a mentorship program specifically for underrepresented employees even if your organization runs a dedicated mentorship program based on criteria unrelated to DEI & B.
A dedicated DEI & B mentorship program will give employees from minority groups the chance to connect with someone who’s encountered the unique challenges members of these groups often experience in a professional environment.
You could choose to run a different mentorship program for each ERG, or you could connect mentors and mentees across underrepresented groups with one another.
Employees from minority groups may not have the chance to get much (or any) face time with your leadership team. A leadership Match Program can make sure these employees get attention from senior executives and build transparency between leadership and employees across the company.
Tip💡: One of more of your leaders might be in an ERG themselves! To make sure they’re connecting with non-leaders instead of one another, be sure to set the criteria that leaders don’t match with other leaders when creating this Match Program.
You can help your employees meet different people within an ERG through one-on-one matches. These calls will connect underrepresented employees of similar identities or backgrounds, giving them a chance to talk about shared experiences, provide advice navigating the workforce based on specific attributes, help them build a support system, and ultimately help them feel like they belong.
While setting up these Match Programs, you can choose to match two people for one or more conversations (you decide how many) before they’re matched with a different member of the ERG.
Your Group Discussions and Match Programs are up and running, but how do you know if they’re actually helping your underrepresented employees?
Meetsy allows you to create post-meeting surveys to gather feedback from participants on the call they just completed. You can add custom feedback questions (multiple choice or short answers) to collect data and anecdotes so you can understand what’s working, what isn’t, and how you can adjust your programs to make them more valuable for your employees.
With the surveys, you can learn which programs are more successful than others, whether or not people are participating and learning, and where there’s room for improvement. Pair this with the analytics sections and you can see whether your programs are growing or stagnating.