ERGs Why we’re getting serious about inclusion
While we’ve always believed in diversity and inclusion at Westcon-Comstor, the business case for them in the workplace is now overwhelming. Donna Bain, SVP People and Development, explains how we are now giving a voice to everyone with our Employee Resource Groups as part of ONE Westcon.
The leadership at Westcon-Comstor has always believed in diversity, inclusion and empowerment. We demonstrate our values every day through our work. But with all the changes in society, the workplace and our industry over the last few years, we asked ourselves if we are actually living and breathing it? Just because we believe it’s true, do our employees believe it’s true?
So we started on our ONE Westcon journey to listen to our teams and give them a voice, and to discover what we do in terms of sustainability, diversity and wellbeing, for both our people and the communities in which we work.
Diversity in an international business
Diversity is almost a given because we are a truly global business reflecting the cultures, locations, and experiences of our employees. And while we need to make sure that that remains the case, we want to be sure that everyone feels included wherever they are, whoever they are, or however they identify.
So in 2020, we ran a survey to collect everyone’s thoughts on diversity, inclusion and empowerment, and identify any prejudices or biases in the business. We got some really valuable insights, and we wanted to keep the communication open and give people a forum to come together and share their experiences – and so the Employee Resource Groups were born.
The voice of the people
The first forums took place in January 2021 across EMEA, APAC and the US and ran for 12 weeks. Each was led by a trained volunteer and senior employees of the business who felt as passionately about diversity and inclusion.
These advocates moderate the meetings and lead the discussion around race, heritage, gender and gender identity, sexuality and disability. They are a safe space for all to talk openly, and if issues are raised, we take action, whether that’s mentoring, training or intervention.
Each meeting is held in the local language and time zone, with introductions from our CEO, David Grant, and CMO, Paul Cunningham, followed by a number of inspirational speakers. They are also an opportunity to put ideas forward. It may be about their work environment, but it could be that they have a fantastic idea for the business that we would otherwise miss.
We’re proud and passionate
We are not employing a third party to run these groups for us. We’re doing it ourselves because we have the expertise, passion and desire here in Westcon-Comstor. And even if we start with one or two people, it’s a start. As the story gets out, we’re confident it will gain momentum. Ultimately, we want to show that although we are a global company, everyone is heard equally.
We can be really proud of our culture here based on our values and on what we see day to day in our operations. These ERGs demonstrate this, and show our dedication to creating and sustaining a really diverse, inclusive and welcoming workplace environment. We hope everyone will join in the conversation.