Today, everyone from employees to customers to stakeholders and investors want to feel like they are part of a company that stands for something bigger than its own self-interest. They want to feel good about the time, energy, and money they spend supporting that company. They want to feel appreciated, understood, and most importantly, heard and represented. They don’t just want to have a financial relationship–they want to have an emotional relationship with the company as well.
As a brand, ThirdLove was born out of the awareness that diversity in women’s lingerie was nearly nonexistent. Our mission since day one has been to show diversity in body type and create products that fit each and every type of woman.
But as a company, and for our team, diversity means much more. It means being surrounded by different people, from different backgrounds, with different perspectives, all of which add something special to the culture, and to the new ideas that fuel our business. It would be naive for us to think we could build “products for all types of women” if we didn’t employ as many different types of women ourselves.
At ThirdLove we conducted an internal belonging and inclusion survey including everyone within the company. And our biggest learning from this exercise was the differences in the way data is perceived from someone who is white (part of the majority) compared to someone who is underrepresented. And more importantly, people who are white feel like the company is more diverse than people who are underrepresented. These are important takeaways, because they signal the differences between these two vantage points in society–and reveal how else organizations need to change in order to be inclusive for everyone.
One way to hold your team accountable for continuing to learn about different perspectives and promote a higher sense of belonging and inclusion is by committing to a certain number of trainings or discussions a year. Questions that could be relevant are: Are underrepresented employees given space to feel heard and understood? Are white employees aware of a lack of diversity–and given tools and resources to do something about it? Are hiring managers given tools to look for ways to improve company diversity?
With that in mind, it’s extremely important for you to surround yourself with meaningfully different perspectives than your own as a founder or executive. Who are the other leaders in the company? How do their backgrounds impact their actions and decisions? And pushing further, how diverse is your board of directors? Who are your investors? How can diversity in your leadership team help you build a more impactful, more relatable company?
At ThirdLove we asked our leadership team to share why promoting diversity at ThirdLove was important to them at a company meeting when we discussed our internal diversity and inclusion strategy. After the meeting, teammates shared that the part of the meeting that resonated with them most was hearing each leader’s story as to why diversity is important to them.
This content was originally published here.