Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Statement
As the first step in our Diversity, Inclusion and Equity Initiative, we’ve begun the hard work of not only becoming more diverse, but of intentionally growing to be more inclusive and equitable. We believe it’s crucial to acknowledge the existence of oppressive systems. We believe that, not only is it important to recognize all forms of oppression, but that we must, as individuals and as a company, actively fight against these systems. Last Call Media knows there is always work to be done in this arena.
In this statement, we start with an introduction to our company values as they relate to this initiative. We then share more about the steps we’re taking to live up to those values and conclude with how we measure the impact we seek.
Our Company Values are more than just buzzwords—they are an actionable framework driving our decisions.
We aim to consistently increase general LCM inclusivity so that we are more accessible to diverse perspectives and abilities, whether to join our team or engage our services or content. As such, we are creating, and taking, steps toward being more diverse, inclusive, and equitable in measurable ways.
Part of growing in our ever-globalizing world is challenging assumptions and undoing systemic oppression by opening doors. If we want to keep improving, we need to focus on not only our hiring strategies, but also on maintaining an inclusive environment. We need to examine our current practices and find ways to make them more equitable.
We aim to continuously improve our teamwork so that we work better and closer with each other and our customers. We aim to continuously improve ourselves as individuals so that we can continue to provide our own evolving perspectives and abilities to those we work with.
We aim to contribute to the community through teaching and training with the aim of undoing systemic oppression on all levels. We aim to improve access to opportunities, and to build an inclusive, equitable model that other companies could use as a resource.
We not only strive to build a diverse team, but to maintain healthy and productive relationships within that team. This sometimes means having uncomfortable conversations as we each develop into culturally competent individuals, and hopefully this Initiative will create a safe space for addressing important topics related to diversity, inclusion, and equity.
The more diverse a team is, the stronger and more innovative it is. With the diversity part of this initiative, we seek to harness the power of diverse minds coming together for a common goal. With the inclusion part, we hope to empower all minds equally, provide access and clear pathways for advancement, and work to retain diverse talent through internal structures.
We aim to be a self-organizing team using Commitment, Openness, Focus, Respect, Courage, and Humor to guide us. To be more diverse, inclusive, and equitable, we need to stay invested in our mission and vision and will continuously seek to make bold changes.
Recruiting - We do the internal work first.
If we want to grow a diverse team of highly talented individuals, we first need to look within and ask some tough questions: Who are we attracting? Is this a place where everyone can feel safe to be themselves, to learn and to grow?
As an organization that values sustainability, inclusivity, and a healthy work-life balance, we prioritize:
- A flexible work schedule and robust benefits package over long work hours with the promise of a big one-time reward.
- Building a globally distributed team over an in-house team based in one community.
- Delivering at a sustainable pace rather than pursuing high profit margins.
- Clients who live up to our shared values over large ones that may only serve to elevate our portfolio.
We frequently revisit what we offer people to help improve their life today, tomorrow, and years from now. We include the entire company in decision-making processes and feel that no voice is more important than another. We value input from all team members. Our model is not “Is this person going to fit into our culture?” Instead, we are prone to asking, “Can this person add something new and unique to our team?”
We also ask ourselves, “How are we attracting talent?” For example, we avoid the classic intimidating job post looking for “rock stars,” “ninjas,” and “gurus.” Many people find their way into IT “accidentally,” and many are not finding their way at all; the path to a career in technology can be pretty intimidating and rather obfuscated. We have found that our next engineer or incredible Product Owner could be hiding beneath a rock of self-doubt, and as such, our postings are more about interest and excitement than hard requirements.
We are continuously seeking opportunities to counteract systemic oppression in its various forms. Sometimes this means that, internally, we need to have difficult conversations. But we know that this discomfort can lead to transformative change, and that these conversations are never “done.”
We believe that having a diverse, inclusive, and equitable team is a constant work in progress. Again, there is no “final” achievement to be reached. Our work in this area is urgent and continuous, with no sense of, “Okay, we’re done here!”
Oppressive systems like sexism, heterosexism, ableism, classism, ageism, and anti-Semitism, to name a few, do not have a one-time-cure-all. With this in mind, Last Call Media is actively working on creating a workplace that is inclusive and enriched with different backgrounds.
Here are some of the initiatives we have implemented to lead us toward this goal:
We believe that talented people live everywhere. We’ve expanded our recruiting efforts beyond the United States to be able to recruit the most talented pool of people worldwide. All of our job posts are open to all candidates, regardless of location. This means we are actively seeking people from any country, ethnicity, gender, religion, time zone, or race to join the team.
Partnering with Lambda School.
Lambda School is a fully remote school that provides a fast-paced, immersive, online education experience for people seeking to transition to a career in software development. We value that they support their students by not charging upfront tuition fees, but rather are compensated once their graduates find a job in the industry. LCM has partnered with Lambda School to implement a 6- 8 week internship program that will, by design, engage a more diverse pool of developers. Learn more about Lambda’s Diversity Report here.
Diverse Job Boards.
By posting job opportunities internationally, we can work to improve the diversity of our pool of applicants. In addition to the common job boards on the market, such as Glassdoor and Indeed, we also post opportunities to sites like Power to Fly, a premium job board that targets talented women in tech.
Opportunities for Growth.
In recognizing that we have more work to do, we have created this Diversity and Inclusion Initiative as a place to bring ideas, create action steps, and ultimately make lasting changes to LCM. Some ideas that are still in the early stages are (but not limited to): creating a diversity and inclusivity review panel, continuously exploring ways to review candidates that eliminate any opportunity for bias or subtle discrimination, and continuing our search, and use, of job boards that are proven to host a more diverse talent pool.
