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Group of Global Tech Companies Cement Commitment to Diversity & Inclusion as the World Erupts in BLM Protests

TORONTO and SAN FRANCISCO -As movements are igniting across the world calling for massive societal shifts, many companies have made charitable donations and released statements condemning racism and expressing solidarity with Black communities. Although these actions are positive, they are not enough to make lasting change. Anti-racism work must continue beyond this current emotionally-heightened state to create a more equitable environment, in and out of the workplace.

While many companies have expressed a desire to stand alongside their employees during the protests, they must do more than share nominal well-wishes and solidarity; they must commit to action. To create sustainable, long-term change, leaders must develop a corporate strategy for anti-racism efforts. Crescendo, a Toronto-based diversity and inclusion (D&I) startup, is calling on organizations across North America to do the work necessary to ensure that their anti-racism commitments extend year-round.

To enact positive changes around anti-racism in the workplace, companies must go beyond one-off donations and instead bring their employees along a significant journey of unlearning, relearning, and confronting the structures of racism that underlie modern business. As they take this on, D&I learning will play a key role in creating a culture of inclusion and communicating the why behind these new organization-level priorities. This demands a shift in the way we embed D&I into our workplaces: it needs to meet people where they are and be top of mind in day-to-day work.

D&I and anti-racism work require a significant effort from D&I teams that are typically under-resourced and under-supported. In an early 2020 D&I research report from Crescendo, 100% of surveyed D&I leaders said that their team was too small given their responsibilities, with an average of one dedicated D&I employee per 743 employees (for companies below 5,000 employees).

While many companies are just now beginning to explore bringing these themes into their workplaces, companies such as Indeed, Clover Health, and Remitly joined a growing group of companies pledging a new embedded and progressive look at D&I in the workplace long before the BLM demonstrations began. In working alongside Crescendo, these companies have begun implementing new strategies to have meaningful, challenging conversations about different cultures and integrate this work into the culture of their companies.

“Indeed is proud to partner with Crescendo to leverage their phenomenal content and expertise globally, and ease the burden often felt by marginalized employees to educate their peers,” shares LaFawn Davis, Vice President of Diversity, Inclusion & Belonging at Indeed. “Their commitment to using data and authentic narratives to measure success and drive cultural change aligns with Indeed’s values, provides continuous learning opportunities for our employees and supports our mission to help ALL people get jobs."

“It’s not just the people in our Diversity & Inclusion working group [who are engaging], and it is not just the people who are already attending trainings. It truly has impacted a different group of people, to the degree that surprises me,” said Jessie Wusthoff, Director of Culture, Diversity, & Inclusion (Clover Health).

“Crescendo has been an invaluable addition to our DEI programming. The content delivery model has made it so easy for our employees to weave DEI learning into their workday and prompt thoughtful conversations both online and offline among employees across the company. It has also helped us literally scale our reach overnight and to better understand the interest and needs of our workforce in a really meaningful way through their analytics.It has helped inform us where we need to pivot or lean in further to support the continued growth and development of all our employees regardless of role, tenure, level or location,” said Kim Vu, Global Head of Diversity, Equity + Inclusion (Remitly).

In tandem with the long-running effort to increase anti-racism awareness and further their commitment to supporting Black communities, Crescendo has introduced specific anti-racist learning tracks, co-created with Black DE&I professionals and creators. The proceeds from their anti-racist materials are going directly to these content partners, as well as non-profit organizations that support Black lives year-round, including Freedom Schools via Black Lives Matter Toronto, The Okra Project, and Black Voters Matter Fund.

The modern workplace is becoming increasingly multicultural and personal, and it is no longer expected that people will leave their culture at home. To truly connect with others, we need to understand how their experiences and identities shape how they view the world. By inviting D&I and anti-racist work into the workplace and committing to being active participants in change, these four companies are taking steps to build more positive, equitable workplaces where all professionals can thrive.