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Fostering Diversity, Inclusion, and Belonging at DIBS Week

By Shanna Sandy 08.30.22
Reading time: 5 minutes

A veteran, a caregiver of a family member with a disability, first in a family to graduate college, an immigrant, the Oregon Trail generation – these are just a few of the ways Silverliners answered when asked how they identify themselves.  

This identity exercise kicked off DIBS Week at Silverline. DIBS stands for Diversity, Inclusion, and Belonging at Silverline and is part of Silverline’s commitment to fostering a diverse and inclusive culture that embraces and supports the world we live in. DIBS Week educated and engaged Silverliners in activities that build awareness about Silverline’s cultures and communities. 

But DIBS values go beyond just one week and are practiced year-round at Silverline. DIBS focuses on ensuring our company’s policies and programs support an inclusive culture, celebrating our diverse employee communities and increasing cultural awareness, and recruiting from a diverse, qualified group of potential applicants.

Advancing diversity, inclusion, and belonging at Silverline

Diversity and inclusion are more than creating an environment with people from different backgrounds. It’s also encouraging diversity of thought and learning how we can empower and encourage employees to share ideas and participate in initiatives for positive change. At Silverline, we believe:

  • Diversity is the presence of difference and refers to the characteristics that make our people unique.
  • Inclusion refers to the behaviors and cultural norms that make our people feel welcome.
  • Belonging is our individual sense of acceptance by those with whom we work. 

One of the ways that Silverline advances its DIBS initiatives is with Silverline Allies. Silverline Allies is a global employee-led group, and their work underpins the foundation for executing our DIBS strategy. This advisory group comprises Silverline volunteer members who work towards fostering a diverse and inclusive workplace. The group focuses on the employee experience and creating initiatives to encourage and highlight all employee communities.

In the 2022 Silverline employee engagement survey, we received very favorable scores for nurturing a positive work environment. Some of the benefits of working at Silverline include:

  • Encouraging work/life balance through flexible work schedules to accommodate employees’ varying needs, such as flexible working hours for parents and family caregivers.
  • Offering gender transition, adoption, and reproductive benefits.
  • Providing a Volunteer Time Off Policy for employees to donate their time to the communities we serve and promote a greater understanding and respect for diversity.  

Silverline keeps DIBS at the center of our hiring and advancement practices. We cultivate partnerships with external partners that focus on professional skills and tech development for underrepresented communities and encourage employee referrals from our diverse internal communities.  

We also have representatives at tech conferences targeted to underrepresented communities. At this year’s Dreamin’ in Color, a conference geared toward current and aspiring Black Salesforce professionals, Silverline was awarded the Dreamin’ in Color Diversity Demo Jam Award. Our attendance drove several attendees to apply for roles at Silverline.

Let’s go to a DIBS party

“Diversity is being asked to the party; inclusion is being asked to dance.”

And we’ll add to that quote from diversity and inclusion expert Vernā Myers, that “belonging is being able to dance how you want.”

This party metaphor gets to the heart of what DIBS is all about in a workplace setting — allowing employees to excel in a culture where authenticity and contributions are respected and valued to power innovation and ultimately drive a company’s success. 

You want to ensure that everyone is invited to the party and that it’s an interesting mix of people. You want invitees to have great conversations and make significant connections. They should meet other invitees that they wouldn’t normally meet in the course of their workday. 

Once you’ve invited those individuals to the party, it’s time to tackle inclusion by asking them to dance. You need to be a good host, welcome them to the party, and make them feel valued as part of the group. Inclusion ensures a safe space for partygoers to get to know others and contribute their unique insights. You want guests to feel like they’ll get invited back again for future opportunities.

Think of belonging as being able to do the chicken dance, the foxtrot, or whatever is your go-to dance move. We all have our unique styles, and that personality should be able to shine through. From a business perspective, that means being open to different ways of working and making others feel like they can be themselves with no judgments. 

Why DIBS matters

DIBS goes far beyond checking off boxes and setting goals. It also makes good business sense.

But we often find a healthy dose of skepticism around the practices of diversity, inclusion, and belonging, so we wanted to share some of the reasons Silverline thinks DIBS is essential and brings value to a company. By focusing on diversity, inclusion, and belonging, companies can:

  • Promote a shared experience 
  • Provide broader perspectives 
  • Nurture a more positive workplace 
  • Understand customers better 
  • Add integrity to the team
  • Put actions behind words
  • Give opportunities to all 
  • Mirror the market 
  • Generate fresh insights 
  • Encourage innovation
  • Experience better retention

One of the primary ways Silverline has made DIBS matter is through its Silverline Cares volunteering program, where employees learn from others and give back to our communities. Silverline Cares encourages employees to be active members of their communities and devote their time to organizations that make a real impact in the lives of others. Past, present, and future volunteering activities include: 

  • Silverline has worked with Project Sunshine for several years, giving back to pediatric patients across the country by creating Project Sunshine activity kits. 
  • For several years, Silverline has done a pro-bono partnership with Salesforce on its Trillion Trees Initiative. By conserving, restoring, and planting 1 trillion trees by 2030, Trillion Trees aims to help slow the planet’s rising temperatures, stimulate biodiversity, and restore some of the planet’s ecosystem.
  • From 2020-2021, about 20 Silverliners were mentors for Built By Girls, which prepares the next generation of female and non-binary leaders to step boldly into careers powered by technology.
  • The Silverline Academy is currently working on a pro-bono project partnering with Wild Roots People’s Clinic, a local Omaha herbalism non-profit.
  • Starting later this year, Silverline will begin a new volunteer partnership with Talent Stacker, a Salesforce Career Development Program that helps folks interested in getting into the Salesforce ecosystem build their technical and business skills.

Leaving the comfort zone for constructive discomfort

You may be reading this and think it all sounds great, but at the same time, you may feel a little bit outside your comfort zone. Know that you’re not alone, and talking about DIBS makes many people uneasy. That’s often because the primary barrier to embracing DIBS is usually fear. People are afraid that they will do or say something wrong. So instead, we end up tiptoeing around the issue and avoid discussing it.

Realize that we will all make mistakes and that you must be open, self-aware, and empathetic. Create safe spaces at your company for open dialogue and learning moments. We like to think of it as embracing constructive discomfort, which is the notion of leaning into discomfort and making it a learning experience. 

Below is a constructive discomfort type of model from the University of Michigan’s Intergroup Dialogue Institute. When you move from the green Comfort Zone to the orange Learning Edge, you are moving to an area where you may add or even change your view of the world. You are interacting with people with different perspectives than you, and there may be times that those conversations can get heated and evolve into the Danger Zone. 

 

If you’re looking for more direction for tackling diversity, inclusion, and belonging, then a helpful resource is the Salesforce Trailhead for DEI. The collection of modules for DEI training helps Trailhead learners all over the world to understand:

  • The Business Value of Equality
  • The Impact of Unconscious Bias
  • Equality Ally Strategies
  • Inclusive Leadership Practices
  • Inclusive Marketing Practices  

Better together with Silverline

At Silverline, we strive to create rewarding experiences for our team, our clients, and the world we live in. Our DIBS initiatives are our commitment to fostering a diverse and inclusive culture and upholding our Core Values, which include:

Celebrate each other.
Are always learning.
Do the right thing, even when it’s hard.
Try to have fun.
Operate on trust and transparency.
Have the courage to challenge. 

And most of all, that we are better together. Join the Silverline team and help us be even better.

Ready to see real results? We can help.

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