Every Voice Counts: Highlights from Peakon’s First DE&I Community Conference

Every Voice Counts: Highlights from Peakon’s First DE&I Community Conference

February 10th marked the launch of Peakon’s first online community conference, Every Voice Counts. It was a day full of inspiring speakers, exciting product announcements, and actionable advice about how organisations can create more inclusive workplaces.

There were 863 attendees on the day, who sent more than 500 messages throughout the event in our live chat. Many offered words of praise for our speakers and asked questions about how to improve their own Diversity Equity & Inclusion (DE&I) efforts, while others shared stories of their own.

Keep reading for key insights from the day’s events.

Joining forces with Workday

Phil Chambers, Peakon’s CEO, kicked off the day with a brief announcement about Workday’s intent to acquire Peakon.  

We believe this is fantastic news for all of us on the call today and a huge signal that the product and community that we’ve been building together over this past six years, has and is positively reshaping the entire world of work. By joining forces with Workday, we’ll be able to accelerate our mission to help every employee drive the change they want to see.

Driving meaningful and sustained change in 2021

The first talk of the day, from Sheree Atcheson, Peakon’s Global Director of DE&I, focused on the challenges faced by organizations when implementing their own DE&I strategy, shifting employee expectations, and some of the insights from our upcoming Heartbeat report.

When we form DE&I strategies, we have to think about intersections. We do not exist separately. I do not exist in the world, as a woman, or a person of color. I exist as a combination of those things. And the world treats me as such.

Businesses are taking action, but we see a lot of focus on the diversity demographic, the representation piece. What about the other side of the coin? What about inclusion?

DE&I needs to be embedded — and I mean, embedded — into existing processes. It’s not an overlay. It’s not something that sits with your people team only. It’s not just community pieces. This is something that transforms your entire organization.

The intersection of race and gender

Our second speaker of the day, Minda Harts, CEO of The Memo LLC, spoke passionately about what it means to be the “only” in a corporate environment. She shared her personal story of discrimination, and spoke about the importance of courage — both as a woman of colour and an ally.

The audience were left emotional and inspired!

We can’t make the workplace work for everybody if we’re not considering how the workplace, how every person on our team that we work with experiences the workplace.

Courage is the ability to do something that frightens us. It’s scary to be courageous. Even in my equity journey, my diversity journey, I still get scared to talk about these things. But I know that so many more people will benefit when I’m courageous instead of cautious.

Allyship is not a monolith. We have to get to know people, so we know how to show up for people. And I think that’s basically the issue inside the workplace. We’re not building authentic relationships with each other.

Fireside chat with the International Committee of the Red Cross

Annika Norlin, Global Head of D&I, spoke with Joy Rees, Peakon’s Senior Director of Customer Success, to shed some light on the complicated world of international aid, and what it means for addressing DE&I in war zones and other challenging environments.

The humanitarian sector has some very serious and inherent power asymmetries. And if we think about it, if we are honest with ourselves, we know that it also impacts our culture.

We have a majority of managers on international contracts, and we are looking for ways we can have people with local knowledge, local insights, accessing managerial positions. It’s not only about representation, it’s really around the whole culture of our organization, who do we reward? Who do we value, and who do we invest in?

The challenge is still that inclusion is global, right? It links up to a human need, a sense of belonging. But diversity is local, and it needs to be contextualized.

Closing Roundtable

To close out the day, Phil facilitated a Q&A session with our speakers, fielding questions from the attendees about how to ensure the success of DE&I strategies within their own organisations, with reference to initial buy-in and ongoing adoption in particular.

We realized that it’s not just the chief diversity officer’s role to fix everything, it’s going to take every person inside the organization to see that [DE&I] is also part of their job description.

I do think that once you educate your leaders as to why inclusion, diversity, equity belonging is important, then I think that certain metrics should be imposed about how they’re doing it.

I think we have to look at our sphere of influence, where do we have the opportunity to help others, and you don’t necessarily have to hold the title to do that. But I think we all have the ability to be able to speak someone else’s name in a room.

To learn more, you can access the recording or join a Consultation Series with Sheree Atcheson, Global Director of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion at Peakon, on how to publish a DE&I report of your own. And you can register for a demo of Peakon Include, our latest product offering.