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“Diversity and inclusion require continuous commitment”

The technology industry – and the wider business community – needs to do a better job of diversity and inclusion. Comma isn’t shying away from the tough questions, according to our Head of People & Culture.

We’re a people business.

We always have been.

That’s why we put such a huge emphasis on making sure Comma is a great place to work. It’s why, through our hiring process, we make sure people are going to fit the culture so they can join the family, have fun and build strong relationships with the people they’re working with.

And that’s why, as we continue to grow, diversity and inclusion remains top of the agenda for our People & Culture team.

There’s lots of studies that show hiring a diverse team can increase innovation and help companies get a competitive edge. And, of course that’s something we want to encourage at Comma – staying ahead of the curve is part of what makes us who we are. But ultimately, we want to continue to hire a diverse team because it’s the right thing to do.

And to have a diverse team, we need to ensure we continue to develop our working environment so that it’s inclusive, which means making sure everyone feels involved, valued, respected, treated fairly, and embedded in our culture.

How are we addressing diversity and inclusion?

We recently ran an anonymous survey to our team to find out how people felt about diversity and inclusion. We didn’t hold back. We asked some really probing questions to make sure we got honest answers.

I’ve always believed that we promote a diverse and inclusive culture but, having seen a recent Gartner study that showed only 40% of employees agree that their manager fosters an inclusive environment, it’s safe to say I was anxious to see the results.

(Before I tell you the results, I think it’s important to note that whatever they had been, we’d have published them. We want to own the good, the bad and the ugly when it comes to our culture and inclusion. If we’re not doing a good enough job, it’s on us to change it.)

Thankfully, the results were encouraging but they showed we have work to do.

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We ran the survey to find out what our people feel about Comma as an inclusive place to work. We wanted a baseline so that when we run future surveys, we can see whether we’re improving or have work to do.

“Would you recommend Comma to a friend?”

We already have one baseline though. Whenever we run one of our quarterly team surveys, we always include the question “would you recommend Comma to a friend?”

It's our bellwether on whether or not people are happy at Comma.

In a year where we doubled in size, got acquired and had our busiest period ever it’s genuinely amazing to see that the answer to that question was always overwhelmingly positive with 100% of our team agreeing with the statement - not only that, but the response rate has risen too.

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Whether it’s at work or in your personal life, it’s always nice to hear people say good stuff. But sometimes, whilst it might hurt to hear it, having constructive feedback on things that need to be improved is always better.

We've still got work to do.

Whilst the results from these surveys are positive for the most part, we know we’ve got lots more work to do - diversity and inclusion require continuous commitment.

We know that we have an imbalance in gender in our team.

We know different ethnic groups are under-represented in our team.

We know we have policies in our handbook that are outdated and need to be evolved to make Comma more inclusive.

And we’re doing something about all those things. In fact, the results and feedback from the survey have empowered our People & Culture team to continue to look at how we can improve our awareness of diversity and inclusion and the immediate action we’re taking is things like:

  • Continuing to evolve our hiring process to ensure this is somewhere people want to work
  • Introducing comprehensive diversity and inclusion training for our whole team
  • Increasing awareness of what we’re doing internally and externally to improve diversity
  • Revamping our benefits and policies to be more inclusive for both existing and new team members
  • Establishing an internal Diversity & Inclusion committee to meet quarterly, led by our internal Diversity & Inclusion champion Naomi Cruden

That’s just the start.

As a company that’s made up entirely of its people, we will continue to focus on diversity and inclusion for the long term.

It’s not just a box ticking exercise for us, it’s just the right thing to do.

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About the author

Dan Malins is Head of People & Culture at Comma.

He leads our People & Culture team and is responsible for ensuring Comma is a welcoming and inclusive place for the people who currently work here and anybody who is looking to join.

If you would like to apply for a role at Comma, please click here.

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