Inclusion at LCM.
Inclusion at LCM means creating a collaborative, supportive, and respectful environment that increases the participation and contribution of all our employees. We have an open culture that encourages employees to bring up new initiatives, improvements, or projects. We firmly believe that by trusting our employees and giving them autonomy and respecting new ideas, our workplace becomes more inclusive, leading to happier and more productive teams.
We have also fostered a feeling of inclusion among our employees through transparency and openness. All employees, regardless of location, position, or length of time at the company, have access to the same resources and benefits.
During our Company Day’s, anyone can suggest a topic and facilitate its discussion. Through inclusive strategies like Progressive Stack, we ensure all voices can feel heard. All are encouraged to attend conferences and events, and we have a coaching program as an alternative to traditional top-down management practices. On a daily basis, team members are sharing resources like seminars and trainings where all our employees are encouraged to participate. Everyone at Last Call Media is encouraged to start an Initiative or a Community of Practice to confront unaddressed needs.
Most recently, we enacted a “no approvals needed” policy for professional development trainings, an unlimited budget for continuing education, and a “get the gear you need to be able to comfortably do your job” policy.
Team-Sourced Code of Conduct.
One of the first objectives of the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Initiative was to craft a Code of Conduct that accurately reflects LCM’s values. We team-sourced this document so that every employee at Last Call Media had the opportunity to give feedback. After several iterations, we consulted with All Things Diverse to ensure we were truly holding each other accountable for maintaining a safe, respectful work environment. Through this process, we were able to ensure our internal processes are clear and accessible.
Last Call believes that it is important to understand yourself when working to create a more inclusive and equitable work environment. Thus, we are continually working to create an environment that is inclusive by taking the time to understand our own bias, understanding controversial issues or concerns that trigger immediate intense reaction, and becoming more aware of your own possible forms of privilege and fragility.
Tools to measure team satisfaction and inclusion.
In a recent employee survey, delivered via a tool called Officevibe, we identified trends that indicate that people at Last Call Media appreciate the moral standards of the organization. As an example, we have had team meetings where LCM ultimately decided not to pursue work with organizations that do not represent similar values to ours. Every member of our team has significant influence over how decisions are made, and we rely heavily on the team model to make difficult decisions.
Opportunities for Growth.
Like with our diversity in hiring initiatives, we still have some work to do with inclusivity and equity measures. Some ideas that are still in the early stages are (but not limited to): creating metrics for more clearly defined career paths, taking part in all-staff trainings about implicit bias, and creating more spaces for transparency and open conversations about salary with an aim to ensure equitable pay.
We believe that Inclusion practices are critical with remote and co-located teams who rely on intentional practices to stay connected and engaged. These practices not only benefit underrepresented groups, they benefit your entire workforce. Strategies we have used to accomplish these goals include but are not limited to:
- Accommodating each employee’s needs
- Encouraging connections to foster inclusiveness
- Practicing inclusive meeting behaviors
- Providing mental health support
Last Call is an advocate for inclusive language. We understand that the language we use to describe ourselves and those around us has an enormous impact on how we are treated and how we treat others. Therefore, we do not tolerate non-inclusive mental health language, transgender language, racial/gender language, etc.
Our impact in the software development community.
Last Call participates heavily in its community. We attend, sponsor and co-organize regular learning events and conferences.
For example, we serve as a lead organizer for one such conference: NERDs (New England Regional Developers Summit) specifically strives to help historically underrepresented groups, such as women and people of color, to get into, and succeed, in tech.
For other events, we ask ourselves the following questions for guidance:
- Are our events too intimidating?
- Are our events inclusive enough?
- Do our events champion a Code of Conduct?
- Are we giving our events the credit they deserve?
- How did we do with bringing more people in?
Financially supporting larger movements.
Last Call Media believes in standing up for what is right, and we believe we need to give the power that we have to the people and organizations that need our support. We are always looking for ways to do our part in subverting systemic oppression within the U.S. or globally. We are actively seeking opportunities to learn and contribute, financially or otherwise.
For example, we’ve financially supported Black Lives Matter (BLM) and Black Girls Code because we believe in their missions and look up to these organizations as models for ways we can take action and live out our values. We are also Platinum-level supporters of the NERD Summit, an inclusive, community-building tech event based in New England.
Company’s Current Diversity Breakdown.
The following is a snapshot of where we are today. We believe, as we describe above, that by being intentional about recruiting a more diverse team we can improve these statistics.
These are our current statistics as of October 2020:
But what about race?
As made clear by our nationality breakdown, we have a global team. While hiring a racially diverse team is important to us, breaking our team down by race is complicated. Race is a social construct that is not universal, and it would not be inclusive to ask our teammates across the world to define themselves based on the U.S. definitions of race. Because transparency is so important, we are still working on ways to accurately capture our company’s demographics that is inclusive for all. In the meantime, we are committed to not “window dressing” the company on any public stage, including during the interview process.
For more information, please read Last Call Media’s official Anti-Racist Statement.
“Diversity” is more than meets the eye.
Last Call Media also values diversity beyond the statistical breakdown shown above. This includes neurodiversity. We believe our team is made stronger the more we can be our authentic selves. We are still exploring ways to be more inclusive about our feedback processes, and to find equitable ways to structure performance evaluations.
More on our next steps.
This is a living, breathing document that is the result of a team whose belief it is that diversity, inclusion, and equity are urgently important. The Diversity, Inclusion and Equity Initiative will continue to meet, plan, act, and adjust in order to continuously improve. We also have a Diversity and Inclusion Community of Practice in place to continue the much-needed difficult conversations that accompany this work.
For more information, questions or feedback, please contact us at [email protected].