Estimated reading time: 5 minutes
If your company has more than 10 employees, chances are you use Slack, a chat tool which promotes collaboration among teams and departments. If you’re unfamiliar, it’s a lot like Microsoft Teams.
But Slack isn’t just a platform to store information and keep track of important files; it’s a meeting space, bulletin board, and thought leadership generator for companies. It gives you the opportunity to get to know your co-workers, especially if you aren’t all in the same office.
As Stratifyd continues to grow, more Slack channels are created for different lines of business, like-minded groups of people, hot topics, and discussions about anything under the sun. I’ve noticed that our channels have grown to reflect and promote diversity company-wide. Companies need to promote and encourage these types of spaces, especially those which show support for women and minorities, as well as spaces that allow employees to become more culturally aware of the world around them.
Channels like these make employees feel comfortable, supported, and valued. They open lines of communication and provide transparency, breaking down barriers and driving innovation.
Out of the 100+ different Slack channels I'm a part of, I find myself consistently checking or contributing to three of our channels that promote diversity and inclusion, and I believe every company needs to have them to build a better company culture.
We have a private #WomenofStratifyd Slack channel that’s truly a safe space for us to come together. This channel brings the women of the company unwavering support from one another and fosters acceptance, instead of promoting a negative, competitive culture.
There’s a lot of random chat in the channel, like the mysterious (but wonderful) artist who sticks Post-It Notes with adorably drawn foxes and horses, uplifting messages promoting body positivity and self-acceptance, and renditions of famous, empowering photos like Rosie the Riveter on the mirror of the communal bathroom in our office building. But we also talk a lot about current events and different ways to get involved with causes we’re passionate about.
For example, this week has been full of pride float conversations and information about National Gun Violence Awareness Day (which is today). We’ve made sure that those who don’t have anything orange to wear for the cause know that stickers are available in the office so they can still show their support.
I personally love this channel because I know that I have a strong support system behind me whenever I need it (and that’s powerful in the workplace), and I know others feel the exact same way. We’ve supported each other through cross-country moves, the passing of pets, and tough days at the office. We’re here through the good and the bad, and it’s a wonderful thing that the power of a fist bump emoji goes such a long way.
I’m sure every company that uses Slack creates some of sort of food channel. It’s great for announcing free food in the kitchen, but I bet you didn’t know it could also foster diversity and inclusion throughout the entire company.
Stratifyd CEO, Derek Wang, has made it a priority to create a rich, diverse company culture, and, as a result, our team is made up people from around the globe.
So naturally, our food channel reflects a blend of cultures. For example, one of our team members posts a Chinese bento box menu every single day for the office to order from. It’s so popular, certain items are known to sell out. Not only does the food look and smell SO good, it’s an awesome opportunity for everyone in the office to take a break from deli sandwiches and experience authentic Chinese cuisine.
Side note: Did I mention that several debates have sparked in our food channel over whether a hot dog is classified as a sandwich? For the record, the hot dog is 100% not a sandwich.
As a member of the leadership team, an important part of my job is making time available for employees to volunteer to support various causes. Helping to build the community we’ve invested in is a must. Not to mention, it’s the best form of team building.
A few months ago, I created the volunteer channel for team members to post about any orgs they’re currently working with or any events they would like the company to participate in. As a result, we’ve done a lot of good for many different causes.
We’ve volunteered with the United Way of Central Carolina’s playground build, participated in the Charlotte AIDS walk, and played in a Connect Four tournament to benefit Project Science and #GirlsinSTEM. And most recently, some of the #WomenofStratifyd participated in a women’s build for Habitat for Humanity of Charlotte.
In August, Stratifyd will have a float in Charlotte’s Pride Parade for the first time. We’re SO excited to show our support for the LGBTQ community. This volunteer opportunity has shown me that I have allies at work and coworkers who are also part of the LGBTQ family 😊.
Allowing employees to give back on the clock often drives them to continue to volunteer outside of work. It’s important to show everyone that staying active in your community is the best way to foster growth and inclusion for generations.
Diversity Matters in and Out of the Office
While it’s easy to get swept up in the day-to-day grind of work, it’s important to make sure employees have outlets to share and connect on a personal and professional level.
Diversifying company culture is a collaborative effort, and these channels aren’t a foolproof solution, but they’re the first step in creating an open and transparent line of communication throughout the entire company.
If these channels don’t exist in your org today, I urge you to start them! I guarantee others will join and participate.
About the Author
Cara Walters is the Senior Marketing Director at Stratifyd who enjoys reading short stories, gardening, hiking to find waterfalls, and cooking her grandma’s Italian recipes. Follow her on twitter @CaraWalters00 or Instagram @super8mate
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