We believe that prioritizing diversity, equity and inclusion creates an environment that respects and values the individual differences both within our workforce and the communities we serve. That’s why we’re dedicated to creating an environment that is respectful, welcoming and inclusive of all.
Equity goes beyond simply promoting “diversity.” Equity also includes a historic and present-day examination of systemic and institutional policies and practices, to help eliminate inequities that impact vulnerable and often historically targeted communities. The historic reflection must include a generational and historical lens of trauma. To effectively address issues of diversity, equity and inclusion we must incorporate principles of Trauma Informed Care.
We’ve taken a number of steps to address these concerns within LifeWorks NW.
Our Diversity Resource Crew (DRC) is open to all staff and students who have an interest or passion in diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging. We meet monthly to discuss how we can better serve our clients, what trainings can impact our work and how we can lend to an environment that is respectful and inclusive of all.
Our black, indigenous, people of color (BIPOC) Employee Resource Group (ERG) was formed after hearing direct feedback from our staff of color that we needed to hold space for community building, resource sharing, and connection with other staff of color.
Diversity coaching is available to all staff members and provides resources, training and one-on-one time for consultation specific to issues of diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging. Diversity coaching is a learning opportunity for one to understand how our words and behaviors impact others and provides tools for ongoing learning and personal development.
Our All Staff event is held annually to bring cultural competency training and topics to a forum for all our staff and students. Past keynote speakers have included local diversity, equity and inclusion speakers and also national speakers such as Tim Wise. Our All Staff events are also a place to learn more about the programs at LifeWorks NW and build community and connection with our staff and students.
Ongoing training efforts include a Diversity Resource Crew (DRC) sponsored training that is provided on a monthly basis. Some of our training topics include: White Fragility, the Diversity Awareness Profile, Ouch That Stereotype Hurts, the Trauma of Racism and other topics specific to diversity, equity and inclusion.
The Prism Group is a group of staff and students who identify as part of the LGBTQ+ Community, work with or are an ally of the community. This group provides an opportunity to build and connect with others, share resources and discuss issues that impact our LGBTQ+ Community. Past efforts of the Prism Group have resulted in the use of preferred names in emails and staff badges, use of identification other than the binary in our electronic health record and use of pronouns ribbons available to staff.
Finally, we have recently launched a mentorship program to connect all new hires to an existing staff member who can provide support and guidance as they settle into their role. While this effort is not specific to staff from marginalized backgrounds, we recognize that many communities have historically been denied the workplace mentorship they need to be successful.
While we are proud of these initiatives, we know that we still have work to do as an organization. We welcome feedback and suggestions from staff, clients and the community as we strive toward our goals of creating a truly welcoming environment for all.