No one could have predicted how last year would turn out. The COVID-19 pandemic has greatly impacted how many businesses function, and while some of these changes are only temporary, like remote-only workplaces, other aspects will remain different from here on out. It is impossible to separate the link between the shutdown-spurred economic fallout and increased presence of racial justice movements. COVID-19 has disproportionately affected communities of color, making it imperative that businesses and organizations adopt more inclusive practices.
We took time last year to reflect on our place in the technology industry and what part we play in the grand scheme of things. We held open and candid discussions with staff to pinpoint areas that require attention. It was these conversations that shaped our approach to incorporating diversity, equity, and inclusion as cornerstone values here at Sitka.
To us, embracing diversity means working alongside people from a wide range of backgrounds and experiences and valuing the differences that make us more productive, smarter, and happier. Paying attention to specific needs and doing what we can to give access to opportunities and success for all employees is how we provide equity. And by building a community founded on a culture of belonging and shared responsibility, we amplify the voices of our employees, supporting our idea of inclusion.
Pairing Sitka staff members with relevant volunteer opportunities is another way we are putting this commitment into action. We have prioritized social justice and aim to build pathways to tech jobs by sharing our skills and knowledge with members of our community that have traditionally had limited access and opportunity.
Reviewing and improving our hiring practices to further reduce potential bias is crucial to cementing these values into our company long term. We plan on enlisting the help of an expert to evaluate our recruiting and hiring process and provide a set of tactical recommendations we can implement moving forward.
By holding semi-regular talks and seminars on topics surrounding social justice, we will continuously increase our awareness. These speakers or facilitators will provide learning opportunities for all employees, further supporting our effort to educate ourselves as we push for what’s right in our communities.
To read our full statement on diversity, equity, and inclusion, visit our About Us page.