How to build and support diverse teams in the age of COVID-19


Key takeaways from the 2020 LesbiansWhoTech Pride Summit


Building Teams in Age of COVID-19

Jana Rich, CEO and Founder of Rich Talent Group interviewed by Dara Treseder, CMO of Carbon


Jana Rich, CEO and Founder of Rich Talent Group, brought necessary perspective on creating a truly effective and safe workplace for the BIPOC LGBTQIA2S+ community. For Rich, the hard work is after implementing diverse hiring practices, because it involves creating an environment where marginalized communities truly have a voice. This is where intention plays a role and where action differentiates true inclusion from tokenism.

Rich refers to a McKinsey study released that discusses the specific impact on promotion rates that the LGBTQIA2S+ community faces when they do not feel fully able to speak their truth at work. Rich stresses that the ability to bring your full self into a workplace can have monumental effects. The most important component of truly inclusive, diverse teams is where people feel safe to share who they are and where one feels respected, understood, and truly heard. 

Rich states that there needs to be an examination of how companies can make sure BIPOC LGBTQIA2S+ individuals feel comfortable and safe in the workplace after being hired. There should be a genuine understanding across the company of the importance of diversifying your team rather than the belief of “because we have to”. 

Rich emphasizes that the important question for companies regarding diversity and inclusion is: “How are debate and decision-making going to look like now going forward with this diversity and inclusion conversation?”. This allows for a fully integrated approach that maintains a safe and supportive environment for marginalized groups where they feel heard and respected.

To create a truly diverse and inclusive workplace, Rich has these additional suggestions:


Eradicate classroom learning

In other words, remove training and learning that involves reading a specific set of documents and then signing. This is not effective and is not an indicator of actual engagement.


Investigate how marginalized groups are integrated into the workplace

How does your company get into the flow of work? What kind of socialization and connections exist to create bonds? Are these inclusive and supportive for these marginalized groups?


Implement small group socials

In the age of COVID-19, social interactions are predominantly restricted to video. To make it more meaningful, video socials need to happen in smaller groups. This is especially important for BIPOC LGBTQIA2S+ new hires as it gives them earlier exposure to work. Rich recommends groups of 6-8 colleagues, with the emphasis that 1:1 lunches can be better (while they may have their own unique limitations). 

To learn more, get in touch with Jana Rich on Linkedin or through Rich Talent Group.


Next steps:

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This blog post is part of Brainrider’s
Key takeaways from the 2020 LesbiansWhoTech Pride Summit series. Read the rest of the series here:

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All images courtesy of LesbiansWhoTech Pride Summit.

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