These days inclusion is a trending topic, and the word is simply everywhere. It’s a term full of meaning and power – we just need to make sure we use it to drive change and create meaningful impact. Because I believe it’s a matter of making voices heard, owning up to our responsibility and including all our differences in a community that is built for openness and innovation.
It’s my belief that to truly understand the meaning of inclusion, it’s helpful to investigate diversity. The two terms share a close relation, but still differ in important ways. If you look up “diversity” two clear descriptions comes up:
- The state of being diverse; variety.
- The practice or quality of including or involving people from a range of different social and ethnic backgrounds and of different genders, sexual orientation, etc.
As someone who loves understanding the true meaning of concepts, I think this is a great starting point for any conversation on the topic. In other words, you can say that diversity covers the categories that differentiate us. It’s not only a parameter for gender, but for everything from our background, to our age or ethnicity.
With this as our common understanding, let’s get into inclusion. For me, inclusion is the answer to the question of how so many different people can build a community. Focusing on diversity is a great place to start, but if we never move on to inclusion, all our differences will never find common ground. Afterall, diversity is only getting us halfway there. By thinking of inclusion as the bridge between diversity and community, we can make sure that everyone feels heard and part of the group. That’s why diversity and inclusion go so well together – and why, I believe, you can’t have one without the other.
“So, then what?” you might ask. Well, even though exploring terminology is great, it doesn’t mean anything if we don’t act. At SuperOffice, we don’t have any interest in being a billboard for inclusion without doing the work. We are only interested in our constant improvement and actively driving progress and innovation. While I believe inclusion should affect everyone, I also believe that it must start somewhere. And that somewhere is at the top, on the leadership level. It’s our job, as leaders, to make it happen. To do so, we need to start by defining the issue and then begin to execute.
Right now, that’s taking place at SuperOffice. We have created an ESG report, defining our social, environmental and governance policy and how we plan to live up to our promises. You can say that an ESG report is the written process of building culture. The report is a fine example of how you need to start by defining the challenges in order to create a strategy ready to drive actual change. But of course, the ESG report is just one of the ways in which we think of inclusion. Every day we are faced with decisions related to social governance.
Starting last summer, a line of new colleagues joined SuperOffice – including myself. We’re a pack of different people, from different Nordic countries and with different ages and backgrounds. The way SuperOffice thinks of recruitment is a core example of how we value diversity and inclusion, and even though we’re certainly on the right path, we are always ready to improve and do even better: from making sure every co-worker feels included to recruiting with an eye for diversity.
Since all of us newcomers joined the company, we have experienced a warm welcome into the SuperOffice family, but in some ways, we are of course still the new kids in class. We are still learning about the culture, legacy and procedure of SuperOffice, just like our more established colleagues are still adapting to our outside-in perspectives. Luckily, we all agree that inclusion is a two-way-street, and we are willing to do the work – together. We have built a more diverse crowd, now we want to ensure that we unite and keep building one community. Not just because it’s more pleasant or cosy this way, but because it is helping all of us to challenge ourselves, be more innovative and push our business forward.
As a leadership team we take this task very seriously. I believe the greater the workplace, the greater the responsibility. This means that we work hard to drive a healthy, sustainable, and growing business, while contributing to our community, meaning both customers, co-workers, and the general society.
Moving forward, SuperOffice will welcome more new colleagues and attract more customers. We will need new perspectives and fresh points of view as we will keep becoming more agile and bold, while keeping our humble spirit. As a company, we have survived several lifetimes in the software industry. Only by working actively with inclusion, can we make sure that we will still be here 30+ years into the future.