As people and companies nationwide continue the fight for social justice, diversity and inclusion initiatives have taken a front row seat in the workplace. BASF Agricultural Solutions North America, headquartered in Durham, North Carolina is making it a priority.
Hiring a diverse workforce, inclusive of people with different life experience, ability, race/ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, religious beliefs, personality, learning style or country of origin is only one part of an impactful strategy. Building an organizational culture that embraces and supports all people while creating an environment that empowers employees with equitable access to opportunities for growth and development is also imperative to any company’s overall success.
Diversity and inclusion are part of my company’s commitment to support an environment of trust, openness and respect. Each outcome is demonstrative of our core values. We do what we do as a conviction.
Company culture and inclusion
BASF has numerous programs in place to ensure current employees have the proper support and outlets to voice concerns and feel included. The company employs a zero-tolerance policy for all forms of harassment, in addition to leveraging the significant guidance of a Diversity & Inclusion Council. Employees are encouraged to participate in a broad range of resource groups and special activities which include groups like the African American Employee Group, ALLchemie (LGBTQ+), Women in Business and AVID (awareness of visible and invisible disabilities), among numerous others.
The company created development programs with a special emphasis on the development of diverse leaders, mentorship programs, engagement surveys and listening tours or coffee chats to solicit feedback from all members of the organization.
Ensuring a diverse applicant pool and hiring process is also a critical part of creating a diverse workplace. Fifty percent of candidates interviewed for roles at BASF must be diverse, and 50 percent of the people doing the interviewing at BASF must be diverse. The company has also implemented an inclusive hiring strategy to mitigate bias in the recruitment and selection process, to drive a culture of impact, achievement, growth, and agility.
In the community, BASF is active by supporting diversity and inclusion with Out! Raleigh Pride, the Raleigh Chamber, Women in Agribusiness, the Hispanic Heritage Luncheon, and the Triangle Business Journal’s Leaders in Diversity Awards.
Instead of blind spots, we call It bias
Here is an example that we all can relate to.
According to the National Traffic and Safety Administration, approximately 840,000 accidents occur each year because of blind spots. People often report that they thought they checked their blind spot or some didn’t think it was necessary to check it because they already knew they had the right of way.
Reflecting on that — this happens in the workplace too. Instead of blind spots, let’s call it bias. A lot of gaps in diversity and inclusion occur because people don’t take the chance to look more closely at what is going on and check their “blind spot”. Or because of their perspective, they already knew the right way.
As more and more companies look for ways to create a diverse and inclusive environment, it is important to understand a few key things.
Companies and leadership teams must take the time to create a documented strategy that outlines where you are today and where you want to go. There must be a system of accountability to make sure that you’re staying on course, and help you find your way back should you veer off of it, and there needs to be metrics to confirm you’re headed in the right direction.
Organizations do not decide their futures, they decide their values and their values decide their futures. So, let’s choose to value our employees speaking up and speaking out to make a difference within our workforces, within our workplaces, and within our communities.