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Humi’s Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI) journey: where we’re at and what’s to come

May 3, 2022
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4
min read

“Every person is different. It is our responsibility to acknowledge, encourage, and empower everyone to be themselves.” – Humi’s core value of Respect people’s individuality.

Hey there, I’m Sneha! I identify as a straight cis-gendered racialized woman with a disability, and I use she/her pronouns. I’m the Manager of Experience & Culture here at Humi, meaning I handle all things employee experience in-office and remotely, health and well-being, social and culture, and equity, diversity, and inclusion (EDI) – it’s also my privilege to be driving Humi's first EDI strategy.

What does EDI look like at Humi?

It’s wild to think I've just hit my one year mark at Humi. It’s been nothing short of exciting and humbling to be building our EDI foundation and strategy, and a culture of trust, collaboration, and support for one another.

And it’s not forgotten what the impact of the last two (now going on three?!) years has been for everyone. COVID-19, Anti-Black, Anti-Indigenous, and Anti-Asian racism; and remote work, to name a few of the discussions, learnings, and personal challenges we've all experienced since 2020. 

Many of us have figured out how to manage in this new world – we’ve encouraged and motivated each other, which has allowed us to build empathy for one another more than ever before. But many of us are still on the journey of figuring things out - and that's okay! This is why at Humi, we continue to ensure we are a safe place (and safe space) where everyone's voices are heard, valued, and celebrated.

EDI has been important to Humi even prior to my joining the team. Honing in on our value of Respect people's individuality, both our CEO, Simon Bourgeois, and our Director of People Operations, Andrea Bartlett, had conversations of wanting to create an environment that is inclusive and where folks feel they belong. They recognized early on that to do this well, we needed an encompassing plan that factored in many of the challenges that I listed above, into our plan. And that’s one of the many reasons why they believe in what I’m building.

Coming into the team, it was important to me that we started by focusing on 3 things:

  • Creating a safe and vulnerable environment 
  • Learning from each others lived experiences
  • Building a foundation of trust

To support these initiatives, we engaged an external vendor, and created our partnership with Entelechy Consulting

What have we accomplished so far?

Creating a safe and vulnerable environment

Part of understanding and aligning to Humi’s values was for Darius, President and CEO at Entelechy, to lead “lean-In” sessions with the Leadership Team and our EDI Committee. Entelechy led us through educational workshops over the summer, which resulted in vulnerable conversations of our own bias and sharing our lived experiences for the first time. We did this to have honest discussions, so we can work toward building a culture where all Humigos can be their authentic selves at Humi. We know that to impact culture, the tone starts from the top.

Learning from each other’s lived experiences

In the summer of 2021, we launched our first-ever self-identification (ID) survey. This was an unbiased, anonymous, external survey, to help us better understand Humi's demographics and opportunities to grow and focus on. We asked for this information because I know that in order to create a strategy and drive progress, we needed to know where we were at, where there were gaps, and what needed to be done to move forward. 

I was humbled and excited to see 70% of Humigos participate in our self-ID survey. The results showed that Humi has a great culture and educated workforce, has representation from women* and different religious groups.

*Women, although represented well at Humi through this survey, are more likely to participate in online surveys. This means that data can be skewed by the nature of women being more likely to participate. 

However, this doesn’t mean there wasn’t work to be done. Humi can make its workforce more diverse from a gender, racial, sexual orientation, and disability lens. Humi can create more work-life balance for employees – and we’ve already started doing so by launching long(er) weekends, where our work hours end at 1PM EST every Friday. And with the anticipated growth for 2022, our aim is to build a better foundation of wellness and mindfulness for our Humigos. Humi is excited and proud to be partnering with a women-led and Canadian-based company called Peak Wellness to support its mental health and wellness strategy.

How are we going to move the dial?

Building a foundation of trust

Taking into account the responses from our self-ID survey and where we should focus as a company, I’m working to build a foundation of trust by turning our words into action. I’ve begun to build a strategy with three focus areas: Celebrating identities, Education, and Mental health and well-being.

Celebrating identities

We want to continue to move the dial on all aspects of identity - gender, race and ethnicity, support people with disabilities, Indigenous peoples, and those who identify as part of the LGBTQ2S+ community. We’re currently building robust reporting to track diversity hiring, and partnering with community organizations like hEr VOLUTION, and ensuring there is a diverse lens when hiring for leadership roles.

Education

With Education, we understand that everyone is on a different learning spectrum, and that’s okay! To move from unconscious bias to conscious inclusion, where an EDI lens is applied to everything we do, we need to build a foundation of understanding and learning. That’s why we will be introducing unconscious bias training for everyone who is involved in the hiring process at Humi.

Mental health and well-being

I strongly believe that EDI cannot exist without a focus on Mental Health and Well-being. Research by Catalyst Canada found that 77% of racialized/marginalized employees experience an emotional tax at work. This tax is due to the combination of being “on guard” to protect against bias because of race, ethnicity, and gender, and experiencing the associated effects of that guard on health, well-being, and ability to thrive at work. For us to learn and develop together, it is important for us to create an environment of psychological safety and normalizing mental health care here at Humi. Long(er) weekends and our wellness development sessions with Peak Wellness are a large part of this plan. 

Final thoughts

To affect change, some of the things we will be doing internally will make folks feel uncomfortable as we explore painful subjects and challenge beliefs; my role at Humi is not to protect privilege, but to empower and educate how we can enhance our understanding and become better allies. In allyship there is a spectrum, and we can't be passive in the journey to improve equity, diversity, inclusion, and belonging. 

I look forward to sharing updates and insights as we continue on this journey here at Humi.

Sneha Deokie (she/her)

Manager, Experience & Culture

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About the Author
Sneha DeokieSneha Deokie

Sneha Deokie is the Manager for Experience & Culture at Humi. In this role, she focuses on equity, diversity, and inclusion (EDI), employee experience, health and well-being, and culture. EDI & driving culture is close to Sneha’s heart because of how she identifies and her lived experiences, but more so because she is passionate about moving the dial for women of colour and empowering them to be their true and authentic selves. Outside of Humi, Sneha enjoys spending time with family and friends, long sunny walks, and pineapple on pizza!


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